duke
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Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:05 am

I have for long considered graduated income tax to be a fair form of taxation. If you earn more, you pay more. If you earn less, less of a burden is placed on you. Being the rights-oriented socialist that I am, I would like such a system to replace property tax flat rates too (I.E. if you're unemployed, you don't pay a cent and you won't lose your property for it. If you're employed, then your property tax would be calculated based on a formula taking into account both your income and your property value, not just the latter).

But the issue of property tax aside, I am now considering something else. Slovakia recently replaced the classic tax system with one of a flat tax - for most purposes (income tax, sales tax etc) EVERYONE simply pays 15%. The idea is that as this is a low rate, more people would pay or get work due to a better economy, thus profiting the state coffers more in the long run. Here in Czechia, the President's party (ODS, the Civic Democrats) is suggesting doing the same thing.

Now I ask you - how do you like this idea? I can see the advantage of taxes being the same - yet low - for everyone. After all, in Czechia VAT is currently 19% on most products, so that would go down, and the lowest tax bracket is 15% anyway (so the only "disadvantage" would be that the first $1600 or so - a bit more than 2 months of the average salary - would be taxed, whereas currently it isn't). But I can see how this could be abused - if the government raised the tax rate drastically without exception for everyone and everything.

What do you think? I am no economist.
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:11 am

No, I don't like the idea of a flat tax. I support tax relief for the poor and the wealthy should pay a higher % of taxes.
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Klaus
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:30 am

It's a subsidy for the wealhy paid for by the low-income population.

And it only works (sort of) as long as other EU countries are basically subsidizing the "newcomers" and give them the opportunity to lower their taxes (ultimately subsidizing the relocation of their own jobs to the new members).

It is not sustainable in the long run. At some point somebody will actually have to pay for infrastructure and other programs locally.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:38 am

I'd like to see a flat income tax but with minimum wage not taxed. So multiply your local minimum wage by 2080 hours in a standard work-year and only the income above that amount is taxed - at a flat rate.

But that is well down my personal list of reforms aimed at weaning civil servants off my personal welfare tit.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
BHXFAOTIPYYC
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:40 am

Yes, I'd go for it. If you make the tax rate low enough and the penalties for not compliance high enough, you end up with MORE money in state coffers. Doesn't Russia have a flat rate of about 13% ? Low enough so EVERYBODY pays - not worth the risk not to. I know that this wouldn't suit every country, but I think here in Portugal it would work. Recently the government raised the tax on top rate payers and guess what, they had something like 90% "disappear" the next year. Evading taxes here has always been a bit of a game, with the rich declaring next to nothing (remember Loana Helmsley and her "only the little people pay taxes" speach before she got sent down). They put VAT up to 21%, and when I passed a hypermarket in the Spanish town of Huelva about 50km away, where VAT is 16% and prices lower anyway, about 70% of the cars in the car park had Portuguese plates (it was a holiday here). Like I said, yes to a flat rate but yes to stiff penalties for non compliance. Raising taxes doesn't always raise more revenue.
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Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:46 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 1):
No, I don't like the idea of a flat tax. I support tax relief for the poor and the wealthy should pay a higher % of taxes.

First of all the wealth already pay a higher % of taxes, both marginally and overall.

Second of all, what level of taxation do you think the rich should pay? Don't just say more, state a case for an actual amount that would be fair. 40%? 50%? 60%? More? At what point are the weathly paying their fair share?
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:14 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 1):
No, I don't like the idea of a flat tax. I support tax relief for the poor and the wealthy should pay a higher % of taxes.

Several of the countries in Eastern Europe have a few different rates within each flat tax regime precisely for this reason.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
cxsjr
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:24 am

I hate the idea of a flat tax - I live in a flat and already pay council tax - why should I pay flat tax too!  wink 
The world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page ....
 
DLPMMM
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:35 am

I flat tax is a great idea as it does the most to stimulate economic growth (other than no tax at all). The problem is that Socialists do not like it at all, as they depend on the redistribution of wealth and keeping a permanant under class in order to maintain their power base.

The productivity of a population is inversly proportional to the size of their government.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 6:40 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 8):
I flat tax is a great idea as it does the most to stimulate economic growth

It also eliminates most tax loopholes and therefore derails the gravy train.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:01 am

Studies have shown that for the government (United States) to just be able to function it's bare-necessities, the flat-tax would have to be 25%. That would be a huge tax increase for the poor and a huge tax break for the rich.

Come to think of it, a flat-tax wouldn't be such a bad idea after all. The government would have a hard time finding money to start wars and fund Israel. Also I'd like to see how many Americans are willing to give up there homeowner's tax deduction and child tax credit. In a true flat taxation structure, that would disappear.
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Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:06 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 10):
That would be a huge tax increase for the poor and a huge tax break for the rich.



Quoting Superfly (Reply 1):
I support tax relief for the poor and the wealthy should pay a higher % of taxes.

Again I ask, at what point do you believe that "wealthy" are paying enough taxes? 50%? 60%? 70%? Liberals are quick to say that the rich don't pay enough but I've never gotten an answer to the question - how much is enough?
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:09 am

Quoting Pope (Reply 11):
how much is enough?

The Kennedy tax cut which lasted until Ray-gun was a fair tax structure. Go and look at those numbers.
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Klaus
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:12 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 8):
The productivity of a population is inversly proportional to the size of their government.

As proven by countries which are in anarchy (no government at all) and which have zero or negative productivity...!  crazy 

Your only proposal as an alternative to falling over forwards (communism) is to fall over backwards. Not falling down at all is apparently an alternative that's too complicated to consider...  Yeah sure
 
Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:20 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 12):
The Kennedy tax cut which lasted until Ray-gun was a fair tax structure. Go and look at those numbers.

So you're saying a top marginal rate in excess of 70% is fair, because I know those numbers quite well. I for one think that having a minority interest in your own economic production is inherently unfair. Why should the government stand to benefit more than you do for every additional dollar you make?

Furthermore, if you'll recall the 1986 tax reform package closed a huge number of loopholes particularly in the real estate arena. Are you advocating that those loopholes be brought back? A tax code is more than just the marginal rate, it's the entire body of rules and regulations that affect what earnings are subject to tax and what expenses can be charged against those earning in order to come up with taxable income.

The problem with people like you is that you simply don't know enough about the tax code to really be able to intelligently debate the matter. All the talk about tax code simplification is a red herring. Over 75% of all tax returns filed in the US are either 1040A or 1040EZ where there is no itemization. The percentage of American workers who have ZERO federal income tax liability is approaching 50%, yet the left says that the "poor" pay too much in taxes. Add to that the fact that poor families with kids qualify for the earned income tax credit and you'll see that the federal income tax code is not biased against the poor but most poor families actually qualify for money that they never paid into the system.

Now, if you want to talk about a regressive tax, let's discuss the payroll tax system. But I've never heard a liberal advocate that we do away with the payroll tax? Do you want to come out and support that?
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:39 am

Quoting Pope (Reply 14):
The problem with people like you....

Huh?  confused 
Did I mess up your taxes?

If I 'simply don't know enough about the tax code' and you do, can I hire you to do my taxes? I pay almost 50% of my income to taxes. The government punishes me because I am smart enough to know that I (myself) am not ready to be married and have kids. I am smart enough to prioritize my career goals as well as travel and see the world instead 'settling down'. I would be rewarded with tax breaks if I got married and started having children.
Can you give me a tip tips on how I can save on my taxes Mr. Pope?
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satx
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:48 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 9):
It also eliminates most tax loopholes and therefore derails the gravy train.

I love how issues like this get all screwed up. Both the lefties and the righties want to do something about the more egregious tax loopholes (or so they say) and yet the righties come up with crazy shit like flat taxes as the answer. The way to remove tax loopholes is to simply remove all our various pro-fraud deductions. Of course, if politicians were truly serious about removing tax loopholes you'd think that they wouldn't have allowed them in the first place.
Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
 
767Lover
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:49 am

I support the Fair Tax, not the Flat Tax.

In essence, the Fair Tax does away with income tax and instead puts a higher tax on retail goods, with the exception of the goods one needs to live. (Which means the poor don't have to pay as much as the rich, because there is a certain amount of expenditure for the month that isn't taxed.)

www.fairtax.org
 
MaverickM11
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:31 am

Quoting SATX (Reply 16):
The way to remove tax loopholes is to simply remove all our various pro-fraud deductions

Yeah, hence flat tax. It will never happen though since it's a self defeating prophecy with respect to politicians.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:50 am

Pope, where are you?
I need you guidance Holy Father and tax advice. You are an expert, right?
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Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:05 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 19):
Pope, where are you?

I hit the gym after work. I find myself having to fight the Battle of the Bulge on a daily basis. Bread and cheese are my arch enemy.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
Did I mess up your taxes?

No, but you advocate policies that will increase my taxes without understanding the issues you're advocating.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
I would be rewarded with tax breaks if I got married and started having children.

Please tell what tax breaks you'd get. I have a wife and a kid and I'm completely phased out of all deduction and personal exemption. I'm absolute certain that you pay much less taxes, both in absolute and in percentage terms than I do so my friend which one of us is getting screwed? You then advocate policies that would further raise my taxes. How's that fair?

And still you haven't specifically answered how much I should pay in taxes before I've paid my fair share. That's a simple question - why do you duck it?
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:17 am

Quoting Pope (Reply 20):
I find myself having to fight the Battle of the Bulge on a daily basis

Pardon my ignorance but what do you mean by "Bulge"?
You are scaring me!
Around here, a Bulge is an erection or large penis poking through a guys pants. What in the hell are you doing at the gym Pope?  scared 

Quoting Pope (Reply 20):
I'm absolute certain that you pay much less taxes

Are you sure? I have zero deductions.

Quoting Pope (Reply 20):
And still you haven't specifically answered how much I should pay in taxes before I've paid my fair share. That's a simple question - why do you duck it?

I already did. See above.
Are you one of the wealthiest 1% or do you just 'think' you are part of the wealthiest 1%?
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Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:36 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 21):
Are you sure? I have zero deductions.

I not only get no deduction, my personal exemptions are also phased out. So I'm pretty sure.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 21):
Are you one of the wealthiest 1% or do you just 'think' you are part of the wealthiest 1%?

According to latest available tables (2003) I'm in the top 4%.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 21):
I already did. See above.

No you didn't you gave an evasive ambiguous answer not even fully understanding what you were supporting. It's a simple question, a what level of taxation does a weathly person pay their fair share? You liberals are always so quick to point out that the rich aren't taxed enough, I'd just like to know precisely how much would be enough. Don't pull a B744F just answer the question - no bullshit, just a real straightforward debate of idea and their merits. What are you scared of?
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
satx
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:25 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 18):
Yeah, hence flat tax. It will never happen though since it's a self defeating prophecy with respect to politicians.

You can remove all the pro-fraud deductions without having to resort to a flat tax. These are two separate issues. Progressive tax structures recognize that the wealthy aren't as impacted by losing 15% of their income as the poor are impacted by losing 15% of their income. Even if I was making seven or eight figures I wouldn't be pushing for a flat tax just so I could buy some more shit I don't need. However, the flat tax will eventually become reality in America some day. The people who want it most are far too rich and powerful to fail, and even the people who won't benefit from it are too ignorant to realize that. Just look at what's happening with the Estate Tax to see what I'm talking about. People who have little if any chance of benefiting from the reduction or removal of the Estate Tax have been clamoring for it's demise. We've become a nation of greedy idiots who consider "nuke 'em all" to be a legitimate foreign policy.
Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:31 am

Pope:
70%.
Now answer my question.
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Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:15 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 24):
Now answer my question.

Which question? What was I doing at the gym. Working out. 30 minutes on the treadmill at 6.5mph and then 30 minutes of weights.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 24):
70%.

So you don't think that a tax is fair until almost 3/4 of what you earn goes to the government. I think most people would consider that preposterous. So for every dollar above a certain point you think 70% of it should go to the federal government in the form of an income tax, who knows how much to the state, and another 1.0% to the social security administration. That will really give me incentive to work harder. If I'm lucky I'll get $0.20 of each marginal dollar I earn. That's really fair.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:43 am

Pope:
It was 90% following the New Deal.
70% is a break.
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Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:50 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 26):
It was 90% following the New Deal.
70% is a break.

Under that logic, it should be OK to torture prisoners to the brink of death because previously they were tortured until they died.

I'll give you one thing, you're the first liberal I've ever met that would answer the question. I think the answer is absurd but at least you answered it.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:59 am

Pope:
Was there any exodus of wealth from the United States in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s?
Didn't we manage to be a world superpower during that time?
Yet massive iconic landmarks were constructed through private sector funds; World Trade Center, Sears Tower, St. Louis Arch, Golden Gate Bridge, Space Needle as well as breakthroughs in aviation; Boeing 707, 747 again private sector.
What contributions to society are the rich doing today since there taxes are so low now?
I ready don't get it why the rich are crying about high taxes in this day in age when this is the best time to be rich since there was ever any taxes?
Bring back the Concorde
 
Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 5:18 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 28):
Was there any exodus of wealth from the United States in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s?

Are you serious. Let's begin with a review of history:

late 20's and 30's - the depression ended only by WWII and the massive amount of spending on the military industrial complex during the 1940's. The boom of the 1950's was spurred by the post-war baby boom. The growth that began in the 1960's was spurred by the JFK tax cuts and continue through the 1970 oil embargo. The roaring '80 started after the tax reform act of 1986. The 90's appear to buck this trend because it was a period of seemingly uncontained economic expansion but then we learn that much of this expansion was created by fictious accounting and fraud.

But even then, exodus of wealth (capital flight in economic parlance) is not the same with capital investment. Absent a more attractive rate of return elsewhere with the same amount of risk, you won't see capital flight. Why? Because the US taxes income of its citizens and resident no matter where it is earned. Therefore, if a taxpayer moves money out of his bank account in NY and places it in a bank account in Hong Kong, he is still liable for US income taxation on the entire amount.

Given the geopolitical climate, there are very few other places in the world that offer as much stability as the US. Therefore, even in the rates of return are higher, they must compensate the investor for the extra risk assumed AND still subject the taxpayer to US taxation.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 28):
What contributions to society are the rich doing today since there taxes are so low now?

If you really want the answer to that question why don't you start here:
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_48/b3910401.htm The 2005 list is in this week's Business Week but I can't find it online (Gates fell to #2).

Quoting Superfly (Reply 28):
I ready don't get it why the rich are crying about high taxes in this day in age when this is the best time to be rich since there was ever any taxes?

It's simply not right to tax people so that they get to keep less than 1/2 of what they earn. Particularly when the premise that the burden is falling on the poor is proven to be factually incorrect. As I said above, the poor and most of the middle class pay very little income taxes, with payroll taxes consuming a much larger % of their income than any other federal income tax ever will.

Those are the facts.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
Superfly
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 5:55 am

Pope:
I'd take you on next week on all of these points. I am leaving the office early and wont be on the computer this weekend. So don't think you're getting off the hook with this one.  Smile
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Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 6:41 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 30):
I'd take you on next week on all of these points. I am leaving the office early and wont be on the computer this weekend. So don't think you're getting off the hook with this one.

I look forward to it. I enjoy the intelligent discussion and debate of these ideas - it's becoming exceedingly rare on this forum.

Have a good weekend.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
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n229nw
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:33 pm

Pope:

Yes, 70% is perfectly acceptable as the highest tax bracket. On the surface of things you have a point when you say that one should have a majority inerest in one's economic production. "Economic production" suggests an arithmetic scale calibrated to labor. However, the truly wealthy, the top earners, earn in massive disproportion to the rest of society, and the old argument about incentive to "work hard" is hard to maintain when it comes to the top tax bracket. What makes a star athlete, for example, worth untold millions a month is more about luck and a preposterous payscale than hard work. What makes a CEO of a major corporation is often more about connections than hard work too.

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
Here in Czechia, the President's party (ODS, the Civic Democrats) is suggesting doing the same thing.

Well, I'd say that's the tip-off right there that the policy is suspect.  silly  Vaclav Klaus is a pompous windbag with retrogressive ideas on just about everything else, so why not this too?
All Glory to the Hypnotoad!
 
Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:32 pm

Quoting N229NW (Reply 32):
What makes a star athlete, for example, worth untold millions a month is more about luck and a preposterous payscale than hard work. What makes a CEO of a major corporation is often more about connections than hard work too.

And that's the fundamental problem I have with liberals. They view one's success, in the words of one leading democrat, as the winner of "life's lottery". You have no idea what the star athlete has to go through to make their success. You have no idea how hard a CEO has to work to make his company successful nor the responsibility he takes to bed each evening.

I run a mid-sized business. We have just under 100 employees. The last year and a half has been very lucrative but the previous 7 have not. I would say that there wasn't a day that I went to sleep in the those 7 years where I didn't worry about my employee's future. Whether we were going to make it or not.

When the vast majority of my employees go home at night or on the weekend, they don't spend a minute thinking about anything company related. I bust my ass to make sure our company survives and prospers and when it does, you want to penalize me by taking 70% of my earnings. How's that fair?

I've paid my employees a great wage (with our average employee earning almost 3x the local average). Every single one has company paid for health insurance. Every single one has company paid for short- and long-term disability insurance. Every single one has a 401(k) with employer contribution and a match.

My financial success has in no way been a detriment to their earnings. In fact, their have been years where I took a pay cut so that they could keep their health insurance. So what if my earnings this year a "disproportionate to the rest of society?" Did the rest of society go through the sacrifices that I did in years past? Did the rest of society forego current consumption to create a better tomorrow? In the lean years did the rest of society give my wife money to buy nice things when I couldn't?

Liberals spend way too much time trying to equate one person's success to their detriment. While there are certainly examples of greed gone wild (Ken Lay), the vast majority of business owners and CEO's are honest people who sacrifice tremendously for the success of their companies.

They treat their people right and create the vast majority of job growth in the US. When you start advocating that they be punished if and when they are successful (statistic show you that most end up failing), you take away any incentive for them to try. Economics 101 tells us that the amount of risk you should be willing to take should be proportionate to the reward you should expect. When taxes start eliminating the reward that I can expect, I'll start taking less risk. If enough people do that businesses don't get started, investments don't get made, expansions don't occur then what? Who fuels the job growth? Gov't?

I guess I answered my own question - Yes, government is what liberals want. Bigger government and more people dependent on the government for their livelihood.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
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n229nw
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:56 am

Quoting Pope (Reply 33):
And that's the fundamental problem I have with liberals. They view one's success, in the words of one leading democrat, as the winner of "life's lottery". You have no idea what the star athlete has to go through to make their success. You have no idea how hard a CEO has to work to make his company successful nor the responsibility he takes to bed each evening.

Incorrect: I just know that 1000 other athletes who don't "make it" work just as hard, and 100,000 other employees who aren't CEOs work just as hard: like for example the single mom who has three minimum wage jobs to hold down while trying to raise her kids. Study after study shows that it is a combination of working hard AND connections AND luck AND personal attractiveness, and what-not that gets people ahead. So, do I think some people deserve to earn more than others? Yes. Do I think that some people deserve to earn (literally) >1,000,000 times more than others? No way. You simply can't convince me that they work 1,000,000 times harder. Also, nobody needs that much money, no matter how hard they work.

Addicationally, can you explain why, if the conservatives want such a "small" government, they want such a big government when it comes to people's bedrooms? And, if nobody is taxed a lot, who in this country will fund the massively expensive war they started that drains money out of every area of government spending and is running us up a record massive budget deficit?

Finally, I think the jury is out on job growth and all that. It seems to depend on so many other variables. I can point to basically socialist countries where that model has generally worked very well economically in terms of full employment and economic growth (e.g. Scandinavian countries), and others where that model seems to have failed, or be in need of serious modification in the details of application (Germany and France recently). Similarly, one can point to the varied fortunes of boom and bust economies in less regulated countries. Seems there are multiple paths to building a healthy economy, if one remains flexible in the application. And personally, I prefer the options that offer the most equality and opportunity for everyone.

By the way, you sound like a great boss, seriously.

[Edited 2005-11-20 18:01:22]
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Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:25 am

Quoting N229NW (Reply 34):
Addicationally, can you explain why, if the conservatives want such a "small" government, they want such a big government when it comes to people's bedrooms?

First of all don't confuse the GOP with conservatives. True conservative call for limited government in all aspects of society. It just happens that the GOP is closer (at least in theory) than the DNC.

Secondly, you can always tell when someone has lost an argument when they try to shift attention from one matter to another. What does the GOP's position on private matters have to do with tax policy????

But since you bring it up, I'll come back to it at the end of my post.

Quoting N229NW (Reply 34):
Incorrect: I just know that 1000 other athletes who don't "make it" work just as hard, and 100,000 other employees who aren't CEOs work just as hard: like for example the single mom who has three minimum wage jobs to hold down while trying to raise her kids. Study after study shows that it is a combination of working hard AND connections AND luck AND personal attractiveness, and what-not that gets people ahead. So, do I think some people deserve to earn more than others? Yes. Do I think that some people deserve to earn (literally) >1,000,000 times more than others? No way. You simply can't convince me that they work 1,000,000 times harder. Also, nobody needs that much money, no matter how hard they work.

I simply don't believe that it's the US's government to determine what I or anyone else "deserve". Perhaps that was the role of the government in the USSR or China, but not the US. Our country is not built on the idea of equality of result. Furthermore, the CEO earning 1,000,000 x more than others (by the way you can always tell a weak argument when it results to using hyperbole) does in no way affect what you earn. If the poverty level is $12,000 one million times that amount is $12B dollars - a figure I don't believe anyone has earned - so please spare us the exaggerations.

I would venture to say that all of the $100 M+ compensation packages that you hear of are stock grants. As Enron showed us, stock or stock options aren't worth squat unless you cash them in.

Furthermore, the IRS only allows deductions for compensation above $1M if the compensation is incentive based. So whether you agree with the comp level or not, someone (the Board of Directors) has established performance level and that person has earned it.

But even if we ignore all of this how does a CEO's multi-million dollar comp package affect you? Why don't they deserve it? Who are you to judge what someone deserves or doesn't? Why stop at CEO's? Why don't you just say that nobody deserves to earn $100,000 or more unless everyone does. Does the person earning $100,000 work 5 times as hard as the mom with 3 jobs? Let's take from everyone and have the government redistribute it to those who deserve it. Doesn't that sound familiar?


Returning to the idea of government in our bedrooms - you can't justify your "deserving based" taxation scheme unless you allow government to make subjective choices about what people should be earning. How's that any different than government deciding who people should be sleeping with? You want government to be big enough to stay out of people's bedrooms but small enough to reach into their wallets.
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yhmfan
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:42 am

In Canada, The Income Tax Act was supposed to be a "temporary measure to help the war effort" and it started off as a flat tax.
The issue is, over the years, the legislators have amended the act on numerous occasions to compensate for real or percieved anomalies and unfairness.
Today, we have the complex tax system that we have. So, you may start with a flat tax but, in all likelihood, over the years it will evolve into something more complex.

BTW, I do have a copy of that original Income Tax Act. It is a little booklet only a few pages long. The current act and its various interpretaions would fill in a library!
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n229nw
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:08 am

To get the side stuff out of the way:

Quoting Pope (Reply 35):
Secondly, you can always tell when someone has lost an argument when they try to shift attention from one matter to another. What does the GOP's position on private matters have to do with tax policy????

You are the one who brought up the idea of "small government" versus "big government" as a general principle; I merely responded to it by pressing you on what you mean by small and large government.

Quoting Pope (Reply 35):
don't confuse the GOP with conservatives. True conservative call for limited government in all aspects of society.

Fair enough, but it seems that (one of) the largest groups who call themselves "conservatives" today are "moral covervatives" who want big government on social issues.

Quoting Pope (Reply 35):
Returning to the idea of government in our bedrooms - you can't justify your "deserving based" taxation scheme unless you allow government to make subjective choices about what people should be earning. How's that any different than government deciding who people should be sleeping with? You want government to be big enough to stay out of people's bedrooms but small enough to reach into their wallets.

I'll assume your last sentence is a typo switching big and small, unless you were trying to be clever by giving these words a different set of (moral?) meanings?

Anyway, I guess I would say that my political beliefs about the purpose of government do not subscribe to an overall "big" or "small" policy--and the same is true with many other liberals (It is the conservatives who have made the idea of government size a general guiding prinicple historically, though as I say above, that is breaking down today...).

I begin from the philosophical perspective that the purpose of government is to provide laws that regulate basic human impulses of killing each other off competitively. Government should strive for maximum EQUALITY and protection under the law--whether that leads to big or small government in different cases. In an unregulated state of anarchy, there would be no government at all to decide who deserves what. The strong and lucky triumph and the weak and unlucky die off. Yes, that's how nature works, but nature isn't always right. Nature makes people naturally racist, naturally rapists, naturally whatever. Only reason allows us to reign in these "natural" impulses for the greater good. And this is goverment's role as far as I am concerned: I believe that all human beings are naturally deserving of the same human rights, and it is a government's role to see that this is instituted. Again, then, equality as a driving principle.

Capitalism seems to be the best economic system available to us, as shown by experiment. In any case, it is the only practical economic system available in our world's future, so we may as well accept that it has "won." However, that does not mean it is perfect. Unregulated, capitialism works much like nature in allowing those who inherit to triumph. Thus, it is among government's primary roles to regulate capitalism for the greater good. This is the purpose of environmental restrictions, of welfare, etc. and of well-designed TAX systems.

As for the hyperbole about discrepancies in salary: ok take off a zero or even two. Still, I believe the extremes work best in some cases here as examples, because we are a society tending toward extremes of wealth and poverty under the current system. That is, the 70% tax bracket would not effect the middle, so we are inherently talking about the "exeptions" rather than the rule.

Quoting Pope (Reply 35):
But even if we ignore all of this how does a CEO's multi-million dollar comp package affect you?

What affects everyone is the extent to which this person who is dispropotionately wealthy is TAXED. This affects the public coffer of funds for education, clean energy development, etc. etc.--things that everyone needs.

However, there is no denying that these issues are not simple and the application of social welfare programs must be done with finesse--from the design of laws at the highest level of government down to their implementation from case to case. Otherwise, they can indeed turn into bureaucratic morasses, or reward laziness.

Quoting Pope (Reply 35):
I simply don't believe that it's the US's government to determine what I or anyone else "deserve".

Fair enough, I suppose. There is room for different philosophical approaches. But I whole-heartedly disagree. Do you believe that people who are born in a ghetto with tremendous momentum and social pressure dragging them down do not deserve the same chances in life as someone born into an upper-class family for whom success is a given based on parental resources and connections? I don't.

And, if it is not the government's job to decide that all people "deserve" equal protection and opportunity, then why have laws at all? If the argument were carried to the logical extreme, then rape should be legal because women are naturally weaker than men physically... Or, why regulate child abuse if you could argue that a child who is abused is showing weakness of will or intelligence in not escaping from the parents? You might say this argument has gone off the rails, but I would say the last example is not actually that different from refusing to recognize how escaping the ghetto is not just a question of deciding to get up and go get a management-level job. It takes government intervention to help level the playing field.

In other words, the system of capitalism is full of basical pitfalls in which power, money and strength make more power, money, and strength. That must be balanced by regulation that takes into account the unfairnesses in the system. Among the best ways to provide this regulation is a tax system that works against privilege and inheritence and levels the field for people to succeed or fail more on their own merits.
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MD-90
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:31 pm

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
I have for long considered graduated income tax to be a fair form of taxation. If you earn more, you pay more.

I have for long considered the graduated income tax to be evil.

It is wrong to stick a gun to a productive, prosperous man's head and threaten to kill or imprison him if he doesn't turn over his money to you so that you can buy votes by giving someone else's money away.
 
jafa39
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:21 pm

The people who pay the most in taxes spend the most amount of time avoiding taxes, it might put a lot of accountants out of work (no bad thing), there are enough "stealth taxes" to ensure the biggest spenders are the biggest contributors..so I would say, yes to flat tax but would like to see the numbers first.
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
Pope
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:01 am

Where to begin.

Quoting N229NW (Reply 37):
Government should strive for maximum EQUALITY and protection under the law

Equality of opportunity and equality of result are two very different things. You seem to be arguing that it is the government's role to level the playing field so that everyone's outcomes are approximately equal. From everyone according to their abilities - to everyone according to their needs is an inherently socialistic standpoint. If that's your position come out and state it clearly - you support socialism.

Quoting N229NW (Reply 37):
Nature makes people naturally racist, naturally rapists, naturally whatever.

Though this is slightly off topic I'll address it because I think it's important. I don't know whether you have children or not, however, I'll assure you that anyone who has ever watched young children play know that they have no natural idea of differences. Blacks, whites, Asians, disabled kids, boys and girls all play together without any concept of racism. Racism is a learned characteristic - we are not born inclined to hate.

Quoting N229NW (Reply 37):
Quoting Pope (Reply 35):
I simply don't believe that it's the US's government to determine what I or anyone else "deserve".



Quoting N229NW (Reply 37):
But I whole-heartedly disagree.

Then I find your position completely hypocritical. You want government to not make judgment about what people should be like in their personal lives and provide everyone equal protection (which I completely agree with) yet you then in the next breath advocate enforcement of government judgement over how much somebody "deserves". Those two position are inconsistent with each other - you either support freedom or you don't.

Quoting N229NW (Reply 37):
Do you believe that people who are born in a ghetto with tremendous momentum and social pressure dragging them down do not deserve the same chances in life as someone born into an upper-class family for whom success is a given based on parental resources and connections? I don't.

Then, why stop at the ghetto? If we accept your role of government being the arbiter of what someone deserves and the leveler of the playing field. Let's raise the entire world's standard of living. Let's impose taxes on the US so that nobody starves anywhere in the world. Certainly the child born in Ethiopia is no less "deserving" of his misery than the child born in the US ghetto.

Quoting N229NW (Reply 37):
Among the best ways to provide this regulation is a tax system that works against privilege and inheritance and levels the field for people to succeed or fail more on their own merits.

Your position completely ignores the fact that most people in the US get to where they are with hard work. While a few people inherit their wealth most don't, you need only look at the world's most wealth people and see that the vast majority of them made it in just one generation. Gates, Buffet, Sam Walton, Soros all made their money themselves. They didn't inherit it and when you look at what they've done with the money, these people are the leading philanthropist in the world. There is no need for governments to take from one to give to others, the free-market is accomplishing this itself and at the same time these individuals are free to choose to whom they want the money to go. Based on this week's Business Week magazine article on them, it seems that the results they are achieving through their private foundations are leaps and bounds better than what government has been able to do.

My family came from Argentina to the US not speaking a word of English and within one generation were able to substantially improve our standard of living. It required tremendous self-sacrifice by my parent to put us through school but the sacrifice has paid off. My brothers and I worked hard in school and have all been successful in business. And now that we are enjoying the fruits of our hard work you want to imply that we don't "deserve" it. Those sort of subjective judgement are inherently unfair and clearly not the role of government.

Note that I am not against charity - I'm a huge proponent of it and put my money where my mouth is. My family and I are firm believers in sacrificial giving - giving until it hurts not just from the extra. We just believe that we should have a say in where the money goes.

The power to tax is the power to destroy and your advocacy of a 70% tax rate destroys any incentive to take risk. People instead are better off squirreling their money away and that hurts everyone.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
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n229nw
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:00 pm

Sorry I don't have time to continue this debate as fully as I'd like, but a couple of things quickly:

Quoting Pope (Reply 40):
Equality of opportunity and equality of result are two very different things. You seem to be arguing that it is the government's role to level the playing field so that everyone's outcomes are approximately equal. From everyone according to their abilities - to everyone according to their needs is an inherently socialistic standpoint. If that's your position come out and state it clearly - you support socialism.

1.) Yes equality of opportunity and equality of result are different. But government intervention is absolutely necessary to give equality of opportunity. People born and raised in certain situations definitely do not have the same opportunities as others. Government money from taxes is required to help address these issues through social programs etc.

2.) Socialism seems to be a dirty word for you. I have no problem saying that many of the policies I advocate are socialist in spirit. Do I think that a real socialist government would work in America, as it has historically in Scandinavian countries etc.? No--we don't really have the traditions or framework for it here. But there are elements of socialist ideals that could be implemented. Nationalized health care, for example.

Quoting Pope (Reply 40):
Then, why stop at the ghetto? If we accept your role of government being the arbiter of what someone deserves and the leveler of the playing field. Let's raise the entire world's standard of living. Let's impose taxes on the US so that nobody starves anywhere in the world. Certainly the child born in Ethiopia is no less "deserving" of his misery than the child born in the US ghetto.

The difference is that the US (or any other government) is responsible, as an elected body, primarily for its own citizens.

That said, if we spent one small fraction of what we have spent on the Iraq war on helping raise the standard of living around the world, it would have long-lasting benefits even from a selfish angle for the US, by increasing global stability, security, and the use of resources, so some inernational spending is the repsonsibility of a US government. Similarly, government regulation and research initiatives on environmental issues (greenhouse gasses, etc.) are absolutely essential to the future of the whole human race, and thus require coffers to fund them. It is naive to believe that a market-driven private sector will take this tack on its own.

Quoting Pope (Reply 40):
Note that I am not against charity - I'm a huge proponent of it and put my money where my mouth is. My family and I are firm believers in sacrificial giving - giving until it hurts not just from the extra. We just believe that we should have a say in where the money goes.

Again, it would be nice if everyone was like you, and if every multi-billionaire was like George Soros. But that's not the way things are. Many businesses are selfish and screw over others. Left to their own devices, multinational companies do things such as what Union Carbide did after the famous gas leak at their plant in Bhopal in 1984--leaving generations of poor people to grow up in a toxic waste area with contaminated water (death toll is now around 20,000 from the original disaster and the longer-term effects) and trying desperately to get out of finanical repsonsibility for cleaning up and fixing the situation.

....
By the way, I find a position such as yours much more consistent and compelling than the so-called conservativism of the GOP platiform as it works today. It is an old-school conservativism, which it seems only the libertarians are carrying forward today. For consistency, you must also oppose the Iraq war on purely financial grounds (leaving aside other concerns here), because without massive tax increases, it is running this country into the ground deficit-wise.

I might get a chance later to add a couple more thoughts. In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving.

[Edited 2005-11-23 10:12:22]
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Jet-lagged
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RE: Does The Idea Of A Flat Tax Appeal To You?

Wed Nov 23, 2005 7:03 pm

To me, the greatest virtue of a flat tax is this: currently, 100s of thousands, probably millions, of accountants, lawyers, and clerks are engaging in tax legistation and preparation work.

They add no, zero, nada value to our economies. They merely leech off the hard work, ingenuity, and value creation of others.

Sure, they may work hard, but they add zero marginal value to the global economy. So, why should they get paid to suckle off the efforts of others?

Institute a fair-level flat tax, and let them find someone useful to do with their lives. Create more wealth that can go to help the disadvantaged or poor.

The world will be a net richer place for it.

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