coynedj


quality posts: 7 Private Messages coynedj
tytiger58 wrote:People are i d i o t s on your left and my right


"How likely is it that people in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?" the poll asked.

A full 22.6% of Democrats said it was "very likely." Another 28.2% called it "somewhat likely."

That is: More than half of Democrats, according to a neutral survey, said they believed Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks.



A valid data point. Do you have figures for how many Republicans believe this?

I will point out that, while many prominent Republican officials, candidates and officeholders have openly questioned Obama's citizenship and religion, the number of comparable Democrats who support the 9/11 "truther" movement is sure to be quite small.

I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

How on earth did I get 7 QPs?

tytiger58


quality posts: 74 Private Messages tytiger58
MarkDaSpark wrote:Dood! I think it's more indicative of how insane the voters are in her district.



And Pelosi's....that's it i'm out!

What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch? ~ W. C. Fields

“Freedom is something that dies unless it's used” Hunter S Thompson




MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 181 Private Messages MarkDaSpark
tytiger58 wrote:And Pelosi's....that's it i'm out!



And California ... because we keep putting Boxer and Feinstein back in office.


Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

tytiger58


quality posts: 74 Private Messages tytiger58
coynedj wrote:A valid data point. Do you have figures for how many Republicans believe this?

I will point out that, while many prominent Republican officials, candidates and officeholders have openly questioned Obama's citizenship and religion, the number of comparable Democrats who support the 9/11 "truther" movement is sure to be quite small.



Well since it is a global movement and from what the truther's sites say that there are many millions of them, and I would guess that a large majority of them are not Republicans, maybe the number might be larger than you think??

"Every year since September 11, 2001, millions of people from around the world take time to investigate the discrepancies of the Bush Administration’s official story including reports such as the 9/11 Commission Report and the FEMA and NIST reports. As doubts grow and important questions remain unanswered, more people join the 9/11 truth movement each year."

Edit: after looking at all this stuff we might be smart to start buying tin foil (hat) stock.

What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch? ~ W. C. Fields

“Freedom is something that dies unless it's used” Hunter S Thompson




kylemittskus


quality posts: 230 Private Messages kylemittskus
tytiger58 wrote:And Pelosi's....that's it i'm out!



Yeah. She crazy.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee

Is everybody else getting massively spammed from their respective party for donations?

I don't know if that's why I feel such apathy towards this years elections or if it's the complete and total lack of a candidate I like even a smidgen.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

jawlz


quality posts: 12 Private Messages jawlz
bhodilee wrote:Is everybody else getting massively spammed from their respective party for donations?

I don't know if that's why I feel such apathy towards this years elections or if it's the complete and total lack of a candidate I like even a smidgen.



No spam here that gets through to me, but CalTrans won't stop calling trying to get me to do a 'transporation' survey. After being unlucky enough to have been selected for the American Communities Survey last year (and then having been intimately involved with local redistricting and seeing how that data wasn't touched), I'm done with anything beyond the basic short-form census.

chemvictim


quality posts: 3 Private Messages chemvictim
bhodilee wrote:Is everybody else getting massively spammed from their respective party for donations?

I don't know if that's why I feel such apathy towards this years elections or if it's the complete and total lack of a candidate I like even a smidgen.



Nah. I work for the government, they know I have no money.

PetiteSirah


quality posts: 79 Private Messages PetiteSirah
edlada wrote:Can we please dispense with the welfare bogeyman for once and for all? In the 2011 budget federal expenditures for welfare of all kinds except Medicaid accounted for a whopping 13% of the total. And that number includes many forms of assistance besides direct cash benefits. The three largest budget items are Medicare (senior citizens) and Medicaid & CHIP (poor people) at 21%, Defense at 20% and Social Security also at 20%.



If only welfare and socialism were only at 41% of the budget...

(I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you're simply misled by poor sources and confirmation bias)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget#Total_outlays_by_budget_function

There was ~3,590,000,000,000 in total government spending in 2012 between so-called "mandatory" spending and discretionary pork.

(N.B. -- the USPTO is a revenue source for the feds, not a sink, and is largely self-funding, and would be more than entirely self-sufficient if Congress didn't keep diverting funds to pork)

Highlights are:
716B in Defense in 2012.

Compare to: 362B on Health, 484B on Medicare, 580B on "Income Security", and 779B on Social(ist in)Security. Oh, and another 80B on "Commerce and Housing Credit" and 140B on "Education, Training, Employment and Social Services".

There's also another 130B in Veterans' benefits and services, which although actually deserved and constitutionally justified, can at most be a wash between "welfare" and "defense" spending.

Addition is left as an exercise for the reader.

Hail the victor, the king without flaw
Salute your new master ... Petite Sirah!


"Who has two thumbs and loves Petite Sirah?" ThisGuy!

chemvictim


quality posts: 3 Private Messages chemvictim
PetiteSirah wrote:If only welfare and socialism were only at 41% of the budget...

(I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you're simply misled by poor sources and confirmation bias)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget#Total_outlays_by_budget_function

There was ~3,590,000,000,000 in total government spending in 2012 between so-called "mandatory" spending and discretionary pork.

(N.B. -- the USPTO is a revenue source for the feds, not a sink, and is largely self-funding, and would be more than entirely self-sufficient if Congress didn't keep diverting funds to pork)

Highlights are:
716B in Defense in 2012.

Compare to: 362B on Health, 484B on Medicare, 580B on "Income Security", and 779B on Social(ist in)Security. Oh, and another 80B on "Commerce and Housing Credit" and 140B on "Education, Training, Employment and Social Services".

There's also another 130B in Veterans' benefits and services, which although actually deserved and constitutionally justified, can at most be a wash between "welfare" and "defense" spending.

Addition is left as an exercise for the reader.



Thanks for including me.

One of the bigger issues, which somebody already mentioned (and which you guys have convinced me), is that the welfare programs are not working well. I do believe there is a place for these things, but it seems they should be minimal and temporary. Medicaid especially, it makes no sense that you can get better care if you're poor than you can get if you pay for your own insurance. But these are only non-specific, non-fact based ramblings.

Medicare/SS...these are things that people feel they've paid into and deserve to get back. I'd have to agree, up to a point. I assume the problem is that we're using way more than we put in. Good luck telling old people (and the huge population of almost-old people) that it's not working. But...it really seems that if we're going to have programs like that, it should be possible to manage them such that they can be sustained. Just do the math. Right?

kylemittskus


quality posts: 230 Private Messages kylemittskus
chemvictim wrote:Medicare/SS...these are things that people feel they've paid into and deserve to get back. I'd have to agree, up to a point. I assume the problem is that we're using way more than we put in. Good luck telling old people (and the huge population of almost-old people) that it's not working. But...it really seems that if we're going to have programs like that, it should be possible to manage them such that they can be sustained. Just do the math. Right?



The simple answers are: yes, we're using more than we have. And yes, they could be managed to be self-sustainable. The problem is the numbers are far more complicated than a simple "yes" answer. But I have a solution! Get rid of SS, allow people to invest their own money however they see fit, and if they f themselves, such is life. Accountability -- the novelist of ideas.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

PetiteSirah


quality posts: 79 Private Messages PetiteSirah
chemvictim wrote:Thanks for including me.

One of the bigger issues, which somebody already mentioned (and which you guys have convinced me), is that the welfare programs are not working well. I do believe there is a place for these things, but it seems they should be minimal and temporary. Medicaid especially, it makes no sense that you can get better care if you're poor than you can get if you pay for your own insurance. But these are only non-specific, non-fact based ramblings.

Medicare/SS...these are things that people feel they've paid into and deserve to get back. I'd have to agree, up to a point. I assume the problem is that we're using way more than we put in. Good luck telling old people (and the huge population of almost-old people) that it's not working. But...it really seems that if we're going to have programs like that, it should be possible to manage them such that they can be sustained. Just do the math. Right?



As a matter of realistic political compromise (as opposed to my ideals), I'm not dead-set against some sort of safety net. But the safety net should be scratchy and uncomfortable, just enough to prevent people from landing on the spikes. Public welfare should be sufficient to survive but should remain not particularly pleasant or enjoyable. It should not be comfortable.

The public safety net should not become a featherbed with lots of pillows, as it has in many places in europe, a place that's comfortable to stay with no reason to leave.

For example, outside of triage situations, welfare health care recipients should be at the back of the line. Food stamps should be obvious (and not approximate debit cards as closely as they do) not be allowed to purchase anything but staples, in most circumstances.

As for Oldfare, we absolutely should start raising the age, and not slowly. I'm even fine including a stronger age discrimination rule in employment to go along with it (with more leeway granted to the employer where the job is physical in nature or driving is concerned).

As we've said many time, Social(ist in)Security was originally public insurance to protect people who lived longer than it was rational to save for -- the benefits kicked in long after most people died. Now it's just another wealth transfer scheme, and like all of them, it destroys a massive amount of money in the process.

Government is not exempt from the 2nd law of Thermodynamics -- moving money costs money.

Hail the victor, the king without flaw
Salute your new master ... Petite Sirah!


"Who has two thumbs and loves Petite Sirah?" ThisGuy!

PetiteSirah


quality posts: 79 Private Messages PetiteSirah

kylemittskus


quality posts: 230 Private Messages kylemittskus
PetiteSirah wrote:Taxing the Rich: The Facts



FLAT TAX!!! It's the most "democratic" since we all pay an equal portion of our varying degrees of wealth.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee
PetiteSirah wrote:As a matter of realistic political compromise (as opposed to my ideals), I'm not dead-set against some sort of safety net. But the safety net should be scratchy and uncomfortable, just enough to prevent people from landing on the spikes. Public welfare should be sufficient to survive but should remain not particularly pleasant or enjoyable. It should not be comfortable.

The public safety net should not become a featherbed with lots of pillows, as it has in many places in europe, a place that's comfortable to stay with no reason to leave.

For example, outside of triage situations, welfare health care recipients should be at the back of the line. Food stamps should be obvious (and not approximate debit cards as closely as they do) not be allowed to purchase anything but staples, in most circumstances.

As for Oldfare, we absolutely should start raising the age, and not slowly. I'm even fine including a stronger age discrimination rule in employment to go along with it (with more leeway granted to the employer where the job is physical in nature or driving is concerned).

As we've said many time, Social(ist in)Security was originally public insurance to protect people who lived longer than it was rational to save for -- the benefits kicked in long after most people died. Now it's just another wealth transfer scheme, and like all of them, it destroys a massive amount of money in the process.

Government is not exempt from the 2nd law of Thermodynamics -- moving money costs money.



It would be nice if it were a type of barter system. I as the government will give you X amount of money per month for Y amount of time, but in return you need to perform Z task. Even if Z task was volunteering in a soup kitchen (not compulsory volunteerism, they're technically being paid, but the soup kitchen isn't footing the bill) or something similar. I'd at least like it if they did SOMETHING to earn my tax dollars. Don't really care what, hell if it's onerous maybe that would spur them to get off. I've always thought we should hire immigrants to go through our landfills and pick out all the recyclable material, make welfare people do that for 5 hours every saturday.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee
kylemittskus wrote:FLAT TAX!!! It's the most "democratic" since we all pay an equal portion of our varying degrees of wealth.



SALES tax is more "democratic" as I can merrily choose not to pay it by doing without. I'd actually be much more in favor of that, you could even slide it so the taxes on a house are less, percentage wise, than on a television. Though, I wouldn't want to start codifying taxes on individual goods. More like under 1k is 3% tax, 1k-10k 2.75% over 100k, 1%.

Obviously, I'm just making up numbers, but it couldn't be overly high unless you could convince local governments to lower their sales tax as well. In my area, I pay 7% sales tax. Factoring out the savings from not having an income tax, I'd be ok with about 12% total sales tax (though some places may already be there).

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

chemvictim


quality posts: 3 Private Messages chemvictim
bhodilee wrote:SALES tax is more "democratic" as I can merrily choose not to pay it by doing without. I'd actually be much more in favor of that, you could even slide it so the taxes on a house are less, percentage wise, than on a television. Though, I wouldn't want to start codifying taxes on individual goods. More like under 1k is 3% tax, 1k-10k 2.75% over 100k, 1%.

Obviously, I'm just making up numbers, but it couldn't be overly high unless you could convince local governments to lower their sales tax as well. In my area, I pay 7% sales tax. Factoring out the savings from not having an income tax, I'd be ok with about 12% total sales tax (though some places may already be there).



Considering I pay 20% or so to federal income tax, I'd also be quite pleased with a 12% total sales tax instead. Somehow I don't think that's going to happen.

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee
chemvictim wrote:Considering I pay 20% or so to federal income tax, I'd also be quite pleased with a 12% total sales tax instead. Somehow I don't think that's going to happen.



15-17 would be all right so long as state and federal income taxes went away.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

kylemittskus


quality posts: 230 Private Messages kylemittskus
chemvictim wrote:Considering I pay 20% or so to federal income tax, I'd also be quite pleased with a 12% total sales tax instead. Somehow I don't think that's going to happen.



Here in CA, we pay up to 9.25% sales tax. And we're a f***ing mess. Go us!

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

cmaldoon


quality posts: 62 Private Messages cmaldoon
bhodilee wrote:15-17 would be all right so long as state and federal income taxes went away.



Given that I pay ~15% total federal tax and ~6% state tax, for the governments to make up that revenue source, I'd have to have a sales tax approaching 30% here in CA, perhaps only 25% because it would be pushing more tax burden downwards as a sales tax is essentially a flat tax.

Actually I would make the argument that a national sales tax is a regressive tax because those from the bottom up to at least the 50% line spend as much as they make while those in higher income brackets can save money (and therefore not be taxed on all of their income)

I do love the simplicity of a national sales tax (reducing the number of payers by a factor of 10) but I don't think people realize how high the rate would really have to be to replace income tax funding. I also know that there would have to be SOME complications added to adjust the tax burden so it would not be terribly different than it is now in order to avoid MASSIVE uproar.

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bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee
cmaldoon wrote:Given that I pay ~15% total federal tax and ~6% state tax, for the governments to make up that revenue source, I'd have to have a sales tax approaching 30% here in CA, perhaps only 25% because it would be pushing more tax burden downwards as a sales tax is essentially a flat tax.

Actually I would make the argument that a national sales tax is a regressive tax because those from the bottom up to at least the 50% line spend as much as they make while those in higher income brackets can save money (and therefore not be taxed on all of their income)

I do love the simplicity of a national sales tax (reducing the number of payers by a factor of 10) but I don't think people realize how high the rate would really have to be to replace income tax funding. I also know that there would have to be SOME complications added to adjust the tax burden so it would not be terribly different than it is now in order to avoid MASSIVE uproar.



Well, in my mind we're not replacing at 1:1. Maybe if they had less money, they'd spend less of it. Wait...is that a pie in the sky I see? No? Well road trip, nevermind on the whole thing then.

I think we need a MASSIVE uproar. If nothing else, it'd be fun.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

kylemittskus


quality posts: 230 Private Messages kylemittskus

Which is why a flat tax makes so much sense. You make $1, you get taxed 15%. You make $1 million, you get taxed 15%. And this tax would be on any income, including dividends, payouts, bonuses, etc. etc. etc. Get rid of write-offs, get rid of loopholes, and throw that 400lb., esoteric tax book out with all the a** holes in Congress whom we're paying to do nothing these days!

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

jawlz


quality posts: 12 Private Messages jawlz
bhodilee wrote:Obviously, I'm just making up numbers, but it couldn't be overly high unless you could convince local governments to lower their sales tax as well. In my area, I pay 7% sales tax. Factoring out the savings from not having an income tax, I'd be ok with about 12% total sales tax (though some places may already be there).



In the LA area, sales taxes are around 9-11% already (depending on which specific city you're in). Given that the state already taxes income above ~$26k at 6% (rising to 8% @ ~$37k and 9.3% @ ~46k), a 12% total sales tax replacing all income taxes would represent a major decrease in tax revenues, even if we were to ignore Federal taxes.

While I like the idea, just moving to a flat federal income tax would be more feasible, and that itself just isn't going to happen. :|

coynedj


quality posts: 7 Private Messages coynedj
kylemittskus wrote:Get rid of write-offs, get rid of loopholes, and throw that 400lb., esoteric tax book out with all the a** holes in Congress whom we're paying to do nothing these days!



I kinda hate to say anything about this topic, because so much depends on unspoken assumptions, but here goes.

The problem here is that the tax rates take up what, maybe a half page of that 400 lb. tax book? Much of the rest comes in defining what income is.

If you get a company car, is it income? How much? If your company pays for your health care, your meals, any number of other perks, same questions. If your salary is low but you pile up equity in your company, by way of sole ownership or stock options, same questions plus the issue of when it gets claimed. If the company says your stock options are worth $10,000, is that accepted as accurate? If not, how is it calculated? If you forgo current income and get a big donation into your retirement plan, how is that handled? Or just deferred income plain and simple. Make it come in the form of stock, it gets more complicated; if restricted stock, it can get insanely complicated. If your company buys art that you get to display in your house, what’s the impact of that? If you have to pay for items used on the job, is your income really lower than it shows on your W-2? If you bought a house in 1953 for $15,000 and sell it in 2012 for $100,000, do you have to pay taxes on $85,000 of income? What if the time span was only one year? If Mom and Dad give you a house, or anything else, how is that handled? Anyone who thinks that a flat tax would bring simplicity to the system is fooling him/herself. Simpler? Yes. Simple? No. Not even close.

Say the flat tax were set at 15%, which is way too low to actually generate that same income as the current system but often quoted to make a lot of people think “hey – my taxes will go down!” (hint – if everyone’s taxes go down, the deficit goes up). Anyone with an effective tax rate above 15% would end up with a tax cut, and everyone with an effective tax rate below 15% would get a tax increase. Now who has low tax rates? Low-income people. And who has high tax rates? High-income people. So a flat tax would be a tax increase for the poor, and a tax cut for the rich. Add in the fact that sales taxes and property taxes are not flat (sales taxes claim a larger percentage of the income of poor people, while property taxes claim a larger percentage of the income of middle-income folks) and you have a tax system that actually favors the wealthy.

I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

How on earth did I get 7 QPs?

kylemittskus


quality posts: 230 Private Messages kylemittskus
coynedj wrote:Say the flat tax were set at 15%, which is way too low to actually generate that same income as the current system but often quoted to make a lot of people think “hey – my taxes will go down!” (hint – if everyone’s taxes go down, the deficit goes up). Anyone with an effective tax rate above 15% would end up with a tax cut, and everyone with an effective tax rate below 15% would get a tax increase. Now who has low tax rates? Low-income people. And who has high tax rates? High-income people. So a flat tax would be a tax increase for the poor, and a tax cut for the rich. Add in the fact that sales taxes and property taxes are not flat (sales taxes claim a larger percentage of the income of poor people, while property taxes claim a larger percentage of the income of middle-income folks) and you have a tax system that actually favors the wealthy.



First of all, I completely understand that my solution is really simplistic since I have very little understanding about the intricacies of the current tax code. I'll leave the minutiae up to people more erudite in such things.

As for the flat tax, as I understand it, it doesn't favor anyone unless you compare it to the current system. Which is a cyclical argument since the current system favors those who pay nothing. It's not a favoring, it's a correction. Correcting what? The fact that there are people paying ZERO and getting $$ back from their tax returns. And the fact that we assume, because a person has more $$ that they should pay a larger percentage. In whatever complex definition of fair we come up with, this isn't.

As to the bold statement, NO WAY! The deficit isn't caused by taxes or lack thereof. It's caused by SH*T spending. If spending goes down, which it absolutely needs to in the areas we have written ad nauseam about (and even changed some minds who thought the contrary0, then taxes could, and in fact, should go down. You can't tax your way out of a spending problem.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

jawlz


quality posts: 12 Private Messages jawlz
coynedj wrote:Add in the fact that sales taxes and property taxes are not flat (sales taxes claim a larger percentage of the income of poor people, while property taxes claim a larger percentage of the income of middle-income folks) and you have a tax system that actually favors the wealthy.



Probably a small/semantic point, but sales and property taxes that are indeed flat taxes (provided they're set as a percentage that doesn't vary based on price). Inasmuch as a larger percentage of a low income would go towards paying sales tax on items than a higher income buying the same items, some consider a flat consumption/ownership tax to be regressive, but that doesn't mean that such taxes are not flat.

(I generally agree with the rest of your post, in that simplifying tax laws does not in any way represent a simple task).

jawlz


quality posts: 12 Private Messages jawlz
kylemittskus wrote:
As for the flat tax, as I understand it, it doesn't favor anyone unless you compare it to the current system. Which is a cyclical argument since the current system favors those who pay nothing. It's not a favoring, it's a correction. Correcting what? The fact that there are people paying ZERO and getting $$ back from their tax returns.



A flat consumption tax (ie the fixed national sales tax that was proposed earlier in this thread) would tend to favor high-incomes, as at a certain point spending/consumption does not rise in proportion to income. A flat income tax doesn't necessarily have the same problems, though there are considerations to think about there as well (what qualifies as income, should a certain minimal amount [income below the poverty level?] be exempt, etc).

coynedj


quality posts: 7 Private Messages coynedj
kylemittskus wrote:As for the flat tax, as I understand it, it doesn't favor anyone unless you compare it to the current system. Which is a cyclical argument since the current system favors those who pay nothing. It's not a favoring, it's a correction. Correcting what? The fact that there are people paying ZERO and getting $$ back from their tax returns. And the fact that we assume, because a person has more $$ that they should pay a larger percentage. In whatever complex definition of fair we come up with, this isn't.



A lot of the talk about how few people pay Federal income taxes, it seems to me, is coming about because of the fact that what people call “Federal income tax” is really a combination of two things. One is a tax system, and the other is an anti-poverty program. Sure, both are officially part of the Internal Revenue Code, but they were enacted to serve different purposes.

The tax system is pretty straightforward, even if the rules for calculating one’s tax liability aren’t. So, I’ll focus on the anti-poverty part of it, known as the Earned Income Credit or EIC. The EIC was enacted in 1975 (and greatly expanded in 1986) as a simple way to provide support for low-income families and to give them incentives to increase their earned income (to get off welfare and get a job, and also increase earnings through better-paid work or more hours worked). The “simple” part is because it involves no new bureaucracy, instead using the IRS to administer it as a strictly cash program. The incentives to work are due to its structure – the amount of the credit actually increases as income increases, up to a plateau level beyond which benefits decrease. The EIC for individuals, rather than families, is quite small, so it is heavily targeted toward those low-income filers with children. Studies have shown this to be a very effective program, though it may be less effective when jobs are hard to find (such as now). Many states have comparable programs for their income tax systems.

So, many of the people who don’t pay Federal income taxes are in that position because they benefit from an anti-poverty program which offsets their tax liabilities. Of course, as has been said before, they are still liable for payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare taxes), state taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, and any other taxes out there, which are often regressive in effect (low-income people pay a higher percentage of their income in these taxes than high-income people). Hermits living in the forest and eating whatever nuts and berries they can gather are probably the only people who don’t pay any taxes at all.

I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

How on earth did I get 7 QPs?

coynedj


quality posts: 7 Private Messages coynedj
jawlz wrote:Probably a small/semantic point, but sales and property taxes that are indeed flat taxes (provided they're set as a percentage that doesn't vary based on price). Inasmuch as a larger percentage of a low income would go towards paying sales tax on items than a higher income buying the same items, some consider a flat consumption/ownership tax to be regressive, but that doesn't mean that such taxes are not flat.

(I generally agree with the rest of your post, in that simplifying tax laws does not in any way represent a simple task).



My "flat" reference was meant to refer to "flat in regard to income". When you add taxes based on different things, you have to choose one of those things for your summation, so that the total can make sense. I chose income.

I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

How on earth did I get 7 QPs?

coynedj


quality posts: 7 Private Messages coynedj

One more comment, then I go home and watch the Olympics all night.

Federal spending has increased, but not nearly as much as revenue has decreased. If the deficit is purely a spending issue, then cuts would involve some very difficult choices.

Using the 2011 budget for these figures, I see a deficit of 38% of total spending. So, to get to balanced, 38% of spending would have to be cut.

Defense and internal security take up 20% of the budget. Social Security takes another 20%. Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP (another medical support program, targeted toward poor children) take 21%. "Safety net" programs take 13%, Interest on the debt 6%, Federal retiree and veterans benefits 7%, transportation infrastructure 3%, and everything else 10%.

To get the 38%, let's eliminate the "everything else" category, though some of that (such as the Federal court system, food inspection, though maybe not Congressional salaries) is surely worth keeping around. Then let's get rid of the "safety net", quite a choice to cut whenever the economy suffers and thus people are out of work. We need 15% more. Cut the defense budget in half, and throw 25% of the people out of Medicare/Medicaid/CHIP.

That's the kind of cuts that are needed if we define the deficit as 100% spending and 0% revenue.

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coynedj wrote:One more comment, then I go home and watch the Olympics all night.

Federal spending has increased, but not nearly as much as revenue has decreased. If the deficit is purely a spending issue, then cuts would involve some very difficult choices.

Using the 2011 budget for these figures, I see a deficit of 38% of total spending. So, to get to balanced, 38% of spending would have to be cut.

Defense and internal security take up 20% of the budget. Social Security takes another 20%. Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP (another medical support program, targeted toward poor children) take 21%. "Safety net" programs take 13%, Interest on the debt 6%, Federal retiree and veterans benefits 7%, transportation infrastructure 3%, and everything else 10%.

To get the 38%, let's eliminate the "everything else" category, though some of that (such as the Federal court system, food inspection, though maybe not Congressional salaries) is surely worth keeping around. Then let's get rid of the "safety net", quite a choice to cut whenever the economy suffers and thus people are out of work. We need 15% more. Cut the defense budget in half, and throw 25% of the people out of Medicare/Medicaid/CHIP.

That's the kind of cuts that are needed if we define the deficit as 100% spending and 0% revenue.



The problem with this approach is that ultimately, if we don't get the budget in balance over the long run, the government/economy/currency will collapse. To all of our regret.

The problem with increasing taxes is that as taxes go up, the incentive to avoid taxes also increases, so that when taxes are increased, revenues never increase as much as projected.

The way to increase government revenue without damaging the economy and without crowding out private funding (and investment decisions made on market principles rather than political grounds) is for the economy to grow.

While there are undoubtedly economies which can, and should, be obtained within the defense budget, if there is anywhere a society must err on the side of spending more, rather than less, it is defense. Too little on defense is national suicide; too much by contrast will not destroy the nation.

The place to start in cuts, of course, is to eliminate all welfare aspects of the tax code (which you so nicely describe).

Most of the federal bureaucracy could be eliminated, say 85% other than DoD and 30-40% of DoD (civilian).

Eliminate all entitlements (some will have to be done over time, as with SS and Medicare) and return those functions to the states, but eliminate barriers to interstate commerce in such things as insurance. Local governments and civic charitable institutions can perform those functions at appropriate levels locally more efficiently, with better oversight and knowledge of local conditions. Different states may well take different views of what is appropriate, what work requirements to impose (or not), and what they're willing to pay for, and citizens can vote with their feet. At some point, people are ultimately responsible for their own actions and we should not create incentives to avoid responsibility. Few people begrudge helping the 'deserving poor' (to use a politically incorrect phrase), but national level solutions make it virtually impossible to sort them from those who are not trying very hard to take care of themselves because they think someone else will. The question isn't whether there will be provision for the unfortunate, it's whether it will be administered locally and/or privately where there is immediate accountability to those who are paying, both on the part of the administrators of the aid and the recipients, or at a national level where accountability is almost completely attenuated.

It would also be easier to exclude illegal aliens from all government benefits (other than emergency medical care which would precede immediate deportation).

I don't agree with your point that government cuts would hurt the economy as a whole, though there would surely be short term dislocations, which would be individually painful. Still, 75 years of well intentioned attempts to use the federal government to alleviate economic problems and reduce poverty have helped some, but only at the cost of the destruction of the family structure of the poor and the diminution of the sense of individual responsibility for one's own welfare upon which this country was founded.

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So Romney + Paul Ryan. Thoughts? I know most of you don't care who he picks since your minds have been made up for 4 years, but I'm curious what you all think of this as a strategic choice.

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kylemittskus


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klezman wrote:So Romney + Paul Ryan. Thoughts? I know most of you don't care who he picks since your minds have been made up for 4 years, but I'm curious what you all think of this as a strategic choice.



Boring, conservative, white guy. They pubs learned from the Palin fiasco last round, I guess.

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mother


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kylemittskus wrote:Boring, conservative, white guy. They pubs learned from the Palin fiasco last round, I guess.



(I so don't allow myself in this forum, damnit!)

No, they obviously didn't. (At least not the *correct* lesson) Yet another Veep choice to force the middle to either stay home or vote Obama.

Good work gardeners! Bringing out your crazies didn't work last time either!

MarkDaSpark


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mother wrote:(I so don't allow myself in this forum, damnit!)

No, they obviously didn't. (At least not the *correct* lesson) Yet another Veep choice to force the middle to either stay home or vote Obama.

Good work gardeners! Bringing out your crazies didn't work last time either!



Actually, he seems to be very middle of the road.

Plus, he's the one with the Budget plan to reduce the deficit, not increase it.


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mother


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MarkDaSpark wrote:Actually, he seems to be very middle of the road.

Plus, he's the one with the Budget plan to reduce the deficit, not increase it.



Speaking as part of the middle, he sure doesn't. He is every contradiction that makes "conservatives" look like a bunch of fools to the middle.

There is enough here to turn off ANYONE who might consider voting for Obama. The only people that he will attract to the polls are the people to the right of Romney supporters by enough that they would let Obama get reelected out of apathy.

That's not the demo you needed to beat Obama.

bhodilee


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MarkDaSpark wrote:Actually, he seems to be very middle of the road.

Plus, he's the one with the Budget plan to reduce the deficit, not increase it.



By cutting things the moderates don't want cut and having social views at odds with most moderates. Look, the VP does nothing good for a campaign. They can only hike it up. Twice now the republicans made a bad choice from a GETTING ELECTED standpoint. The good thing is he isn't going to say Palin things, but he's not going to swing the middle either. Veep choices are simple. You find the most moderate guy you can stomach and go with it. You don't pick someone to your right.

Romney = dumb ass.

All he's done is make the people who were ALREADY voting for him happy.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

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mother


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bhodilee wrote:--EXACTLY WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY--



This.

kylemittskus


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I think we're in for another FUBAR 4 years.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee
kylemittskus wrote:I think we're in for another FUBAR 4 years.



Possibly 8. At least I'll only be 44 then. I'll still have a chance to recover.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)