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Old 1st May 2012, 06:49 AM   #601
Meadmaker
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So, I come out of lurker mode just because I'm curious how eGarrett will respond, and he doesn't. Figures.

Let us suppose that Bob and Tom are not actually examples of people who are concerned about replenishing the population of the Earth by raping Jane. Instead, they are just two guys who want sex with Jane and, since Jane doesn't want to have sex with them, they are going to force themselves on her. In this case, it's just a bad parable about a well understood problem with democracy. It even has a name which is so well known, it's almost cliche. The "tyranny of the majority" has been known for a long time, and discussions which point it out while proclaiming a profound insight are usually sophomoric, as is the case here.

Then one comes to the taxation analogy. The problem here is that what the OP attempted to do is take the arguments for taxing wealthy people and demonstrate the problem with them by making analogous arguments to rape. Unfortunately, as is so often the case when people try that, he failed miserably. It would be difficult to somehow force an analogy between two such utterly different things as taxes and rape, but perhaps it could be done. This case fails, though, because the arguments employed by Bob and Tom are not very much like the arguments employed by liberal/progressive/left wing/Democrat/whoever it is who wants higher taxes on the wealthy. Bob and Tom's arguments are bad parodies, indeed straw men, of our arguments.

Oh, well. When it comes to discussion on the internet, you get what you pay for.

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Old 1st May 2012, 06:51 AM   #602
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post
I'm not an "anti-taxxer" either. And I used consumption-based tax as only one example of a way not to violate the principle.

You're arguing against a progressive income tax. You realize that, right?


He's arguing that a sales tax - which is by definition flat-rate and independent of the wealth of the consumer - is a heavier burden on the lower incomes than on the higher incomes. It's actually comparable to a regressive income tax.

Say you have 20% sales tax.

Someone with 24k income has to spend 20k on goods to just survive. There's 20% sales tax on those goods, so they don't save a penny. In effect, they pay 17% tax.

Someone with 48k income spends 30k on goods (more luxury) - so that's 6k sales tax - and saves the remaining 12k. In effect, they pay 13% tax this way.

Does that help?
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Old 1st May 2012, 06:59 AM   #603
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
You've gotten Buscuit confused with me.

Under the circumstances presented in the OP, in which the rape is necessary to continue "the population", I would condone it. I am assuming that there is absolutely no other alternative available, and that without sex with this woman, there will be no population at all, anywhere, at least that they know about.
This is actually different issue than I intended to discuss. The intended circumstances for the thought experiment are those that mirror modern society, where there are other people voluntarily having sex in other place, and Bob is speciously arguing that since sex in some type is necessary, than forced sex by her with him is necessary. In the same way that people speciously argue that since exchanging of resources is necessary in modern society, than forced exchange, by the wealthy to the government, is necessary.

A different thread could be started about whether rape is justified amongst the last few people on earth. It could be interesting.

Quote:
Under some circumstances, we can be morally obligated to sacrifice literally anything for the good of the community. There are some circumstances where we can be obligated to give up our lives, our privacy, our reputation, or whatever it is that can be described as being given up by allowing someone to have sex with us, even if we don't want to.
The distinction here is that sacrificing our own things and sacrificing someone else's are two very different actions. I may run into a burning building, risking my own life, to save my dog, but I may not throw you into the burning building to get my dog. It's a whole different set of circumstances with different principles surrounding each.

Quote:
In the case of forced sex you have to posit very, very, weird circumstances before it becomes justifiable, but even in that case, there are some hypothetically possible circumstances where I believe that someone has a moral obligation to engage in intercourse with an undesired partner, and that obligation is so strong that cooperation can be compelled by force with a clear conscience. In other words, in bizarre, highly unlikely to ever happen circumstances, rape can be condoned.
Yes, it could be an interesting thread in and of itself.

Quote:
When making the analogy to taxes, then, it won't surprise anyone that I think taxation can be condoned. Everyone should feel an obligation to support the community. Those who have gained the most from community resources should feel a greater obligation to provide more support.
Again, though, *I* feel an obligation, and *I* am obligating *you* are two different things.

All democracy to some extent will involve someone being placed into a situation they don't like, that is a flaw of the process, though it doesn't have to be a fatal one. But certain lines have to be drawn about who you can obligate to do what, and it seems clear to me that a list of human rights are the things one group can't obligate someone else to sacrifice. If everyone in the group has to make part of the sacrifice, then I don't think this is nearly as much of a danger as letting them vote to do it to someone else.

Quote:
There's part of the rub, though. A lot of people are convinced that they became rich all on their own, with no support from anyone. They're wrong of course. CEOs need customers and employees. Athletes and movie stars need fans and advertisers.
I would need to see an example of a businessperson, athlete, or movie star who believes they became rich without customers, fans or employees.

Quote:
To the extent that the OP has any soundness whatsoever, there is one point to be made from it. The rich people in this country, with rare exceptions, made their money by convincing people, voluntarily, to give their money to the rich people. I made Bill Gates rich by buying his software, and I did so without coercion. It would be wrong for me to demand he give the money back just because he has it and I want it, or because I think he "doesn't need" it. That would be a little bit like deciding that Jane should give me what I want, just because I want it. It's not very much like it, but it is a tiny bit like it.
Precisely. The principle is the same, though the degree of damage done is different. A lot of people in the thread seem to have not understood this. Probably purposefully. I suspect because they are more eager to find something wrong than they are eager to actually understand what is being said. Which is disheartening.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:00 AM   #604
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post


He's arguing that a sales tax - which is by definition flat-rate and independent of the wealth of the consumer - is a heavier burden on the lower incomes than on the higher incomes. It's actually comparable to a regressive income tax.

Say you have 20% sales tax.

Someone with 24k income has to spend 20k on goods to just survive. There's 20% sales tax on those goods, so they don't save a penny. In effect, they pay 17% tax.

Someone with 48k income spends 30k on goods (more luxury) - so that's 6k sales tax - and saves the remaining 12k. In effect, they pay 13% tax this way.

Does that help?
Now show me where, in what states, basic necessities such as food and housing and utilities are charged sales tax. Or STFU. (YES I'm ignoring your bad math).
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:01 AM   #605
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
So, I come out of lurker mode just because I'm curious how eGarrett will respond, and he doesn't. Figures.

Let us suppose that Bob and Tom are not actually examples of people who are concerned about replenishing the population of the Earth by raping Jane. Instead, they are just two guys who want sex with Jane and, since Jane doesn't want to have sex with them, they are going to force themselves on them. In this case, it's just a bad parable about a well understood problem with democracy. It even has a name which is so well known, it's almost cliche. The "tyranny of the majority" has been known for a long time, and discussions which point it out while proclaiming a profound insight are usually sophomoric, as is the case here.

Then one comes to the taxation analogy. The problem here is that what the OP attempted to do is take the arguments for taxing wealthy people and demonstrate the problem with them by making analogous arguments to rape. Unfortunately, as is so often the case when people try that, he failed miserably. It would be difficult to somehow force an analogy between two such utterly different things as taxes and rape, but perhaps it could be done. This case fails, though, because the arguments employed by Bob and Tom are not very much like the arguments employed by liberal/progressive/left wing/Democrat/whoever it is who wants higher taxes on the wealthy. Bob and Tom's arguments are bad parodies, indeed straw men, of our arguments.

Oh, well. When it comes to discussion on the internet, you get what you pay for.
Relax man. Replies take time. One not only has to read what's said, they have to review the context of each line of discussion.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:09 AM   #606
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
Now show me where, in what states, basic necessities such as food and housing and utilities are charged sales tax.
I presume that by "states" you mean "sovereign nations", and not just "US states".

The Dutch VAT rate is 6% (to be raised to 7% later this year) on basics like food; the standard VAT rate is 19% (to be raised to 21% later this year), which applies, a.o., to utilities, cars, and all other consumer goods. Rent is indeed VAT free. These rules are EU wide (with differing VAT rates).

The fact that not all consumer expenditures are taxed is immaterial: trying to factor that in in the example would only clutter it up.

The fact that it's a VAT here and not a sales tax like in the US is also immaterial: from the consumer perspective, they're the same. The end effect is also the same, except that a VAT tax is taxed along the whole chain and a sales tax only at the point of retail.

Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
Or STFU. (YES I'm ignoring your bad math).
There's nothing wrong with the math, I gave the value of the expenditures excluding the sales tax. You owe me an apology for lying about my math and the general rude response.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:35 AM   #607
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post
If you phrase the issue by "health and safety," then you open up all manner of behaviors that are still dangerous to the society. The line can be drawn at not hurting someone, but at stealing their possessions, or groping them and so on. The line must be drawn at the majority not being allowed to vote on the inalienable rights of a minority at all. The rights to privacy, property, dignity, liberty and so on must be included.
You keep equating taxation with physical violence but it just isn't true.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:42 AM   #608
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
Now show me where, in what states, basic necessities such as food and housing and utilities are charged sales tax.
I'll go the extra mile and show you for the US states.

Here's a summary table from wiki. Under "groceries", it lists Alabama, Arkansas, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, etc. Food at restaurants is generally taxed.

It doesn't list utilities, which leads me to believe that this is not a common exception. This blog says:
Quote:
Anyway, utilities are usually taxable either because the state has simply said that they're taxable, or the state has defined utilities as being tangible personal property. Notably, water and sewer are usually not taxable. But electricity and natural gas are pretty much universally taxable, though sometimes at a lower rate.
So much for your knowledge of the tax regime in your own country. Ignorance must be bliss?
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:49 AM   #609
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
Now show me where, in what states, basic necessities such as food and housing and utilities are charged sales tax. Or STFU. (YES I'm ignoring your bad math).
Here in Alabama, we pay 9% sales tax on just about everything, including food.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:57 AM   #610
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post
This is actually different issue than I intended to discuss. The intended circumstances for the thought experiment are those that mirror modern society, where there are other people voluntarily having sex in other place, and Bob is speciously arguing that since sex in some type is necessary, than forced sex by her with him is necessary. In the same way that people speciously argue that since exchanging of resources is necessary in modern society, than forced exchange, by the wealthy to the government, is necessary.

A different thread could be started about whether rape is justified amongst the last few people on earth. It could be interesting.

The distinction here is that sacrificing our own things and sacrificing someone else's are two very different actions. I may run into a burning building, risking my own life, to save my dog, but I may not throw you into the burning building to get my dog. It's a whole different set of circumstances with different principles surrounding each.

Yes, it could be an interesting thread in and of itself.

Again, though, *I* feel an obligation, and *I* am obligating *you* are two different things.

All democracy to some extent will involve someone being placed into a situation they don't like, that is a flaw of the process, though it doesn't have to be a fatal one. But certain lines have to be drawn about who you can obligate to do what, and it seems clear to me that a list of human rights are the things one group can't obligate someone else to sacrifice. If everyone in the group has to make part of the sacrifice, then I don't think this is nearly as much of a danger as letting them vote to do it to someone else.

I would need to see an example of a businessperson, athlete, or movie star who believes they became rich without customers, fans or employees.


Precisely. The principle is the same, though the degree of damage done is different. A lot of people in the thread seem to have not understood this. Probably purposefully. I suspect because they are more eager to find something wrong than they are eager to actually understand what is being said. Which is disheartening.
Ok. I've relaxed. Thanks for responding.

I actually agree with almost everything above, but it's quoted out of context. There's one thing I disagree with, though, regardless of context:

"In the same way that people speciously argue that since exchanging of resources is necessary in modern society, than forced exchange, by the wealthy to the government, is necessary."

People argue that? I don't think so. Oh, sure, somebody somewhere may have said something that stupid. I'm sure that someone on some talk radio show said things that are even stupider, but that just simply isn't an argument that any significant number of people take seriously.

I argue that we need taxes to pay the bills, and there's no point in taxing poor people, because they don't have any money. It has nothing to do with exchanging resources.

The way that politicians do manage to sell their programs that give away other peoples' money is by calling it an economic stimulus, insisting that if they just give away money, or, equivalently, continue to borrow money while refusing to tax to pay for it, they insist that magically no one will have to pay for any of this, because the economy will grow and take care of it. They call it economic stimulus. I call it buying votes. Both US parties have their own preferred flavor of something for nothing, but they both do it.
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:47 AM   #611
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post
...this behavior has you losing me rapidly...

No I have not. And that's that. I'm not going any further. If you want me to spend time talking to you, then you need to show that you are capable of listening and conducting yourself maturely.
How charmingly dishonest.

Those questions are not going away. If you think I have been in any way uncivil then report me. Otherwise, stop playing games and start answering legitimate questions. Or continue to pretend that you have been mistreated by people willing to confront evasive behavior.
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:48 AM   #612
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The middle class in the USA is severely undertaxed for the level of services they seem to be asking for.

Take a look at the tax rates in the USA vs Canada. In Canada the rates themselves aren't *that* much different. What's different is that the brackets are much lower in term of qualification so that middle class canadians actually get taxed at fairly high rates. There is a massive hollowing out of the middle of the tax base in the USA and raising taxes, even to really high levels, on the rich isn't going to close that gap. Things like the earned income tax credit then hollow out the tax base even more.

It seems to me that the argument hasn't become about increasing revenues but about punishing those who are more successful. The 99% rah rah rah stuff is about class warfare plain and simple.

Middle class people please start paying your taxes so you can have the services you want. I already pay mine.
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:50 AM   #613
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I have.

Having gone to a couple of the US's top universities, I have literally met students from every single one of those countries. Many of them (not all, because I didn't ask all) made it clear that they had come here to go to a better university than was available back home.
I've spoken to people like that, also. I don't doubt that it happens, and see where the argument is going. It's also clear that you're not presenting this as your own argument here, but thanks for indulging me.

Like I said, I only wanted to present a data point that shows that the sky doesn't fall if you have higher tax rates, subsidised education and universal health care. Like some shrill voices in the US debate like to claim. Or that lower taxes is a prerequisite for "the American dream" of high social mobility and meritocracy; if anything, it seems to be the other way around.

As for innovation and education in the US contra everywhere - while I've heard Danish students in the US propose that they got (and paid for) the world's best education, students who went to similar trouble to go to France, Germany, Japan or the UK would say the same about their choices. As would the American students I know here.

What I think is clear is that in order to claim that the US is the sole driving innovator in the world, one has to be seriously divorced from reality.

Of course you know all this (if I'm reading you correctly that you're not espousing this thinking).
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Old 1st May 2012, 09:36 AM   #614
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I have.

Having gone to a couple of the US's top universities, I have literally met students from every single one of those countries. Many of them (not all, because I didn't ask all) made it clear that they had come here to go to a better university than was available back home.
Ok, but have you looked at the data on the number of U.S. students that go abroad to study as well? And why would you cherry pick the U.S. "top" universities? I don't think cherry picking the "top" results of anything ever leads to accurate information.

Is Harvard better than Oxford? Who cares? The issue is the general level of university quality.

I have met many foreign students as well, but at state universities where I went ( Purdue and the University of Arizona ) those from other first world countries told me they came here merely because they wanted to learn abroad.

So are we at an impasse? I have one set of anecdotal evidence and you have another? I don't think so, I think this is just more evidence that a certain class of individual focuses on the "best" rather than the "average," and that is why you hear the same old tired arguments about the U.S. having the "best" of this and that.
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Old 1st May 2012, 09:54 AM   #615
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
The middle class in the USA is severely undertaxed for the level of services they seem to be asking for.

Take a look at the tax rates in the USA vs Canada. In Canada the rates themselves aren't *that* much different. What's different is that the brackets are much lower in term of qualification so that middle class canadians actually get taxed at fairly high rates. There is a massive hollowing out of the middle of the tax base in the USA and raising taxes, even to really high levels, on the rich isn't going to close that gap. Things like the earned income tax credit then hollow out the tax base even more.

It seems to me that the argument hasn't become about increasing revenues but about punishing those who are more successful. The 99% rah rah rah stuff is about class warfare plain and simple.

Middle class people please start paying your taxes so you can have the services you want. I already pay mine.

Are you only referring to income tax?
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Old 1st May 2012, 09:54 AM   #616
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post
In this case, Bob and Tom look at each other and nod. Then say "Okay, that makes a lotta sense. We might need Jane. Jane might hurt us. So what do you propose we do then as far as our new government's power? What kinda rule do we need to reflect this?"
You don't need a rule, just logical thought.

If a government has interest X, then there is a set of laws that maximize achievement of X. It is that simple.

Don't think for a second that the "constitutional" government the forefathers created is in any way "morally" superior to any other, in an objective sense. It isn't, because there is no objective right or wrong.

It just so happens that the forefathers thought things like personal liberty were of utmost importance, so that is why the laws started that way. Other societies have come to the same conclusion -- that people like it best when a certain level of freedom is guaranteed. But the only reason such governments exist is because that is how the people wanted it.

You see less emphasis on freedom in societies that, for whatever reason, care less about freedom. I don't think their laws are better or worse, in an absolute sense. The only way their laws would be "worse" is if they didn't help achieve the goal of the government.

A good example is sharia law. Sharia is an utterly stupid approach to take if you want a country that leads in research and technology, industry, healthcare, education ... anything involving thought, actually. Sharia is a great approach if you want a country that leads in following some sort of doctrine ( Islamic religious law, in particular ). I wouldn't say countries that adopt Sharia are doing the wrong thing, unless they express the desire to move forward in areas involving thought -- like Iran. It is obvious that if Iran really wants to be at the intellectual level of the west, sharia is NOT a good policy.

Fast forward to how taxes should be handled -- what is the goal here? What kind of a country do people want to live in? What do we want our society to be like? I don't see that progressive taxation is at odds with *any* of the goals of the huge majority of the population. And that isn't at first glance -- that is after exhaustively looking at the implications. So -- what is so bad about it? If it is what most of us want -- really want, not just *think* we want, as was the case with Bob and Tom wanting to rape because they hadn't jerked off recently -- then what is so bad about it? If a rich person doesn't like having to pay more in taxes, and the majority *really* wants it, then they are out of luck. They can always leave and be rich somewhere else.

Which is another good point -- can Jane leave? Is there a house next door, where females are absolute gods compared to the men? Where men are born into a lower caste than females, and have no choice in the matter? Jane could always go there, right?
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Old 1st May 2012, 10:04 AM   #617
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
The middle class in the USA is severely undertaxed for the level of services they seem to be asking for.

Take a look at the tax rates in the USA vs Canada. In Canada the rates themselves aren't *that* much different. What's different is that the brackets are much lower in term of qualification so that middle class canadians actually get taxed at fairly high rates. There is a massive hollowing out of the middle of the tax base in the USA and raising taxes, even to really high levels, on the rich isn't going to close that gap. Things like the earned income tax credit then hollow out the tax base even more.

It seems to me that the argument hasn't become about increasing revenues but about punishing those who are more successful. The 99% rah rah rah stuff is about class warfare plain and simple.

Middle class people please start paying your taxes so you can have the services you want. I already pay mine.
pffft, says the guy with a Ferrari as his avatar.

You don't seem to get it -- everyone knows it is about class warfare, and there are 99 times as many of us as of you.

The only people complaining about class warfare are those who are grossly outnumbered. Oh, what a surprise.

Here is another thing you don't get -- that Ferrari is built by other humans, driven on roads with other humans, in cities with other humans, and paid for by other humans. People are allowed to own a Ferrari ONLY because other humans let them own them. It isn't a born right. If those other people decide, at some point, that they don't like the fact that someone owns a Ferrari, then it is perfectly acceptable for them to reverse the situation.

That is why the 99% don't feel bad about class warfare. We let the 1% be the 1%, they are there only because of us. If we want to change that, it is our right. It is our decision, not theirs. We let people live in mansions and spit in our face and financially rape our families only as long as it isn't a terrible inconvenience. When it gets to that point, it is perfectly ethical for us to change the way things are. Like I said, there are 99 times as many of us.
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Old 1st May 2012, 10:31 AM   #618
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post
The above is a simple, clear, and valid answer, which is the important principle that had to be exposed. You can't use "democratic power" or "outvoting" to rape, rob, kill, beat (etc etc) innocent people. It doesn't matter what specious arguments Bob and Tom (and by extension people in general) try to propose about what those people can "afford to spare" or how arrogant or bad they are as people, or what they "owe society." You cannot. Period.
Except that the members of a society have an obligation to that society. There are things that we do "owe" to society. Taxes are one of those obligations to society.

Think of it this way, We as individuals do not make the things we use. I do not make the car I drive or the computer I use or the clothes I wear. I buy them from someone who does make these things.

That person who choses to make clothes has the obligation to do so because no one else can or is willing.

With that comes certain obligations.

He can technically charge whatever he wants for the clothes he makes, but if he charges too much, people cannot afford to buy the clothes and therefore he cannot sell his clothes. The system breaks down

His obligation in this case is to sell the clothes at a price that people can afford. Competition works to regulate the price of clothes unless competitors collude to fix pricing, which happens more often than you think. (Read about the DOJ sueing Apple and Macmillian)

In reality there are many factors that go into the price of the things we buy. Everything from processing the raw materials to designing the products to manufacturing and distribution not to mention the taxation that goes with each step.

Many little hands that want to maximize thier income and profit. And this is where obligation to society goes out the door.

There is a saying that goes "too much of a thing, even a good thing, is bad". Yet we do not apply this to money. Why?

Ask yourself how much money do you really need to live?
How money does it take to put a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food in your stomach, and have some left over to persue your interests and emergencies? Is it six, seven, eight figures? The majority of the upper middle class seem to make due with six to seven figures.
If it only takes about a half million dollars to live comfortably then why are there so many persuing to amass hundreds of times that much? It's certainly not due to survival.

I would venture to say that it has more to do with ego and addiction then making oneself financially secure.

There are studies showing that the brain reacts to the thrill of making money from gambeling the same as if it was on cocaine. The same applies to making large amounts of money and stock trading (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117423&page=1)

Now this desire to accumulate as much wealth as possible reguardless of the consequences (see the 2008 housing crash and subsequent bailout) causes these people to attempt to abrogate thier obligation to society (because paying money out to taxes reduces thier wealth). Using thier great wealth and the disporportionate advantages and influences it gives them they are able to enact policies and practices that are sometimes unethical and illegal in order to increase the wealth they are accumulating, often at the expense of the rest of society.

i.e. If you arrange conditions so that you are proportionaly taxed less than those who have considerably less wealth you. These people bear the largest amount of burden because you have minimized your contribution. The more you minimize your contribution the more others have to provide.

One of the functions of our government is to facilitate commerce. And it takes tax money to do that. Yet the conditions that exist now means that the ones who benefit the most from this arraingement are the ones that contribute the least (proportionally) to it.

Now if everybody understood and felt the need to fullfull thier obligation and contributed equally and willingly then there would not be need for being forced to do it.

As it stands it has to be codified and enforced. Is it fair to those who willingly do thier part to be overly burnded because there are those who are more than able to contribute thier part but refuse to do so?

Do those who refuse to do thier part in society deserve to remain a part of that society?
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Old 1st May 2012, 10:52 AM   #619
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Originally Posted by uruk View Post
That person who choses to make clothes has the obligation to do so because no one else can or is willing.

His obligation in this case is to sell the clothes at a price that people can afford.
Those aren't "obligations" in any usual sense of the word.
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Old 1st May 2012, 11:40 AM   #620
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post
Without an organizing idea, revolutions don't occur. People have to have a reason to feel that there troubles are due to their leaders. That's why phrases like "No Taxation Without Representation" become famous, support is gathered through clear arguments and rallying cries. "We are starving" is not enough. "We are starving because YOU did X" is what will cause the people to organize. In the case of the Russian Revolution, it was Communism. Marx's writings, specious though they may be, have a long historical record of causing these situations. And without a counter-argument, as exposed in many countries with monarchies or other logically-inarguable forms of government, the Communists tended to take over.
As I said before; the idealism is incidental to the revolution. It is not important as to what governmental theory is being eschewd to focus the revolution just so long as it is different than the one that is the cause of the suffering and oppression. In America the ones leading the revolution were impressed by Democratic Republicanism and in Russia it was Communisim.

Quote:
The question isn't "can Bob and Tom have sex with Jane if she wants." The question is if they can have sex with her if she doesn't.
And this is where your analogy begins to fail. In reality taxation is necessary for a government/society to run effectively. And we need this government/society to do the things we cannot do on our own. When society runs properly everyone benefits. But everyone has to do thier part

This means we all have an obligation to that government/society. We have to do things that we may not like or want to do but they are necessary other wise everything falls apart. And that is our obligation. We all have to make sacrifices so that everything works for the greater benefit.

For example, no one wants to give up thier thier time and possibly thier life to fight in a war but it is necessary if the government/society and the people are to be protected.

And sometimes, for the greater good of society, people have to be coerced into doing something they do not want to do. This is because of our human nature. Sometimes when the cause is clear we willingly make that sacrifice, other times we balk.

In time of war a draft is sometimes necessary to get the amount of people to effectively defend a society.

When it comes to money we need to have laws enacted to make sure everyone contributes thier fair share. This is because past experiance shows that we do not always do so because of the nature of money and ourselves.

Money is power in our society. People are willing to do horrible things to obtain it. And once they have enough of it they can influence others to do things or exercise thier will on others.

And right now those who have alot of it are trying to reduce the sacrifices they have to make to society and thier excessive wealth makes it easier for them to facilitate thier will and desires on others. The less they contribute the greater the burden on others.

Sometimes people have to be reminded of thier obligations to society, sometimes against thier will. If they do so of thier own free will there is not need for it be forced.

The consequence of not forcing them to meet thier obligation may mean the breakdown of a mutually beneficial society.

So the question should be "should we allow them to continue to engage in an activity that will be detrimental to the well being of society"? The answer is yes for many other types of activities, why not this one?

Where most people have objection to your analogy is theat the use of sex and bodily harm is, by your own admission, meant to be inflamatory to get people to respond.

The problem is that the conditions of your analogy do not accurately reflect the conditions concerning voting to force people to pay taxes. Taxes are something that everyone does to a larger entity, not to each other.

So to make your analogy more accurate to the tax situation. Tom, Bob and Jane each have to have sex with a big 500 gorilla in the apartment and the gorilla is demanding that it has to have sex at least 10 times a day. Bob and Tom are voting that Jane should have sex more often with the gorilla than either Bob or Tom.
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Old 1st May 2012, 11:55 AM   #621
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Originally Posted by Piscivore View Post
Those aren't "obligations" in any usual sense of the word.
It's and obligation in that it is something that is owed to the proper functioning society. A person who can make clothes where others cannot has an obligation to contribute his particular skill to those who are in need. Of course this obligation has rewards for the person who can make clothes in these circumstances.

In a town, people have the obligation to be law enforcement, school teacher, shopkeeper, fireman, leader, etc. They are needs that have to be filler otherwise a town cannot exist.

Humans beings are social animals we need to live in groups to survive. And there are roles that need to be fulfilled in these groups so that everyone benefits.

Think of it this way. Let's say your on a plane and it crashes on an island. you are one of many survivors. Now if your group of survivors are going to have any chance of remaining alive, you have delegate tasks. Some members find and build shelter, other members hunt and forage for food, other find potablr water etc..

Everyone had been given a duty to perform. If they do not live up to that duty then everyone suffers. Carrying out the task you have been given is your obligation to your group of survivors.
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Old 1st May 2012, 12:12 PM   #622
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Originally Posted by uruk View Post
It's and obligation in that it is something that is owed to the proper functioning society. A person who can make clothes where others cannot has an obligation to contribute his particular skill to those who are in need. Of course this obligation has rewards for the person who can make clothes in these circumstances.

In a town, people have the obligation to be law enforcement, school teacher, shopkeeper, fireman, leader, etc. They are needs that have to be filler otherwise a town cannot exist.

Humans beings are social animals we need to live in groups to survive. And there are roles that need to be fulfilled in these groups so that everyone benefits.

Think of it this way. Let's say your on a plane and it crashes on an island. you are one of many survivors. Now if your group of survivors are going to have any chance of remaining alive, you have delegate tasks. Some members find and build shelter, other members hunt and forage for food, other find potablr water etc..

Everyone had been given a duty to perform. If they do not live up to that duty then everyone suffers. Carrying out the task you have been given is your obligation to your group of survivors.
Well I think what he means is that it is only an obligation if one agrees that they want a society to live in. Just like returning library books is only an obligation if you want to participate in the library system.

However, I don't see the point of that point, since everyone wants a society to live in, especially the rich bastards, because without a society they would have even less than the poor.
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Old 1st May 2012, 01:06 PM   #623
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Originally Posted by uruk View Post
It's and obligation in that it is something that is owed to the proper functioning society. A person who can make clothes where others cannot has an obligation to contribute his particular skill to those who are in need.
That's not an "obligation" that actually exists in modern, Western cultures. Quite the contrary, American culture, at least ostensibly, cherishes the idea of social mobility- that just because one grew up on a farm and learned the trade from an early age that one "owes it to society" to be a farmer and not aspire to do something else, "follow one's passion", so to speak. Just because I have training in insurance, does that mean I am bound by social obligation to do nothing but sell insurance for the rest of my life? I hope not.

Check out "The Jazz Singer".

Quote:
In a town, people have the obligation to be law enforcement, school teacher, shopkeeper, fireman, leader, etc. They are needs that have to be filler otherwise a town cannot exist.
Who assigns these obligations, and when? Does the kindergarten teachers draw names out of a hat the first day at school; Johhny shall be the fireman, Wendy the shopkeep? Or does that happen at high school graduation by a council of the town elders?

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Humans beings are social animals we need to live in groups to survive. And there are roles that need to be fulfilled in these groups so that everyone benefits.
True enough, but nowhere in there does it create any personal obligations for any individual. If there is a need for a cubicle monkey and none for a post-impressionist performance artist, when the graduating art student wants to eat, he’ll be working in a cubicle because that’s what will pay, not because he’s “obligated” to.
I also think you’ll find that in modern society, there are relatively few “socially necessary” occupation slots compared to the amount of socially trivial positions.

Quote:
Think of it this way. Let's say your on a plane and it crashes on an island. you are one of many survivors. Now if your group of survivors are going to have any chance of remaining alive, you have delegate tasks. Some members find and build shelter, other members hunt and forage for food, other find potablr water etc..
Everyone had been given a duty to perform. If they do not live up to that duty then everyone suffers. Carrying out the task you have been given is your obligation to your group of survivors.
That simplistic analogy does not remotely resemble the cultures we actually live in, however.
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Old 1st May 2012, 02:56 PM   #624
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post
Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
My reply:

Bob and Tom, you are not thinking through the full implications of your proposed law. Consider the following:

Both of you may have more empathy than you think -- in which case the guilt might be much worse than whatever lack of pleasure you are experiencing now. Depending on how Jane reacts to rape, of course.

One of you may have more empathy than you think -- in which case, there will be a very problematic emotional divide between the two of you. Imagine, Bob, if Tom protects Jane from you ( possibly by killing you ) thereby winning the right to have sex with her on her own terms ( which would be far better than raping her anyway ). In fact, Bob, Tom might be going along with this law just so he can put you in that position.

Jane may be useful in other ways -- in which case, doing anything to displease her implicitly risks lowering her usefulness in those other ways. It is possible that some of her other uses can be forced as well, but at some point that policy gives diminishing returns ( I can cite history and scientific studies, if you want evidence ).

More people may join your society -- in which case, any individuals that vehemently disagree with this law are apt to react violently, given the extreme nature of the law. If you are prepared to defend yourselves by force, then this isn't a consideration. But be aware that spending resources on self defense entails not spending resources on other things.

Jane may be more reactive than you think -- in which case, your safety and possibly life could be in danger. If Jane decides that she would rather kill than be raped, you will have to decide whether or not you want to lock her up permanently lest she cut your throats at first chance. And in that case, obviously most of her utility to the society is mitigated.


Adding up all these considerations and implications, I think the decision on the law shouldn't be taken so lightly. I think you two have much to think about.

Also, Bob and Tom, regarding your reasoning, there is certainly a flaw in that although Jane uses modern food and fitness equipment, she could very likely be just as sexy if she did isometric exercises and jogging/situps/lunges and ate nothing but freshly hunted buffalo. She doesn't necessarily take anything extra from society, and even if she does, then a proper fix is to charge more for use of the fitness equipment.
In this case, Bob and Tom look at each other and nod. Then say "Okay, that makes a lotta sense. We might need Jane. Jane might hurt us. So what do you propose we do then as far as our new government's power? What kinda rule do we need to reflect this?"
rocketdodger, I think Bob and Tom may indeed be (as someone has suggested) psychopathic. Certainly neither of them has responded to, or even acknowledged, the points you made about empathy. It's as if neither of them realizes such a thing can exist in the human mind.
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Old 1st May 2012, 03:38 PM   #625
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
The middle class in the USA is severely undertaxed for the level of services they seem to be asking for.

Take a look at the tax rates in the USA vs Canada. In Canada the rates themselves aren't *that* much different. What's different is that the brackets are much lower in term of qualification so that middle class canadians actually get taxed at fairly high rates. There is a massive hollowing out of the middle of the tax base in the USA and raising taxes, even to really high levels, on the rich isn't going to close that gap. Things like the earned income tax credit then hollow out the tax base even more.

It seems to me that the argument hasn't become about increasing revenues but about punishing those who are more successful. The 99% rah rah rah stuff is about class warfare plain and simple.

Middle class people please start paying your taxes so you can have the services you want. I already pay mine.
It's a pity that the media won't actually show what it would take to get to, or at least near, a balanced budget. It wouldn't be hard, but it would take more than a few seconds, and that's long enough for someone to hit the remote control button, so they understandably won't do it.

If they did, the conclusion would be obvious. You have to either make massive cuts in very popular programs, or you need a tax hike that goes well into the middle class, or some combination of both.

However, that's a very unpopular message, so they just say that they can tax the rich, or cut wasteful spending, and they get elected, which probably is an indictment of our education system more than anything else.
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Old 1st May 2012, 04:32 PM   #626
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Originally Posted by Cactus Wren View Post
rocketdodger, I think Bob and Tom may indeed be (as someone has suggested) psychopathic. Certainly neither of them has responded to, or even acknowledged, the points you made about empathy. It's as if neither of them realizes such a thing can exist in the human mind.
They should be particularly worried about each other, then.
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Old 1st May 2012, 04:38 PM   #627
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
It's a pity that the media won't actually show what it would take to get to, or at least near, a balanced budget. It wouldn't be hard, but it would take more than a few seconds, and that's long enough for someone to hit the remote control button, so they understandably won't do it.

If they did, the conclusion would be obvious. You have to either make massive cuts in very popular programs, or you need a tax hike that goes well into the middle class, or some combination of both.

However, that's a very unpopular message, so they just say that they can tax the rich, or cut wasteful spending, and they get elected, which probably is an indictment of our education system more than anything else.
Isn't this a bit simplistic? The whole "taxing the rich" thing isn't as much about balancing the budget as it is about righting what people perceive as historical wrongs.

I question how unbalanced the budget would be if there hadn't been 50 years of elitist upper class massaging of government decisions to be overwhelmingly in their favor. Many people question that. Perhaps putting a forceful end to this practice would be a good starting point ?
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Old 1st May 2012, 05:52 PM   #628
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
They should be particularly worried about each other, then.
Esp. since Tom's in the closet about Bob and only went along with the vote so's he could see Bob naked.
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Old 1st May 2012, 06:36 PM   #629
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
Isn't this a bit simplistic? The whole "taxing the rich" thing isn't as much about balancing the budget as it is about righting what people perceive as historical wrongs.

I question how unbalanced the budget would be if there hadn't been 50 years of elitist upper class massaging of government decisions to be overwhelmingly in their favor. Many people question that. Perhaps putting a forceful end to this practice would be a good starting point ?
Hmmmm....maybe eGarrett was closer to the mark than I gave him credit for.

I think a lot of the economic policies of recent decades are stupid, but I'm not sure I can agree with that whole sentiment. I do believe that money legally earned should, to the extent possible, remain with the person who earned it. The only reason we need to tax it is in order to pay the government's bills. I'm not sure that there are any "wrongs" to be righted, just a whole mountain of debt to be paid.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:53 PM   #630
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Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
Are you only referring to income tax?
I was but it pretty much applies to all taxes. The pension taxes are higher and the sales taxes are higher as well. Also Canada doesn't have a massive insane military to pay for.

Basically America has it's head in the sand when it comes to taxes.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:59 PM   #631
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
pffft, says the guy with a Ferrari as his avatar.

You don't seem to get it -- everyone knows it is about class warfare, and there are 99 times as many of us as of you.
Which is exactly the point the OP is making.


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The only people complaining about class warfare are those who are grossly outnumbered. Oh, what a surprise.
Are you serious? There are plenty of minorities out there and most of them have a legit axe to grind.

Anyway if you read my post the point is simple. The rich simply don't have enough money to pay for everything the middle class wants. At some level if you take out $x of government services for an average person then the average tax bill has to be close to $x. Sure you can shift some onto the rich but the reality is that even the rich don't have enough income to pay for the what people vote themselves.

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Here is another thing you don't get -- that Ferrari is built by other humans, driven on roads with other humans, in cities with other humans, and paid for by other humans.
Any way you slice it I pay more taxes anyway for, basically, the same level of service.

Anyway that has nothing to do with my point which, to reiterate, is that the middle class in the USA is undertaxed for the services they demand. Feel free to compare to any other first world country.

Sure you can argue the rich are undertaxed if you want to but it doesn't eliminate the my main point that the middle class are also undertaxed.

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People are allowed to own a Ferrari ONLY because other humans let them own them. It isn't a born right. If those other people decide, at some point, that they don't like the fact that someone owns a Ferrari, then it is perfectly acceptable for them to reverse the situation.
So what? If we change to communism I'll adapt appropriately.

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That is why the 99% don't feel bad about class warfare. We let the 1% be the 1%, they are there only because of us. If we want to change that, it is our right. It is our decision, not theirs. We let people live in mansions and spit in our face and financially rape our families only as long as it isn't a terrible inconvenience. When it gets to that point, it is perfectly ethical for us to change the way things are. Like I said, there are 99 times as many of us.
You have a serious chip on your shoulder. Perhaps someone has been a failure?
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:03 PM   #632
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
It's a pity that the media won't actually show what it would take to get to, or at least near, a balanced budget. It wouldn't be hard, but it would take more than a few seconds, and that's long enough for someone to hit the remote control button, so they understandably won't do it.
The info is out there, nobody cares though. There is literally nobody incentivized to cut spending. Nobody.

Quote:
If they did, the conclusion would be obvious. You have to either make massive cuts in very popular programs, or you need a tax hike that goes well into the middle class, or some combination of both.
From what I can tell it's easily both. Tax the rich at 100% and it's not enough. The "buffet rule" isn't enough for sure.

Quote:
However, that's a very unpopular message, so they just say that they can tax the rich, or cut wasteful spending, and they get elected, which probably is an indictment of our education system more than anything else.
It's an indictment of the political system. We need stronger constitutional controls on spending. Actually we just need a stronger constitution in general.
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:10 PM   #633
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
Isn't this a bit simplistic? The whole "taxing the rich" thing isn't as much about balancing the budget as it is about righting what people perceive as historical wrongs.
That's simply pure insanity if that's what people believe. Right historical wrongs through taxes? That's simply bizarre.

Quote:
I question how unbalanced the budget would be if there hadn't been 50 years of elitist upper class massaging of government decisions to be overwhelmingly in their favor. Many people question that. Perhaps putting a forceful end to this practice would be a good starting point ?
You don't get it. The reason the government can be influenced is because it has so much power in the first place. Businesses and people will seek to influence the massive cash hose in their direction. The larger the hose the bigger the problem.

Of course big business manipulates government to feed them money directly and through subsidies. Of course public employee unions will suck as much money as they possibly can. We should assume corruption and try to build a system that is fundamentally less corrupt due to it's nature. For example distribution power more among the states means less centralized power ripe for abuse.

Anyway pretty much everyone on JREF seems to be a pro-nanny state socialist. I've gotten used to it and just try to avoid these topics and stick to the insanity of Homeopathy or Amway.
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:21 PM   #634
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
For example distribution power more among the states means less centralized power ripe for abuse.
Exactly, fifty ways to design, build and roll the wheel. Oh, and fifty different ways to abuse the system. I hope you like taxes, cause while your federal ones may go down, the state taxes will sky rocket.
Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
Anyway pretty much everyone on JREF seems to be a pro-nanny state socialist.
Actually, I bet you can count on one hand or two those who those who fit that description. At least if you use an honest definition of nanny state and socialist.
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:38 PM   #635
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Originally Posted by DavidJames View Post
Actually, I bet you can count on one hand or two those who those who fit that description. At least if you use an honest definition of nanny state and socialist.
How about want to emulate Scandanavia?

Has anyone else actually looked at the tax rates in Sweden? You want benefits be prepared to pay. That's all I'm saying. Be prepared to pay for all the stuff you are voting for. Because it ain't gonna be free and the rich don't have enough money to pay for it.

At least in Northern Europe that have that part figured out. Americans seem to want to the low taxes they are used to, awesome social programs and the hugest military the world has ever seen. Somethings gotta give.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 08:12 AM   #636
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Originally Posted by EGarrett View Post

You're arguing against a progressive income tax. You realize that, right?
Once again you deliberately miss the point. I am arguing against your claim that a consumption tax is unbiased.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 08:28 AM   #637
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
How about want to emulate Scandanavia?

Has anyone else actually looked at the tax rates in Sweden? You want benefits be prepared to pay. That's all I'm saying. Be prepared to pay for all the stuff you are voting for. Because it ain't gonna be free and the rich don't have enough money to pay for it.

At least in Northern Europe that have that part figured out. Americans seem to want to the low taxes they are used to, awesome social programs and the hugest military the world has ever seen. Somethings gotta give.
Interestingly, the scandinavian countries tend to have less progressive taxes than other developed countries.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 08:44 AM   #638
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
The only reason we need to tax it is in order to pay the government's bills. I'm not sure that there are any "wrongs" to be righted, just a whole mountain of debt to be paid.
That's what I am talking about -- whose policies are the most to blame for the debt?

It seems like the people most responsible for the mountain of debt should be the ones most responsible for paying it off.

In particular, if the military/industrial complex being led by the self-interested wealthy elite is what has caused a big chunk of the debt, I would expect them to be fairly responsible for fixing the issue.

In particular, if the debt incurred during the Bush administration is a big chunk, I would expect those that wanted Bush in office to be fairly responsible.

On the other hand, I am more than happy to help pay for debt incurred due to programs I agree with.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 08:52 AM   #639
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There's something the OP hasn't revealed to us:

Do Bob and Tom pay their taxes?
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Old 2nd May 2012, 09:19 AM   #640
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post

Anyway if you read my post the point is simple. The rich simply don't have enough money to pay for everything the middle class wants. At some level if you take out $x of government services for an average person then the average tax bill has to be close to $x. Sure you can shift some onto the rich but the reality is that even the rich don't have enough income to pay for the what people vote themselves.
I understand your point is simple, that is my issue with it.

I don't dispute that simply taxing the wealthy will pay for what everyone wants. I dispute the notion that what the corrupt government claims everyone wants is actually what everyone wants. Which is the real issue -- that since the government in this country has been so heavily influenced by special interests in the last 50 years, the stuff we have to pay for is way out of whack with what most of us even care about in the first place.

Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
Any way you slice it I pay more taxes anyway for, basically, the same level of service.
But that isn't true at all, unless your definition of "level of service" is completely relative.

If you own a house worth 10 times as much as mine, and the cops drive by both your house and my house once a day to check for robbers, they are effectively protecting 10 times as much when they go by yours.

Likewise if you own a factory, and your trucks use the roads, when the state repairs a highway you are effectively getting a much higher utility out of those repairs than I do.

Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
Anyway that has nothing to do with my point which, to reiterate, is that the middle class in the USA is undertaxed for the services they demand. Feel free to compare to any other first world country.
I agree. However I wouldn't want to pay a cent more in taxes unless I know for sure it goes to the services we care about.

Which is the main thing upsetting people right now -- the idea of raising taxes on the middle class right now, to pay for stuff that the fools in government have bought, is just offensive. They are literally fools. Raise my taxes, when they vote "aye" for bills like SOPA? When the supreme court rules that corporations can contribute to campaigns like individuals can? Cmon.

So if you want to compare to other first world countries, lets do that. Overwhelmingly I think the citizens there are pretty content to pay those higher taxes for the services they get. Is that not the case? Is the U.S. some kind of bastion of free will in this sea of socialism that everyone is drowning in?

Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
You have a serious chip on your shoulder. Perhaps someone has been a failure?
Yes, I do, and no, someone hasn't.
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