Romney/Ryan 2012
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re on 11/09/2012 09:57:34 MST Print View

I disagree with you re charity Nick. If a family member has a problem, you take care of them.

We do not disagree at all. But sometimes there is not a family to take of those with problems.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re on 11/09/2012 10:06:31 MST Print View

I class 'family' as my fellow human beings.
There is no difference between myself and a homeless person apart from luck and circumstance.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Flat tax on 11/09/2012 11:01:41 MST Print View

@ Bucktoof-

Yeah, and you are clearly not listening. NO ONE has proposed a truly flat tax where they guy who makes $1 pays x% and the guy who makes $1,000,000 also pays x%. Read back a few pages, ok?

That said, your argument for a progressive tax (if I may indulge in a straw man) is that "people who make less have to live on less."

Well, duh. Yes. That's actually how it works!

Regarding the rest- yes, I agree that both parties are beholden to them what hold the purse strings. DOWN WITH CITIZENS UNITED! (You see why I keep saying that'd fix everything?) But IMO the Republicans are far more the "party of the corporations" than are the Democrats. If nothing else, the Republicans would raze our national forests, drill in our national parks, and tax us to give subsidies to Exxon, whereas that is not generally the Democrat plan. This is one big area where I trip up with the Republicans and why, as I have said, that though I think I actually trend conservative on most things I've voted Democrat recently. I guess I just have that much of a populist streak.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
RE on 11/09/2012 11:09:28 MST Print View

Right on Mike Reid! As backpackers we are just homeless posers anyway.

I couldn't agree more about CITIZENS UNITED. Look at who put those 5 justices on the bench.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Flat tax on 11/09/2012 11:24:09 MST Print View

"Yeah, and you are clearly not listening. NO ONE has proposed a truly flat tax where they guy who makes $1 pays x% and the guy who makes $1,000,000 also pays x%. Read back a few pages, ok?"

OK, so you could call that a progressive tax with relief for different brackets of the poorest.

So why are we talking about "flat tax" if it's not actually a flat tax?

____________________________________________

"That said, your argument for a progressive tax (if I may indulge in a straw man) is that "people who make less have to live on less."

Well, duh. Yes. That's actually how it works!"


Weren't you just saying that nobody is advocating that the "they guy who makes $1 pays x% and the guy who makes $1,000,000 also pays x%."

Which is in principle exactly what I'm saying.

It strikes me that the term "flat tax" gets thrown around because it's more appealing to the right...yet when we discuss it, it seems there's not that much support for a truly flat tax.

Edited by xnomanx on 11/09/2012 11:51:24 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
fair taxation on 11/09/2012 11:56:44 MST Print View

Just read the last ~six pages (slow day at the office), and would like to commend everyone on a civil and intelligent discussion. Quite thought provoking.

What I think is missing in the discussion of fairness in taxation and government services is a broader view of any hypothetical individuals circumstances. The American up by the bootstraps, rags to riches myth is never that simple. Transgenerational and historical factors almost always give one person a leg up, and another the opposite. This not any one person's fault, but the only way to address this is by holding individuals responsible. Beyond the moral argument, there is extraordinarily compelling historical data to suggest that the whole country does best when the tax code is progressive. The affluence of the baby boom was a direct result of FDR tax policy. The current recession is the result of Reagan/Bush tax policy.

And just to complicate things further: 100 years ago the most impoverished demographic in the country was the elderly. Today it is children. Social security still seem like a good idea?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: fair taxation on 11/09/2012 12:24:58 MST Print View

"The American up by the bootstraps, rags to riches myth is never that simple. Transgenerational and historical factors almost always give one person a leg up, and another the opposite."

Isn't this the crux of the entire argument, played out in different contexts?

The question of whether or not one is responsible for one's own successes and failures or if society plays a role in them...And then, of course, whether or not all people truly have the same opportunities.

How you answer this question seems to draw the line that divides us on most issues.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Fair tax or flat tax on 11/09/2012 13:29:41 MST Print View

Well said, Willy.

One side believes that we all have the ability to be financially successful. Its just a matter of freewill.

The other side believes it all a matter of circumstance. That its a matter of luck.

Its probably somewhere in between in my opinion. Which is why the mixed system we have (part capitalist, part socialist) makes sense.

I know, I used the word "socialist" and that's a bad word to many people. But the forum software didn't ban it. And that's what social security, Medicare, etc. are. It's not a bad thing, its just a word. Almost all of us believe in some measure of socialism, whether we call it that or not.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: fair taxation on 11/09/2012 14:23:31 MST Print View

All (wo)men being created equal means more than being borne with four limbs. As a society we've evolved such that race and gender are seen as relevant, it's time to recognize that class is a factor as well.

IMO the reason this is met with such hostility is that it doesn't take too many more logical steps to arrive at the view that the preeminence of white men with some money has been built on centuries of inequity and exploitation. It is time to pay, and you/we should be scared.

Edited by DaveC on 11/09/2012 14:24:02 MST.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
fair taxation on 11/09/2012 15:27:50 MST Print View

"What I think is missing in the discussion of fairness in taxation and government services is a broader view of any hypothetical individuals circumstances. The American up by the bootstraps, rags to riches myth is never that simple. Transgenerational and historical factors almost always give one person a leg up, and another the opposite. This not any one person's fault, but the only way to address this is by holding individuals responsible."

This sounds a lot like John Rawls's political framework in "Justice as Fairness." I have a hard time arguing with his principals of justice but I also have a hard time imagining these principals being practically implemented as policies in a country with a constitution that was written to protect property and wealth (for better or worse).

I imagine Rawls would advocate for a confiscatory estate tax to even the playing field (good luck passing that) coupled with policies designed to give all Americans an equal opportunity to succeed Our public education system seems like an existing institution that could promote this ideal but obviously educational opportunities are not enough if you are born into a family that struggles to put food on the table and maintain a place to live.

I don't think I will reach any conclusions in a backpacking forum thread but it has inspired me to do some reading this weekend. I have enjoyed many of the thoughtful posts over the past few days by Dean, Brad, Nick and others.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: re: fair taxation on 11/09/2012 17:33:20 MST Print View

"IMO the reason this is met with such hostility is that it doesn't take too many more logical steps to arrive at the view that the preeminence of white men with some money has been built on centuries of inequity and exploitation. It is time to pay, and you/we should be scared."

Well said, Dave! +1 to your entire post, and Craig's as well, while I'm at it.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Flat tax on 11/09/2012 17:51:02 MST Print View

"This is the simple argument for a progressive tax."

How about a flat tax with one deduction? Everyone gets to deduct the first, say, $100,000 of income from all sources. EVERYTHING above that gets taxed at a flat rate. Combine that with a decent minimum wage and perhaps we'd have a system where there would still be incentives to work for those who just couldn't survive on less than $100,000, while providing a decent standard of living for the rest of us.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Flat tax on 11/09/2012 18:16:52 MST Print View

"How about a flat tax with one deduction? Everyone gets to deduct the first, say, $100,000 of income from all sources."

I read somewhere that something like only 20% of the population makes more than $100K.

So 20% carry the other 80%?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
White Male Minority 2012 on 11/09/2012 18:17:19 MST Print View

All of the pundits, whether right or left, are speaking quite a bit about how shifting U.S. demographics and the dwindling voting power of the white male block are what helped seal the Obama victory.

In many of these media voices I hear obvious lament for the impending loss of the white male majority in this country.

Which leads me to ponder:

If our economic, social, and political systems truly generate power, privilege, and wealth through personal merit and no other factors, then the same white males that seem to be lamenting their loss of majority status should have absolutely nothing to fear so long as they keep working harder than everyone else.

Unless that's not actually how this game works...

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Flat tax on 11/09/2012 18:44:46 MST Print View

"I read somewhere that something like only 20% of the population makes more than $100K."

I've read somewhere(s) several different percentages, which is why I phrased my proposal as "say, $100,000". The actual number could probably be lower to even out the load. The point would be to simplify the tax code and achieve a more equitable sharing of the load.

"So 20% carry the other 80%?" Any system that worked out that way would not be sustainable or equitable. Actually, I think a decent minimum wage would be a lot more effective of achieving a decent standard of living for those who do not presently have that. For an overall sense of fairness and dignity, a minimum wage that made paying a small percentage of earnings in income tax bearable would be a huge step in the right direction, IMO. I believe most folks want to contribute to the general welfare when it does not mean taking food off the table or living with a leaky roof or, indeed, any roof at all, Romneys brainless comment about the 47% to the contrary. There is a feeling called dignity, and I do believe everyone wants to have it as they make their way thru life. In many countries I have either travelled thru or lived in, they are willing to die rather than give it up. Intangible, but very real, and I believe we ignore it at our collective peril.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: White Male Minority 2012 on 11/09/2012 18:49:40 MST Print View

The pursuit of power is a character defect.

If the economic, social, or political systems generates prestige, then it is unearned. Prestige is such a difficult term. But somehow it is something given, not earned. To seek privilege is a character defect. To determine one's one destiny without interference is a right.

Like-wise, privilege is usually something unearned. Seeking privilege is a character defect.

Wealth should be and can be earned. But the government foray's into the economy has allowed many people to gather wealth by political association, power, and privilege; not achievement.

Remember, our forefathers designed our government to PROTECT people from government :)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: White Male Minority 2012 on 11/09/2012 20:26:59 MST Print View

Well said Nick.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re: fair taxation on 11/11/2012 17:14:51 MST Print View

I think a lot of the tax unfairness is in the top 0.1%

According to the Congressional Research Service that researches things when the U.S. congress requests http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/r42729_0917.pdf

the tax rate of the 0.1% has decreased from 55% of income to 25% in the last 30 years.

and it's worse for higher incomes (the "Romney class") has decreased to 15% or less

the poorest person pays 15% when you include social security and employer's contribution

middle income person pays about 30%

according to that CRS report, descreasing taxes on the upper 0.1% does not improve the economy as a whole, but does increase the share that the upper 0.1% get

The reduced tax on capital gains and dividends is what gives the upper 0.1% their tax advantage. If Obama leaves the capital gains at 15%, then I'll say that there's no difference between him and the Republicans (but I won't really mean it)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Taxes on 11/11/2012 17:28:37 MST Print View

"The budget could most definitely be balanced, but not by the politicians we have in DC."

When Clinton was president and the Republicans controlled the House and Senate we had a balanced budget. One thing Clinton did was increase taxes a little on upper brackets (must have been before the Republicans got control of congress). Another thing was the economy was very strong due to nothing that any politician did.

Then Bush passed the Medicare part D prescription, tax cuts mostly for the wealthiest, and two wars. And the economy deteriorated which had a lot to do with deregulation done when the Republicans controlled congress and Clinton signed it.

Point being - politicans can balance budget, and if you want to allocate blame/credit you can find Democrats and Republicans

Obama is actually doing some things to get us back to balanced budget - Obamacare fixes some of the Medicare part D deficits, Iraq has "ended" and Afganistan will end although we're still spending money there, Obama is pushing to end the Bush tax cuts, the economy is slowly but steadily improving.

James Castleberry
(Winterland76)
Re: Wealth on 11/11/2012 19:10:16 MST Print View

Wealth is really just another way of saying "access to resources". The fossil fuel revolution has allowed most of us to live a life and access resources in a way that only the Pharaohs could have imagined. Personally, I don't understand how people could support NDAA (sec. 1021b), drone warfare, killing American citizens without trial (Anwar Al Awaki and his teen son), continued blind eye to Wall St. corruption, etc. The trend toward imprisoning and killing people without trial is especially disturbing. John Michael Greer recently penned an entertaining scenario for the downfall of American empire in the not-so-distant future. Highly recommended.
How it could Happnen: Hubris

Edited by Winterland76 on 11/11/2012 20:30:46 MST.