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Old 01-12-2007, 09:57 AM   #101
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
David Chalk wrote:
Mike

Since you ask - Cuba. at least judging by its commjttment to healthcare and education of it's population
David, you're like this dream come true for Stalin's categorization of "Useful Idiots". Cuba's "commitment to healthcare" and its education are part of the liberal mythos that they never really bother to investigate. Here. Here's your great Cuban healthcare. The facade presented to outsiders is not the reality:

http://www.therealcuba.com/Page10.htm

Follow the links to education and the rest.
Quote:
. I'd also like you to provide something that could be regarded as relevant evidence that "European countries have sponged off of the US for more than 50 years and even now could not exist without relying on the US to defend them"

I'd also like you to explain why, if the UK is dependant on the US defend to defend us (which didn't work too well in Northern Ireland) have you asked for our troops to support you in Iraq (both) and Afghanistan.
Oh, please. Other than token contributions, what do the European NATO countries provide... and that only to help maintain the facade that it is an "alliance"? Even now, France and other countries are simply refusing to contribute when they don't want to. Frankly, the US population, except for the keening liberals, is pretty tired of the Europe that always turns on the US when it doesn't need something from the US. And this is really not something new, BTW. Helmut Kohl, back in the 1950's, ran pretty deliberately on an anti-U.S. platform.

There were complaints about the US isolationism and the US not bailing out the UK and others as soon as it could have in previous wars... and we're headed that way again. Why bail out parasites? "A friend in need is a friend indeed".
Quote:
I am also aware that it was a Keynesian approach that pulled the US out of it's great depression and a 'Capitalist' approach that that put it into one.
What are you talking about? Many economists think that the Great Depression was prolonged by about 7 years because of the Keynsian approach. You don't know economics, you just spout the party line.

Mike
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Old 01-12-2007, 10:33 AM   #102
odudog
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Except there are plenty of wealthy conservatives, so your point is lost to me. Sounds like you're focusing on making excuses for liberals. Cady... there is no fixed "wealthy" class in the US, so your general comment doesn't work. The "wealthy" come from many diverse backgrounds and people rise into wealth and fall out of it all the time, despite the liberal mythos that permeates the Dem party, as an excuse to "tax those rich bastards". Holy Smoke, Cady. When's the last time you were in SF? The Mission District? The Haight? SF is not really a place of beauty anymore. It's fairly rotten, except for a few places. Oakland is not part of the US.... it's a third-world country, dangerous and ugly. It goes to show you where compassion can ultimately lead if not done carefully... not to a happy world but with some pretty bad people taking over places, even though you had the best of intentions when you gave away what you had.
You are so hell bent on placing the liberal tag on anything that you disagree with or don't understand that you can't see the trees amongst the forest. Cady made some good points in her post and had nothing to do about being liberal or conservative yet you placed the liberal tag on her post and just disavoyed what she had written. You need to do a much better job at reading Cady's post. If someone grows up extremely wealthy they would have no clue on how it means to struggle in life being liberal or conservative. I don't know the politics of Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie but they are prime examples of what Cady was trying to say. Maybe this visual will clue you in.
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Old 01-12-2007, 10:44 AM   #103
Mike Sigman
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
At the risk of dropping in the middle of a discussion without proper grounding, I'm going to promote my latest enthusiasm. The FairTax Book, by Neal Boortz and Rep. John Linder, which makes a very strong case to replace the IRS entirely with a consumption tax.
It's a good idea and it seems to be pretty much fair. But you know who will shoot it down? CPA and Trial Lawyer lobbies. It will take away a lot of their work (CPA's will become endangered species)... they'll fight it and they've got the money to do it.

Mike
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Old 01-12-2007, 11:33 AM   #104
James Davis
 
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
At the risk of dropping in the middle of a discussion without proper grounding, I'm going to promote my latest enthusiasm. The FairTax Book, by Neal Boortz and Rep. John Linder, which makes a very strong case to replace the IRS entirely with a consumption tax. There is a knee-jerk reaction that the poor will disproportionately pay such a tax, but they describe fail-safe mechanisms to NOT include the necessities as well as a tax write-off, so to speak up to a certain level of consumption. Additionally, they explain how this will result in a massive return of corporate investment to America, companies that have left to take advantage of lower taxes and labor costs abroad. They further explain how income tax also is a "commodity" tax in that each player in production pays income tax on their part (ie., the maker of the bread machine, the grower of the wheat and the yeast, the packager, the baker, etc.), so the cost to the consumer is far higher than simply a purchase price plus the baker's portion of tax.
Please read the book before jumping on my head -

P.S. for reasons I don't understand, almost all supporters of the bill are Republican, rather than bipartisan. I've begun to harry my congressman.

Best
I read that book too. It's really informative, and it's even pretty entertaining! I used to listen to Neal's radio show, but we don't get it around here any more.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 01-13-2007, 04:24 PM   #105
David Orange
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Who Are "The Wealthy"?

I've read so far without finding a solid definition of what is meant by "the wealthy" and I think the lack of a definition has helped obscure the arguments and reasoning in this thread.

First, while it is true that "people rise into and fall out of wealth all the time" in the US, there is a class of people that has been wealthy since before the Mayflower. Their people were wealthy before they left Europe and they became the official rulers when they arrived here in The New World. They founded the major universities such as Harvard and Yale (and institutions such as Skull and Bones). Their members have been in (and behind) the highest levels of goverment for hundreds of years. They are not the wealthiest 1% of Americans, but the wealthiest 1/10th or 1/20th of 1%. These people do not "rise into and fall out of wealth every day." No one rises into their ranks, even if (like Bill Gates) he earns enough money to match them.

I'm not sure of precise figures, but I believe the wealthiest 2% of Americans are those making over $1,000,000.00 a year. But as we go to the higher levels in the top 1% and top 1/2 of 1%, we find people making $1,000,000.00 or more every month. Again, very few people enter or leave this level of wealth. This level of wealth is almost entirely hereditary and is virtually permanent.

Now, the wealthiest 1% of Americans actually OWNS over 50% of EVERYTHING in the US. Can you imagine that: 1% owns 50% of everything?

But when you consider it, the top 2% actually owns about 75% or more of everything in the US. How much does the top 10% own? I think it's around 90%. And 90% of the people share the remaining 10% of the wealth in this nation. And while that 90% of the people have to scrape to get by and fight over the 10% that's available to them, the wealthiest 1 or 2% are mainly inheritors whose life experience is centered on managing and maintaining their ownership of the vast majority of everything that can be owned and controlled in this country.

The fact is, people at that level pay very, very, very little in taxes. The figure $400,000.00 out of an income of $1,000,000.00 has been offered, but I don't believe that's accurate. These people hire cadres of shrewd lawyers and accounting firms to find, exploit and defend almost infinite tax breaks and loopholes to ensure that they pay as little in taxes as possible. They did not rise to the levels of power they enjoy by letting money slip through their fingers or by giving anyone an even break. When they pay, they make sure that they pay as little as possible (in purchase cost, in salaries, in taxes) and when they charge (to the government, industry or ordinary citizens) they charge top dollar for everything.

And the poor? I think most of them remain poor because of an acute sense that "the fix is in" on everything. They're maybe not the brightest apples in the barrel and they are taxed heavily on their jobs. Sure, it may not look like much, but food, shelter, clothing, transportation, medical care and education usually demand that they work double or triple jobs and still end up short.

Of course, there are the alcoholics and drug abusers, but in my state, until recently, a family of four was charged state income tax at an annual income of $4,000.00! It was recently raised to $12,000.00, but I think that is being "phased" in. The point is that people on that level have to pay almost 100% of their income just to live day to day, hand to mouth and one paycheck from the street. And we tax them.

The wealthiest 1%, making anywhere from $1,000,000.00 a year to $1,000,000.00 a month (or even far more) have enough for hundreds of people to live on and stash plenty away. If they "give," it comes off their taxes.

Now, I have run a couple of businesses of my own over the past 30 years and I know what that's about. I respect people who run businesses. But when business becomes a cancer, like HealthSouth under Richard Scrushy or Enron under Ken Lay (or Halliburton, for instance), when their main "business" is inflating money through inflating costs, that's simply cheating. When CEOs make salaries hundreds of times greater than the people who do the real WORK of the company, then that business is in the business of inflating and cheating.

I don't mind anyone's taking advantage of the legal tax breaks to which he is entitled, but there is a point at which it becomes like a cancer and Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy have fed that cancer just as his idiot actions in Iraq have nourished the terrorists of the world.

My opinion.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 01-13-2007, 04:47 PM   #106
Mike Sigman
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Re: Who Are "The Wealthy"?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
I've read so far without finding a solid definition of what is meant by "the wealthy" and I think the lack of a definition has helped obscure the arguments and reasoning in this thread.
Oh, David, you just screwed up. It is against the rules for any liberal to define "wealthy" because the figures only embarrass their arguments. Also, the second thing you should never do is say exactly what percentage the "wealthy" should be taxed, because that also opens the argument up to being ridiculed by simple facts. All you're supposed to do is call for the "wealthy" to "pay their fair share" and leave it like that to appeal to the poor and uneducated who are the base of the Dem Party and who certainly approve of any efforts to get them the wealth of others.
Quote:
First, while it is true that "people rise into and fall out of wealth all the time" in the US, there is a class of people that has been wealthy since before the Mayflower. Their people were wealthy before they left Europe and they became the official rulers when they arrived here in The New World. They founded the major universities such as Harvard and Yale (and institutions such as Skull and Bones). Their members have been in (and behind) the highest levels of goverment for hundreds of years. They are not the wealthiest 1% of Americans, but the wealthiest 1/10th or 1/20th of 1%. These people do not "rise into and fall out of wealth every day." No one rises into their ranks, even if (like Bill Gates) he earns enough money to match them.
Oh my God.... what a conspiracy theory. I'll bet you mean not only these fabled few but you also mean the rich Jews, too. Let's lump them together and hate them and take their money. Whaddya say?
Quote:
I'm not sure of precise figures,...
Who would ever have guessed?
Quote:
but I believe the wealthiest 2% of Americans are those making over $1,000,000.00 a year. But as we go to the higher levels in the top 1% and top 1/2 of 1%, we find people making $1,000,000.00 or more every month. Again, very few people enter or leave this level of wealth. This level of wealth is almost entirely hereditary and is virtually permanent.

Now, the wealthiest 1% of Americans actually OWNS over 50% of EVERYTHING in the US. Can you imagine that: 1% owns 50% of everything?
Er, here's a quote more in line with reality:

In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2001, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 33.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 51%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 84%, leaving only 16% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth, the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 39.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2004).

What you need to understand is that the distribution of wealth is such that a lot of it is in the hands of a few has been the case throughout history, David. In fact, if you took all the wealth in the world and distributed it equally to everyone in the world, it would probably be less than 5 years before it wound up in the hands of a few people. Get a few books on animal behavior, David, and understand that we as humans conform very nicely to that model. BTW.... do you think Hugo Chavez, who is going to make Venezuela a "socialist country" is going to relinquish his enormous personal wealth? He hates Bush, too, and he has the general character of the average Bush hater.

My opinion back at you.

Mike
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:07 PM   #107
David Orange
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Re: Who Are "The Wealthy"?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Oh, David, you just screwed up. It is against the rules for any liberal to define "wealthy" because the figures only embarrass their arguments. Also, the second thing you should never do is say exactly what percentage the "wealthy" should be taxed, because that also opens the argument up to being ridiculed by simple facts.
There you go again, Mike.

Are you able just to look at the facts without having to label them as "liberal" or "conservative"? I didn't rigidly define the wealthy, but did point to "the top of the pyramid" and describe what it's like up there, which is accurate. And I didn't suggest any particular rate for their taxation since they evade any rate set for them through their loopholes, deductions and with the help of GW Bush's "cuts" on what they weren't paying anyway. Now, instead of having to hide it, somehow, they don't hide it and they don't pay it, either.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
...the poor and uneducated ... are the base of the Dem Party and ... certainly approve of any efforts to get them the wealth of others.
Hey, the wealthy suck the very life out of the poor. I don't think of the Democrats as aiming to get the wealth of others for themselves, but just to make sure that the wealthy pay their share. What about the Alternative Minimum Tax, that was supposed to make sure the wealthy didn't skate by paying nothing and which now is hurting more and more middle-class taxpayers every year while the wealthy (wealthiest 1 and 2 %) get assured and extended tax cuts?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Oh my God.... what a conspiracy theory. I'll bet you mean not only these fabled few but you also mean the rich Jews, too. Let's lump them together and hate them and take their money. Whaddya say?
Those are fighting words, buddy. I didn't say that and you don't need to insinuate that I did. I have too many Jewish friends and I admire too many Jews to either think like that or condone anyone's thinking like that. I don't care if you're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, athiest, Satanist or George Bush. You should pay your fair share in taxes.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Who would ever have guessed?Er, here's a quote more in line with reality:

In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2001, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 33.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 51%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 84%, leaving only 16% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth, the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 39.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2004).
Oh. I said 50% when it was only 40%. But 40% OWNED by ONE PERCENT????? That is MASSIVE wealth beyond the imagination of a family of four being taxed on an annual income of $4,000.00. I don't see anything wrong with a proportianate tax on that level of wealth--an not to come to me, but to go to the upkeep of the nation that has allowed them to operate here and accumulate their wealth. In large measure, they sucked it out of the lower 84% of the population. People like Ken Lay, Richard Scrushy, et al, are effectively vampires.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
What you need to understand is that the distribution of wealth is such that a lot of it is in the hands of a few has been the case throughout history, David. In fact, if you took all the wealth in the world and distributed it equally to everyone in the world, it would probably be less than 5 years before it wound up in the hands of a few people.
So I see nothing wrong in taxing those people in proportion to their ability to take.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:50 PM   #108
Mike Sigman
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Re: Who Are "The Wealthy"?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Hey, the wealthy suck the very life out of the poor.
Class warfare, David. Does that mean that you are "sucking the life out of" everyone who makes or has less than you do?
Quote:
I don't think of the Democrats as aiming to get the wealth of others for themselves, but just to make sure that the wealthy pay their share.
Tell me the income/assets of the "wealthy" and how much their "fair share" should be, David. Give me some actual figures rather than class-warfare rhetoric. Lessee... Carter had it jacked up to 72% and the economy tanked bigtime. Give me some numbers where you think it should be. Remember that when the economy tanks, all the "poor" *really* suffer. When you take away the possibility of becoming very wealthy for their extended efforts, people quit creating jobs and wealth... you tell me what that "fair share" is that doesn't mess up the system. Carter and the Dem's found out the hard way... should we go through that again?
Quote:
You should pay your fair share in taxes.
Heck, there are some people that don't pay any taxes. Is that a "fair share"? Define what "fair share" means, David. It sounds like what you really want to do is re-distribute the wealth and take it from the people who work hardest and put their savings on the line the most. Look up the "wealthy", David.... 70% of what you're calling "the wealthy" are actually small business owners. What you really want to do is destroy the economy for some cool sounding idea that ignores reality.
Quote:
So I see nothing wrong in taxing those people in proportion to their ability to take.
Sure.... you see nothing wrong with forcibly taking money away from people. "Let's feed that hungry guy over there with someone else's money". It's Ivory Tower Economics, David.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 01-14-2007, 12:54 AM   #109
David Orange
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Re: Who Are "The Wealthy"?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
David Orange wrote:
'Hey, the wealthy suck the very life out of the poor."

Mike:
Class warfare, David. Does that mean that you are "sucking the life out of" everyone who makes or has less than you do?
If I had my thumb on them, controlling the laws and regulations of the land, refusing a raise in the minimum wage unless I get a tax break for myself, I'd have to say yes. But that's not the case. On the other hand, if I go out and hire some day laborer and pay him $1/hr plus a bottle of Ripple to do manual labor for me, yeah, I'd be sucking the life out of him.

And what I'm waging is not class warfare. Anyone who doesn't see that the wealthy are waging a deadly class warfare against the lower 95% of the American populace is either lying or blind.


Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
David Orang wrote:
"I don't think of the Democrats as aiming to get the wealth of others for themselves, but just to make sure that the wealthy pay their share."

Mike:
Tell me the income/assets of the "wealthy" and how much their "fair share" should be, David. Give me some actual figures rather than class-warfare rhetoric.
You didn't give any 'real figures' yourself. You just started off with that goofy sports game ticket refund thing. Total straw man arguments. I'm not being specific at all. But when 1% owns 40% of the wealth of a nation, they can afford to pay a lot. Especially when that nation taxes a family of four when they are barely on a subsistence level of living.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
When you take away the possibility of becoming very wealthy for their extended efforts, people quit creating jobs and wealth...
Yeah. If their ownership should go down to 38% of everything, it wouldn't be worth it for the super-super-wealthy to even keep trying. I work my butt off every day without complaining. I pay my taxes and I structure my affairs to take advantage of every tax break I can. But I still pay and I don't complain about it.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Heck, there are some people that don't pay any taxes. Is that a "fair share"?
If it's a single mother with two kids, working two jobs to keep her car on the road, keep food on the table, keep her kids dressed decently and in school, she's pretty close to the line where I would say very little tax is fair for her to pay. You have to have rent, food, clothes, transportation, school fees (which should be covered by public funding, but are not) and all the other myriad details of daily life in this society. When it takes $35,000.00 just to keep that level of life covered, that person should not pay $10,000.00 in taxes. And don't forget Social Security, which is a huge chunk out of everyone's weekly paycheck. People on the lowest end pay that and also federal and state tax, maybe city tax, then get taxed on every item they buy at the store, including medicine in many places.

But Social Security taxes end at about $90,000.00 income, I believe, and such high earners cease to feel that at all.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Define what "fair share" means, David. It sounds like what you really want to do is re-distribute the wealth and take it from the people who work hardest and put their savings on the line the most.
Work the hardest???? Ken Lay, Richard Scrushy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs? A corporate CEO who makes as much in one year as several hundred of the workers who actually produce the products that his company sells? Who works the hardest????

Mostly, the really wealthy, in the top 2%, inherited their money. They did nothing to get it and all they have to do is keep the wheel spinning if they want to keep it. The people who work hardest are in the upper-middle range. They're not the ones making $1,000,000.00 a year, much less those making a million a month.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Look up the "wealthy", David.... 70% of what you're calling "the wealthy" are actually small business owners.
The wealthiest 2% are small business owners? No, to own 40% to 50% of the financial wealth of the nation, these people are not small business owners. No individual making $1,000,000.00 a year is "small business."

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
What you really want to do is destroy the economy for some cool sounding idea that ignores reality.
yeah, if I can't own 50% of everything without having to raise my hand for anything more strenuous than signing a piece of paper, it's just not worth it to be wealthy and I will quit trying, huh?

A guy in my town made over $16,000,000.00 (a figure I heard about eight years ago, and he's made a lot more money since) on a BOOK he wrote. A fantasy. Now regardless of what you think about his story, that is a case of hard work. He sold the books out of the trunk of his car until he was able to get into a good distribution system and it took off from there.

As a writer, myself, I'd like to do something similar. I don't look for grants or any kind of hand-outs to do it. I hit the keyboard and think about what I've written and how to make it better. I search for agents and publishers and study the distribution system. If I ever make it, people will say it was an overnight success, but it will have taken over thirty years of really hard work to achieve it.

Would I give up on that if I could only keep $8,000,000.00 of the $16,000,000.00 I earned? Heck, yeah! It's an excellent system, in that respect.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
David Orange wrote:
"So I see nothing wrong in taxing those people in proportion to their ability to take."

Mike:
Sure.... you see nothing wrong with forcibly taking money away from people. "Let's feed that hungry guy over there with someone else's money". It's Ivory Tower Economics, David.
Forcibly taking? My statement was in reply to your example of redistributing all the world's wealth only to have it concentrated in the hands of a very few people again within a very short time. Which means that some people are very good at taking money from others. Those are the very wealthy in our system now. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. You live by taking money from others, you just have to accept that it's fair that some of that money will be taken from you for the privilege of participating in the system. There's nothing wrong with putting some limits on the system to prevent too much of the wealth from ending up in the hands of too few of the people.

The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest has been growing steadily in this country for decades. Major companies have operated on the hard work of employees for decades then wiped out the pension funds those very people worked for. Who got that money? Hard workers?

Enron was built on inflating energy prices by reselling and reselling energy resources among fake companies it set up for no purpose other than boosting prices. They persuaded the employees to invest heavily in the company stock, then would not let them sell that stock while high level officials were selling theirs.

This and every imaginable form of thievery is very common in business. It is the real class warfare and it is waged by the very wealthy against the middle and lower income ranges. They will literally take decades of a loyal worker's life efforts (the life efforts of hundreds of thousands of employees over literal decades) and suck it right up with a straw. But if I say something about it, I'm the one waging "class warfare"???

Don't worry, Mike. No one's going to hurt your precious super-wealthy (or touch their precious money) just because I gripe about it.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 01-14-2007, 08:12 AM   #110
Mike Sigman
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Let's go back again and see if you'll answer this time: Define what you mean by "wealthy".... give me the numbers. Tell me what percentage you want to tax them. This wandering, vague liberal monologue of yours, .... a typical, "blame the other guy" rant... is not the answer to the questions I asked.

Might as well toss in a third question....... do you think most of the poor are there because the "evil rich" stole their money.... or do you think they are there because of the cumulative choices they have made in their lives? I.e.,.... are people responsible for their own personal choices, or is society responsible?


Mike
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:30 PM   #111
David Orange
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Let's go back again and see if you'll answer this time: Define what you mean by "wealthy".... give me the numbers.
How big is big? How high is high?

But you can surely say that the 1% who own 40% of everything are, indeed, wealthy. Maybe we should just say "those who benefitted most from Bush's tax cuts."

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Tell me what percentage you want to tax them. This wandering, vague liberal monologue of yours, .... a typical, "blame the other guy" rant... is not the answer to the questions I asked.
Blame the other guy? Where? How?

It's impossible to determine a percentage at which "they" should be taxed because of the complexity of the taxation system. There is an apparent rate, but there are so many exceptions and legal ways to evade it that it's pointless to look at it that way.

What I really mean may be that every citizen "feel" his taxation at the same level. When you're a single mother with two children, paying SSI as well as state, local and federal taxes, then taxes on all the food, clothing and medicine you buy, you "feel" the taxation to the bone. Sure, a multi-millionaire (according to you) pays $400,000 tax on $1,000,000 income (though I doubt very seriously that any of them actually pay that), but even that level of payment would not jeopardize his ability to keep his children in bedrooms and keep them fed every day, get them to school and allow him to spend some time with them.

Maybe a better way to express it would be to tax the poor so that they don't feel the taxation "any worse" than the millionaire feels it. Choose a level of fulfillment of basic needs, determine the income needed to meet that and begin taxation for incomes above that level. This would let lower-income people get on their feet and develop a good career. Sort of a "trickle-up theory." It's literally the same as the rich get. Give them a break to give them the incentive to develop. Indeed, I don't see why the rich need so much incentive to get richer. But real poverty, and taxation on top of it, tends to breed real despair and hopelessness. Excessive taxation is felt far more deeply by the lower levels and makes it much harder to work their way up.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Might as well toss in a third question....... do you think most of the poor are there because the "evil rich" stole their money.... or do you think they are there because of the cumulative choices they have made in their lives? I.e.,.... are people responsible for their own personal choices, or is society responsible?
There's no reason to frame it as either/or. We know that it's a mixture of things. Some people drop out of school because they're lazy and hateful; some drop out because their father dies and their mother has five kids to care for. Some people are drug or alcohol addicts; some are the children of such people. Some people refuse to save for retirement. Others work hard and faithfully all their lives, only to have their pensions erased by the corporation they faithfully served. Some lose everything due to sudden catastrophic medical bills.

The complement to your question would be, "Do all the super wealthy inherit their money, or cheat others for it; or do some of them actually earn it?"

And the answer, again, is "Both."

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:07 PM   #112
Mike Sigman
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
How big is big? How high is high?

But you can surely say that the 1% who own 40% of everything are, indeed, wealthy. Maybe we should just say "those who benefitted most from Bush's tax cuts."
You know, if you actually knew anything other than Far-Left slogans, this might be worth debating... but you don't.

The data from the 2003 IRS compilations show that the top 1 percent of taxpayers, ranked by adjusted gross income, paid 34.3 percent of all federal income taxes that year. The top 5 percent paid 54.4 percent, the top 10 percent paid 65.8 percent, and the top 25 percent paid 83.9 percent.

The top 1 percent make about 14 percent of the income, yet they pay more than one-third of the taxes. I ask you again, David, what is their "fair share"?

And look at it from another perspective: the real reason we need so much money in taxes is not because the wealthy aren't paying enough of their money, it's because the congress has been steadily increasing spending for "entitlements" for years. It's paying for those entitlements, none of which are guaranteed in the Constitution, that has the Dem's demanding more and more of other peoples' money. Let's start looking at cutting the entitlements, shall we? But no... using the Dem's circular logic, we need those entitlements so that the poor people will vote for them. I.e., this is pure re-distribution of wealth. Socialism-Lite. And socialism is just communism in drag, eh? I ask you again... do you think Hugo Chavez is going to give up his enormous stolen wealth when he makes Venezuela "socialist"? His cronies?

Have you ever wondered why the Far Left, the liberals, are so much in love with and champion the dictators in the world that are the least liberal of any rulers, in reality? It's always been a puzzle to me. I think that what it boils down to in liberals' minds is "if it hates America, it must be good"... because that's the trendy thinking that became so popular in the late 60's and early 70's.
Quote:
In re whether society is responsible for the personal choices people make) There's no reason to frame it as either/or. We know that it's a mixture of things. Some people drop out of school because they're lazy and hateful; some drop out because their father dies and their mother has five kids to care for. Some people are drug or alcohol addicts; some are the children of such people. Some people refuse to save for retirement. Others work hard and faithfully all their lives, only to have their pensions erased by the corporation they faithfully served. Some lose everything due to sudden catastrophic medical bills.

The complement to your question would be, "Do all the super wealthy inherit their money, or cheat others for it; or do some of them actually earn it?"
But society isn't supporting the "super wealthy", who have nothing to do with the question, David. Can't you just answer honestly one time?

No one has a problem with helping hard cases when they come along, but society should not be responsible for the personal choices of the individuals. If you choose to not work or not finish school so you can't get a good job or if you choose to get pregnant and do drugs.... whose problem should that be? If you choose to break the law or become an alcoholic or simply not work... why is society obligated to pay your way? If you make it so that there is not so big of a safety net, do people start becoming good citizens? Yes. Look at the results (widely not reported in the liberal media) of what has happened since welfare reform... which people like you said would never work.

Why not get positive about your country instead of being such a drag on it, David?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:39 PM   #113
David Orange
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
But society isn't supporting the "super wealthy", who have nothing to do with the question, David. Can't you just answer honestly one time?
What do you call it when they are allowed to erase pensions that people have paid into for 30 years? That money came out of those people's weekly checks, while they worked faithfully for the company and trusted the company to handle that money in good faith? And who do you think will actually pay the relative pittance that those people finally do receive? The US government, meaning taxpayers, while the corporate officers and company stock holders make millions.

And you have the nerve to put in writing the claim that society is not supporting the super wealthy? WE pay every time they do that. Ever heard of "corporate welfare"? WE pay that. The super wealthy suck the lifeblood out of their workers, shirk their fair share of taxes, then dump their obligations back on the people.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
No one has a problem with helping hard cases when they come along, but society should not be responsible for the personal choices of the individuals. If you choose to not work or not finish school so you can't get a good job or if you choose to get pregnant and do drugs.... whose problem should that be? If you choose to break the law or become an alcoholic or simply not work... why is society obligated to pay your way?
Mmmm....I outlined in my previous post that I don't support that. But I also outlined how many other ways there are for someone to end up uneducated and in poverty. It is not always a personal choice and the poor are very often truly the hardest workers in the picture.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
If you make it so that there is not so big of a safety net, do people start becoming good citizens? Yes. Look at the results (widely not reported in the liberal media) of what has happened since welfare reform... which people like you said would never work.
First, I never said welfare reform would not work. But I'm not so simplistic that I blame every case of poverty on laziness and drugs.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Why not get positive about your country instead of being such a drag on it, David?
I'm very positive about my country, Mike. I pay my taxes and work every day. The ones I'm a drag on are those who feel entitled by divine right to take their comfort on the backs of the poor and that they are above the law because they paid the lawmakers to make it so.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 01-15-2007, 09:08 AM   #114
Mike Sigman
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
The ones I'm a drag on are those who feel entitled by divine right to take their comfort on the backs of the poor and that they are above the law because they paid the lawmakers to make it so.
It's always amazing to me how beset by demons you are, David. All those evil rich people around you! And yet you're a model of equanimity!

Regards,

Mike
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Old 01-15-2007, 10:54 AM   #115
Hogan
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
What do you call it when they are allowed to erase pensions that people have paid into for 30 years? That money came out of those people's weekly checks, while they worked faithfully for the company and trusted the company to handle that money in good faith?...
I call it breaking the first rule of investing - 'never put all your eggs in one basket'.
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Old 01-16-2007, 07:54 PM   #116
David Orange
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
It's always amazing to me how beset by demons you are, David. All those evil rich people around you! And yet you're a model of equanimity!
All the really well-off people I know earned their money through either very hard work or by very intelligent work as scientists. I know surgeons, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, statisticians, programmers. They all earn excellent livings, work hard and honestly and I admire them all.

However, right in my own town, there's a guy named Richard Scrushy and if you'd held any stock in his company, you would have a jaundiced eye toward him in his huge mansion, with his airplanes and his yacht and his name on buildings all over town. His company inflated its worth by $2 billion dollars while he was CEO, signing off on all the financial statements. They paid him something like $57 million in BONUSES while that fraud was taking place and he had the unbelievable nerve to think he needn't give back those bonuses when it was revealed that that massive fraud was taking place even as he was given those bonuses. I was deeply satisfied when the judge ordered him to give 'almost' all of it back. It's quite a story, right up there with World Com and Enron. And the looting of the United Airlines pension fund and others. Dirty business is DIRTY business and there is nothing better about it than there is a crackhead robbing people on the street.

I, of course, lost nothing to those scandals, but I know a guy who lost something like $30,000.00 in the HealthSouth scam. A lot of people lost a lot more than that on HealthSouth. But are you saying you think the looting of pension funds, the bankrupting of people who worked 30 years in good faith, is anything BUT evil? Do you think their old age penury is "the result of their personal choices"--or are you saying that faithful hard work and careful saving in a "solid" pension plan is a bad personal choice?

Would you feel good about profiting from a deal that cost thousands of people most of their life savings? Do you feel good that YOUR taxes are going to pay the partial pensions that those scammed employees will actually get, knowing that somebody walked away with millions of dollars?

As for me, I'm very, very satisfied with my job. I'm helping to determine whether a major surgery is really needed to treat a tragic disease or whether most of the recuperation is due to the medication that's prescribed after the surgery. This has been a major question for over fifty years, but until now no definitive study of the question has been conducted. It may be that we will find that the surgery does make the difference. But it may be that our research will find that opening up the chest and removing major tissue there is not really necessary.

I'm happy with every level of my participation in that kind of work including the salary, the benefits, the retirement, vacation and every other aspect.

I've been down and when I was down I accepted it as the result of my own choices. I got to where I am now by dedicated work. In the past, when I felt I was being ripped off, I left that employment and found something else. I wouldn't work a job that interfered with my aikido training. I lived in my dojo for almost three years and wound up in debt from that, got a job and paid it all back, went to Japan. I don't have any major regrets over what I've done. I wrote some books during that time and may yet get some of them published. For my troubles, I blame only myself. For my successes, I credit my upbringing and the help of good people.

But when I see a low-down cowardly thief, I don't pretend he's a good man.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 01-16-2007, 08:07 PM   #117
David Orange
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
John Hogan wrote:
I call it breaking the first rule of investing - 'never put all your eggs in one basket'.
Well, one of the first rules of personal finance is to max out your pre-tax contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. Almost anything else you do is going to be after-tax and relatively less productive. So even if you have plenty of other investments, most people are going to have a huge amount in their company's retirement plan.

Assuming your entire retirement plan (not counting your other investments) were decimated tomorrow, would you shrug it off?

And if it were done by your employer, and you knew the CEO of the company had personally earned several million by decimating your and your fellow employees' contributions, would you get a good laugh out of it and congratulate him on his good business sense?

Something tells me you would not.

In companies like Enron, employees were pressured to load their retirement accounts with Enron stock. Those who did were pretty dumb, especially when those accounts were locked and the employees were prevented from getting rid of that stock while the executives were dumping all of theirs.

But a retirement plan is supposed to be like a bank account--protected by rules and regulations. And within that (at least in mine) you can allocate your money to stocks, bonds, real estate, annuities or other investments. Maybe you think you're being diversified by doing that, but if the employer can pull the plug on that, all your prudence is vapor.

But are you saying that by working and saving in good faith, the loss is really the employees' fault, and not the company's that was responsible?

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:58 AM   #118
Hogan
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Well, one of the first rules of personal finance is to max out your pre-tax contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. Almost anything else you do is going to be after-tax and relatively less productive. So even if you have plenty of other investments, most people are going to have a huge amount in their company's retirement plan.
A company retirement plan & a 401k plan are two entirely different things. If people put all their money in their 'company' retirement plan, is that putting all their money in their companies stock, as in Enron? Because THAT is putting all their eggs in one basket. If you have a 401k, & your company fails, you don't lose retirement plan because your money in the 401k plan is NOT in your company's stock.

Quote:
Assuming your entire retirement plan (not counting your other investments) were decimated tomorrow, would you shrug it off?
Again, depends on how it was invested. You have to diversify to protect. Highly unlikely a diversified plan would crash all at once over the entirety of investments.

Quote:
And if it were done by your employer, and you knew the CEO of the company had personally earned several million by decimating your and your fellow employees' contributions, would you get a good laugh out of it and congratulate him on his good business sense?
Again, 401k & company retirement plan different. I would NEVER out all my eggs in one basket. But if I did, & it failed because of company CEO & leaders engaged in illegal behavior, then they would pay with jail time & fines. However, who put all their money in one basket? Why should I bail out someone who did so? It's like those folks who live in flood planes & who lose their homes, then we find out they had no insurance & we (taxpayers) get stuck with the bill. Why reward idiotic behavior? They chose to do what they did.

Quote:
In companies like Enron, employees were pressured to load their retirement accounts with Enron stock.
Source? They could've said no.

Quote:
Those who did were pretty dumb, especially when those accounts were locked and the employees were prevented from getting rid of that stock while the executives were dumping all of theirs.
Agreed.

Quote:
But a retirement plan is supposed to be like a bank account--protected by rules and regulations. And within that (at least in mine) you can allocate your money to stocks, bonds, real estate, annuities or other investments. Maybe you think you're being diversified by doing that, but if the employer can pull the plug on that, all your prudence is vapor.
Company can not pull our investments. They can change administrators & plans, but they cannot take your 401k money.

Quote:
But are you saying that by working and saving in good faith, the loss is really the employees' fault, and not the company's that was responsible?
Nope - I am saying if you engage in behavior your shouldn't (i.e, putting all your money in one co. stock), then accept responsibilty for when problems arise. You have to protect yourself & not rely on government (i.e., taxpayers) to bail you out.

Last edited by Hogan : 01-17-2007 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:46 AM   #119
odudog
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

From David Orange: In companies like Enron, employees were pressured to load their retirement accounts with Enron stock.


From Hogan: Source? They could've said no.

http://www.happinessonline.org/InfectiousGreed/p20.htm

The link that I provided is a guy's tale about what actually happened to him. I remember a little bit of this for it was being discussed in some of the finance classes that I was taking. There was pressure put on the employees to sign up for the Enron pension plan from what I remember seeing in the news reports. The employees said that despite the pressure being applied it didn't seem like a bad deal when you looked at the terms of the pension plan. However, they didn't look at all the fine print as most people don't and remember that these are just your average folk and not totally financially savy just like the majority of the population. The major problem with the Enron plan was all the restrictions placed on the employees that didn't pertain to the company bigwigs and the fact that the bigwigs had rigged the financials to such a huge extent which effected the price of the stock which was being placed in the employees pension plan. We all know what happened afterwards.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:49 AM   #120
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote:
From David Orange: In companies like Enron, employees were pressured to load their retirement accounts with Enron stock.


From Hogan: Source? They could've said no.

http://www.happinessonline.org/InfectiousGreed/p20.htm

The link that I provided is a guy's tale about what actually happened to him. I remember a little bit of this for it was being discussed in some of the finance classes that I was taking. There was pressure put on the employees to sign up for the Enron pension plan from what I remember seeing in the news reports. The employees said that despite the pressure being applied it didn't seem like a bad deal when you looked at the terms of the pension plan. However, they didn't look at all the fine print as most people don't and remember that these are just your average folk and not totally financially savy just like the majority of the population. The major problem with the Enron plan was all the restrictions placed on the employees that didn't pertain to the company bigwigs and the fact that the bigwigs had rigged the financials to such a huge extent which effected the price of the stock which was being placed in the employees pension plan. We all know what happened afterwards.
Ah, now I see how their 401k contributions were handled. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:28 AM   #121
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

i think one general assumption Al Gore had had is that wealthy people make over $100,000. Since the combined annual income of your typical family is about $50,000, this would seem to make sense at first.

then again; who usually makes six figures? Doctors, engineers, small business owners, basically: anyone who took out a huge loan, or is assuming a huge risk. i don't think it's fair to tax them any more or less than everyone else.

if anyone should be taxed more, it should be the wealthiest of the rich. as far as i'm concerned, they're paying back the government that got them where they are in the first place.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:50 PM   #122
Cady Goldfield
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Luc has a valid point. A lot of the wealthiest of the rich obtained their fortunes from working with/for the government, in the form of corporate contracts... apparently sometimes without even having to bid for them against other firms. Companies like Haliburton come to mind, with their top brass making amounts of money that defy the imagination.
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:28 PM   #123
David Orange
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
John Hogan wrote:
Ah, now I see how their 401k contributions were handled. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Nonetheless, they contributed to a 401(k), which you seem to think would be totally safe.

Anyway, the point is that many of the richest people in this country get their money through things like this, large and small, that take from the poor and give to the rich. And you know what? They don't pay tax on that booty, but you and I pay tax to make up the little bit that the swindled employees do finally get.

But Enron is not the only company that did this. United Airlines and at least one other airline did it. And other companies have done it and probably many others will do it yet.

These things are done to benefit someone, who walks away with a bundle and pays almost nothing for it in taxes. And these kinds of swindles, from low wages to scams that are unimaginable to honest, hard-working people, are what feed the richest among us. In the old days they were called "Robber Barons" for a reason. They were considered the scum of the earth until Reagan got into the White House and Greed became Good again.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 01-17-2007 at 02:34 PM.

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Old 01-17-2007, 02:36 PM   #124
Hogan
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Nonetheless, they contributed to a 401(k), which you seem to think would be totally safe....
The problem was with Enron's contributions to the 401k on behalf of the employees - which happen to be company stock rather than cash, which is what most companies contribute to an employees 401k. Did the ENTIRE 401k consist of company stock? Was employee contributions converted to company stock? Well, then that's putting all their eggs in one basket still. If not, then the rest of the 401k was OK. Again, diversification.....
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:53 PM   #125
David Orange
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Re: The New "Tax Breaks"

Quote:
John Hogan wrote:
The problem was with Enron's contributions to the 401k on behalf of the employees - which happen to be company stock rather than cash, which is what most companies contribute to an employees 401k. Did the ENTIRE 401k consist of company stock?... Again, diversification.....
I don't know those details, but in the case of United, as far as I know, the entire pension fund was erased and high-level executives made a tidy profit, on which they paid very little tax, thanks to GW Bush. Also, you and I are paying even now for the government's making up (according to long-standing law) a mere part of those earned pension benefits.

The point is, that's how the rich get rich and that's why they should pay a very healthy tax on their very healthy hauls.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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www.esotericorange.com
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