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Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I left you a link in there, so you can enjoy it yourself.

Thanks. I managed to miss that link in the alerts. Oh yeah -- he had it right, six full years ago before it all went down the terlet.

And now I understand why the Wisconsin voter ID bill 'inadvertently' disenfranchised some seniors. You see, seniors usually vote GOP/conservative, so why would they want to alienate them? The answer -- that's why. Seniors are about to get pissed but they won't be able to do anything about it, because 'opinion' will have the younger voters on its side and against them.

10/10/2011 #2,191
AltearazCreator

Makes perfect sense. The way I've always looked at it is, the people with the money have the power. The only way to change the system is to have the power to change the system. The people who have the power won't change the system. So, assuming we ever had the power to begin with, how do we get it back? Theoretically we have power. In practice we do not, unless we take it.

Those with the wealth are called 'productive'. What do they produce? We've been giving them tax breaks and saying, 'Plz maek us jobz' and how has that worked out for us? There's plenty of jobs created in China. People are so deathly afraid that if taxes go up on these clowns, Lenin will break out of his tomb, catch a plane to Washington and dance the can-can in the Oval Office. People in my generation are vilified because we often have no choice but to willingly put ourselves in massive debt in order to make something of ourselves, only to find out there's no jobs to begin with. And we are therefore suckling on the taxpayer's tit and socialists. 'Socialist' here meaning 'what conservatives don't like'.

If I were Prime Minister, I would be putting a tax on Canadian companies that outsource jobs. A massive one. If you want to associate yourself with this country, you can employ people here and your CEO can (boo fucking hoo) not be able to afford that eighth Mercedes. If you want to employ Chinese workers, have at it, but we'll take your economic contribution out of your hides in that case. And just to rub salt in the wound, I would donate that money to form unions in China! And it would still be more ethical than what the Conservative Party does!

Is it any wonder I'm just to the left of Stalin?

10/10/2011 #2,192
Nimbus Llewelyn

Tax the bastards till they scream.

If I were Prime Minister, I would be putting a tax on Canadian companies that outsource jobs. A massive one. If you want to associate yourself with this country, you can employ people here and your CEO can (boo fucking hoo) not be able to afford that eighth Mercedes.

I support the conservatives in England, but thats because Clegg is spineless, miliband is shifty and Cameron looks like the only willing to do anything. Getting out of Europe (BUT keeping the trade links, which existed beforehand. We don't need to outsource power to Brussels and pay them £45 million a day for the damn privilege) and taxing the banks, companies, super rich, with possible slight (note the slight) tax breaks for those who actively invest large amounts of money in national infrastructure.

10/10/2011 #2,193
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Those with the wealth are called 'productive'. What do they produce?

Jack shit. They organize other people's labor and skim the cream, which is all well and good until they skim too much. And now they're learned they can skim more by outsourcing, and our legislators have quietly undone the tariffs that protected us from the worst of it and lowered the higher marginal tax rates that might have made up for the social damage all this profiting does.

If I were President or even a Senator from Wisconsin, that's what I'd be doing too -- taxing the hell out of people who are raping the country and their fellow citizens for an extra few bucks.

10/10/2011 #2,194
Nimbus Llewelyn

I'll drink to that.

10/10/2011 #2,195
OldStoneface

People are so deathly afraid that if taxes go up on these clowns, Lenin will break out of his tomb, catch a plane to Washington and dance the can-can in the Oval Office.

That statement was high art. Thanks Alt!

10/10/2011 #2,196
R. Zancan

We can't tax the rich too highly, because they will take their business elsewhere and we really will be screwed.

10/10/2011 #2,197
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

We can't tax the rich too highly, because they will take their business elsewhere and we really will be screwed.

The US federal top marginal income tax rate is at the lowest it's ever been and businesses are still taking their jobs overseas in record numbers. We're still screwed.

10/10/2011 #2,198
R. Zancan

Well, I don't know if that applies to the UK, but it would still screw everything if they all left.

We had our 'QE2' last week, and if the banks hog all that money AGAIN, I will be in futile anguish.

10/10/2011 #2,199
Nimbus Llewelyn

In Britain we have the EU interfering. Aside from trade links (which we had before anyway), relative ease of travel (which is a double edged sword in of itself) and a political bloc, I am hard pressed to think of any benefits we get for £45 million a day.

Also the banks are rich enough to host a party on a war memorial to Merchant Seamen, so they're rich enough to be taxed. They'll just have to accept it.

10/10/2011 #2,200
militaryhistory

to Randy: Our system's better than theirs.

to Olorime: You're fighting the wrong battle that way. If you actually want to break the establishment, piling on even more labyrinthine bureaucracy isn't the way to do it.

Raise tax rates! comes the cry. Well, when you raise rates, more loopholes come into play. Me? I'm in favor of dropping tax rates while cutting out loopholes. Do that, and corporate profits might start becoming less about who has the best shysters and more about who can produce the goods.

10/10/2011 #2,201
Aislynn Crowdaughter

We can't tax the rich too highly, because they will take their business elsewhere and we really will be screwed.

Like Apple, who produces their i-pads and i-phones and whatever in China? Or like Nike, who let their boots be sewn together in whatever Asian sweatshop of the day may be the cheapest? And I could go on. What I am getting at is, they do that already. Even though the taxes are so low and they make their profit by selling their cheaply produced stuff for fdar higher prices in the USA (and Europe).

10/10/2011 #2,202
Aislynn Crowdaughter

Me? I'm in favor of dropping tax rates while cutting out loopholes. Do that, and corporate profits might start becoming less about who has the best shysters and more about who can produce the goods.

Unfortunately, the so-called flat-tax tends to weigh more heavily on those who earn less, and less heavily on those who have or earn more. But otherwise, cutting out all loopholes would be a great idea, indeed - and also making sure that those super rich have to pay taxes *at all*. I hear some of them, like GE (or was it GM?) for example, didn't have to, last year. Then, maybe, some of the richest corporations who make tons of money in the US would actually have to pay taxes, there, too. Same goes for some tax-avoiding rich bums down here in Europe. XC

10/10/2011 #2,203
Olorime
It depends, really. There are industries for which some countries have a competitive advantage. Yes, it seems as if paying some worker in Asia less than a dollar an hour for their labor is unfair, but are the relative prices unfair? It may be that if we stop manufacturing our products there (for which they have a competitive advantage)we would be hurting them. Of course, that is not really nice, nor fair, but then you trust that the government of those countries is actually protecting their people and providing regulations and protection.for the workers. They mostly are not because we treat corporations as people and give them political power, which they use to bully other countries into doing what they want regardless of the welfare cost to those countries societies,
10/10/2011 #2,204
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

to Randy: Our system's better than theirs.

Our system's better than whose, Milhist?

Raise tax rates! comes the cry. Well, when you raise rates, more loopholes come into play. Me? I'm in favor of dropping tax rates while cutting out loopholes.

We had a balanced budget. We lowered the top marginal tax rate and ended up with huge deficits and a recession. So we should lower taxes some more?

" CEOs today make 343 times the pay of average American workers, a stunning increase from 1980 when it was 42 times the average worker's pay." ( )

This is what Reagonomics brought us.

10/10/2011 #2,205
militaryhistory

Our system's better than whose, Milhist?

The Mexicans'.

We had a balanced budget. We lowered the top marginal tax rate and ended up with huge deficits and a recession. So we should lower taxes some more?

Lower the nominal top marginal tax rate while cutting out the loopholes, thereby increasing the effective top marginal tax rate. Also, the recession could be attributed to the housing bubble brought on by stupid inflationary policy.

10/10/2011 #2,206
Nimbus Llewelyn

Damn thats bad.

10/10/2011 #2,207
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Lower the nominal top marginal tax rate while cutting out the loopholes,

It depends on what loopholes you're talking about, Milhist. What are these loopholes that individual taxpayers get, other than the ability to deduct mortgage interest and have things like personal exemptions?

Also, the recession could be attributed to the housing bubble brought on by stupid inflationary policy.

Again, no, Milhist. It was brought on by financial markets profiting off mortgages and colliding with the fact that stagnant or dropping wages meant people could no longer afford the inflated housing prices. Also, people who have lost their jobs can't make their mortgage payments.

10/10/2011 #2,208
militaryhistory

It depends on what loopholes you're talking about, Milhist. What are these loopholes that individual taxpayers get, other than the ability to deduct mortgage interest and have things like personal exemptions?

I was talking corporate tax rates. My apologies for misunderstanding. I don't really think that increasing taxes is going to help. Wasn't it Carter who railed against the three-martini lunch exemption?

It was brought on by financial markets profiting off mortgages and colliding with the fact that stagnant or dropping wages meant people could no longer afford the inflated housing prices. Also, people who have lost their jobs can't make their mortgage payments.

And people were going for those homes oftentimes based on the lower interest rate that the fed had provided to them. Government was relying on the housing industry to bring us out the post-9/11 slump. Government policy was to increase demand, and things went from there.

10/10/2011 #2,209
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I was talking corporate tax rates. My apologies for misunderstanding. I don't really think that increasing taxes is going to help. Wasn't it Carter who railed against the three-martini lunch exemption?

I'm actually for keeping corporate tax rates low. However, corporations that maximize their profits by off-shoring jobs should pay more tax on those profits than corporations that employ American workers. Doesn't that make sense to you?

Personal tax rates? So what if one of those multi-million dollar a year CEOs has to pay an extra five percent on whatever he makes over a million dollars? He is still doing way better than the workers he's shorting in order to generate his huge salary.

10/10/2011 #2,210
militaryhistory

He is still doing way better than the workers he's shorting in order to generate his huge salary.

Does one necessarily follow from the other?

The top 1% of inocme earners pay as a percentage of tax revenue almost twice as much as the percentage they earn.

10/10/2011 #2,211
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

And people were going for those homes oftentimes based on the lower interest rate that the fed had provided to them. Government was relying on the housing industry to bring us out the post-9/11 slump. Government policy was to increase demand, and things went from there.

Possibly. But you have a guy like my friend Marcus who, to put it charitably, is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He was born that way, but he's the hardest working man I've ever seen. It's just that he does packing in warehouses or cleans out city buses for a living. He tried for a mortgage because it was actually less than the rent he was paying. He got one and bought a house that was an absolute piece of crap. $100K for a 100 year old frame house that started out its life as two bedrooms and a path. The person who sold it obviously made money and so did the mortgage company. Then Marcus was laid off,unemployment checks were delayed, and that was the end of that.

He's pretty much homeless now.

10/10/2011 #2,212
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

The top 1% of inocme earners pay as a percentage of tax revenue almost twice as much as the percentage they earn.

Explain that figure? But that's not the point. They aren't creating any kind of jobs with that personal wealth, and yes, it is coming at the expense of others.

10/10/2011 #2,213
OldStoneface

Milhist is saying that the top 1% of wage earners pay a disproportionate proportion of the total income tax revenue that the government gets, compared with the total amount those people earn as a % of total national income reported.

They pay about 40% of the total income tax collected.

Combined, they earn about 20% of the annual reported income made in the US each year.

So yes, they pay a higher percentage of the revenue collected compared to the percentage of total earnings. That's why it's called a progressive income tax. I happen to be one of those folks considered to be in the higher earnings category (not the top 1% by any stretch), and I don't begrudge the Fed taking a higher percentage of my money than my buddy who makes less than $50k per year. Because if you increase his taxes by 5% a year, he can't survive. If you increase my taxes by 5% per year, I'll piss and moan and then cut back on some luxury items and move on.

However, it may make the difference between me paying someone to clean my house and doing it myself. That risks putting someone else out of work. And those luxury items I stop buying will have an impact too (though not as big as they would if they were domestic produced).

I had a conversation once and we were discussing the tax rates. One guy is a die-hard trickle down Republican. He said if we lower taxes then total revenues will increase. I said GREAT, decrease them to zero and we'll have infinite revenue! My other friend is a hard-core progressive. He said we need to raise taxes to raise more revenue. I said GREAT, raise it to 100% and we'll have infinite revenue again! Of course both of those are stupid statements. There is a sweet spot for taxes and it is determined by balancing it's impact on economic activity and the allure of moving money and manufacturing overseas versus having enough money to provide the services we demand as citizens.

10/10/2011 #2,214
OldStoneface

Here's the facts:

1) Primary economic activity is driven by the mass of consumers, particularly middle class consumers because there are so damn many of them. Those folks buy the stuff that requires stores, transportation, manufacturing, and energy. And those economic sectors have huge support networks of subsidiary services and suppliers. The wealthy are NOT the primary driver of that baseline economy.

2) There is an additional 'bump' provided by the wealthiest because thought they make up only 1% they do buy a higher percentage of services and more expensive luxury goods. So per person they do have a larger impact on the economy. But there are not that many of them. But, again, you get the cascade effect. Rich Bob hires a company to manage his vacation home. That company hires landscapers and staff. Those people buy things and use services.

So what about this common refrain that the wealthy drive the economy? It is true BUT PRIMARILY IN THE NEGATIVE. That is, the wealthy hold the keys to the corporations. And they do not like to see their wealth decrease. If they believe that economic activity is slowing due to the mass of consumers slowing buying, they will push corporations to lay off workers to reduce costs. And THAT will trash the economy fast. Frankly, any company that lays off employees in a recession while STILL TURNING A PROFIT is cutting its own throat in the longer term. But the market has no mechanism to accept that fact. If you lay off employees, it has a cascade negative impact on your ability to sell your own products, because eventually the guy you laid off will not buy Widget B made by Guy #2 who will lose his job and stop using Guy #3 to work on his car, which happened to the guy who regularly bought your products.

10/10/2011 #2,215
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

So what about this common refrain that the wealthy drive the economy? It is true BUT PRIMARILY IN THE NEGATIVE. That is, the wealthy hold the keys to the corporations. And they do not like to see their wealth decrease. If they believe that economic activity is slowing due to the mass of consumers slowing buying, they will push corporations to lay off workers to reduce costs. And THAT will trash the economy fast. Frankly, any company that lays off employees in a recession while STILL TURNING A PROFIT is cutting its own throat in the longer term. But the market has no mechanism to accept that fact. If you lay off employees, it has a cascade negative impact on your ability to sell your own products, because eventually the guy you laid off will not buy Widget B made by Guy #2 who will lose his job and stop using Guy #3 to work on his car, which happened to the guy who regularly bought your products.

That's how I always understood it. And we've been laying off workers and expecting more productivity out of the remaining ones since the 1980s. The trend towards two-earner families has masked the effects somewhat, and a whole lot of credit has masked it even more. I think it just hit the fan.

10/10/2011 #2,216
Aislynn Crowdaughter

Or, how Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, puts it:

THE SEVEN BIGGEST ECONOMIC LIES

Here is a taste:

1. Tax cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else.Baloney. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both sliced taxes on the rich and what happened? Most Americans' wages (measured by the real median wage) began flattening under Reagan and have dropped since George W. Bush. Trickle-down economics is a cruel joke.

10/16/2011 #2,217
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

As i put it elsewhere -- the 1% gets a golden parachute while the other 99% gets a golden shower.

10/16/2011 #2,218
militaryhistory

Deconstruction:

1. Somewhat exaggerated, and I don't think he's taking other issues into account.

2. We had one of the few economies not devastated by WWII, and money that could be spent due to rationing. We almost couldn't help but expand quickly.

3. Mark Zandi tilts left, and raising taxes is not going to solve the problem of a fifteen trillion dollar debt.

4. Also wrong. We've been focusing on the short term for two decades, possibly three, and look where it's got us. We can't keep putting off solving the long term efforts forever.

5. He said/they said--and getting drugs to market is pricey as anything.

6. By the definition of a ponzi scheme, Social Security is a ponzi scheme. Sorry. As to solvency--I'd like to see if that's at the current ratio of inflow to outflow, or the one that's coming soon.

7. This one actually has some validity to it. So far as I'm concerned, a man with no margin between him and his family going hungry ought not to be taxed the same as a man with a massive margin.

10/16/2011 #2,219
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

6. By the definition of a ponzi scheme, Social Security is a ponzi scheme. Sorry. As to solvency--I'd like to see if that's at the current ratio of inflow to outflow, or the one that's coming soon.

It does rely on a certain ratio of workers to recipients. This upcoming strain by the Boomers was supposedly addressed back in 1980 or thereabout, when the FICA was doubled and the retirement age gradually raised. Social Security has run at a surplus for many years, with the surplus money being borrowed and 'invested' in T-bills, which in turn allowed for lower taxes (the government borrowed rather than pay up front). The program is solvent until roughly 2030 at 100% benefits and 80% thereafter. This could be addressed by raising the cap on income subject to FICA, because, as we were told when the Bush tax cuts were due to expire, $110 K just isn't what it used to be.

We might also acknowledge that the ratio of workers to recipients might be improved by having more Americans employed rather than off-shoring jobs. Our tax and trade policies might reflect the fact that such a practice is unpatriotic -- profiting at the expense of one's country.

Finally, I'm told that after GenX and GenY, there comes a generation that dwarfs the Boomers in number. This upcoming Social Security crunch is only temporary.

10/17/2011 #2,220
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