Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Society - Inequality vs. Equality

 
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Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
And as I stated, my position is that one should strive to understand everyone's position. And frankly looking down your nose at someone else because they pay more taxes is not what I would consider a productive outlook.
I don't think anyone is suggesting this...

I would personally be in favor of a flat 25% tax rate (combined federal and state) with no exemptions at all. If someone earns $20000 a year they pay $5000, if they earn a million a year they pay $250000. No legal loopholes that allow tax avoidance, let alone evasion. Okay, if the government gives some of that money back to them, that's okay (for example: medical benefits, veteran's benefits, childcare subsidies etc), but the important thing is that everybody pays those taxes. Non-payment of taxes should be punished, and the system should be as transparent as practicable. That gives the government enough money to do its job at a basic level and extra to maintain, develop and improve what needs to be (for example: maintaining and upgrading roads, bridges, levees, dredging river channels if they silt up, properly funding schools, public hospitals, etc).

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That is your right as a citizen; it is not your right as a person who once-upon-a-time owned said money.
and
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Maybe you think that the government shouldn't be spending money on these things, which isn't irrelevant and is instead the subject of reasonable discussion. But the statement that _my_ money shouldn't go to these things is just a distraction. Everybody pays for things they don't want, but the millions of people in the country have come to a compromise that that's okay because everyone has different opinions which, in turn, makes the country a better place (for free!).
pretty well indicates that you do, in fact, look down your nose on people who pay more in taxes, as if they should just shut up and pay the money and take a back seat to 'real people'

I think he's more espousing that the mere fact that you have more money than someone else does not make your ideas inherently have more worth.

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The reality is that the bottom two buckets together, the bottom 40% of Americans, own 0.3% of the wealth; 0.3%, almost nothing, whereas the top 20% own about 84% of the wealth.
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As far as I can tell his point is that money you've paid in taxes is not longer your money and treating it as if it were is fallacious.

If I pay Chik Filet for a sandwich, that money is no longer my money either, yet many people boycot Chik Filet because they don't want 'their money' to go towards supporting intollerance. Similarly if the catholic church conributes money to an affiliate it is no longer the church's money, and if the affiliate buys insurance for employees it is no longer the affiliates money, but there has been a huge stink about "Catholic" money being required to be used for abortions. It may not be their money anyome, but people do feel that they have some responsibility in terms of where money that was rpeviously theres goes. Telling anyone to stop complining about how money that used to be theirs is spent is counterprodctive- in business they will stop being customers, in politics they will organize a political movement against you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
If I pay Chik Filet for a sandwich, that money is no longer my money either, yet many people boycot Chik Filet because they don't want 'their money' to go towards supporting intollerance. Similarly if the catholic church conributes money to an affiliate it is no longer the church's money, and if the affiliate buys insurance for employees it is no longer the affiliates money, but there has been a huge stink about "Catholic" money being required to be used for abortions. It may not be their money anyome, but people do feel that they have some responsibility in terms of where money that was rpeviously theres goes. Telling anyone to stop complining about how money that used to be theirs is spent is counterprodctive- in business they will stop being customers, in politics they will organize a political movement against you.
It's fair enough to be concerned where your money is going. It may have been handed over to someone else, but it was yours. If you don't like what someone is doing with the money you gave them, you may choose to stop giving them your money. This is what people are doing when they boycott a business. It is their right to decide not to give their money to an organisation whose actions they disapprove of.

You do not get such a choice with the government - so you work with others to create groups who represent enough people, and therefore enough money, that the government will listen to you. If they don't, you may move elsewhere and take that money with you - so they listen, and sometimes act of what they hear. This is how some lobby groups were formed.

Yes, all of which could be avoided if one were to stop looking down one's nose at the source of their funding and treat people who provide the finanicial means for an organization with some degree of respect. In many ways the current political problems began with the "lets soak the rich" portion of the populist movement. Because the Rich had a tendancy to protest being soaked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muggie2 View Post
I would personally be in favor of a flat 25% tax rate (combined federal and state) with no exemptions at all. If someone earns $20000 a year they pay $5000, if they earn a million a year they pay $250000. No legal loopholes that allow tax avoidance, let alone evasion. Okay, if the government gives some of that money back to them, that's okay (for example: medical benefits, veteran's benefits, childcare subsidies etc), but the important thing is that everybody pays those taxes. Non-payment of taxes should be punished, and the system should be as transparent as practicable. That gives the government enough money to do its job at a basic level and extra to maintain, develop and improve what needs to be (for example: maintaining and upgrading roads, bridges, levees, dredging river channels if they silt up, properly funding schools, public hospitals, etc).
Flat taxes are ruinous.

First of all, you complete removing the ability of government to incentivize via levers of taxation. You may argue this is a good thing, but markets and market incentives are imperfect (for example the impact of emotional decision making, and 'tragedy of the commons' implications with regards to the environment), and it's up to the government to stop gap where they fail.

Second, a flat tax inherently impacts far more materially on the poor and middle class than the rich, with respect to quality of life.

Third, they about guarantee the rapid consolidation of wealth which is destructive to democracy and capitalism alike.

I'm all for simplification and revision of the tax code to eliminate unintended loopholes, as well as to reform things that don't make sense (like overtly generous secondary market capital gains/dividends treatment), but a flat tax is definitely _not_ the answer.


As for lobbying in disproportion to the financial means of your average individual, it's cancerous and antithetical to true democracy, as it permits the voice and influence of lobby groups to exceed the size of their constituency, and thus obviously distorts and corrupts the fundamental institutions and principles of any truly democratic system.








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