Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Society - Inequality vs. Equality

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrealistik View Post
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.
How does government incentivize via levers of taxation? It sounds good - what does it mean in reality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrealistik View Post
Second a flat tax inherently impacts far more materially on the poor and middle class than the rich, with respect to quality of life.
Again, how? I can see how this could happen at the bottom end, because the difference between the wage and the living expenses gets close enough that disposable income is low, but the government has other ways to ameliorate this, such as a minimum wage rate, tax rebates, tax credits and so on.
The reality of taxation is that the rich can afford to pay experts to shift or hide their real income, and pay a rate of taxation which is considerably below what lower and middle class earners pay, regardless of the progressive taxation system, simply because the system is too big, too complicated, and so full of loopholes. Why not just start with making it a flat rate, eliminate loopholes and avoidance systems, and thus simplify the tax system to the point where avoiders and evaders become obvious?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrealistik View Post
Third, they about guarantee the rapid consolidation of wealth which is destructive to democracy and capitalism alike.
The problem is that this is already happening under the "fair" laws you are in favor of, simply because of all those loopholes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrealistik View Post
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 democracy.
Quite true. In some cases it is thoroughly valid, in other cases it's pernicious and should be stamped out. Definitions of which is which are, however, difficult to get people to agree to. People form groups within a society to achieve some form of goal. Some of those goals are positive, some are negative, and some can be both, depending who you ask and when. In general, however, I agree with you on this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muggie2 View Post
How does government incentivize via levers of taxation? It sounds good - what does it mean in reality?
It means rewarding good communal behaviour like environmental stewardship, or taking risks in important research and development, and potentially punishing the inverse; all things that benefit society as a whole and in the long term which are either under incentivized by the market, or not, or even inversely incentivized.

Quote:
Again, how? I can see how this could happen at the bottom end, because the difference between the wage and the living expenses gets close enough that disposable income is low, but the government has other ways to ameliorate this, such as a minimum wage rate, tax rebates, tax credits and so on.
Tax credits/rebates in my understanding are not applicable to a truly flat tax code. If you are allowing for these things then yes, it becomes more palatable in this regard, but make no mistake; the burden on quality of life remains substantial for the poor/middle class vs non-existent for the rich, unless basic living expenses are almost entirely refunded.

Quote:
The reality of taxation is that the rich can afford to pay experts to shift or hide their real income, and pay a rate of taxation which is considerably below what lower and middle class earners pay, regardless of the progressive taxation system, simply because the system is too big, too complicated, and so full of loopholes. Why not just start with making it a flat rate, eliminate loopholes and avoidance systems, and thus simplify the tax system to the point where avoiders and evaders become obvious?
Sure they can, in the event of poorly designed tax codes. Again, I agree that tax code should be simplified and revised to preclude excessive tax avoidance. My opposition is reserved for an oversimplified flat tax for all of the reasons listed, not improved tax transparency and integrity in general. Progressive taxation with levers of incentive do not have to equate to a hole riddled mess.

Quote:
The problem is that this is already happening under the "fair" laws you are in favor of, simply because of all those loopholes.
This is entirely because of the lobbying factor. In other countries where lobbying/campaign financing is more constrained, and money is much more divorced from politics, such as Norway and Canada, this isn't nearly as problematic.

Progressive and nuanced tax codes alone do not guarantee a defense against wealth consolidation, though a flat tax code absolutely assures it happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
and
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'
No silveroak. I'm not looking down my nose at anyone; I'm not telling anyone to take a back seat to anyone else. I think that people who make boatloads of money should have just as much representation as the rest of us, but not more.

I really don't understand how you're taking any of these statements as an attack upon the wealthy.

-Kernal

Because the message that this approach sends to the wealthy- as they will hear it- is "Your money is ours to take when we want it and do with as we please. Everyone has as much right to have a voice in how your money is spent as you do. The fact that it is yours is meaningless, we can take it through taxation whenever you want, now go away and make more money for us to spend.""

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
"The fact that it is yours is meaningless"
There is no such fact.
After you have paid your taxes, that money is no longer yours. That's the very core of the idea of "paying": you cease owning a certain amount of monetary wealth. Subsequently, it is no longer yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Because the message that this approach sends to the wealthy- as they will hear it- is "Your money is ours to take when we want it and do with as we please. Everyone has as much right to have a voice in how your money is spent as you do. The fact that it is yours is meaningless, we can take it through taxation whenever you want, now go away and make more money for us to spend.""
If they're entitled enough to believe that their wealth gives them extra representation, then I think a reality check is in order.

And before it is taxed? When it is 'taxes to be' so to speak? if you give people the impression that you do not respect the effort or methods by which they make their money but see them only as a source of funds for you to take from- well I have two ex wives who developed that attitude. if you keep up with an attitude of "we took it so it's not yours now' how do you expect them to have any patriotism or even respect for a country they see as a bloodsucking leach that just takes their money without even a thank you or explanation as to why they are spending it the way they are? I think at least a thank you and explanation is owed to those who pay the most in taxes instead of just "to bad, we have the money, see you next year for the next bloodletting".
Believe me, I am no conservative- I believe in a form of progressive tax, I can barely stand the Republican party, but just because someone has money does not mean they are devoid of a soul or basic human feelings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
but just because someone has money does not mean they are devoid of a soul or basic human feelings.
Then why are you the only one suggesting this?

Up to a point, 'rising tide' economic policies work a heck of a lot better than do 'trickle down' policies. That, accompanied with supporting evidence, should be plenty sufficient for wealthy individuals to submit to fair taxation.
And if it's not, well, the mob outside their gates waving torches and pitchforks should provide the rest of the incentive. Because that's what happens when the poor feel sufficiently abused by the wealthy.

In theory I agree that those who contribute the most to society should have the most say in the governance of that society. However, after looking at a couple of online pictures such as those found here and here show that the top 1% of people pay less than half of the income tax. According to this handsome webpage taxes on work make up the majority of federal revenues. Therefore, if you take taxation as the major indicator of contribution to society then individuals, especially those in the upper and upper middle classes, should have the most say in government while the destitute and the fancy corporations should have very little say in government.

Edit: Actually, after a little introspection I reallized that I do not, in fact, believe the crossed out line. Sorry about that folks. The rest still stands though.




 

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