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#40627 - 10/10/08 03:44 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
alicex4 Offline
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Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
Well, you guys can agree, I don't. I'm not a socialist.

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#40630 - 10/10/08 04:31 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Smike Offline
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Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: alicex4
Well, you guys can agree, I don't. I'm not a socialist.


I’m no socialist and I’m certainly not talking about an spreading out of the distribution of wealth. (I still believe the capitalist system is the best way, as in he or she who works hardest get more) but the reality of the situation is that the base playing field for capitalism is being titled more and more.

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#40631 - 10/10/08 05:34 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Daniel Offline
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
I'm not a socialist either. (It seems to be a term many people throw around without defining.) But I don't believe my questions regarding the 401(k) were answered.

Isn't it true that the present 401(k) program gives the greatest incentive to save to those who need the incentive the least? Why should those who need to save the most get an incentive of 15 cents on every dollar saved while those who need to save the least get 35 cents on the dollar (especially when they shouldn't need an incentive to save anyway because they can do so on their own)? And I'll ask again: do you think that's a good or efficient way for government to structure this program?

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#40632 - 10/10/08 05:51 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
mworking Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
 Originally Posted By: Smike
I still believe the capitalist system is the best way, as in he or she who works hardest get more



Ahh, if only we could find a way to make this occur - I'd consider it!

Capitalism certainly doesn’t work this way. Bet few earning over a million a year work harder than your gardener - or in general anyone working for a boss in any small business. I'm damn sure those earning over a million a year are spending more time on the golf course and away from home skiing, or climbing, or you name it.


Edited by mworking (10/10/08 06:54 PM)

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#40633 - 10/10/08 06:36 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Daniel Offline
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: Smike
Man I have to swallow hard here (well not really)and agree with Daniel. Even Warren Buffet says the ‘Tax rate’ (percentage of tax vs. earned income) is the lower for the upper earners and that in terms of percentage the lower earners pay the most in taxes.


Appreciate the agreement (it wasn't that hard, was it? ;\) ). But I'd go further: it would be a real problem if the effective tax rate on high income earners were the same as for everyone else. Warren Buffett shouldn't pay the same rate as his secretary; he should pay a somewhat higher rate (and he'd agree with that statement).

The example I use is two people, one making $20,000 and the other making $200,000. Assume a flat income tax rate of 15%. Who has to sacrifice more: the person making $20,000 who has to pay $3,000 in taxes, or the person making $200,000 who has to pay $30,000 in taxes? I'd say the former person has the greater burden, even though that person pays less in nominal terms.

There are few people who think that a "flat" rate should apply to everyone; nearly everyone, including Steve Forbes, believes that there should be some kind of initial exemption for those who aren't making much because it would be unfair to ask those who are barely scraping by to give anything. But then it's not a flat system; it's a 0% rate up to the exemption, and X% thereafter. That's a progressive system. So is Steve Forbes a socialist?

And if it's too much to ask of the poor to pay income tax until they reach a certain threshold, why is it considered fair to require the full rate as soon as that threshold is met? Why not ease people into to the full rate as income increases? And therein is a justification for progressivity.

We had a slightly more progressive income tax system in the 1990s. Surely we were not a socialist nation during that period. The rich still were more than able to get richer. I didn't see anyone running away from getting into the highest tax brackets. People had plenty of incentives to be more productive. So I don't buy the notion that advocating a slightly more progressive income tax system than we have today is somehow socialist.

As Smike pointed out, the special treatment given to certain kinds of income--generally the kind available only to the very wealthy (capital gains, dividends)--means that people of great means can pay lower effective income tax rates that those who work for them. Plus when you add in all the other taxes that are flat or regressive, such as capital gains taxes and taxes on dividends (which can be far lower than for earned income), sales taxes (usually regressive), property taxes, wage taxes, etc., the overall system isn't very progressive at all, even excluding what may be special cases such as Mr. Buffett.

Taxes aren't some burden imposed on us by an alien entity. They're the way we decide to pay for projects, programs, and services that we say we want. We can argue about the level of government spending, but whatever that level is, we have to collectively decide a fair way of contributing to that level. And at the moment, every dollar not paid by the very wealthy is a dollar that will have to be paid by the less wealthy, unless we want to run up our debt still further. A flat tax that cuts taxes on the wealthy would require huge tax increases on the middle class (not much stomach for that) or huge decreases in spending (not much stomach for that either, especially when the non-military discretionary part of the budget accounts for only 1/3 of total government expenditures).

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#40634 - 10/10/08 07:03 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
 Originally Posted By: Smike
I still believe the capitalist system is the best way, as in he or she who works hardest get more


Cute isn't he? ;\)
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#40635 - 10/10/08 07:12 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
Smike Offline
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Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
 Originally Posted By: Smike
I still believe the capitalist system is the best way, as in he or she who works hardest get more


Cute isn't he? ;\)


Ours is far from perfect, but you show me a better system out there in any country?

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#40636 - 10/10/08 07:23 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Ummm... "Our" system isn't a true capitalist system either...

But really... Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden are doing pretty well...
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#40639 - 10/11/08 11:11 AM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
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Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5967
Loc: 212 land
So, how low has the bar been set for her for Thursday's debate?

It brings to mind that stanza from Mrs. Robinson:

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.
Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.
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#40752 - 10/15/08 10:35 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5967
Loc: 212 land
For those who wish to see a series of cartoons mocking Ms. Palin, here's a link.
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