RuffDraft wrote:I agree that we should dramatically cut spending and attempt to increase revenues, but increasing revenues is heavily determined by the private sector, taxes tend to discourage growth, and a raise of taxes might actually reduce revenues depending on how much money large businesses and corporations are able to make.
Consider the Clinton, Reagan, and other administrations with both higher taxes and better growth than the present.
Consider the 1930's through the 1980's, where taxes were upwards of 70% and we didn't have nearly the growth we did in the following years. We also didn't have the revenues we did before we lowered taxes below 40%.
Valhallen wrote:Sure, there should theoretically be a disincentive to growth from increasing taxes, but we seem to be quite a ways from the point where that becomes significant (also recall that taxes pay for things that greatly help growth, like functioning infrastructure). With that in mind, remember that the Laffer Curve has both an increasing and a decreasing slope. And that the far side derives from reduced incentive for investment in things subject to tax, not immediately shutting down businesses.
My major concern is what
is taxed, and at the rates by which
they are taxed. You're familiar with the "Death Tax," a.k.a. the Federal Estate Tax? A person dies, and their assets are taxed at death? The IRS claims that it is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death (which, if it's a right
, why is it taxed? Doesn't that make it a privilege?). And then, if the "heir" can't pay the tax, they have to sell some of their property. Unless I'm mistaken, most if not all the items
(a nice word that doubles as a term for both Lawyers and Gamers) the "heirs" would have to pay this tax on have already been taxed. Property tax, sales tax, income tax... and the tax includes things like cars, furniture and artwork, business property (machines, inventory, etc), investments (stocks, bonds, etc), most if not all of which have already been taxed in one form or another. Right now, the top marginal taxation on an entire estate is 35%, with the bottom being 10%.
So why does this tax exist? I'm thinking some bureaucrat in the 1930's, brainstorming on solutions to the Great Depression, came up with it on a whim, thinking it would be a great way to squeeze that much more money out of the richer population; however, this also affects the poor---those that save and invest, those that own small businesses, and those that own farms---farms, which have a lot of assets but generally very little in terms of cash
; farms, which would be considered wealthy when you total their overall possessions but probably consider themselves generally poor because at any given time they have to cycle most of the money they make back into the farm. And because of the Estate Tax, supposing some mule kicks Pa in the chest, one of the family members (more'n likely the son) will be listed in the Will as having inherited it all, and will therefore have to then pay around 35% of the total value of the assets involved in the transaction; probably, in order to afford that, he'll end up having to sell a lot of what he has just so he doesn't go in the red.
And before you say this was a tangent: it was evidence to a point. When you say "we should raise taxes," you shouldn't just be looking at income tax; you should look at all the others and determine what percentage of someone's overall wealth could be taken by the government given any number of scenarios. In the above example, they've already paid income taxes, they've paid sales tax on anything they bought locally, they pay property tax on anything above a certain value (land, farm equipment, houses, barns, etc.), and now they're being forced to pay 35% of the assets on their farm; the new owner of the farm could potentially end up paying a one-time fee of more than 100% their yearly income in taxes if all the equipment they procured over the years is worth enough.
RuffDraft wrote:Raising taxes can increase revenues to a point, but because of the uncertainty as to the adverse consequences to raising taxes, it would probably be better to keep them where they are for now;
And what is that point? History indicates that it's quite a bit higher than present rates. Increasing just the top bracket to its Clinton-era rate should go a long way to closing the deficit, and businesses did just fine at that rate in the past. Do you think that, in order to "attempt to raise revenues," any tax rates should be increased? Which bothers you more, the deficit, or raising tax rates to what they were in the Clinton years?
Why can't both of those bother me equally?
Lemme pose something to you: Let's pretend that my income is... $5,000 a month. Let's say that I spend $2000 on rent and upkeep, $1,000 on food, soda and alcohol, and I spend $500 on recreation. And then I pay roughly 30% of my income in taxes, so about $1500. That's exactly $5,000. So my budget is exactly balanced with zero debt. Now let's say that I get a credit card with a $10K credit limit and a 20% APY interest rate. With the power of "unlimited" credit in hand, I begin to spend an extra $300 per month (doesn't matter on what). And I keep spending that, until I find out that I'm up to $9,000 in debt, and the monthly payment is about $150. And now let's say that whatever it was I was spending that extra money on can't simply be cut from my budget without worse problems. And let's also say I'm addicted to alcohol but can't admit I have a problem. And then let's say that I don't think soda costs that much so I don't need to cut it either. And food is essential to me so I'm not going to cut anything from there. And rent can't be cut, and upkeep is another essential thing so none of that changes. But let's say that I cut my recreation budget for the month down to $200. So that takes care of my extra expenditure, but now I have to worry about the interest on my debt. And then because I'm worrying about my debt and because I am an alcoholic I begin to drink more, so my alcohol expenditures increase by $200. And let's also say I'm getting fatter so my food budget increases. And then let's say that I just suddenly decide to go out more often and my recreation budget goes back up to $500. And by the time I've reached about $9900, I decide to call my bank and tell them that I need to increase my credit limit to $14,000 to cover some emergency expenses, and they give it to me--just for the sake of argument. So now I'm paying more than I ever thought I would and there's no real way for me to increase my income, and I have all these problems that I don't think are problems but there's the looming concern of my credit limit that I have just increased by an insane amount of money and I keep spending more and more, and WHERE DOES IT END?!?
It's the same way this country is being run right now. We're increasing our debt and refusing to do much about cutting spending, and pretty soon, there will
be no end. This is what I'm afraid will happen if things continue to progress the way they are, and we just ignore it, thinking that these people know what they're doing and will fix it for us if we give them enough time. We can't keep being this naive.
RuffDraft wrote:Even if the government does some things better than the private sector, that doesn't mean they should run everything.
Except that no one was proposing that the government should.
...granted. I was actually just speaking generally
Valhallen wrote:Conversely, rhetoric to the extent that the government is less efficient than the private sector full stop is popular these days (like "education, mail, health care; all of these worse in the public sector versus the private sector").
Well of course it's popular. Because it's very true. Our US Post is essentially bankrupt, while UPS and Federal Express (and others) tend to have tremendous profits. Our public education system generally sucks, while many private schools provide a very good education. Our country has some of the best private health care in the world, while many doctors refuse to accept Medicare because of the red tape and price controls.
Questionable. First, the data table there indicates that the graph is a month off (if the table is off instead, it's even further from your point). Unemployment actually went up in November, and December was in line with the preceding trend. If the tax rate makes such a difference, why was there job loss in the first place (there's a reason, and it relates to why the stimulus was needed)? Can you point to anything that the House Republicans have actually done that would explain the faster decline in unemployment in the last few months (or could it be that the economy is recovering from the recession?)? And recall this graph that I posted earlier. It indicates that the economy was shedding jobs at an ever increasing rate prior to Obama taking office, and when the stimulus passed, the job loss slowed down and reversed. Do you think that anyone expected it to immediately stop job loss?
RuffDraft wrote:Lastly, yes, the US economy has started to improve. The question is whether it had anything to do with the stimulus bill, which we were told would create jobs and prevent unemployment from rising.
If you look at this chart here, it seems that unemployment really started dropping since November, after the Republicans gained control of the House. What I think this means is that most businesses thought that the Republicans were going to keep taxes at their current level so they started hiring more. And while I don't have any concrete proof of this, it's an argument based in the following sequence of events:
Ayy... I suck at finding accurate sources, don't I?
Anyway, I find it hard to accept that the Stimulus did anything worth mentioning. The Stimulus was little more than a bunch of pet projects, originally written by the Apolo Alliance
; it was based off faulty projections
; after it passed, unemployment rose above their projections
; they made very brash and dubious assumptions about the causes and effects of the projects in the bill
In my eyes, the whole bill was nothing more than a collaborative agenda
RuffDraft wrote:If "Revenues - Expenses = Profits", then businesses have to determine how to keep their profits high in order to maintain a business.
Financially, a business can operate indefinitely with zero profit, since profit exists only after operational expenses have been met. Economically, low profits provide a poor return on investment, and so encourage moving capital to more profitable ventures. This case is like refitting a sprocket factory to produce cogs when cogs become profitable enough in comparison to justify the refit. Economic activity still goes on, and taxes are still paid - it's just different than before. In the recession, businesses couldn't meet operational expenses (due to the financial system not providing loans and from decreased demand) and downsized or shut down to cut losses. That economic activity stops and provides no tax revenue.
I'll agree with that.
RuffDraft wrote:2009, we were looking at a debt of about $10 trillion, and as you said, the government operates by having high revenues and (at least, ideally) low expenses, so to eliminate that debt, they need to do something. And what they ended up doing was spending over four trillion dollars in just the first two years, compounding the nation's debt even further.
It was a bad situation with various unpleasant options available. In this case, money was spent to get the financial system working again and jump-start demand, at the cost of a large deficit that must be brought down once the economy improves. Alternatively, the government could have carried on as usual, not doing TARP, the stimulus, etc.
I question whether we have those exact same conditions now as we did then?
RuffDraft wrote:Any good businessman knows that (most) Democrats are in favor of higher taxes.
The "raise taxes bad, lower taxes good" rhetoric is simplistically misleading. For a given situation and set of goals to accomplish, there is an optimal tax structure to pay for it (as Q.U. said earlier). If tax rates are above that, taxes should be cut. If they're below that, they should be raised. In the current situation, the US is facing a large deficit and cuts to important programs. Looks like it's time to raise taxes. Any good businessman should know that slightly higher taxes and a government that works is usually preferable to keeping taxes the same while programs that maintain a good business environment are cut.
RuffDraft wrote:Short of saying outright that they intended to raise taxes, the Democrats wanted to let the Bush-era taxes expire and rise to what they were before, and the Republicans were fighting to keep them the same.
BUSH HIMSELF INTENDED THE CUTS TO EXPIRE WHEN HE SIGNED THE CUTS WITH AN EXPIRATION DATE! Do you remember when the cuts were debated, how concerns were raised that it could lead to large deficits? Because that's where we are now. "Raise taxes bad, lower taxes good," though stupid, seems to have embedded itself in the electorate somehow. A few decades of Republican rhetoric, perhaps?
Or, I dunno, maybe this
. Turns out that revenues increased
after Bush cut taxes, and that a substantially larger percentage of those taxes were paid by the wealthy. I notice many people who advocate raising taxes ignore that fact. Yet another reason to conclude that we do NOT have a taxation
problem, but rather a spending
problem. Reduce overall spending and you won't have such a huge problem.
Valhallen wrote: RuffDraft wrote:
Anyway, a little research into Soros reveals that he is a major globalist
; he wants things like an international currency, and a central world government.
Did you actually read those? Because they don't support either point there. If evidence you're citing to support the conclusions that Soros wants an international currency and a central world government doesn't actually support those things, it raises serious questions about how you arrived at those conclusions. So, how did
you arrive at those conclusions?
Well, first of all, I looked at more than just those few links to make my decision. The above links were the first couple that I pulled from a quick Google search. And also, you say they don't support my claim that he's a globalist, and from what I can tell, they actually do. The second one is just the author of the blog saying it's a conspiracy theory without providing any evidence that it's wrong; in fact, the thing he quotes actually helps my point.
I recall that I linked you to a thing where he said "The United States must stop resisting the orderly decline of the dollar, the coming global currency, and the new world order." From just that line, you can conclude a few things: 1) he believes that it would be in the world's best interest to devalue the dollar; 2) he anticipates a global currency, which he believes is the answer to all of our financial problems; 3) he wants a loosely-defined economic "new world order" that no one seems to know the true identity of; 4) George Soros is a loon.
Okay, that last one was my own personal opinon. But anyway... I can see that you're not going to agree with me on Soros... I'm not sure what else I can say that would make you understand why I simultaneously fear and despise him.
RuffDraft wrote:Lastly, I wonder if I could get you to stop watching people like Keith Olberman for news. It's not very healthy (for your mind).
And how have you reached that
Well, Olberman is
an idiot, isn't he? Wouldn't want it to spread.
It was more of a joke. Only those who don't like Kieth Olberman would find it funny in the slightest.
RuffDraft wrote:@Q.U,: I'm sorry, I don't really see you doing much (or very good) research, all I see you doing is making bad arguments and pointing out obvious things like how the Prime Minister of Malaysia forgave and apologized to Soros in person. I mean, really---Soros is a very good speaker. He sounds very reasonable most of the time. I'm sure he could convince someone that blue is red or something. Either way, the Prime Minister having a talk with Soros in person, at length, and then shaking his hand at the end is something that even I could have predicted if I had heard that the two would be meeting to discuss this.
How about, instead of just claiming that arguments are bad or "obvious" (which makes it wrong somehow?), or saying that research is insufficient, you actually explain in detail what is wrong with the argument or research? In the case of Soros and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, you had claimed that the Prime Minister's statement that Soros was bad meant that Soros was bad. It kind of matters (a lot) that he recanted the statement after the economic crisis. Unless Soros actually coerced the Prime Minister to say that, the circumstances of the meeting (which actually imply that the Prime Minister changed his mind beforehand) don't really matter.
All right, I see your point. So what exactly did Beck lie
RuffDraft wrote:I'm not going to cover the rest of your stuff. Go ahead and believe what you will. But if it turns out the Beck is right, maybe you'll start listening to him? Yeah I know that's too much to hope for.
Q.U. just pointed out several things where it turns out that Beck is NOT right or at least unsupported. Maybe you'll start acknowledging that? Is that too much to hope for?
It's very difficult; I still don't think Beck is altogether mistaken about Soros.
RuffDraft wrote:@DaCrum: Valhallen agreed with me in another thread that an international currency would actually do more harm than good; more than likely it would destroy economies and create massive financial strife before being fully implemented. And then, it would be too susceptible to worldwide events; for example, if China experiences a massive natural disaster (volcano, earthquake, misdirected microwave beam from space, etc) and as a result there is famine, disease, destruction, whatever, they have to spend boatloads of money just to fix the problem and get everyone back on their feet; in this case, with the current system, only China's economy is directly affected (yes, there will be indirect effects, but those are minuscule by comparison). If that happens in the "global economy" thing, all countries are affected. Imagine if Canada were directly affected as a result of something stupid that happens in America. Is that what you want?
That's somewhat true, but local disasters have global effects already. If the US experiences economic disruption, Canada would probably be affected, as it is the US's largest trading partner, and the US and Canada have many other financial ties. One of the big problems a global currency would cause in the present economy is that it would prevent national economies from using exchange rates to rebalance things as economies change over time. That would be less of an issue if the single currency came with a single economic organization that set global economic policy, but it wouldn't go away.
I'm not sure I agree completely, but I don't really know enough about economics to really comment... I'll just say you're right and move to the next one.
Norway has a higher GDP (PPP) per capita than the US
Said "discourage." Taxes "discourage" growth. As an example, Norway has one of the highest taxes in the world. What have they produced in the last few decades that has been of any real use? I mean, besides the obvious gas, food, paper products and fish. The last major invention
by Norway that I can find was the aerosol can in 1926 (the best invention ever being beer, by the Babylonians prior to 6000BC). And while I can't currently find a link to this statistic, I heard that about 1/3 of all medicines and vaccines in use today (more than any other country) were invented in/by the United States.
I see that statistic a lot from you guys. Norway's GDP per capita may be a bit higher, but what does it prove, exactly? That they have fewer impoverished people? So what? Does that mean their country is inherantly better than the US or something?
Again, so what? What does this prove to me?
I responded to this point when you raised it earlier
RuffDraft wrote:My point was that in many cases the government can not provide as good or better service than the private sector. In many cases, government health care is actually worse than private health care. And that goes for education; charter schools and private schools often (not always, but often) outperform public schools. Most public schools are significantly below standards for math and reading (D.C. was the lowest that I recall, something like 12-14% of standards).
. Do you really think that education in the US would be better if the government left it to the private sector?
I'm almost certain you're going to say it would be a bad idea, based on the fact that private schools only account for about 10% of all schools nationwide. Certainly, with such a small number of private schools in the country, if we got rid of public
education, there wouldn't be anywhere near the number of private schools we would need to educate the children.
But since you and I both love statistics so much (hah), why don't we compare the rates of graduation
between private and public schools? Just under 70% with public, and just over 90% with private. And according to this
, if you scroll down to "Academic Achievement in Private School vs. Public School
," it remarks, "The NCES periodically administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to American students in grades 4, 8, and 12. In all subject areas, private school students consistently score well above the national average."
So tell me: If all public schools were ran similar to private schools, don't you think it would make a huge
RuffDraft wrote:However, it seems a lot of failing public schools are close to bad neighborhoods; maybe that has something to do with it. Perhaps the problem deals not only in the number of bad tenured teachers but also in the living conditions surrounding those schools. How much money would it take to clean them up?
And it seems that the children who attend private schools usually have parents who can afford to send them, with the attendant socioeconomic benefits that that implies. Perhaps this is another reason why urban renewal and programs that help the poor are important. Oh wait, that's a socialistic redistribution of wealth that interferes in the free market state of affairs, paid for largely by growth-reducing taxes on the wealthy.
No, that's redevelopment. You know, charity? Helping the poor? I'm all in favor of that. When states use their taxes to repair and urbanize cities that are largely run-down, that's fine, isn't it?
What I'm not in favor of is saying that the rich should be taxed more
simply because they aren't using their money the way someone else says they should. Because not only do the rich already pay a very high amount of taxes that is already disproportional to their relative wealth in the country (top 20% has about 30-40% or so of the wealth and pays roughly 70-80% of the overall tax burden) but many of them already have to pay around 50-60% of their overall income in taxes because of all the other
taxes that apply to them (income tax, corporate tax, property tax, sales tax... and I can't remember what else), many of which the poorer populace is exempt from or don't apply to (added to that, the bottom 20% in this country pay roughly 3% of the overall tax burden, and even some of those pay a negative
percentile in taxes; I believe it was that the bottom 1% actually pay -3% when all is said and done).
Additionally, if someone making $50K a year is saving about 30% of what they make, that's $15K per year they save. If someone making $2M a year is doing the same thing, they're saving $600K per year. At the same time, someone making about $50K per year is currently subject to a 25% tax rate; the person making $2M is subject to a 35% tax. 25% of 50K is 12.5K, and 35% of 2000K is 700K. So the millionaire gets to keep less, percentage-wise than the Working-Class Hero
Valhallen wrote: RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:and obama constantly makes the political move to work with republicans
Let me stop you there. Do you not recall on October 25th 2010, less than eight days before election day, Obama called Republicans "our enemies
?" And then, on November 1st, he went back and said "I probably should have used the word 'opponents' instead
." Then, after the election was won in the favor of the Republicans, on January 1st, he said "I'm willing to work with anyone of either party who's got a good idea and the commitment to see it through."
Translation: "Shit, we lost---time to put on a good face."
You seem to be placing a great deal more importance here on words than actions. Remember back when the Democrats controlled the House and had 60 in the Senate? They faced unified Republican opposition on most things both before and after "compromise" alterations to bills. After the Democrats lost their 60th Senate vote, Republicans threatened to filibuster anything that wasn't just what they wanted.
Democrats do the same thing when they're at a loss. The filibuster mechanic is in place for a reason. I don't blame either parties for using a filibuster.
Valhallen wrote:Republicans have held up Obama's appointees too. So, what exactly do you think that Obama should have done in the sprit of bipartisanship?
Not refer to Republicans as enemies
and then ask them to be allies
Valhallen wrote: RuffDraft wrote:
Does he, now?
BeeAre wrote:and offers real numbers to programs for the cutting of spending.
Seeing as how that talks about and puts numbers to cuts he proposes... yes, he does.
...and yet spending has increased
. Do you not understand the problem I'm having with this?
In the above example I have about running at a deficit on a $5K budget for one month, let's say that part of my food budget includes expensive cheeses, imported from France or whatever. If I get rid of fancy cheese, and reduce the amount I spend on food from $1000 to $800, but then I triple my recreation budget (say to about $1500), by the logic you're presenting to me, I have cut spending
. In the same way, Obama's budget calls for a cut to some things, but overall his spending increases to the point where his budget is $1.65 trillion in the red
. I may not be the brightest guy in the world, but I can do basic math
Well on the military spending, I suppose I'm just biased... but on the oil subsidies, I agree that giving a subsidy to a very profitable enterprise is probably a dumb idea. I don't think they should be more heavily taxed; rather, I think we should eliminate tax loopholes and get them to pay the full amount they owe. And then, maybe consider lowering taxes later
: I missed a huge chunk of the message when I was working on it; I'll make a second post with that, probably tomorrow.