View Poll Results: Can a nation tax its way to prosperity?

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Thread: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

  1. #131
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    I'm not sure what your point is. You asked what I considered core functions of government and I gave you a list and a generalization that any expenditure that picks winners and losers BASED ON IDEOLOGY OR SPECIAL INTERESTS isn't a core government function. I never claimed business was superior in all regards and I never claimed government was always bad. I did say that government has a place and that's related to the provision of services and facilities that by their very nature don't provide a profit margin or shouldn't provide a profit margin and thus lend themselves to private business interests. Nor did I claim that any particular ideology is better at governing these days, as it relates to what I consider core government function.

    My bottom line, as noted originally, was that conservatives do not oppose taxes going to fund these core government functions but we do oppose raising taxes when current levels of taxation are being wasted on non-core matters. Wipe out all the nonsense and if revenue is still too low to meet government's core responsibilities, then tax increases or other revenue generators are appropriate.
    But again, your list of "core" services is simply your own assessment of the role of government in society. All such assessments are based on ideology, to the extent that there is subjectivity in social policy, and so decisions will usually reflect political values. And with most of these decisions, some tend to benefit more than others, creating controversy and claims of special interest.

    Yes, ideology can be wrong-headed, and catering to small special groups can merge into corruption, but often the questions are not so clear cut. Take unemployment insurance for example. One could accurately say that this is more favored by the political left than the right, and hence has an ideological element. One could also say that it favors special interests: those that tend to be unemployed frequently. UI has no value for the wealthy, or those in secure, lucrative, professional positions. It has no value for retirees or those that do not work. The political football is in the air.

    There are a great many conservatives around today who think it quite wise for governments to pick winners and losers, and funnel massive amounts of money in response. It's just that they want themselves, or their colleagues, to be anointed winners, because their financial future depends on it. So we have seen the bailout of faulty financial institutions in recent times, while these same conservatives lament the (much smaller) resources given to UI programs (losers to their way of thinking, I suppose). What is waste and nonsense? It varies. Maybe you can give some specific examples.

  2. #132
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gimmesometruth View Post
    Instead of allowing my counter-arguments to emotionally upset you, perhaps you could instead....maybe....produce a well thought out fact based rational response....because otherwise......leaving your last retort as whining is considered a loss in debate.
    If you were interested in an honest discussion, something you seem incapable of, I might be interested in "debate".

    There are many posters on this site who enjoy trolling and being so annoying that posters avoid them and they believe that's a form of "winning" when in reality it's simply a matter of adults having better things to do. However, if declaring a win floats your boat, by all means go for it. And on that note, I'm done with you.
    A Canadian conservative is one who believes in limited government and that the government should stay out of our wallets and out of our bedrooms.

  3. #133
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    If you were interested in an honest discussion, something you seem incapable of, I might be interested in "debate".

    There are many posters on this site who enjoy trolling and being so annoying that posters avoid them and they believe that's a form of "winning" when in reality it's simply a matter of adults having better things to do. However, if declaring a win floats your boat, by all means go for it. And on that note, I'm done with you.
    You are doubling down, if my argument is not honest, it seems one would easily explain how it is so.....but your argument seems be incapable of doing so.....so there it is.

    Better luck next time.
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  4. #134
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganesh View Post
    But again, your list of "core" services is simply your own assessment of the role of government in society. All such assessments are based on ideology, to the extent that there is subjectivity in social policy, and so decisions will usually reflect political values. And with most of these decisions, some tend to benefit more than others, creating controversy and claims of special interest.

    Yes, ideology can be wrong-headed, and catering to small special groups can merge into corruption, but often the questions are not so clear cut. Take unemployment insurance for example. One could accurately say that this is more favored by the political left than the right, and hence has an ideological element. One could also say that it favors special interests: those that tend to be unemployed frequently. UI has no value for the wealthy, or those in secure, lucrative, professional positions. It has no value for retirees or those that do not work. The political football is in the air.

    There are a great many conservatives around today who think it quite wise for governments to pick winners and losers, and funnel massive amounts of money in response. It's just that they want themselves, or their colleagues, to be anointed winners, because their financial future depends on it. So we have seen the bailout of faulty financial institutions in recent times, while these same conservatives lament the (much smaller) resources given to UI programs (losers to their way of thinking, I suppose). What is waste and nonsense? It varies. Maybe you can give some specific examples.
    I thought we were talking about taxation.

    As for unemployment insurance, or more accurately, employment insurance - I don't consider it a form of taxation but a form of insurance, as the name states. Only individuals who are working pay "premiums" for their employment insurance. As a conservative, I'm quite happy with employees paying to secure insurance against their loss of employment. The system itself should be self funding. Here in Canada, our employment insurance system has $billions in surplus - as it should be. In the US, your government and politicians make the employment insurance system a slush fund for buying votes, thus the payroll tax "holiday".

    Social security, another payroll "tax" program, is in effect a retirement program - a benefit plan that provides a defined pension, based on a formula, for all who participate. Social security is designed to be solvent, however, successive governments have raided what should have been a self-funding program. As a result, increases in taxation and/or reduction in payouts are the proposed solution. Such a solution shouldn't be necessary. Canada's old age security and pension plans are all fully solvent and have tweaks along the way but never has the government raided the funds to support other social programs or core functions. These funds are held independent of government and invested to benefit both citizens and economic growth for the country.

    There may be some conservatives who believe differently - we're not monolithic or into group think. But most conservatives, on principle, want government to be small and targeted, which is basically what I've suggested.
    A Canadian conservative is one who believes in limited government and that the government should stay out of our wallets and out of our bedrooms.

  5. #135
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Yeah, it could. But just because it can be does not mean it should be.

  6. #136
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    I thought we were talking about taxation.

    As for unemployment insurance, or more accurately, employment insurance - I don't consider it a form of taxation but a form of insurance, as the name states. Only individuals who are working pay "premiums" for their employment insurance. As a conservative, I'm quite happy with employees paying to secure insurance against their loss of employment. The system itself should be self funding. Here in Canada, our employment insurance system has $billions in surplus - as it should be. In the US, your government and politicians make the employment insurance system a slush fund for buying votes, thus the payroll tax "holiday".

    Social security, another payroll "tax" program, is in effect a retirement program - a benefit plan that provides a defined pension, based on a formula, for all who participate. Social security is designed to be solvent, however, successive governments have raided what should have been a self-funding program. As a result, increases in taxation and/or reduction in payouts are the proposed solution. Such a solution shouldn't be necessary. Canada's old age security and pension plans are all fully solvent and have tweaks along the way but never has the government raided the funds to support other social programs or core functions. These funds are held independent of government and invested to benefit both citizens and economic growth for the country.

    There may be some conservatives who believe differently - we're not monolithic or into group think. But most conservatives, on principle, want government to be small and targeted, which is basically what I've suggested.
    Yes, the funding for some social programs comes from taxes considered separate from general taxation, all though not always (the old age pension and supplement in Canada for example). Philosophically, it matters little. One is required to pay, the monies then handled in accord with government policy, and any payouts are also a matter of political decision. The unemployment insurance program in Canada in recent years is a good example of political manipulation. To say that these are just another insurance plan deflects the reality that pensions and some sort of welfare net have become expected, and indeed become necessary in today's economy, and premiums or not, no government in the developed world is going to backtrack on them.

    When conservatives say they want small government (with the exception of a few bona fide crazies, like Rand Paul) what they really mean is small for those they feel disdain for, and large for themselves and their pet projects. So bailouts and tax giveaways for the corporate world, massive increases in defense spending, etc, are OK, while extensions of programs like UI are not.

    So what is outside the core?

  7. #137
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    As for unemployment insurance, or more accurately, employment insurance - I don't consider it a form of taxation but a form of insurance, as the name states.
    It's a safety net, thinly disguised as insurance. Hence, the federal government extended unemployment insurance out to 99 weeks at the height of the recession. I've never heard of an insurance company doubling the payouts to policy holders.


    In the US, your government and politicians make the employment insurance system a slush fund for buying votes, thus the payroll tax "holiday".
    You're (understandably) getting revenue streams mixed up. Payroll taxes only go to Social Security and Medicare, and the payroll tax holiday was a stimulus measure during the recession. Many states ran out of funds for unemployment insurance, which resulted in the federal government funding it and extensions, an act that some die-hard Republican legislators decried because they didn't want to spend the money without offsetting it somewhere else. There's a separate tax for unemployment insurance. There is no "slush fund."


    Social security, another payroll "tax" program, is in effect a retirement program - a benefit plan that provides a defined pension, based on a formula, for all who participate.
    Sorry, but SS is another safety net, thinly disguised as a retirement program. SS also covers people who are disabled.


    Social security is designed to be solvent, however, successive governments have raided what should have been a self-funding program.
    Again, vastly incorrect, though understandably so, due to the aforementioned "thin disguise" part.

    The initial law dedicates payroll taxes to SS, and it is (and always was) "pay as you go" -- as in, the payroll taxes collected in 2005 were spent on benefits paid out in 2005. There were surpluses for decades, and those surpluses were by law loaned to other parts of the federal government.

    In reality, a tax is a tax is a tax, and how you spend it doesn't actually matter where the revenue comes from. In order to trick people into thinking that SS was a "retirement fund," rather than a standard tax, they came up with the dedicated payroll tax, which disguises the realities.

    By the way, every penny of those intergovernmental loans has been repaid with interest, and there is every indication it will always be paid. (Even if the Treasury Department had to straight-up print money, it will be repaid.) There was no "raiding." The trust fund is still solvent. The current problem is that life expectancy is at least 10 years longer than it was in the 1930s, and revenues aren't keeping up with payroll tax income. Thus, SS benefits are now drawing from the trust fund.


    As a result, increases in taxation and/or reduction in payouts are the proposed solution. Such a solution shouldn't be necessary. Canada's old age security and pension plans are all fully solvent and have tweaks along the way but never has the government raided the funds to support other social programs or core functions....
    Well, you're part right.

    We will have to increase revenues and reduce expenditures in order for SS to continue. The thing is that Canada's Social Security is much more expensive than the US, relative to the two nations' GDP. SS is a significant chunk of Canada's GDP, and a tiny sliver of the US's (13.3% vs 0.077%). This in turn results in a much, much lower rate of elderly in poverty in Canada than the US (7.8% vs 24%).

    It is critical to note that OAS and GIS -- over half the cost of those safety nets -- are funded by general tax revenues. For some inexplicable reason, it does not occur to Americans that our nation can do the same for Social Security. Did I mention the whole thin disguise / illusion stuff yet?

    Below is the SSA's comparison of SS in the US and Canada circa 2008.

    The Canadian Safety Net for the Elderly

  8. #138
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek View Post
    It's a safety net, thinly disguised as insurance. Hence, the federal government extended unemployment insurance out to 99 weeks at the height of the recession. I've never heard of an insurance company doubling the payouts to policy holders.

    You're (understandably) getting revenue streams mixed up. Payroll taxes only go to Social Security and Medicare, and the payroll tax holiday was a stimulus measure during the recession. Many states ran out of funds for unemployment insurance, which resulted in the federal government funding it and extensions, an act that some die-hard Republican legislators decried because they didn't want to spend the money without offsetting it somewhere else. There's a separate tax for unemployment insurance. There is no "slush fund."

    Sorry, but SS is another safety net, thinly disguised as a retirement program. SS also covers people who are disabled.

    Again, vastly incorrect, though understandably so, due to the aforementioned "thin disguise" part.

    The initial law dedicates payroll taxes to SS, and it is (and always was) "pay as you go" -- as in, the payroll taxes collected in 2005 were spent on benefits paid out in 2005. There were surpluses for decades, and those surpluses were by law loaned to other parts of the federal government.

    In reality, a tax is a tax is a tax, and how you spend it doesn't actually matter where the revenue comes from. In order to trick people into thinking that SS was a "retirement fund," rather than a standard tax, they came up with the dedicated payroll tax, which disguises the realities.

    By the way, every penny of those intergovernmental loans has been repaid with interest, and there is every indication it will always be paid. (Even if the Treasury Department had to straight-up print money, it will be repaid.) There was no "raiding." The trust fund is still solvent. The current problem is that life expectancy is at least 10 years longer than it was in the 1930s, and revenues aren't keeping up with payroll tax income. Thus, SS benefits are now drawing from the trust fund.

    We will have to increase revenues and reduce expenditures in order for SS to continue. The thing is that Canada's Social Security is much more expensive than the US, relative to the two nations' GDP. SS is a significant chunk of Canada's GDP, and a tiny sliver of the US's (13.3% vs 0.077%). This in turn results in a much, much lower rate of elderly in poverty in Canada than the US (7.8% vs 24%).

    It is critical to note that OAS and GIS -- over half the cost of those safety nets -- are funded by general tax revenues. For some inexplicable reason, it does not occur to Americans that our nation can do the same for Social Security. Did I mention the whole thin disguise / illusion stuff yet?

    Below is the SSA's comparison of SS in the US and Canada circa 2008.

    The Canadian Safety Net for the Elderly
    Good post. As I have said in other posts around here, to suggest Social Security and Medicare are something other than a defined benefit pension is to "thinly disguise" them. Our recent history shows defined benefits are intergenerationally harmful. If all predictions had held true, demographics held stable, and the economy were to have continued to roar uninterrupted, there would probably have been no issue. But reality isn't that way, and the fact that all shortfalls can be converted into liabilities and handed down is what is making subsequent generations worse and worse off than the previous.

    I agree with many of your points. But more than just increasing revenue and decreasing benefits of Social Security, I think we need comprehensive public pension reform (including SS and Medicare as well as other public sector pensions) before the boomer generation dies off, or else it will be guaranteed that the millennial generation will be almost fully dependent and a lot poorer when they hit retirement age.
    "The knowledge and prudence of the poor themselves, are absolutely the only means by which any general and permanent improvement in their condition can be effected." - Thomas Malthus

  9. #139
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganesh View Post
    When conservatives say they want small government (with the exception of a few bona fide crazies, like Rand Paul) what they really mean is small for those they feel disdain for, and large for themselves and their pet projects. So bailouts and tax giveaways for the corporate world, massive increases in defense spending, etc, are OK, while extensions of programs like UI are not.

    So what is outside the core?
    When this conservative said I want smaller government, that's exactly what I meant. I never suggested that governments on the right are devoid of plans and policies that support reelection to the detriment of the country as a whole - all governments these days seem to do that, to the great disgust of most conservatives. I have no interest in government buying favour from big business. I'd eliminate most business incentives and payouts in favour of lower corporate tax rates - likewise, I'd eliminate most personal tax deductions in favour of overall lower personal tax rates.

    As for welfare and social programs to support those who temporarily are in trouble or who are handicapped or otherwise unable to support themselves, that falls under protection of the citizens that I spoke of before. You should have noted that I included healthcare and security of all citizens as core functions of government. So I'm not sure who you feel I "disdain" or what my particular "pet projects" may be. It seems you haven't comprehended anything I've posted in this thread because it doesn't fit with your view of conservatives.
    A Canadian conservative is one who believes in limited government and that the government should stay out of our wallets and out of our bedrooms.

  10. #140
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    Re: Can A Nation Tax Itself Into Prosperity?

    Quote Originally Posted by pbrauer View Post
    Consider the following quote from Winston Churchill:
    "We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."

    Yes

    No

    Other
    You can neither tax your way into prosperity, nor cut your budget into prosperity. Both are reliant on INCOME and PROSPERITY in the first place. No prosperity, nothing to tax. No prosperity, nothing to cut.

    But failing to tax prosperity is a sure way to dig a deeper deficit. Failing to budget properly is a sure way to waste prosperity.
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