View Poll Results: Which do you prefer:

Voters
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  • Income tax - no changes in the status quo

    39 19.80%
  • Flat tax - Everyone pays the same %

    67 34.01%
  • National sales tax - don't spend, you don't pay taxes

    47 23.86%
  • No tax - Unconstitutional - rely on private donations

    10 5.08%
  • Other - explain

    21 10.66%
  • Cookies!

    13 6.60%
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Thread: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

  1. #561
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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    I said:
    If we are speaking of just progressive income taxes, I would agree. I oppose a progressive income tax system because I believe it to be unconstitutional as the Founders intended the Constitution to be interpreted; and I believe it is counter productive in accomplishing either more money for the government or more in services and/or prosperity for the people. But that is a debate within itself.
    To which Nerv14 replied:
    True.
    I said:
    What DOES cause an economy to collapse is taking more and more from one sector of society and giving that to another not because they merit it or were denied any benefit from society, but purely because they have less and will keep voting in people who will pay them for being poor.
    Nerv14 responded:
    Just to comment on your last sentence in this post, and from what I just quoted, it sounds like that you are saying that a system that takes away from the productive and gives to the poor will cause an economy to collapse.

    am I misunderstanding you there?

    That sounds a lot like progressive taxation to me. If you are saying that there is some mechanism of wealth distribution of the productive to the unproductive that will always lead to economic collapse, then I would like to hear what that is.
    Two different things.

    Progressive taxation punishes the wealthier for their prosperity by taxing them at a disproportionately higher rate. This could be the case if the government limited its functions to only those specified in the Constitution and provided no benefits of any kindto any group of any polito-socio-economic standing other than those designated in the Constitution.

    It could be the same as the hardware store charging me $50 for a hammer and charging you $1 for the same hammer. But if I make $100 and you make $10, you can see that I won't be able to buy many hammers. But we will both have a hammer that we each bought and paid for. If I paid $10 which would be proportionately comparable to your $1, I would be able to afford several hammers and could possibly hire you to use yours.

    On the other hand, however, taking away from the productive to give the poor means that I pay for my hammer and also pay for your hammer and you are expected to contribute nothing for what I provide you. That is something quite different.

    I said
    This is why I support a flat tax that is uniform across the board. Any change that benefits one group benefits all. Any change that hurts one group hurts all. And THAT, coupled with an iron clad law that Congress is prohibited from using tax revenues to dispense charity or benevolence of any sort that benefits some but not all, I believe would solve a very large lion's share of both our economic and social problems in this country.
    Nerv14 responded:
    When it comes to economic efficiency you are right.

    But economic efficiency only helps all people in the long run. In the short run, of a generation around, progressive taxation does help the poor by giving them more income then they would have otherwise in the short run. That much is a fact.

    If you really ask someone why they support progressive taxation, I don't think they will go and tell you that it is better in the long run. So I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you, but you and them just have different goals.
    Are you sure that it gives the poor more income than they would have otherwise? Are you sure that if the government was not providing for the poor, and the people had more of their own money at their own disposal, that they would not be providing for the poor? Hiring the poor? Helping the poor? And they would be doing it for the motive of encouraging the poor to get on their feet and become productive citizens.

    There is far too much temptation for those in government to give to the poor in return for votes. And that invariably corrupts both government and those receiving the charity.

    For that reason I want us to begin the process now of slowly but surely easing the federal government out of that loop altogether with as little disruption and pain to the innocent as possible. We've tried the nanny state for a couple of generations now, and it has created far more problems than it has solved as well as feeding on itself and perpetuating itself.

    Beyond that, I think there is actually a few negative effects from income inequality, even if the poor actually get more income. Income inequality increases civil unrest and makes people overly obsessed with consumerism, even though consumerism does not make people happier.
    Then how do you account for say the 1940's when there was far less government assistance, far fewer civil rights, rampant racism and segregation, but nevertheless there was less crime and less violencethan we have now?

    Poverty doesn't create civil unrest. Hopelessness and a sense of futility and/or a sense of entitlement does. When you have a government implementing policy that at face value is supposed to help, but in reality destroys family structures, encourages dependency, encourages victim mentality, and creates whole groups of almost permanently unemployable people, it is time to rethink that whole thing and do it much differently.

    Nerv14 said:
    Even though economic growth is more important then those things I talked about, the negatives of income inequality need to be factored in to create good policies. (if you think those are negative outcomes from income inequality.
    I don't see any negative outcomes from income inequality unless it is made permanent. I survived a time within marriage and kids in which we had week left after the money was gone. We didn't dine on steaks or caviar and we took any work at any hour of the day and at any wage to keep it together. But we knew it wasn't a permanent condition. We knew that all we needed was to earn a break that would point us out of poverty into prosperity. And we earned it. And it sure as hell wasn't the government that opened the door for us nor was there any government assistance for us. And you know what? We didn't rob a single liquor store, didn't embezzle a dime from our employers, didn't steal the neighbors lawn mower or anything. Nor did any of our friends and neighbors who were pretty much in the same circumstances.

    Nerv 14 said:
    I don't think progressive taxation is unconstitutional, because congress is allowed to treat people differently. When someone commits a crime they are sent to jail, which means that when someone does something different. When someone does something different (like committing a crime or having higher income) they could have either higher taxes or go to jail.
    It isn't unconstitutional the way the law currently interprets it. But it would have been as the Founders understood it, and it should be again. The government shoud not have power to treat any citizen differently than any other citizen in matters of taxation or benefits or contracts or paying penalities for breaking the law.

    Nerv 14 said
    Just curious, but what do you want a society to promote?
    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    If you support allowing people to be more happy, then European nations do a better job then the United States.
    It is not the government's job to make people happy. But it is the government's job to secure the people's right and then allow them to pursue their own happiness. I know Europeans who are far more miserable than many Americans I know. I think you'll find happy Europeans in mostly homogenous societies where common values are shared. If their government starts messing with that, they won't be such happy Europeans.

    As with progressive taxation, it is all about your goals.
    I wish it was all about my goals. We would have a hell of lot better system than what we do if it was all about my goals.
    Last edited by AlbqOwl; 01-22-10 at 11:33 PM.
    "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin 1776

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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow Akhbar View Post
    This country wasn't founded in opposition to economic disparity.

    Just in case you didn't notice, the Patriots were some of the richest colonists around.
    That's right, but the language of the Constitution represented the hope for an egalitarian society.

    This county was founded on freedom and the assumption that tyranny is no way to run a country.
    Exactly and having a very small percentage of the population owning the majority of the wealth is economical tyranny.

    The fact of freedom ensures "economic disparity"
    Glad you weren't around when the Constitution was being written!
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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    That's right, but the language of the Constitution represented the hope for an egalitarian society.
    what? The constitution is a blueprint that lays out the ennumerated powers of the federal govenment--and a few specific restrictions as well. A unique American "society" was already well established by the early 1780s, each state was sovereign.

    The constitution was primarily designed to keep any centralized authority from meddling with the established society.


    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    Exactly and having a very small percentage of the population owning the majority of the wealth is economical tyranny.
    Only if their financial status is enforced by law... In which case, it's just regular ole run o' the mill Tyranny.
    Last edited by other; 01-23-10 at 12:00 AM.

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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    what? The constitution is a blueprint that lays out the ennumerated powers of the federal govenment--and a few specific restrictions as well. A unique American "society" was already well established by the early 1780s, each state was sovereign.

    The constitution was primarily designed to keep any centralized authority from meddling with the established society.

    Only if their financial status is enforced by law... In which case, it's just regular ole run o' the mill Tyranny.
    And you do not think money plays a role in public policy?

    "The New Right’s “Jeffersonian philosophy” of limited government ignores the most basic historical element of laissez-faire thinking in early America: the direct, radical purpose of disabling the political power of the aristocracy. As historian James L. Huston writes, it was against the “political economy of aristocracy,” government organized by and for a small, wealthy elite, that supporters of the American revolution embraced the “egalitarian promise of the negative state.” The ideal, simply, was a system that restricted the legal and political power of the wealthy, in order to prevent them from combining against independent smallholders and those without property. Limited government, in other words, was a “populist” ideal, a doctrine of the many versus the few. As a group of North Carolina democrats petitioned in 1776, when “fixing the fundamental principles of Government,” the goal should be to “oppose everything that leans to aristocracy or power in the hands of the rich and chief men exercised to the oppression of the poor.”
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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    . . .the language of the Constitution represented the hope for an egalitarian society.
    Actually you're right. But the egalitarian society envisioned by the Founders and guaranteed by the Constitution did not, repeat did NOT suppose that there would be equality of results or outcome. What they did envision was a revolutionary concept that had never been tried in the annals of government - a great experiment - characterized by a belief that all citizens would have equal political, social, and economic rights. In other words, there would be no feudal system - no caste - no distinction drawn as to who would have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They envisioned a government that would allow people to achieve those unalienable rights for themselves and not interfere in any manner.

    They knew all too well that a government could not provide them for the people and a government that tried would invariably take rights away from the people.

    So there was never an expectation or even hope of equality of outcome. But there was an expectation that the government would secure their rights, and then every citizen would have a chance to reach for the gold ring if he or she was so inclined to do so.
    Last edited by AlbqOwl; 01-23-10 at 02:08 AM.
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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    Actually you're right. But the egalitarian society envisioned by the Founders and guaranteed by the Constitution did not, repeat did NOT suppose that there would be equality of results or outcome. What they did envision was a revolutionary concept that had never been tried in the annals of government - a great experiment - characterized by a belief that all citizens would have equal political, social, and economic rights. In other words, there would be no feudal system - no caste - no distinction drawn as to who would have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They envisioned a government that would allow people to achieve those unalienable rights for themselves and not interfere in any manner.
    I was with you right up to your last 6 words Owl which are contrary to the Preamble of Constitution which goes to the spirit of the Constitution.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    I was with you right up to your last 6 words Owl which are contrary to the Preamble of Constitution which goes to the spirit of the Constitution.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    And how do you figure that the government interferes with the people's unalienable rights in any way via carrying out the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution?

    The entire Constitution focuses on a concept of a 'more perfect union', as fair a system of justice as possible, the right of people to their peace (domestic tranquility) and a right to peacefully petition their government for redress of grievances, secure the blessings of liberty--liberty that is God given--life, liberty, pursuit of happiness which are among God given unalienable rights. Promoting the general welfare meant that whatever government did would benefit all, not a privileged few, and that in itself demanded that no distinction be drawn between rich and poor so far as the general welfare was concerned.

    Every clause of the Constitution is targeted to achieve an orderly conduct of a government in a way that secures the rights of the people and then gets out of their way and allows them to live their lives.
    "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin 1776

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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    And how do you figure that the government interferes with the people's unalienable rights in any way via carrying out the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution?
    I don't figure that. My meaning is that the direction offered under the Preamble, among the other things it describes, allows for the creation of programs to help establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, and promote the general Welfare of We the People.

    The entire Constitution focuses on a concept of a 'more perfect union', as fair a system of justice as possible, the right of people to their peace (domestic tranquility) and a right to peacefully petition their government for redress of grievances, secure the blessings of liberty--liberty that is God given--life, liberty, pursuit of happiness which are among God given unalienable rights.
    Yes, I would agree with all of that with the possible exception of the reference to God since I do not believe in her, and do not see her referenced in the Preamble.

    Promoting the general welfare meant that whatever government did would benefit all, not a privileged few,
    I would agree with that also.
    and that in itself demanded that no distinction be drawn between rich and poor so far as the general welfare was concerned.
    I would agree with that also.

    Every clause of the Constitution is targeted to achieve an orderly conduct of a government in a way that secures the rights of the people and then gets out of their way and allows them to live their lives.
    We are in agreement there too!

    I just don't see the conflict between promoting the general welfare, establishing Justice, and liberty for all that you see. And neither have the courts apparently for the last 96 years.
    Last edited by Catawba; 01-23-10 at 04:39 AM.
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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    I said:


    To which Nerv14 replied:


    I said:


    Nerv14 responded:


    Two different things.

    Progressive taxation punishes the wealthier for their prosperity by taxing them at a disproportionately higher rate. This could be the case if the government limited its functions to only those specified in the Constitution and provided no benefits of any kindto any group of any polito-socio-economic standing other than those designated in the Constitution.

    It could be the same as the hardware store charging me $50 for a hammer and charging you $1 for the same hammer. But if I make $100 and you make $10, you can see that I won't be able to buy many hammers. But we will both have a hammer that we each bought and paid for. If I paid $10 which would be proportionately comparable to your $1, I would be able to afford several hammers and could possibly hire you to use yours.

    On the other hand, however, taking away from the productive to give the poor means that I pay for my hammer and also pay for your hammer and you are expected to contribute nothing for what I provide you. That is something quite different.
    Ok I see what you are saying. progressive taxation is acceptable, but only when the progressive taxation doesn't pay for anything that only the poor use.

    Fair enough, but even in your worst case scenario, of progressive taxation giving benefits to the poor, there has never been a modern democratic society where the whole system collapsed from progressive taxation and wealth distribution.

    Therefore, since there is not any example of that, you shouldn't worry about it collapsing our, or any economy.

    Are you sure that it gives the poor more income than they would have otherwise? Are you sure that if the government was not providing for the poor, and the people had more of their own money at their own disposal, that they would not be providing for the poor? Hiring the poor? Helping the poor? And they would be doing it for the motive of encouraging the poor to get on their feet and become productive citizens.

    There is far too much temptation for those in government to give to the poor in return for votes. And that invariably corrupts both government and those receiving the charity.

    For that reason I want us to begin the process now of slowly but surely easing the federal government out of that loop altogether with as little disruption and pain to the innocent as possible. We've tried the nanny state for a couple of generations now, and it has created far more problems than it has solved as well as feeding on itself and perpetuating itself.
    In the short run, it is obviously better for a rich person to give me a check for doing nothing, then me just hoping that a job working for them will give me that same check. anyway, if i just got a handout, then i could use my time to get another job instead of working for someone to get the handout (in the form of a paycheck)

    Don't worry though, i agree with you in the long run that less taxation of the wealthy helps the poor.

    Then how do you account for say the 1940's when there was far less government assistance, far fewer civil rights, rampant racism and segregation, but nevertheless there was less crime and less violencethan we have now?
    Your claim does not mean anything. There are many, many factors in determining rascism and crime, so unless you can seperate the different variables, that means nothing.

    Also, I was talking about crime and not racism or segregation. Despite segregation being horrible, maybe it decreases crime. I am not sure, that is something else.

    Poverty doesn't create civil unrest. Hopelessness and a sense of futility and/or a sense of entitlement does. When you have a government implementing policy that at face value is supposed to help, but in reality destroys family structures, encourages dependency, encourages victim mentality, and creates whole groups of almost permanently unemployable people, it is time to rethink that whole thing and do it much differently.
    All of the effects that you are talking about are negative, but those do not need to happen with wealth redistribution.

    The problem is that people unfortunately are more unhappy about their economic condition if there are some people that are much, much richer then they are. It has statistically been proven that people would even be happier in a poorer, but more egalitarian society.

    I first saw that in Allan Greenspan's book "A Turbulent Decade" where he admits that correlation despite him being a libertarian. (even if he isn't quite as much as he use to be when he wrote the book)

    Look at this

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/...7/fulltext.pdf

    In the conclusion of this study it says that there is a strong correlation between inequality in nations, and unhappiness.

    "5. CONCLUSIONS
    My first question was: Is there a relation between level and
    inequality of happiness in nations? The answer is that there is a
    negative correlation between level and inequality of happiness:
    higher levels go together with less inequality. This negative
    correlation is substantial: )0.65 for all nations, )0.74 for rich
    LEVEL AND INEQUALITY OF HAPPINESS IN NATIONS 413
    nations and )0.29 for poor nations. Thus, level and equality of
    happiness are not antithetical; inequality is apparently not
    required for achieving higher levels of happiness."

    I don't see any negative outcomes from income inequality unless it is made permanent. I survived a time within marriage and kids in which we had week left after the money was gone. We didn't dine on steaks or caviar and we took any work at any hour of the day and at any wage to keep it together. But we knew it wasn't a permanent condition. We knew that all we needed was to earn a break that would point us out of poverty into prosperity. And we earned it. And it sure as hell wasn't the government that opened the door for us nor was there any government assistance for us. And you know what? We didn't rob a single liquor store, didn't embezzle a dime from our employers, didn't steal the neighbors lawn mower or anything. Nor did any of our friends and neighbors who were pretty much in the same circumstances.
    That is really great that you were able to get out of poverty with only your own work.

    However, the problem is that what you did was very rare. There are even many surveys on this that maybe you have seen. the social mobility in America is actually fairly low.

    Even if more people are able to go from poor to billionaire in America then other nations, it is still much rarer for someone who is poor to go into the middle class.

    I could go fishing around for a statistic about that, and they are pretty common.

    The problem is that the inequality is normally continuous.

    It isn't unconstitutional the way the law currently interprets it. But it would have been as the Founders understood it, and it should be again. The government shoud not have power to treat any citizen differently than any other citizen in matters of taxation or benefits or contracts or paying penalities for breaking the law.
    You need to remember that the government is not treating people who do the same things differently. You are right, two people committing the same crime should receive the same penalty. However, when two people commit different crimes, or make different incomes then their taxes or penalties should be different.

    Progressive taxation is not arbitrary different treatment by the government.

    Nerv 14 said


    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.



    It is not the government's job to make people happy. But it is the government's job to secure the people's right and then allow them to pursue their own happiness. I know Europeans who are far more miserable than many Americans I know. I think you'll find happy Europeans in mostly homogenous societies where common values are shared. If their government starts messing with that, they won't be such happy Europeans.



    I wish it was all about my goals. We would have a hell of lot better system than what we do if it was all about my goals.
    The problem is that those societies wouldn't be as homogeneous if there was wide income inequality.


    why do you think "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" are so important anyway? Seriously, why should that goal be promoted beyond all others?


    I just don't think that they are worth not promoting a utilitarian goal.
    Last edited by nerv14; 01-23-10 at 12:35 PM.

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    Re: Income tax; Flat tax; National Sales tax; No tax

    Quote Originally Posted by nerv14 View Post
    Ok I see what you are saying. progressive taxation is acceptable, but only when the progressive taxation doesn't pay for anything that only the poor use.

    Fair enough, but even in your worst case scenario, of progressive taxation giving benefits to the poor, there has never been a modern democratic society where the whole system collapsed from progressive taxation and wealth distribution.

    Therefore, since there is not any example of that, you shouldn't worry about it collapsing our, or any economy.



    In the short run, it is obviously better for a rich person to give me a check for doing nothing, then me just hoping that a job working for them will give me that same check. anyway, if i just got a handout, then i could use my time to get another job instead of working for someone to get the handout (in the form of a paycheck)

    Don't worry though, i agree with you in the long run that less taxation of the wealthy helps the poor.



    Your claim does not mean anything. There are many, many factors in determining rascism and crime, so unless you can seperate the different variables, that means nothing.

    Also, I was talking about crime and not racism or segregation. Despite segregation being horrible, maybe it decreases crime. I am not sure, that is something else.


    All of the effects that you are talking about are negative, but those do not need to happen with wealth redistribution.

    The problem is that people unfortunately are more unhappy about their economic condition if there are some people that are much, much richer then they are. It has statistically been proven that people would even be happier in a poorer, but more egalitarian society.

    I first saw that in Allan Greenspan's book "A Turbulent Decade" where he admits that correlation despite him being a libertarian. (even if he isn't quite as much as he use to be when he wrote the book)

    Look at this

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/...7/fulltext.pdf

    In the conclusion of this study it says that there is a strong correlation between inequality in nations, and unhappiness.

    "5. CONCLUSIONS
    My first question was: Is there a relation between level and
    inequality of happiness in nations? The answer is that there is a
    negative correlation between level and inequality of happiness:
    higher levels go together with less inequality. This negative
    correlation is substantial: )0.65 for all nations, )0.74 for rich
    LEVEL AND INEQUALITY OF HAPPINESS IN NATIONS 413
    nations and )0.29 for poor nations. Thus, level and equality of
    happiness are not antithetical; inequality is apparently not
    required for achieving higher levels of happiness."



    That is really great that you were able to get out of poverty with only your own work.

    However, the problem is that what you did was very rare. There are even many surveys on this that maybe you have seen. the social mobility in America is actually fairly low.

    Even if more people are able to go from poor to billionaire in America then other nations, it is still much rarer for someone who is poor to go into the middle class.

    I could go fishing around for a statistic about that, and they are pretty common.

    The problem is that the inequality is normally continuous.



    You need to remember that the government is not treating people who do the same things differently. You are right, two people committing the same crime should receive the same penalty. However, when two people commit different crimes, or make different incomes then their taxes or penalties should be different.

    Progressive taxation is not arbitrary different treatment by the government.



    The problem is that those societies wouldn't be as homogeneous if there was wide income inequality.


    why do you think "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" are so important anyway? Seriously, why should that goal be promoted beyond all others?


    I just don't think that they are worth not promoting a utilitarian goal.
    Wealth redistribution will cause people to stop earning as much money. This will cause more poverty.

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