View Poll Results: Which tax system is most 'fair'?

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  • Progressive Tax

    90 42.25%
  • Regressive Tax

    0 0%
  • Flat Percentage Tax Rate

    104 48.83%
  • Flat Dollar Tax

    5 2.35%
  • Other

    14 6.57%
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Thread: Which tax system is most 'fair'

  1. #111
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    I know this will never happen but it would be interesting to see the tax returns of those who clamor for more taxes on the rich. I suspect that would shed a great deal of light on what motivates those who scream for others to pay more taxes. It is also the biggest problem with the progressive taxes-it appeals to class envy and gives congress untold extra-constitutional power by such pandering.



  2. #112
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    Quote Originally Posted by fredmertz View Post
    What's the most 'fair' tax system? (not asking which is most sustainable, just which would be most 'fair', in a morality sort of way)
    I think the original tax system in place just after the ratification of the Constitution was most fair.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Progressive tax
    Of course, the greedy rich must be fleeced.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
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  4. #114
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    Quote Originally Posted by samsmart View Post
    I don't disagree with you in that we need some serious behavior modifications in this country. However, I think that the government could be used to make such necessary behavior modifications.

    One is shelter for the poor. I've stated this several times in other threads. I am critical for the government having provided government-backed loans to the poor for houses they can't afford that were built for the middle class. That's just stupid.
    correct; it was. no amount of wishing will allow government fiat to change economic reality and turn people who can't afford houses into people who can. politicians cannot be put in charge of housing, because their incentives are completely different from those of the market, and the result will be malinvestment

    Instead, I think the government should use the authority of law to mandate that housing developers cannot ignore the housing needs of the poor.
    aaand here you make the same error as those you critique. what are the 'housing needs' of the poor? we used to classify as 'poor' (we rated foodstamps); we rented an apartment and thought we were doing pretty well for ourselves. we are moving up (we will make a little over 40k this year) square into the middle class, and still we rent because we are saving a good downpayment. we've bumped up our size of apartment (to account for a second child), but as much as we want a house we don't think that we are being unfairly 'denied' our own land by 'society' due to the fact that the government has not tried to push us into one or push others to build one for us.

    if i may recommend an excellent piece on this:

    Behind the housing boom and bust was one of those alluring but undefined phrases that are so popular in politics -- "affordable housing." It is hard for me to know specifically what politicians are talking about when they use this phrase. But then politics is about evoking emotions, not examining specifics...

    After three years of living in rented rooms, I began living in Marine Corps barracks, which didn't cost me anything. That was certainly affordable.

    As a civilian again, in 1954 I rented my first apartment, a studio apartment -- small but affordable. But a year later, I went off to college and lived in dormitories on various campuses for the next six years. None was fancy but all of them were affordable.

    After completing my academic studies, I rented another studio apartment.

    In 1969, I rented my first house, which I could now afford, after several years as a faculty member at various colleges and universities. A dozen years later, I began to buy my first house.

    While the specifics will differ from person to person, my general pattern was not unusual. Most people pay for what they can afford at the time.

    What, then, is the "problem" that politicians claim to be solving when they talk about creating "affordable housing"?..

    If you think it through, that is a policy for disaster. We cannot all go around buying whatever we want, whether or not we have enough money to afford it, and have somebody else make up the difference. For society as a whole, there is no somebody else...

    It is certainly no longer considered to be the individual's own responsibility to acquire the work skills to be able to earn enough to afford better housing as the years passed. Why do that when the government can simply "spread the wealth around," to use another political phrase?

    The ultimate irony is that increasing government intervention in the housing market has generally made housing less affordable than before, by any standard..


    My position is this. Most housing developers focus on the people who are middle class or wealthier when they build houses. However there is a demand for shelter for people who earn minimum wage. But land is a commodity, so housing developers build housing only for the middle class or wealthier so they can get a better long term profit.
    if there is demand for poor housing, then i'm going to need a much better explanation for why nobody is willing to make a profit meeting that demand than 'land is a commodity'. if there is demand then what is artificially depressing supply?

    If I had my way, I would write a law requiring housing developers to build a certain percentage of low-income housing designed and built to be affordable to people earning a minimum wage. These could be very small, efficient multi-story homes. By forcing housing developers to dedicate to building these types of homes, they will use their ingenuity to create such homes.
    ....or stop building homes alltogether. or jack up prices to make up for the loss you are trying to force them to incur. or simply build slums and charge full price for them.

    but it is worth noting that the market has already created the kind of house you are describing. they are called 'condominiums'; and where profit can be made on them, they are being built.

    brother, i get where you're going with this, but this is a policy almost guaranteed to create a housing shortage. which would drive up prices and make the issue you are trying to address worse.

    This way, the poor can actually get housing they can afford and the government isn't making risky mortgages, and housing developers will earn a profit.
    housing developers will earn a profit?

    A) if that were the case, then they would be doing this already. a company that turns down profit is one that is quickly replaced by a competitor that doesn't.
    B) simply arguing that developers' 'ingenuity' will magically make housing affordable to those who can't afford it when it is declared so by fiat makes no more sense than declaring that banks 'ingenuity' can make loans affordable to those who cannot afford it.

    The only thing that inhibits this is housing developers' desire to earn even more of a profit to cater to the demands of the middle class. But in doing so, they ignore the needs of the poor.
    it's not a question of what you consider to be their 'needs', it's a question of supply and demand. housing has fallen sharply in the last few years; if there was profit to be made in any market, they would be hunting it down like starving cheetahs after a gazelle. that they are not indicates that there is no profit to be made in building a house for 30,000 on a piece of land worth 100,000 and then selling it for 50,000.

    So there's a lot of ways to look at the scenario.
    well it's still worth a look to see what government can do to help lower the cost of housing in America.

    for example; the government owns massive swaths of unimproved land that it does not use. in a time of historical deficits and record debt, it seems that the income generated by the sale of this land would certainly come in handy, and the increase in the supply of land would push down its' price.
    Last edited by cpwill; 07-11-10 at 09:55 AM.

  5. #115
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    Quote Originally Posted by mbig View Post
    AND........ just under Bush II, Capital Gains and Dividend Taxes were near HALVED from 28% to 15% (on which the truly wealthy live), and the estate tax all but eliminated.
    So the rich pay fare LESS than the used to.
    as a percentage of their income, certainly; as far as actual revenues are concerned?


    Rich got richer, paid more taxes under Bush


    ...In 2000, the top quintile paid 66.6 percent of taxes, a share that dipped to 64.8 percent in 2002 and then rose, peaking at 69.3 percent in 2006 and settling at 68.9 percent in 2007...

    and what did those tax cuts do, anyway?

    Ten Myths About the Bush Tax Cuts-and the Facts

    Myth #1: Tax revenues remain low.
    Fact: Tax revenues are above the historical average, even after the tax cuts.

    Myth #2: The Bush tax cuts substantially reduced 2006 revenues and expanded the budget deficit.
    Fact: Nearly all of the 2006 budget deficit resulted from additional spending above the baseline.

    Myth #3: Supply-side economics assumes that all tax cuts immediately pay for themselves.
    Fact: It assumes replenishment of some but not necessarily all lost revenues.

    Myth #4: Capital gains tax cuts do not pay for themselves.
    Fact: Capital gains tax revenues doubled following the 2003 tax cut.

    Myth #5: The Bush tax cuts are to blame for the projected long-term budget deficits.
    Fact: Projections show that entitlement costs will dwarf the projected large revenue increases.

    Myth #6: Raising tax rates is the best way to raise revenue.
    Fact: Tax revenues correlate with economic growth, not tax rates.

    Myth #7: Reversing the upper-income tax cuts would raise substantial revenues.
    Fact: The low-income tax cuts reduced revenues the most.

    Myth #8: Tax cuts help the economy by "putting money in people's pockets."
    Fact: Pro-growth tax cuts support incentives for productive behavior.

    Myth #9: The Bush tax cuts have not helped the economy.
    Fact: The economy responded strongly to the 2003 tax cuts.

    Myth #10: The Bush tax cuts were tilted toward the rich.
    Fact: The rich are now shouldering even more of the income tax burden.

  6. #116
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    All Americans Pay Taxes
    Those Who Pay No Federal Income Taxes Pay Other Types of Taxes, Most of
    Which Take More from the Poor and Middle Class than from the Rich
    http://www.ctj.org/pdf/taxday2010.pdf
    (Charts within)

    Conservative pundits and media outlets have seized upon an estimate that 47% of taxpayers owe no federal income tax for 2009. This statistic has morphed into the claim by conservatives that “47% of all Americans don’t pay any taxes.”

    The conservative pundits are Wrong. It’s true that many taxpayers don’t pay federal income taxes, but they still pay federal payroll taxes (and some federal excise taxes) and also pay state and local taxes. Most of these other taxes are regressive, meaning they take a larger share of a poor or middle-class family’s income than they take from a rich family. This largely offsets the progressivity of the federal income tax.

    CTJ estimates that the share of total taxes (federal state and local taxes) paid by taxpayers in each income group is quite similar to the share of total income received by each income group in 2009.

    For example, the share of total taxes paid by the richest one percent (22.1%) is not dramatically different from the share of total income received by this group (20.4%).

    Everyone in America pays some sort of taxes, which may take the form of income, sales or property taxes imposed by state and local governments, in addition to federal income, payroll and excise taxes.

    Claims that the richest 1% are paying far more than their fair share usually focus only on the most significant progressive tax, the federal income tax. They ignore the other types of taxes. As these figures make clear, the U.S. tax system just barely qualifies as progressive.
    Last edited by mbig; 07-11-10 at 11:23 AM.
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  7. #117
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    as a percentage of their income, certainly; as far as actual revenues are concerned?


    Rich got richer, paid more taxes under Bush


    ...In 2000, the top quintile paid 66.6 percent of taxes, a share that dipped to 64.8 percent in 2002 and then rose, peaking at 69.3 percent in 2006 and settling at 68.9 percent in 2007...

    and what did those tax cuts do, anyway?

    Ten Myths About the Bush Tax Cuts-and the Facts

    Myth #1: Tax revenues remain low.
    Fact: Tax revenues are above the historical average, even after the tax cuts.

    Myth #2: The Bush tax cuts substantially reduced 2006 revenues and expanded the budget deficit.
    Fact: Nearly all of the 2006 budget deficit resulted from additional spending above the baseline.

    Myth #3: Supply-side economics assumes that all tax cuts immediately pay for themselves.
    Fact: It assumes replenishment of some but not necessarily all lost revenues.

    Myth #4: Capital gains tax cuts do not pay for themselves.
    Fact: Capital gains tax revenues doubled following the 2003 tax cut.

    Myth #5: The Bush tax cuts are to blame for the projected long-term budget deficits.
    Fact: Projections show that entitlement costs will dwarf the projected large revenue increases.

    Myth #6: Raising tax rates is the best way to raise revenue.
    Fact: Tax revenues correlate with economic growth, not tax rates.

    Myth #7: Reversing the upper-income tax cuts would raise substantial revenues.
    Fact: The low-income tax cuts reduced revenues the most.

    Myth #8: Tax cuts help the economy by "putting money in people's pockets."
    Fact: Pro-growth tax cuts support incentives for productive behavior.

    Myth #9: The Bush tax cuts have not helped the economy.
    Fact: The economy responded strongly to the 2003 tax cuts.

    Myth #10: The Bush tax cuts were tilted toward the rich.
    Fact: The rich are now shouldering even more of the income tax burden.
    In an economy any economy using straight tax revenues as a means to gauge whether or not tax cuts have paid for themselves is a poor arguement, you have to use tax revenues as % of GDP and government spending as % of GDP. General economic growth and inflation will distort any year to year comparison
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  8. #118
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    I am a moderately conservative libertarian, or a libertarian-ish conservative, except on Tuesdays.

    I don't have a problem with progressive tax, as long as the progression isn't too steep and the top-end isn't too high, at least under any political and economic conditions likely to prevail in modern times or the near future.

    You can't pay for the huge government we presently have with a flat tax that hits the poor with the same percentage as the rich; the rate would have to be 20-30% and the poor can't pay it and have a half-way decent life.

    National sales tax? At the figures I've heard quoted (20-30%) it would be just as bad.

    You have to remember the regressive taxes for SocSec/Medicare/etc. Property tax and state/local sales tax, etc etc. These things already cost the poor and blue-collar a bigger chunk of their limited income than it does the middle-class and wealthy.

    Now if you cut government to the point where the flat rate was under 10%, that might be do-able...but lots of luck with that, you'd have to reduce government to less than half its current size and scope.

    You could have a flat tax if you exempted some reasonable sum from the tax as "cost of living"... say 20-30 grand a household. Of course, if you do that then it is a form of two-rate progressive tax, really.

    Principle is all very well and good, but nobody's taxes should push their heads underwater.

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  9. #119
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    The fairest tax is no tax. The second fairest tax is where everyone pays the same amount. The third fairest tax is where everyone pays the same %. None of these are feasible. We need to accept the inherent unfairness of taxes but also accept that no taxes would be even worse.
    If you expect people to be rational, you aren't being rational.

  10. #120
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    Re: Which tax system is most 'fair'

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleDude View Post
    I know this will never happen but it would be interesting to see the tax returns of those who clamor for more taxes on the rich. I suspect that would shed a great deal of light on what motivates those who scream for others to pay more taxes. It is also the biggest problem with the progressive taxes-it appeals to class envy and gives congress untold extra-constitutional power by such pandering.
    What we do know is that the Messiah has appointed more people with more failures to pay their own taxes in history.

    Not to mention Chucky Rangel's felonious tax evasions.

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