View Poll Results: What Should the Government Focus On, Raising Revenue or Tax Rates?

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  • Revenues

    25 89.29%
  • Tax Rate

    3 10.71%
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Thread: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

  1. #121
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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    :
    given that tax rates fell and rose together, the distribution is irrelevant. had we been hiking taxes for the middle class while lowering it for the wealthy, then that would indeed be a powerful argument for you, but that is not what we did. instead we slashed tax rates for all income brackets and yet tax revenues increased (though as a % of GDP, agreeably only slightly, and it is debatable whether or not it was outside the margin of error).
    Fallacious response.
    If you cut taxes on the rich enough, it doesn't matter what you do to the small fry at the bottom
    See below:

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    to aid, I looked up the tax brackets and rates over the pre-reagan, post-war decades for Married, Filing Jointly:

    Year $10,001 $20,001 $60,001 $100,001 $250,001
    1950 38% 56% 78% 89% 91%
    1952 42% 62% 80% 90% 92%
    1954 38% 56% 78% 89% 91%
    1956 26% 38% 62% 75% 89%
    1958 26% 38% 62% 75% 89%
    1960 26% 38% 62% 75% 89%
    1962 26% 38% 62% 75% 89%
    1964 23% 34% 56% 66% 76%
    1966 - 1976 22% 32% 53% 62% 70%
    1980 18% 24% 54% 59% 70%
    Lets' take a longer view, not your attempt at burying the MAJOR problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Real Perspective and problem
    Top US Marginal Income Tax Rates, 1913--2003 (TruthAndPolitics.org)
    Historical rates (married couples, filing jointly)

    Year/ Top Rate%/ Over

    1913 --- 7% 500,000
    1914 --- 7% 500,000
    1915 --- 7% 500,000
    1916 --- 15% 2,000,000
    1917 --- 67% 2,000,000
    1918 --- 77% 1,000,000
    1919 --- 73% 1,000,000
    1920 --- 73% 1,000,000
    1921 --- 73% 1,000,000
    1922 --- 58% 200,000
    1923 --- 43.5% 200,000
    1924 --- 46% 500,000

    1925 --- 25% 100,000
    1926 --- 25% 100,000
    1927 --- 25% 100,000
    1928 --- 25% 100,000
    1929 --- 24% 100,000
    1930 --- 25% 100,000
    1931 --- 25% 100,000
    1932 --- 63% 1,000,000
    1933 --- 63% 1,000,000
    1934 --- 63% 1,000,000
    1935 --- 63% 1,000,000
    1936 --- 79% 5,000,000
    1937 --- 79% 5,000,000
    1938 --- 79% 5,000,000
    1939 --- 79% 5,000,000
    1940 --- 81% 5,000,000
    1941 --- 81% 5,000,000
    1942 --- 88% 200,000
    1943 --- 88% 200,000
    1944--- 94 200,000
    1945 --- 94% 200,000
    1946 --- 86% 200,000
    1947 --- 86% 200,000
    1948 --- 82.% 400,000
    1949 --- 82% 400,000
    1950 --- 84.36% 400,000
    1951 --- 91% 400,000
    1952 --- 92% 400,000
    1953 --- 92% 400,000
    1954 --- 91% 400,000
    1955 --- 91% 400,000
    1956 --- 91% 400,000
    1957 --- 91% 400,000
    1958 --- 91% 400,000
    1959 --- 91% 400,000
    1960 --- 91% 400,000
    1961 --- 91% 400,000
    1962 --- 91% 400,000
    1963 --- 91% 400,000
    1964 --- 77% 400,000
    1965 --- 70% 200,000
    1966 --- 70% 200,000
    1967 --- 70% 200,000
    1968 --- 75.25% 200,000
    1969 --- 77% 200,000
    1970 --- 71.75% 200,000
    1971 --- 70% 60% 200,000
    1972 --- 70% 50 200,000
    1973 --- 70% 50 200,000
    1974 --- 70% 50 200,000
    1975 ----70% 50 200,000
    1976 --- 70% 50 200,000
    1977 --- 70% 50 203,200
    1978 --- 70% 50 203,200
    1979 --- 70% 50 215,400
    1980 --- 70% 50 215,400
    1981 --- 69% 50 215,400
    1982 --- 50% 85,600
    1983 --- 50% 109,400
    1984 --- 50% 162,400
    1985 --- 50 % 169,020
    1986 --- 50 % 175,250
    1987 --- 38.5% 90,000
    1988 --- 28% <8> 29,750 <8>

    1989 --- 28% <8> 30,950 <8>
    1990 --- 28% <8> 32,450 <8>
    1991 --- 31% 82,150
    1992 --- 31% 86,500
    1993 --- 39.6% 89,150
    1994 --- 39.6% 250,000
    1995 --- 39.6% 256,500
    1996 --- 39.6% 263,750
    1997 --- 39.6% 271,050
    1998 --- 39.6% 278,450
    1999 --- 39.6% 283,150
    2000 --- 39.6% 288,350
    2001 --- 39.1% 297,350
    2002 --- 38.6% 307,050
    2003 --- 35% 311,950
    How much "More" "revenue" does the OP suppose we'd "raise" if the Top rate was 5%.. or 1%?
    How much "Laugh" is in your Laugher Curve?


    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    Now, If revenue is a function of rates,[b] then this would be impossible.
    Revenue appears instead to be a function of GDP;
    Revenue is of course a function of the overall economy, but note how the burden of who pays-- has changed.
    ie, the "Class Warfare" Won by the rich over the last 50, especially 30, years.

    And the above chart does not include the near HALVING of the Capital Gains and Dividend Taxes under GW Bush. (28% to 15%). On which the really rich really live.
    Last edited by mbig; 05-07-11 at 09:07 PM.
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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by mbig View Post
    Fallacious response.
    If you cut taxes on the rich enough, it doesn't matter what you do to the small fry at the bottom
    See below:

    Lets' take a longer view, not your attempt at burying the MAJOR problem.




    Revenue is of course a function of the overall economy, but note how the burden of who pays-- has changed.
    ie, the "Class Warfare" Won by the rich over the last 50 years.

    And the above chart does not include the near HALVING of the Capital Gains and Dividend Taxes under GW Bush. (28% to 15%). On which the really rich really live.
    before the 16th amendment the rich werent required to pay for freeloaders and others

    the poor have a pretty good deal

    they have the same voting and citizenship rights as the rich yet they don't even pay their share of the government

    right now the top 5% pay more of the federal income tax burden than the other 95%

    right now the richest 1 percent of tax payers pay the highest proportion of the FIT than at anytime since welfare socialism started in the USA

    the rich have always "won" the current system is distributing much of that winning to the losers



  3. #123
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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    This thread is entirely retarded. No one who understands taxes cares about statutory rates. What matters is effective. Government focusing on raising revenue by elimination of tax deductions has effectively raised effective marginal rates.
    "If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him." - Sun Tzu

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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by mbig View Post
    Fallacious response.
    If you cut taxes on the rich enough, it doesn't matter what you do to the small fry at the bottom
    well, the big money isn't in either - it's in the middle and upper middle class.

    See below:

    Lets' take a longer view, not your attempt at burying the MAJOR problem.
    i'm not attempting to bury any problem - i'm attempting to identify what the actual problem is. as you point out brilliantly - top tax rates have varied wildly even as revenue has remained relatively consistent. the rational conclusion is that these two things must not have a direct relationship.

    How much "More" "revenue" does the OP suppose we'd "raise" if the Top rate was 5%.. or 1%?
    probably much less in the short term, and more only over a very long time horizon. there is undoubtedly a point on both ends of the spectrum where we begin to depress revenue below it's historical average of around 18.5%.

    How much "Laugh" is in your Laugher Curve?
    look back over this thread and I'll give you a dollar for every time I've referenced the Laffer curve before this response here.

    Revenue is of course a function of the overall economy
    precisely. if you want to grow the revenue, you have to grow the economy.

    but note how the burden of who pays-- has changed.
    ie, the "Class Warfare" Won by the rich over the last 50, especially 30, years.
    um... your first sentence sort of contradicts your second - given that the percent of revenue coming from the highest earners has gone up over the past 30 years...

    And the above chart does not include the near HALVING of the Capital Gains and Dividend Taxes under GW Bush. (28% to 15%). On which the really rich really live.
    another excellent point. if revenue were a function of rates - then we would expect to see an even greater loss in revenue as a % of GDP as these taxes were slashed with income rates. yet we didn't.
    Last edited by cpwill; 05-08-11 at 03:04 AM.

  5. #125
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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    the trick being that paying taxes is an economic act - not a social one. attempting to set tax rates might come from social theory attempts - but the actual tax paying is an economic one, and we all of us tend to make economic decisions based on our and our familys' best interests.
    I disagree, it is not merely an economic act. It entirely depends on one's relationship with society and what they consider paying taxes to be. Personally, I don't mind higher tax rates for what I get. In parts of Europe, this is the prevailing attitude, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    but you merely reinforce my point. we are 100% in favor of spending money on our poor.... so long as someone else has to pay for it. We are generous indeed..... with other people's money. that's not charity - charity is when you give your own money.

    i don't think ignoring private giving is legitimate in this discussion. Study after study seems to demonstrate that private giving goes down under a welfare state, and rises in it's lack. The more people perceive "taking care of the poor" to be the role of government, the more they tend to consider it less a role of their own... but really when you reflect government back into the form of revenue that it draws from, you are really talking about taxes, and in this country that means that you are really talking about taking from the top income earners.

    So when we see a privatized charity we are seeing people making a social decision - I wish to be a good social actor and so I wish to help take care of others. but when we see us shift into a more heavily socialized system (government system, however you want to put it, not trying to go down the Oh That's Not Socialism! rabbit hole here), we see that people begin to make economic decisions - I want to make sure it doesn't cost me anything, but rather costs that guy something.
    I believe it is because there is no mechanism built into such a system to make sure that the right amounts of funds are going where it is needed. Simply saying "give to charity, its good for you" does nothing to address the problem from a numbers level. Therefore it is a side discussion. Its a dodge.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    nor, i think, should we even wish to do so in the future. we would be reducing the free will of those future generations whose decisions we make for them.
    Well we don't exactly have free will now, we are subject to internal and external pressures, instincts, etc, but thats a side discussion I think. We like to pretend we do and I think we do over some aspects of our personalities.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    well i certainly don't pretend to be putting forth a holistic view of human nature - here what we are discussing is merely how people react to economic decisions, including taxes, entitlements, income, and spending.

    on the contrary i see much of modern economic policy and not a little of our public discussion of tax codes built around a desire to ignore human nature. for example, the notion that we can statically score tax increases assumes that people will not seek to minimize their tax exposure - which is in contradiction to nearly everything we know about how people approach taxes.
    As am I cpwill. The idea of man being primarily self interested is very much in vogue and popular right now, but that doesn't necessarily mean it stands up to any sort of rigorous analysis. Again, look at the attitudes of people not only in the US to get a more complete picture.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 05-08-11 at 06:50 AM.

  6. #126
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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    I disagree, it is not merely an economic act. It entirely depends on one's relationship with society and what they consider paying taxes to be. Personally, I don't mind higher tax rates for what I get. In parts of Europe, this is the prevailing attitude, for example.
    interesting. you don't take the deductions for which you qualify? if you get a refund check, you insist on sending it back?

    I believe it is because there is no mechanism built into such a system to make sure that the right amounts of funds are going where it is needed. Simply saying "give to charity, its good for you" does nothing to address the problem from a numbers level. Therefore it is a side discussion. Its a dodge.
    charity we can absolutely discuss elsewhere, except I think to keep the point that when people are discussing the importance of ramping up social spending - they are talking about spending someone else's money. that's not a charitable decision, and it shouldn't be treated as one.

    Well we don't exactly have free will now, we are subject to internal and external pressures, instincts, etc, but thats a side discussion I think. We like to pretend we do and I think we do over some aspects of our personalities.
    can we agree simply then that if our parents were to have preselected our personalities for us that we would have less.?

    As am I cpwill. The idea of man being primarily self interested is very much in vogue and popular right now, but that doesn't necessarily mean it stands up to any sort of rigorous analysis
    it is, in fact, the basis not only of our system of governance, but the major portion of our economic system. considering that we are the most successful nation in history, and considering that systems built on competing notions (that man is happy to socialize his rewards) have fallen into the ash-heap of history, I would like to see some support for this claim. The entire discussion that we have just had concerning taxes v rates is in contradiction to the notion that humans economically interact as non-self-interested parties, seeking what is best for they and their families. The middle class man takes the mortgage interest deduction just as readily as a wealthy man takes a more exotic one - and for the same reason - they are seeking to minimize their tax exposure. They may even be all for paying higher rates in the abstract, but give even a spokesman for that cause, a cheerleader of it who stands to lose nothing that he needs a tax form and they will take all the exemptions, breaks, and credits they can qualify for.

    Again, look at the attitudes of people not only in the US to get a more complete picture.
    Not only do people seek out and take massive amounts of deductions, credits, and whathaveyou every year, we also often underreport. the IRS estimates that waiters and other workers that rely on tips, for example, underreport their income by 84%. Tax evasion (not avoidance) in 2001 (the last year I could find a number) was estimated to be at 2.1% of GDP. Americans take every exemption and credit we can qualify for, and many of us take some that we don't - all in our effort to reduce our individual tax bill.

    but we support raising taxes on other people, aiiieee :shakes head: Probably the same waiter who night after night reports that they got 3% in tips will go out and tell a pollster that the small business owner who reports his business income as personal and brings in $250K a year needs to have his taxes hiked so that he can "pay his fair share". That was certainly the attitude I had when I was a waiter, and I was underreporting my income. I had to do some growing up in order to realize how thuggish that attitude was.

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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    interesting. you don't take the deductions for which you qualify? if you get a refund check, you insist on sending it back?
    Sure I do, but as I mentioned before, putting in the forms into the tax software is one thing while going out of your way and changing your lifestyle for the purpose of reducing taxes is another. Even so, just because people cheat, we are simply supposed to excuse it? You may disagree, as you have, but the point still stands.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    charity we can absolutely discuss elsewhere, except I think to keep the point that when people are discussing the importance of ramping up social spending - they are talking about spending someone else's money. that's not a charitable decision, and it shouldn't be treated as one.
    I agree, the real decision is how society works best. The term charity refers to a very specific thing and may be one method of achieving it.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    can we agree simply then that if our parents were to have preselected our personalities for us that we would have less.?
    Actually it would be impossible to determine since mental stuff is hard to quantify or impossible to quantify in terms of more of less, plus the perception of a living person who was engineered would be that they are still themselves. Lastly, if a person was predisposed to something like depression and that aspect was removed, one could say that they would have more (whatever more is, I am assuming some sort of quality of life) So, objectively, I don't know if I can agree or disagree, because what you ask is not a simple question due to its ambiguity.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    it is, in fact, the basis not only of our system of governance, but the major portion of our economic system. considering that we are the most successful nation in history, and considering that systems built on competing notions (that man is happy to socialize his rewards) have fallen into the ash-heap of history, I would like to see some support for this claim. The entire discussion that we have just had concerning taxes v rates is in contradiction to the notion that humans economically interact as non-self-interested parties, seeking what is best for they and their families. The middle class man takes the mortgage interest deduction just as readily as a wealthy man takes a more exotic one - and for the same reason - they are seeking to minimize their tax exposure. They may even be all for paying higher rates in the abstract, but give even a spokesman for that cause, a cheerleader of it who stands to lose nothing that he needs a tax form and they will take all the exemptions, breaks, and credits they can qualify for.
    We are the most successful nation in history in some dimensions, we are middle of the road in others, and terrible at other things yet. Other countries, such as Norway or Germany, which are built on a different social model have greater accomplishments in some dimensions. So, I will have to disagree with your notion that we are the most successful. Different models of society are better and worse at different things. Much of it depends on culture and not governmental policy in fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Not only do people seek out and take massive amounts of deductions, credits, and whathaveyou every year, we also often underreport. the IRS estimates that waiters and other workers that rely on tips, for example, underreport their income by 84%. Tax evasion (not avoidance) in 2001 (the last year I could find a number) was estimated to be at 2.1% of GDP. Americans take every exemption and credit we can qualify for, and many of us take some that we don't - all in our effort to reduce our individual tax bill.

    but we support raising taxes on other people, aiiieee :shakes head: Probably the same waiter who night after night reports that they got 3% in tips will go out and tell a pollster that the small business owner who reports his business income as personal and brings in $250K a year needs to have his taxes hiked so that he can "pay his fair share". That was certainly the attitude I had when I was a waiter, and I was underreporting my income. I had to do some growing up in order to realize how thuggish that attitude was.
    you may consider it thuggish, but really, the idea of people who benefit most from the system paying more into it makes sense for reasons I already mentioned.

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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    interesting. you don't take the deductions for which you qualify? if you get a refund check, you insist on sending it back?



    charity we can absolutely discuss elsewhere, except I think to keep the point that when people are discussing the importance of ramping up social spending - they are talking about spending someone else's money. that's not a charitable decision, and it shouldn't be treated as one.



    can we agree simply then that if our parents were to have preselected our personalities for us that we would have less.?



    it is, in fact, the basis not only of our system of governance, but the major portion of our economic system. considering that we are the most successful nation in history, and considering that systems built on competing notions (that man is happy to socialize his rewards) have fallen into the ash-heap of history, I would like to see some support for this claim. The entire discussion that we have just had concerning taxes v rates is in contradiction to the notion that humans economically interact as non-self-interested parties, seeking what is best for they and their families. The middle class man takes the mortgage interest deduction just as readily as a wealthy man takes a more exotic one - and for the same reason - they are seeking to minimize their tax exposure. They may even be all for paying higher rates in the abstract, but give even a spokesman for that cause, a cheerleader of it who stands to lose nothing that he needs a tax form and they will take all the exemptions, breaks, and credits they can qualify for.



    Not only do people seek out and take massive amounts of deductions, credits, and whathaveyou every year, we also often underreport. the IRS estimates that waiters and other workers that rely on tips, for example, underreport their income by 84%. Tax evasion (not avoidance) in 2001 (the last year I could find a number) was estimated to be at 2.1% of GDP. Americans take every exemption and credit we can qualify for, and many of us take some that we don't - all in our effort to reduce our individual tax bill.

    but we support raising taxes on other people, aiiieee :shakes head: Probably the same waiter who night after night reports that they got 3% in tips will go out and tell a pollster that the small business owner who reports his business income as personal and brings in $250K a year needs to have his taxes hiked so that he can "pay his fair share". That was certainly the attitude I had when I was a waiter, and I was underreporting my income. I had to do some growing up in order to realize how thuggish that attitude was.
    back in the early 1990s I used to eat all the time at a chain restaurant-a TGIF in northern Cincinnati because I was dating a lady who worked there. Even after I was married, (not to the waitress) I was a regular and my wife and I went in right after the Clinton tax hikes had been imposed. Now I was a big tipper-20% minimum. Our waitress that day-I will call her "Amy" was going on and on about how great Clinton was. My wife-far more conservative than I am-asked "Amy" why Clinton was so great. "Amy" started gushing over the tax hikes. So I asked her how she was doing in terms of tips since the tax hikes.
    She noted that her tips had gone down a bit-most of the clientele at that place at that time were small business owners. Now I left her a good tip but not as high as usual. The next time I came in one of my manager friends noted "Amy" was wondering why I tipped her a few bucks less than normal. The manager noted to her that when peoples' taxes go up they tend to cut back spending and tips are among the first thing to suffer.

    HE also recommended that gushing about Clinton's tax hike was counterproductive if you were someone who depended upon the "rich" for your income. Just ask all the blue collar union workers who built Yachts what the clinton "luxury tax" hikes did for them



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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleDude View Post
    before the 16th amendment the rich werent required to pay for freeloaders and others
    FALSE -

    **Revenue act of 1861
    **Wilson-Gormon Tariff 1894

    the poor have a pretty good deal


    they have the same voting and citizenship rights as the rich yet they don't even pay their share of the government
    So, donate your 'fortune' to charity and start living the good life...

    right now the top 5% pay more of the federal income tax burden than the other 95%
    And they benefit more from all the things the U.S. government oversees and provides.

    The super-wealthy have a greater interest in maintaining tax-funded support systems such as security of property rights, defense and infrastructure, as the top 1% have much more to lose if these fail than do the poor. Public investments in defense and foreign aid mainly support business assets abroad whose expropriation is a far greater risk than is the risk involving domestic investments.

    In the U.S. market economy, the larger an investment is, the higher its rate of return. This is due to economies of scale and the increased range of investment opportunities.

    Those who control greater amounts of capital within a society are able to participate more directly in shaping government policy, often in ways that further maximize their wealth.

    right now the richest 1 percent of tax payers pay the highest proportion of the FIT than at anytime since welfare socialism started in the USA
    And they control more of the wealth do to the failure of trickle down economics...

    the rich have always "won" the current system is distributing much of that winning to the losers
    You're talking about the Ayn Rand fantasy world where the successful people are exceptionally gifted creative individuals with a strong moral compass, and rest are either lazy or content to be a worker bee. However, in the real world, legions of lawyers go to work every year figuring out new ways to game the system. In the real world, not all wealthy people are exceptional creators/producers. Many fail upwards. Hedge funds, speculators produce nothing. In the real world, the 'invisible hand' has been hampered by politics, bail-outs, and subsidies.

    Here is some reading for you:

    Capital versus Talent
    I believe there as a modern and very important battle being waged between capital i.e. shareholders and talent i.e. senior and specialized executives for the spoils of their joint activity. Before 1980, talent worked placidly for management without making huge demands of compensation. But then talent woke up and ever since has been working assiduously to take an ever-bigger piece of the economic pie, frustrating and angering capital.
    Essays and ideas on how we got started down this road where 'talent' in the corp. world began to believe they were entitled to something greater...whether they produced or not.

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    Re: Is Raising Revenue More Important Than Raising Tax Rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Sure I do, but as I mentioned before, putting in the forms into the tax software is one thing while going out of your way and changing your lifestyle for the purpose of reducing taxes is another.
    i don't see how it is - either way you are deliberately taking action to minimize your tax bill - you are acting economically, in ways that are designed to serve the best interest of you and your family.

    Even so, just because people cheat, we are simply supposed to excuse it?
    not at all - but we should also design a system that reduces the incentive and ability to engage in tax fraud. That's one of the things I liked most about the Fair-Tax; in order to cheat (as opposed to our current system where you just have to write a different number on a piece of paper safe in your own room) you have to get Wal-Mart to sign on to engaging in criminal activity. Walmart isn't going to risk criminal investigation to save you $3.16 on a sweater.

    I agree, the real decision is how society works best. The term charity refers to a very specific thing and may be one method of achieving it.
    well when organizing government the question is what works best - but I get leery when people start talking about organizing society for maximum efficiency. Individual Rights so often get tossed out the window when that occurs, and effects on individuals go right with it. Should we design a system for maximum efficiency if it also encourages what we would recognize as detrimental individual behavior? These are my twin critiques of our current welfare/tax structure - it is poorly designed to acheive it's stated goals, and it encourages what I would argue are harmful strategies and attitudes among us. It doesn't help the poor, but it does teach us that the way up is to take from others rather than self-reliance.

    Actually it would be impossible to determine since mental stuff is hard to quantify or impossible to quantify in terms of more of less, plus the perception of a living person who was engineered would be that they are still themselves. Lastly, if a person was predisposed to something like depression and that aspect was removed, one could say that they would have more (whatever more is, I am assuming some sort of quality of life) So, objectively, I don't know if I can agree or disagree, because what you ask is not a simple question due to its ambiguity.
    man. i read that three times, and now I'm confused

    but seriously, I can't accept Eugenics as a means of increasing human choice - it strikes me that it objectively gives one generation ( the "designer" generation ) all the choices and locks the rest of us into their model.

    We are the most successful nation in history in some dimensions, we are middle of the road in others, and terrible at other things yet. Other countries, such as Norway or Germany, which are built on a different social model have greater accomplishments in some dimensions. So, I will have to disagree with your notion that we are the most successful.
    those other models have been able to survive and thrive because they have been fed and protected by our success. Without US Military expenditures, Germany spends her GDP over the last century protecting her border from the Soviet Union. And I would question what "other dimensions" you are referencing - I have heard it often claimed about healthcare, but I have yet to see a case made for that that can stand up to critique.

    Different models of society are better and worse at different things. Much of it depends on culture and not governmental policy in fact.
    that is true, but I would argue that culture feeds into government policy.

    you may consider it thuggish, but really, the idea of people who benefit most from the system paying more into it makes sense for reasons I already mentioned.
    I don't consider the notion of a progressive tax code thuggish. I claim that the model where the majority of us shift the burden of governing onto a minority, insist that they then also pay us a little extra off the top, and then castigate them for not "carrying their fair share" is thuggish.
    Last edited by cpwill; 05-08-11 at 03:02 PM.

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