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Author: Subject: Let's talk about what fair share is

Maximum Peach





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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 10:50 AM
Something that has been glossed over as it relates to capital gains rates is does investment serve a good and positive economic role and will raising the taxes on the potential gains from such investment have a damaging effect?

Not just the rich people encounter capital gains. If you own mutual funds then you likely have capital gains and losses depending on the circumstances even if you do absolutely nothing. The mutual funds will buy and sell individual shares within the fund and doing so does create cap gains and losses which you must claim on your income tax and pay tax on unless the fund is held within a tax deferred retirement account. So a $40,000 a year income earner that owns mutual funds outside of retirement accounts could see a portion of their tax burden go from 15% to 30%. Is that fair?

If the President is really suggesting moving the capital gain tax rate from 15% to 30% that is most certainly going to influence investment decisions people make. And I think that is a conversation that needs to be had, what will the consequence be? Because I believe that a capital gains tax rate of 30% will influence investment decisions. If they take it back to 20% I think by and large that would not have much impact on people. But 15 to 30 is a huge jump.

How much did Mitt Romney pay according to his released tax return? Something like $6m for 2010-2011? Is 6 million dollars paid in taxes not fair enough? He should pay more? So Mitt Romney is using more than 6 million dollars in services - wouldn't that be the definition of fair? To make people pay as much in tax as their share of services they use? Quite simplistic and I'm not proposing that, but it would seem that when you say the total dollar amount a person like Mitt Romney pays rather than just some low percentage, Mitt Romney pays a bunch of taxes already, so how much more would make it "fair" then?

And then what about marginal tax rates? So like I asked before, 35% top rate is not fair is that right? But 39.5% is fair? Who and how does one determine exactly what is fair for an individual or couple to pay? Is 37% fair, is 45% fair?

Is $250,000 threshold fair? People below get continued tax breaks, people at and above get continual tax increases. If married filing jointly in large metropolitan areas is $250k income a year rich and is it fair to target them as the people who need to pay more? Or the much hyped "Warren Buffet's secretary" who has been estimated her income is between $200,000 to $500,000 - she would have her taxes go up based on what the President is saying all while using her as an example of why other people should pay more. It is quite a contradiction.

Just what is fair? When you drill down beyond campaign talk and croud rousing rhetoric what means should be used to determine what income tax structure our nation should have?

 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 12:22 PM
What means should be used to determine what people pay? How much they have left to live on and is it adequate. Big difference in someone who makes $10,000 a year paying 10 % of his income in taxes versus someone making more. Same thing with the other brackets. People cannot afford basic things due to the high costs, that's why in the 35% bracket there are so many foreclosures.

So Mittens has paid 6 million in taxes, with an income of 250 million, is is proportionate enough?

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 12:25 PM
quote:
What means should be used to determine what people pay? How much they have left to live on and is it adequate.

Are you saying people should be able to keep only an adequate amount of their money to live on and send the rest to Washington?

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 12:59 PM
money is being wasted in washington at a collossal rate so this is a very difficult discusion to have. Most taxpayers think they are paying way more than their fair share. Warren Buffet is the exception and having too much money is a very nice problem to have.

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 01:13 PM
Obama can roll with the populist fodder all he wants. The Congressional GOP has sworn allegiance to an economist on taxes and they will fight tooth and nail to prevent tax raises. They've been extremely successful at that so far as they know when push comes to shove, the current breed of Democrats will always cave. I'd be shocked if taxes go up ever again no matter who is President.

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 01:37 PM
quote:
Just what is fair?
The problem is the question.

"Fairness" should not be a basis of judgement for what govt does. Fairness is a childish concept. Fairness is impossible to agree upon within a group, or even just between two people. Fairness is more often than not emotionally driven, with insufficient factual basis. Fairness is a constantly shifting paradigm that serves as a poor basis for policy, as it leaves the door open for endless personal interpretations. Given this, it's no surprise that our current President and so many politicians love to use the word so often.

Instead, I'd suggest we set policy in regard to taxation on mathematical balances and what is lawfully equitable. If we want to continue the self destructive path of income-based taxation, then the only mathematical model that can be said to be lawfully equitable would be a flat tax with no loopholes, no credits, and no subsidies.

Of course that elicits howls from those who say it must be progressive to be "fair". Well, we've created that "fair" scenario and still the progressive tax supporteres scream foul. At the same time those policies have us dangerously close to a point where more than half the population have no fiscal stake in the finances of the federal govt. If that isn't a dangerous and unhealthy position for any democratically-based society, then I can't imagine what is.

The Founders had it right. The central govt should have no means to directly tax the citizen's property. And one's income in any form is most certainly their property. A consumption tax at least gives the individual some degree of decision over how, what, and how much they will be taxed. If we say we are free people, and govt is given it's power by us, then why do we stand for having them step in front of us and take their cut of our wages before we get to benefit from our labors?

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 02:29 PM
I have a question that I haven't seen answered anywhere so I'll ask it here. If allowing wealthy individuals....accent on the individual part.....to keep more of their money is good for the economy because they are the 'job creators', could someone please tell me how many jobs Romney has personally created with his wealth? I'm not talking companies he worked for, I'm talking personally. That's the argument isn't it that allowing people to keep more of their money will create jobs? So, anyone have an answer?

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 02:44 PM
quote:
I'm not talking companies he worked for, I'm talking personally. That's the argument isn't it that allowing people to keep more of their money will create jobs? So, anyone have an answer?

I believe the rational is that the more money individuals retain, the more they spend. The more they spend, the more products need to be made and serviced, the more jobs are created to make and service the products, the more individuals have to spend because of the increased number of jobs, and round and round. Also, more taxes are generated from the increased economic activity.

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 03:24 PM
quote:
If allowing wealthy individuals....accent on the individual part.....to keep more of their money is good for the economy...

Doesn't it strike you as wrong to be judging how much of someone else's money they should be allowed to keep? You say it in your question...it's their money. It's not your money, my money, our money, or the government's money. We have a tax system based on income, not wealth, so talking about "wealthy individuals" misses completely. As far as high-income people are concerned, our system taxes them at progressively higher rates as their wages and compensation increase. Capital gains are double taxed, so that's not the big break that people who don't understand taxes make it to be.

Like you, I don't put a lot of stock in the argument that lower tax rates are a magic pill for the economy, but I also don't like to see people's property confiscated by the government to be used for inefficient and ineffective programs. It seems to me the greedy ones in this scenario are those that want to see taxes raised on a group they don't belong to so that they can end up with some benefit from someone else’s labor. Makes no sense to me. And I am not rich.

I'd like to see our tax system simplified dramatically. Eliminate all deductions. Eliminate all taxes on gains, dividends, and interest. Give a substantial exemption to each individual (maybe $20K-$30K), and have no more than 2 tax brackets applied to all wages and compensation that is in excess of the exemption.


[Edited on 1/27/2012 by bob1954]

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 03:30 PM
I'm not judging what should or shouldn't be taxed etc, I'm just saying that it occurred to me the rationale is that if wealthy individuals keep more of their money they create more jobs and I'm wondering how it translates to Romney's personal wealth. I know the Morman church is making out like a bandit but other than that...how is Romney's money creating jobs? If one follows Doug's post, what is he spending it on that's creating jobs?

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 03:58 PM
quote:
quote:
I'm not talking companies he worked for, I'm talking personally. That's the argument isn't it that allowing people to keep more of their money will create jobs? So, anyone have an answer?

I believe the rational is that the more money individuals retain, the more they spend. The more they spend, the more products need to be made and serviced, the more jobs are created to make and service the products, the more individuals have to spend because of the increased number of jobs, and round and round. Also, more taxes are generated from the increased economic activity.


Yes, but studies have shown that investment income is almost always reinvested, rather than spent on consumer items, which are what create most - or DID create most - of the jobs in this country. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

If you're rich enough to generate most of your "income" (notice I didn't use the term wealth) from investments, you're probably wealthy enough, as well as financially savvy enough, to have already bought all your "toys" and not piss it all away on material items.

Unless of course you are a Rock Star or a professional athlete..

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 04:15 PM
quote:
quote:
If allowing wealthy individuals....accent on the individual part.....to keep more of their money is good for the economy...

Doesn't it strike you as wrong to be judging how much of someone else's money they should be allowed to keep? You say it in your question...it's their money. It's not your money, my money, our money, or the government's money. We have a tax system based on income, not wealth, so talking about "wealthy individuals" misses completely. As far as high-income people are concerned, our system taxes them at progressively higher rates as their wages and compensation increase. Capital gains are double taxed, so that's not the big break that people who don't understand taxes make it to be.

Like you, I don't put a lot of stock in the argument that lower tax rates are a magic pill for the economy, but I also don't like to see people's property confiscated by the government to be used for inefficient and ineffective programs. It seems to me the greedy ones in this scenario are those that want to see taxes raised on a group they don't belong to so that they can end up with some benefit from someone else’s labor. Makes no sense to me. And I am not rich.

I'd like to see our tax system simplified dramatically. Eliminate all deductions. Eliminate all taxes on gains, dividends, and interest. Give a substantial exemption to each individual (maybe $20K-$30K), and have no more than 2 tax brackets applied to all wages and compensation that is in excess of the exemption.


[Edited on 1/27/2012 by bob1954]


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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 04:18 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
I'm not talking companies he worked for, I'm talking personally. That's the argument isn't it that allowing people to keep more of their money will create jobs? So, anyone have an answer?

I believe the rational is that the more money individuals retain, the more they spend. The more they spend, the more products need to be made and serviced, the more jobs are created to make and service the products, the more individuals have to spend because of the increased number of jobs, and round and round. Also, more taxes are generated from the increased economic activity.


Yes, but studies have shown that investment income is almost always reinvested, rather than spent on consumer items, which are what create most - or DID create most - of the jobs in this country. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

If you're rich enough to generate most of your "income" (notice I didn't use the term wealth) from investments, you're probably wealthy enough, as well as financially savvy enough, to have already bought all your "toys" and not piss it all away on material items.

Unless of course you are a Rock Star or a professional athlete..


and didn't somebody else already point out that tax rates for the wealthy were higher during the Reagan years? Kinda puts a dent in McKenzie's argument and that side's argument. Other variables (or constants...greed, for one) at play here.



They are at their lowest level in more than a generation. In spite of all the whining and propaganda you hear.

And the periods of greatest growth were when taxes were highest. Go figure.

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 04:57 PM
dividends should not be taxed to individuals, that is where the double tax comes into play as the companies that pay these to dividends to their shareholders (owners) have already been taxed on the monies. As far as taxing gains on other capital assets such as stocks or property, why these are taxed at lower rates makes no sense to me-rich folk argue that those assets create or stimulate the economy-alot of BS. These gains IMO should be taxed at ordinary rates (whatever those might be). That being said, losses on those same investments should all be deductable as well - now only 3,000 a year is deductable.

Anyhow the system is so darn confusing that i also agree it needs to be simplified a great deal. I also agree that this is a backyard issue and people will just jump on the bandwagon and scream for the other guy to get screwed. Rich is anyone above your situation that should get screwed as long as you are below the threshold. What nonsense!!!!

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 05:03 PM
I don't envy anyone's wealth....I grew up surrounded by mega rich people in Bartlesville and I didn't envy their kids I went to school with. What I don't want is to have people who already have their fair share coming after my pension plans, retirement benefits, etc. They can keep what they earned....just leave the rest of us alone.

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 05:15 PM
Maybe we could have a commission to study the issue. Kind of like Bowles- Simpson.
Charlie Rangel and Tim Geithner as cochairmen?

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 06:00 PM
ball of confusion...
 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 06:27 PM
The lack of a concrete answer that makes sense highlights the ridiculousness of the claim that people who keep more of their wealth create jobs. It just doesn't happen the way it's been fed to the masses. I'm all for letting the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone and let that be the end of it.

 

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  posted on 1/27/2012 at 09:07 PM
quote:
The lack of a concrete answer that makes sense highlights the ridiculousness of the claim that people who keep more of their wealth create jobs.
So wealth, and the investment or spending of that wealth, doesn't create jobs? That simply defies all logic. I don't mean that as a personal criticism, just a statement of economic fact.

The wealthy and their investments are creating plenty of jobs. They're just not creating them here. So the appropriate question comes back to one discussed on these pages many times: how to increase productive investment here once more. The answer is multi-faceted. Tax rates on business, investment, and the individual have plenty to do with it. So does the regulatory environment, tort issues, energy policy and costs, labor policies, the legal environment, and uncertainty about all govt policies and control.

The answer to jobs isn't as simple as adjusting taxation, it's creating an environment that drives productive investment back to our shores. So taxation is part of that, but so are many other things. And in keeping with the idea of opportunity for all, it can not be the crony capitalism of the ruling class handing out money and exemptions to a few of their friends or favored industries. It needs to be broad policy changes that aim to improve things for everyone equally.

Which is why it won't happen. The addiction to power and control is too strong in DC.

 

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  posted on 1/28/2012 at 09:10 AM
quote:
quote:
I'm not talking companies he worked for, I'm talking personally. That's the argument isn't it that allowing people to keep more of their money will create jobs? So, anyone have an answer?

I believe the rational is that the more money individuals retain, the more they spend. The more they spend, the more products need to be made and serviced, the more jobs are created to make and service the products, the more individuals have to spend because of the increased number of jobs, and round and round. Also, more taxes are generated from the increased economic activity.


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folks have money, contract me to build house, jobs created, money spent, taxes paid and I'm fat

 

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  posted on 1/28/2012 at 09:18 AM
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
I'm not talking companies he worked for, I'm talking personally. That's the argument isn't it that allowing people to keep more of their money will create jobs? So, anyone have an answer?

I believe the rational is that the more money individuals retain, the more they spend. The more they spend, the more products need to be made and serviced, the more jobs are created to make and service the products, the more individuals have to spend because of the increased number of jobs, and round and round. Also, more taxes are generated from the increased economic activity.


Yes, but studies have shown that investment income is almost always reinvested, rather than spent on consumer items, which are what create most - or DID create most - of the jobs in this country. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

If you're rich enough to generate most of your "income" (notice I didn't use the term wealth) from investments, you're probably wealthy enough, as well as financially savvy enough, to have already bought all your "toys" and not piss it all away on material items.

Unless of course you are a Rock Star or a professional athlete..


and didn't somebody else already point out that tax rates for the wealthy were higher during the Reagan years? Kinda puts a dent in McKenzie's argument and that side's argument. Other variables (or constants...greed, for one) at play here.


First of all, it's not my argument. I provided an answer to Ann's question based on my understanding of that particular philosophy. I support a flat tax system with no loopholes or deductions where everyone pays the same percentage of their income, whether from investments or work. As has ben pointed out previously, that will raise taxes on many people, including those who effectively pay no income tax now. I'm okay with that, since it would be the same percentage for everyone. Even then, some people will have more money than others. I'm okay with that also. Worldwide, the wealthiest 1% of the population make $36,000 or more a year. We have become an obese nation of lazy whiners addicted to fast foods and instant gratification. Our education system is in shambles, we don't make much of value, and our economy is in the tank. While our infrastructure disintegrates we want to sit around and talk about how much "better" we are than our brothers and sisters based on a political party affiliation. We're getting just what we deserve, every last one of us. The ones that are able see Soros' "period of evil" coming and are treating their money like a survivalist treats canned goods. Don't know that it will help them in the long run, but can't say as I blame them for trying either.

 

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  posted on 1/28/2012 at 10:00 AM
quote:
quote:
The lack of a concrete answer that makes sense highlights the ridiculousness of the claim that people who keep more of their wealth create jobs.
So wealth, and the investment or spending of that wealth, doesn't create jobs? That simply defies all logic. I don't mean that as a personal criticism, just a statement of economic fact.

The wealthy and their investments are creating plenty of jobs. They're just not creating them here. So the appropriate question comes back to one discussed on these pages many times: how to increase productive investment here once more. The answer is multi-faceted. Tax rates on business, investment, and the individual have plenty to do with it. So does the regulatory environment, tort issues, energy policy and costs, labor policies, the legal environment, and uncertainty about all govt policies and control.

The answer to jobs isn't as simple as adjusting taxation, it's creating an environment that drives productive investment back to our shores. So taxation is part of that, but so are many other things. And in keeping with the idea of opportunity for all, it can not be the crony capitalism of the ruling class handing out money and exemptions to a few of their friends or favored industries. It needs to be broad policy changes that aim to improve things for everyone equally.

Which is why it won't happen. The addiction to power and control is too strong in DC.


Take DC completely out of the equation. Take all these evils out that you eternally list.

Even after all that, how can we possibly compete with the cheap labor elsewhere? If a company has to pay an American worker $15 an hour compared to paying a foreign worker $5 a day, thereby increasing profitability exponentially, then why would that company ever come back and hire that American worker? What company is going in front of their shareholders and tell them that's the new plan? Increase labor cost and reduce profit? Who in the world would ever do that?

In the end it still comes down to people. You know a real driver, for instance, of the real estate bubble and why those subprime lenders drove the car so hard to evenually the point of no return and off the cliff? Because the people running those companies had their personal net worth dependent on the stock price. What capitalist ever kills his own golden goose? None. That's the nature of things. Right, wrong, that's the nature of things.

quote:
The wealthy and their investments are creating plenty of jobs. They're just not creating them here.


That's not going to change. Barn door is open for good. On top of all that, we have a rapidly aging population.

 

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  posted on 1/28/2012 at 10:13 AM
I think you're right Bhawk as far as the huge multinationals go, but you're leaving the small businesses out of the eqauation - which supposedly is where the most jobs are created. The guy who wants to open another dry cleaners, Dairy Queen, or car wash. You have to be fairly wealthy to start those up, and I think those are the folks that Rich is talking about.
 

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  posted on 1/28/2012 at 10:21 AM
If the Democrats want to pursue "fairness" and get Republican agreement, why just not lower the tax rate for the ENTIRE middle class to 15%? Wouldn't that be a hoot? Equality, almost, but I guess the idea of fairness or equality is to increase the tax rate on some, keep the middle class tax rate the same, and "return" tax dollars to non-tax payers..........................

 

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  posted on 1/28/2012 at 11:24 AM
quote:
quote:
quote:
The lack of a concrete answer that makes sense highlights the ridiculousness of the claim that people who keep more of their wealth create jobs.
So wealth, and the investment or spending of that wealth, doesn't create jobs? That simply defies all logic. I don't mean that as a personal criticism, just a statement of economic fact.

The wealthy and their investments are creating plenty of jobs. They're just not creating them here. So the appropriate question comes back to one discussed on these pages many times: how to increase productive investment here once more. The answer is multi-faceted. Tax rates on business, investment, and the individual have plenty to do with it. So does the regulatory environment, tort issues, energy policy and costs, labor policies, the legal environment, and uncertainty about all govt policies and control.

The answer to jobs isn't as simple as adjusting taxation, it's creating an environment that drives productive investment back to our shores. So taxation is part of that, but so are many other things. And in keeping with the idea of opportunity for all, it can not be the crony capitalism of the ruling class handing out money and exemptions to a few of their friends or favored industries. It needs to be broad policy changes that aim to improve things for everyone equally.

Which is why it won't happen. The addiction to power and control is too strong in DC.


Take DC completely out of the equation. Take all these evils out that you eternally list.

Even after all that, how can we possibly compete with the cheap labor elsewhere? If a company has to pay an American worker $15 an hour compared to paying a foreign worker $5 a day, thereby increasing profitability exponentially, then why would that company ever come back and hire that American worker? What company is going in front of their shareholders and tell them that's the new plan? Increase labor cost and reduce profit? Who in the world would ever do that?

In the end it still comes down to people. You know a real driver, for instance, of the real estate bubble and why those subprime lenders drove the car so hard to eventually the point of no return and off the cliff? Because the people running those companies had their personal net worth dependent on the stock price. What capitalist ever kills his own golden goose? None. That's the nature of things. Right, wrong, that's the nature of things.

quote:
The wealthy and their investments are creating plenty of jobs. They're just not creating them here.


That's not going to change. Barn door is open for good. On top of all that, we have a rapidly aging population.
Taking DC out of the equation is simply not possible because too many of the rules that affect investment decisions are created there.

You endlessly reply with the cost of labor issue, as if its the only thing that matters. Labor as a component of overall cost is constantly dropping. No one would argue that its not a factor. But it becomes less of one all the time.

No one would rationally claim that if we improved the tort problem, made frivolous lawsuits harder to bring, restrained the empire-building regulators, stopped disguising personal income tax as business tax, aggressively pursued American energy sources in order to keep costs down, enacted a national right-to-work law, judiciously applied some pro-US trade policy, and brought the Federal govt more closely back to it's Constitutional limits - that if we did all that - industries would come flocking back to the US. But it would certainly help. And none of these actions require putting some politician in charge of determining how to spend more money we don't have. Do you hear any better ideas floating around out there?

quote:
That's not going to change. Barn door is open for good.
So what should we do, nothing? Keep printing money until we destroy our currency? Keeping handing politicians stimulus cash to dole out to their friends? What's the plan to get back some portion of the industry and business that has left our shores Hawk?



[Edited on 1/28/2012 by Fujirich]

 

____________________
Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 
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