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Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:57 AM

We should tax wealth apart from income...and put a backstop to prevent capital flight

an annual wealth tax of 1.5% above assets of over a million should go a long way in reducing deficit

In addition, to prevent assholes who have made their money here from taking their wealth and going to Monaco ... a punitive tax of 75% of their wealth created in USA, should be levied against those renounce US citizenship.


Obama should bring this up at the debt limit negotiations...

Wealth disparity is much worse than income disparity in this country ...

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Reply We should tax wealth apart from income...and put a backstop to prevent capital flight (Original post)
srican69 Jan 2013 OP
dkf Jan 2013 #1
Cirque du So-What Jan 2013 #9
bigapple1963 Jan 2013 #10
Cirque du So-What Jan 2013 #12
dkf Jan 2013 #17
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #30
dawg Jan 2013 #39
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #74
a geek named Bob Jan 2013 #103
leveymg Jan 2013 #128
a geek named Bob Jan 2013 #130
leveymg Jan 2013 #135
a geek named Bob Jan 2013 #136
leveymg Jan 2013 #141
dkf Jan 2013 #40
pnwmom Jan 2013 #94
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #120
pnwmom Jan 2013 #92
dawg Jan 2013 #41
oldhippie Jan 2013 #51
Fla_Democrat Jan 2013 #117
naaman fletcher Jan 2013 #69
dkf Jan 2013 #15
bigapple1963 Jan 2013 #21
dawg Jan 2013 #26
srican69 Jan 2013 #32
dawg Jan 2013 #34
dballance Jan 2013 #2
AngryAmish Jan 2013 #3
srican69 Jan 2013 #14
TexasBushwhacker Jan 2013 #149
bigapple1963 Jan 2013 #4
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #5
mainer Jan 2013 #7
srican69 Jan 2013 #13
dawg Jan 2013 #42
spinbaby Jan 2013 #16
srican69 Jan 2013 #19
mainer Jan 2013 #24
CE5 Jan 2013 #50
starroute Jan 2013 #54
mainer Jan 2013 #56
GreenPartyVoter Jan 2013 #127
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #35
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #23
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #36
srican69 Jan 2013 #37
dairydog91 Jan 2013 #46
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #105
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #106
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #108
bigapple1963 Jan 2013 #6
Scuba Jan 2013 #43
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RKP5637 Jan 2013 #8
Egalitarian Thug Jan 2013 #11
holdencaufield Jan 2013 #18
srican69 Jan 2013 #20
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dawg Jan 2013 #22
mainer Jan 2013 #25
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srican69 Jan 2013 #33
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #38
dawg Jan 2013 #44
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bemildred Jan 2013 #159
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a geek named Bob Jan 2013 #139
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Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #91
mainer Jan 2013 #163
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Wednesdays Jan 2013 #65
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Undaunted Jan 2013 #61
Yavin4 Jan 2013 #64
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #67
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #89
abelenkpe Jan 2013 #71
mainer Jan 2013 #76
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Downwinder Jan 2013 #146
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #77
bigapple1963 Jan 2013 #78
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #80
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1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #87
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #93
pnwmom Jan 2013 #96
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Deep13 Jan 2013 #101
indepat Jan 2013 #109
mainer Jan 2013 #110
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #115
mainer Jan 2013 #118
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #147
mainer Jan 2013 #162
Fla_Democrat Jan 2013 #133
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #148
OutNow Jan 2013 #113
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #119
Lurker Deluxe Jan 2013 #122
mainer Jan 2013 #123
a geek named Bob Jan 2013 #140
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mainer Jan 2013 #161
FreeJoe Jan 2013 #137
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tama Jan 2013 #153

Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:04 AM

1. How are you going to get every person in the US to file an asset listing yearly?

 

Do you know what a nightmare that is?

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:19 AM

9. If it's such an onerous task

perhaps you own too damn much already.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:24 AM

10. what if you own

 

a sole proprietorship? Art work? Antiques? How do you value these? Will you even have enough cash flow to pay the wealth tax?

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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:32 AM

12. I don't know & I don't care

I don't even agree with the premise in the OP. My comment was for an individual who responds like Pavlov's dog whenever a perceived slight against the rich is detected.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:38 AM

17. Try cleaning up someone's estate. It's a huge pain.

 

Having to do it yearly would be a horror.

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Response to dkf (Reply #17)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:54 AM

30. For gods sake, it's in their insurance records!

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:02 AM

39. Because people insure everything they own.

And they never overestimate or underestimate the value they use for insurance purposes.

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Response to dawg (Reply #39)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:15 PM

74. They overestimate, because they are dishonest, which is how

They hoard the foods in the first place, I'm sure they don't even consider lying on insurance to be wrong.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #74)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:49 PM

103. "hoard the foods???" n't

 

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Response to a geek named Bob (Reply #103)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:09 PM

128. goods. There's plenty of gov't computing power to record insurance, real estate taxes, stock gains

and other valuations of assets.

I think this is a great idea, and a workable one, particularly if you make the penalties for evading this tax steep enough.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #128)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:14 PM

130. I disagree... You're simply penalizing savers...

 

Personally, I think we should just go back to the pre reagan taxes.

On edit: Who are you to decide how someone deals with their own money?

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Response to a geek named Bob (Reply #130)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 03:37 PM

135. We agree! Let's go back to the FDR taxes - 90 percent on $1 million or above.

Who are you to get in the way of federal functions, more efficient revenue collection, and shifting the burden off the middle-class and back on the rich, where it belongs? Hmmm?

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Response to leveymg (Reply #135)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 04:03 PM

136. that's not even a half-arsed try at a redirect...

 

Personally, I think we have a case of too much and too little government. How about if we start the "efficient revenue collection" at ending corporate welfare first?

Some folks here seem to think there shouldn't be any such thing as private property.

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Response to a geek named Bob (Reply #136)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 04:35 PM

141. What do you know about half-arsed tries? ;-)

We'll agree to disagree about the nature, origins and definition of theft.



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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:04 AM

40. No it isn't. All the financial stuff is who knows where.

 

And you have to list the current value of liabilities. The credit cards alone would drive some people batty.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:18 PM

94. Uh, no. Most people have not kept insurance valuations current

because it can be difficult and costly to figure out what old items are worth. Most get less valuable over time but some get more valuable.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #94)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 04:07 AM

120. OMG. No one knows the value of their toys more than the hoarding class.

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Response to dkf (Reply #17)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:17 PM

92. That's what I immediately thought of, too. n/t

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:06 AM

41. It's not supporting the rich. It's supporting savers versus spenders.

Under a wealth tax, the amount of money I set aside to provide for my children's future might be taxable, while the amount an equally wealthy person uses for a trip to Europe is exempt. That is unfair. It rewards the very people who are whining and moaning about barely scraping by on $400K a year.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:31 AM

51. "I don't know & I don't care"

 

That's the spirit! We need a lot more of that around here.

Yup.

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Response to oldhippie (Reply #51)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:56 PM

117. I'll take punchlines for $800, Alex

Uhm, "What is the difference between ignorance, and apathy?"












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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:39 PM

69. "I don't know and I don't care"

 

Gee that's a great basis for making policy.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:37 AM

15. Try documenting and valuing everything you own.

 

Diamond rings, gold jewelry, cars, guns, your house, your retirement accounts, whole life and universal insurance, bank accounts, and on and on.




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Response to dkf (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:41 AM

21. and

 

how to you value it? At cost price (could be purchased many decades ago), appraised value (would you need to appraise all your jewelry yearly?), using assumed depreciation? How do you factor in improvements?

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Response to dkf (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:49 AM

26. It would be an administrative nightmare.

And it would be terribly unfair. Only impeccably honest people would pay the full amount of this tax.

Plus, it encourages people to spend their last dime and accumulate nothing for the future.

It'd be great for me personally though. I could double the size of my practice. Maybe they could make the wealth tax returns due a different time of year from the income tax returns and I could get premium billings all year long. (I'd better spend all the extra money I made, though. )

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Response to dawg (Reply #26)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:55 AM

32. the wealthy have tons on money locked up in paintings ... but imagine the industry such a law will

create .. tons of people will be employed in valuing monet's and crystal chandeliers ...

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Response to srican69 (Reply #32)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:57 AM

34. You got one word wrong there.

You said "valuing" when you should have said "undervaluing".

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:05 AM

2. While I'm Not Going to Disagree With You But, How Would That Work?

We certainly shouldn't tax the same wealth more once. I think that would be unfair. Would there be some way to measure the change in wealth from year to year? What happens when it inevitably goes down for someone rather than up? Do they get a refund? Those are just the first questions that come to mind.

I'm all for the punitive tax.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:05 AM

3. every time wealth tax proposed here, every time cite 5th Amendment...

If someone owns a 1.2 million dollar house and lives on social security, do you seize house and sell it?

When government takes things it needs to pay compensation.

That is why income tax needed a constitutional amendment...

yadda

yadda

yadda

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:36 AM

14. How about a 10 million threshold or a 100 million ..

they wouldnt be living off SS - would they - they will have enough liquid assets to dispose off their tax liability - trust me

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Response to srican69 (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 07:20 PM

149. There's really no reason to not plan for inheritance taxes

If you have a spouse, your estate, regardless of size, passes to your spouse tax free. If you died together in a car crash or something, your estate would pass to your heirs. Smart people have life insurance policies making their heirs as secondary beneficiaries so that they can use the proceeds to pay inheritance taxes rather than sell the family home, business or farm. Someone who is very wealthy would certainly have assets that have no sentimental value that could be liquidated. Even Jackie Kennedy Onassis expected her children to auction off some of her belongings in order to pay inheritance taxes. You can only hold on to so much stuff, even when it has sentimental value.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:12 AM

4. is this on

 

liquid or illiquid assets? Does real estate count? Primary residence exempted?

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:13 AM

5. In some instances

that would penalise those who save as opposed to spend.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:18 AM

7. Exactly. Savers would suffer. Spenders would be untouched.

My dad never spent a thing all his life and died (after a lifetime as a cook) with a million dollars in assets, living in the same little house he bought 60 years earlier.

This OP would tax his life savings?

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Response to mainer (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:34 AM

13. intention is not punish savers .. but to get those who have gotten really wealthy to do their bit

maybe a million is a small threshold .. how about a billion.

they wouldnt be living off social security - would they?

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Response to srican69 (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:08 AM

42. This is what the estate tax is for.

It works, too. That's why they fight it so hard.

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Response to mainer (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:38 AM

16. The bar needs to be over a million

A middle-class couple can have over a million in home equity and retirement savings if they have decent jobs, save early and regularly, and don't have any unexpected unemployment or health crisis.

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Response to spinbaby (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:39 AM

19. agreed ... the number is besides the main point

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Response to srican69 (Reply #19)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:44 AM

24. The number is NOT besides the main point

THE NUMBER could affect a lot of Americans -- doctors, lawyers, small business owners.

Set the bar at a million? There go the life savings of many savers.

Set the bar at five million? There go the assets of many small business owners.

Savings that people have socked away through frugal lifestyle or long hours on the job (my dad worked 16-hour days) are from earnings that were already taxed. They should not be taxed again just because they're sitting in an IRA account.

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Response to mainer (Reply #24)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:24 AM

50. small business owner is Republicanese for corporation

 

it's a bullshit buzzword.

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Response to CE5 (Reply #50)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:02 PM

54. It's not a buzzword -- small businesses really do exist

Just because some individual proprietorships are worth billions doesn't mean the country isn't full of genuine small businesses.

I'm fairly sure that one small factory with high-end equipment, or a jewelry or furniture store with its inventory, must be worth up in the millions.

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Response to CE5 (Reply #50)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:10 PM

56. I'm a small business owner

and I am a Democrat.

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Response to CE5 (Reply #50)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:56 AM

127. My husband is self-employed. Can't get a smaller business than that. (And yes, it is a business.)

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Response to spinbaby (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:57 AM

35. Sure make the bar 50 million and adjust for inflation

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Response to mainer (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:44 AM

23. Would also tax

that which had already been taxed.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #23)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:58 AM

36. Like everything else is.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #23)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:00 AM

37. like you pay income tax on full income ( after fica tax has been paid)? ... then Yes

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #23)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:14 AM

46. Would also probably be unconstitutional without an Amendment.

The 16th Amendment authorizes an income tax, not a wealth tax. A wealth tax sounds like a "direct tax" in the Constitutional sense; I think that would severely hamper Congress's ability to spend funds derived from the tax.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #23)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:04 PM

105. You mean like my spending money from my wages is taxed twice?

 

Sadcry.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #105)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:23 PM

106. That might depend on what you buy.

.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #106)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:35 PM

108. Like what?

 

Everything I buy except some exempted food items is taxed.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:14 AM

6. so sad

 

capital controls used to be linked to third world countries e.g. Argentina today, Malaysia during the Asian financial crisis.

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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:09 AM

43. The US is a third world country. Just look at our elections, healthcare, poverty.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #43)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:44 AM

125. Third world country

If you really think that the US is a third world country you need to travel.

Is there income inequality issues here in the US? Absolutely.

Do we have problems with our health care? Damn skippy?

Are there questions about our elections, do we have gerrymandering problems? Yes.

Compare that to other first world countries and you will find alot of simularities. Travel to a true third world contry and you will see none of those issues, people there are truly concerned with staying alive, there are no safety nets, there is no health care, and there are no elections.

Please.

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Response to Lurker Deluxe (Reply #125)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:49 AM

126. Perhaps you need to visit southern Mississippi or rural Wisconsin...

I've travelled throughout central America and southeast Asia. I saw abject poverty, people struggling to keep themselves and their children alive.

I've seen the same in rural Louisiana, inner city Detroit and in Washington DC. I've seen it on the edges of the Everglades and downtown Las Vegas.

You need to get out more.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #126)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:11 PM

129. I used to travel alot

I used to travel alot for work, I'm past my prime now and when I get sent out into the field it is usually for something very very specific and have not been out of the US (except to Mexico/Canada) in about five years.

I have also seen true poverty, lots and lots of it. To think that for one minute that there are hundreds of thousands of people literally starving to death in the US is not even close to the truth.

Is there hunger? Yes. Is there poverty? Yes.

To compare "inner city Detroit" to countries that have no running water, no sewage systems, no police force, no other means for survival than the food from relief efforts that may or may not get to you because the warlords may steal it is naive at best, most likely disingenuous, or just not knowing any better.

The most recent trip to a third world country was in 2006 to Namibia, to work on an engine that powers a diamond mine. That is poverty, true poverty, and that is one of the richer nations in Africa. I have traveled all across this world and I have seen what real poverty, absolute, no hope, no food/water/shelter looks like. It damn sure doesn't look like "downtown Las Vegas".

If anyone needs to get out more ... it is not me.

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Response to Lurker Deluxe (Reply #129)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:17 PM

131. You don't get it. "No running water, no sewage systems" etc is true for lots of Americans.

Tell them this isn't a third-world country.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #131)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:56 PM

132. Kinda like the

Is that the same people who have to hunt for their own food or starve?

How many is "lots"? Surely less than 1% eh? Or are there millions upon millions of people who live like this? Is that how we define a "third world country" is how less than 1% of the population live?

I was born on a dairy farm in upstate NY, we had a well/septic and my family on my mother's side is certainly dirt poor ... they all have water, even though I can remember some having an outhouse when I was very young. Are there people in this country who do not have "running water"? Probably. Do they have access to water they can drink? Yes. Do they have someplace to take a crap that is not the same place they eat? Yes.

Stop with the false equivalence, there are poor people in the US. These people do not compare to the people in third world countries where the MAJORITY of people live like that.

You specifically mentioned Las Vegas ... tell me where in Las Vegas there is no access to clean water and a place to go to the bathroom. Same for Detroit, or DC.

Just stop.

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Response to Lurker Deluxe (Reply #132)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 04:18 PM

138. If they stopped with the false equivalencies, they wouldn't have much to work with...

 

It's getting to the point that I think most of them are operating from a playbook...

I used to work in South East DC, teaching at risk youth. THEY had enough cash to buy comfort food, something that many in 3rd world countries would literally kill for.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:18 AM

8. Something like what you said ... in the early years it was not as much of a problem, but

now exponential wealth is a problem ... and often those with that wealth do not play fair ... they want to fuck over more and more people ... having the wealth is just not enough, they want the country, they want to suppress just about every living thing. It is an obsessive compulsive disorder. And sadly great wealth has great power. And, because they have infiltrated the US gov., it is relatively powerless IMO.

There need to be control mechanisms on the egregious accumulation of wealth which breeds like a disease. If, the wealth of a country is vastly skewed to one end of the curve, the country will eventually collapse falling into tyranny.

That said, I don't know how a solution will come about ... but in my book this is a far worse problem than climate change and all of the others. I would place the egregious accumulation of wealth as the most significant problem this country faces, and in the big picture, if it continues, it will do us all in.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:30 AM

11. That's what inheritance taxes were/are for, and that's why it needs to be tightened

 

and dramatically raised. We have allowed the old ruling class to move in and become the new ruling class. Generational wealth is bad for everybody.

Huge fortunes need to be recycled into the overall economy to keep that economy relatively stable.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:39 AM

18. I don't worry about income disparity ...

 

... I worry about beauty disparity ... It is very unfair that some people get to look like THIS



While other are condemned to look like THIS





No one should be allowed to look any better than THIS without paying a tax




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Response to holdencaufield (Reply #18)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:41 AM

20. very funny ...

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Response to srican69 (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:14 PM

57. The word "obtuse" comes to mind.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:43 AM

22. Tax people on the increase in their wealth.

In other words, on their income. Don't penalize people for saving. I know plenty of people who make much more money than me, spend everything they make, and have nothing left over. I live a more frugal life, but I have savings. It isn't fair to tax me more than someone else just because I have saved. I paid taxes on the money when I made it in the first place.

And sure, I know you're not talking about normal savings. Your're talking about the amount over one million dollars:



But that's just a nice home, a small business, and some retirement savings in some parts of the country. And with interest rates where they are right now, that million dollars might actually earn someone a vast haul in unearned income of $15,000 a year.

I know, I know. Pity the poor millionaires.

But that really isn't all that much money these days.

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Response to dawg (Reply #22)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:48 AM

25. At 65, with an expected lifespan of 85, assets of a million...

will give you $50,000 a year. Not exactly a champagne and caviar lifestyle if you consider inflation.

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Response to mainer (Reply #25)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:49 AM

27. Does Costco sell caviar?

 

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Response to mainer (Reply #25)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:52 AM

28. And that's if you want to leave *nothing* for your children.

And assumes that your spouse is your same age and will die the same year as you.

Anyone with a million dollars is very, very lucky and should understand and appreciate all the advantages their nest egg gives them. But they are not independently wealthy. And that is especially true if the value of their home counts towards the $1 million total.

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Response to dawg (Reply #28)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:55 AM

31. I have elderly relatives who have a "net worth" of more than half a million, because of their house,

but they are still poor, depending almost entirely on Social Security.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:52 AM

29. Did you ever look at the net worth of members of Congress and the Senate?

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/08/news/economy/congress-net-worth/index.htm

Once you've read this article you will understand why a wealth tax has absolutely no chance of passing.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #29)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:57 AM

33. DING DING DING ..... That is the final word on this thread ..

I totally overlooked that point ...

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:01 AM

38. Tax on over50 mil in assets would simply be a claw back on stolen money, IMHO

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #38)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:10 AM

44. If someone dies with a $50 million dollar estate, we'll get a pretty big chunk of that.

I'm guessing around $15 million or so. I'm too lazy to run the numbers for real.

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Response to dawg (Reply #44)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:24 PM

59. I thought the "death tax" was nullified during Shrub's reign

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Response to Wednesdays (Reply #59)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:28 PM

62. Only for one year.

It's back. 35% on the excess of $5 million IIRC.

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Response to dawg (Reply #44)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:10 PM

73. We should 40 million as payback to the society that generated the wealth, I believe.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #73)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:21 PM

82. I think 50% over $5 million would be about right.

But that's just me. I like keeping things simple. Half for the family; half for the society that treated the family so well.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #38)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:15 PM

75. So Nancy Pelosi is a thief?

Her estimated net worth is $58 million.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Pelosi

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:11 AM

45. Yep, all those huge piles of idle money need to be fragmented and put back in circulation.

We saw in the election what our plutocrats think should be done with the money: buy elections.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:19 AM

47. Several Facts, Sir, Before This Is Spun Completely Up Its Fundament...

One percent of U.S. households possess thirty-five percent of the nation's wealth.

Ten percent of U.S. households possess seventy-five percent of the nation's wealth.

One percent of the nation's wealth is distributed among half the households in the country.

In such a situation, it ought to be quite simple to contrive a tax that would fall on those who possess grotesquely disproportionate amounts. Arguments about whether this is 'fair' or not are jokes in poor taste....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #47)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:22 AM

48. amen..

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #47)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:35 AM

52. In a nation in which Walmart is the largest employer ANY accumulated wealth is disproportionate

 

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #47)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:36 PM

66. how

 

do you decide what a fair distribution of wealth is? do you think steve jobs, bill gates, and mark zukerman deserve their wealth? if not, who should their wealth go to and how much of it? or would it be better if there's a cap on the wealth they create?

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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #66)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:44 PM

70. You Might As Well Argue From Superlative Athletes, Sir

It makes no difference.

You get out there and explain to me, and to any interested on-lookers, what the social benefit is of an arrangement in which half the people in a country own essentially nothing, in which a mere hundredth of the populace possesses thirty of forty times what half the populace possesses in total.

When you have done that, explain why a government in a democracy should not take steps to fund itself from those who possess the greatest portion of the wealth of the nation it rules.

"Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #70)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:59 PM

79. hm...

 

"explain why a government in a democracy should not take steps to fund itself from those who possess the greatest portion of the wealth of the nation it rules. "

I think this is already happening. The top 1% pay 35% of all federal income taxes, the top 5% pay 60% and the top 10% pay 70%.

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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #79)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:07 PM

81. So You Concede You Cannot Defend the Actual Distribution of Wealth, Sir

A shame, actually; I suspect i was not alone in looking forward to some low entertainment watching you try and argue the social benefit of an arrangement in which half the households in the country possessed but one one hundredth of its wealth, while a mere one one hundredth of its households possessed thirty to forty times what half its people possessed in total.

Then, of course, you pretend that Federal income taxes are the sum of taxes paid. This is, of course, nonesense. Given the actual operations of the tax system, persons who have next to no wealth, and who make average incomes, pay taxes at a much higher rate of their total income than do persons who possess considerable wealth and derive most of their income from investments.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #81)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:50 PM

83. ok

 

Your point about the huge wealth concentration in the top percentiles was whether the government should fund itself from these top percentiles. I pointed out that the federal government already funds itself mostly from these top percentiles.

Now you want to bring in FICA which does not go to fund the government. They go towards transfer payments (Social Security and Medicare).

Lastly, lower income people statistically get much more out of what they put into FICA.


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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #83)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:14 PM

86. You Are No Better At Expressing An Opponent's Points Than At Anything Else, Sir

Last edited Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:13 PM - Edit history (1)

This is a discussion of whether there ought to be a direct tax on wealth. My comments were addressed to claims up-thread that this was somehow unfair, and intended to put out in the open the facts of wealth distribution.

You entered to ask if I did not agree that rich people deserved their wealth, and adduced several names of spectacularly wealthy people with a reputation as innovators. As any argument from star value will tend to omit the general case and structural elements of a situation, I asked you if you could explain social benefit derived from a situation in which half a country's households own only one percent of its wealth, and one percent of its households own thirty to forty times what half its households own in total. You have not yet even attempted to do this, which will strongly suggest to all on-lookers you cannot, and know you cannot, identify a scintilla of social utility to such an arrangement.

As you would be loudly insisting, were we commenting on fiscal matters from another angle, FICA taxes do in fact go directly into the general fund, being 'laundered' through a scheme of intra-government bond obligations: the entire discussion of 'the future solvency of Social Security' hinges on the fact that these funds have been spent, and that what Gen. Jackson called 'the Money Power' wants to welsh on the markers, and never have to actually pay off the bonds held by the Trust Fund. This could, at some point in future, only be done by cutting spending on other budget items, or raising taxes, and most of our economic and political establishment would far rather simply tell working people to go pound sand than stand by an obligation to pay them what they were told they could count on receiving in old age. So do not pretend FICA is not a tax, and a tax of extremely regressive nature. And that poor wheeze is only the beginning of your obfuscation on taxation, as federal taxes are hardly the sum of the tax burden people face, and state and local tax structures are generally regressive, in some cases extremely so.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #86)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 09:27 AM

159. Oh, Well Done Sir!

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:24 AM

49. I agree. Tax wealth in whatever way we can.

 

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:39 AM

53. Wouldn't that encourage accelerated production

 

The wealthy would have to increase their earnings to break even every year, thereby increasing the aggregate carbon emissions of USA? Is that a good thing?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #53)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:30 PM

63. This thread

began with discussion of adding a 1.5% tax on an as yet undetermined metric for measuring wealth over an as yet undetermined amount. Rebuttals began with how to value paintings and have worked their way to increased carbon emissions. Paintings that would add significantly to ones wealth should probably be in museums and are indicators that their owners can pay higher taxes. There is no direct correlation between taxation and production of which I am are. It is not possible for producers to make more money by simply producing more without equivalent demand. Over production will cause prices to fall and still not necessarily increase demand enough to compensate for the loss. Ideally, a wealth tax would discourage hoarding and reduce the power of our new plutocratic class.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #63)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:39 PM

68. do you mean that

 

only the rich can own valuable paintings? those unable to pay the wealth tax would have to give it up to a museum?

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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #68)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:59 PM

88. No

I'm saying that people who own valuable paintings are like people who own multiple mansions. In the context of millions of unemployed and even more millions of children living in poverty, the bobbles of the super rich become a veritable Versailles of conspicuous consumption, for which they can obviously bear a greater tax burden. So long as they pay higher taxes, I don't give a rat's ass if they choke on the paintings. Otherwise, museums are great places for the public to see objects of fine art they would otherwise never be able to appreciate.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #63)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:01 PM

72. "There is no direct correlation between taxation and production"

 

Thus far, most taxation is related to wages or consumption. Taxing wealth is a different animal, because it forces people to accumulate further capital to simply maintain their level of wealth.

Is it your position that wealthy people will allow taxation to erode their wealth, year to year, without adjusting their activities to compensate and increase returns?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #72)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:10 PM

90. Who said anything

about eroding anyone's wealth from year to year? You must presume that imposing a small tax on very wealthy people constitutes and accelerate reduction of wealth over time. That would only be true in response to increased levels of wealth of less than 1.5% annually. Since the very wealthy have gathered in 96% of all income gains over the last decade, and since they already own the lion's share of the nations wealth, I don't think they have much to worry about.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #90)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:20 PM

95. So, yes, you think the wealthy will not use their capital to adjust to this continuous wealth tax?

 

Yes or no works fine.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #95)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:29 PM

98. No

How could they?

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #98)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:37 PM

99. By increasing the velocity of capital in the system

 

IOW, shifting more idle savings into investments, or increasing the risk/return profile of active investments to ensure a higher rate of return to compensate for the taxed wealth (which translate to more energy in the system, translating to production, translating to emissions).

But, wow, thats nice to think there are no unintended consequences

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #99)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:45 PM

111. I really don't

believe that such a small tax would cause the idle rich to risk more of the money they now hoard, but if it did that would be fine with me. They would either make more money, increase their wealth and pay even more taxes or they'd lose their money. Both scenarios have the beneficial effect of stimulating economic activity while one increases their wealth and their taxes and the other reduces their wealth and lowers their taxes. I'm good with that either way.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #111)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 07:20 PM

112. "but if it did that would be fine with me"

 

Exactly. Your neoclassical economic spite outweighs concern regarding the life-threatening devastation of our ecosystem (which the rich will have the resources to survive).

People still think that their 20th century world view is relevant to the crisis of the 21st century; it is no surprise we are stuck in a rut.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #112)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:43 PM

114. You are suggesting

that if we don't allow the rich to hoard their wealth they will extract it even faster from nature and thus destroy the planet sooner. I am suggesting that if we make them poorer they will actually have fewer resources with which to kill us all, especially if we stop them from externalizing the costs and the risks of acquiring that wealth. We might just have a chance then, but for that to happen the very rich must become poorer very quickly. That will happen if they are forced to pay higher taxes or take big financial risks without the public insurance, subsidies and bailouts that reduce their risk now. A wealth tax would discourage them from hoarding and is a small but necessary step in reducing their wealth and power.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #114)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:55 PM

116. "if we make them poorer they will actually have fewer resources with which to kill us all"

 

Oh my, but I thought wealth doesn't trickle down due to their hoarding and inefficiency at commanding energy. Oh, but I thought that the more autonomous individuals in a population with capital to spend will produce the most throughput? Isn't the government that taxes the most the government that can equalize and effectively stimulate the economy best?

Ah, so now we are finally approaching the 21st Century paradox (saving us kills us) of liberalism: producing equality actually accelerates the velocity of energy in the system, and therefore, ecological destruction (under the assumption that any such increases will not be immediately offset by declines in the carbon intensity of energy).

Quite a pickle we find ourselves in, isn't it? Maybe this whole damn system is designed to fail, either economically or ecologically. Oh, how it tires me; I am ready to be done with it all already. Unfortunately, liberalism has worked tirelessly at making it more efficient, and thereby, reinforced its self-sustaining nature. We will see this all the way through to the end.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #116)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 09:06 AM

121. We already possess

the technology to drastically reduce our dependence on the burning of fossil fuels. The effort here is being thwarted by our conservative political duopoly that primarily represents the interests of our financial plutocracy. In some countries the pace of transition from fossil to renewable energy sources is accelerating. What those countries have in common are powerful socialist parties working within parliamentary systems. The problem isn't with liberalism. The problems is with the American version of it, its subservient relationship to conservatism and the lack of a credible socialist party. Since none of that is going to change so long as the wealth and political power of the country are controlled by financial parasites, the only short term solution is to reduce the volume of blood they suck.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #121)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:39 AM

124. Now thats a romantic cultural narrative

 

But this story is merely the technophiles' theodicy; its your faith-based explanation for your continued plight. Our culture has woven a story together that ensures we can continue our ostentatious standard of living with a "diet-pill" solution (supported now by consuming 20% of the world's energy), that there is an evil bad guy (from a rich motif borrowed from the 20th century struggle) and that our new God of technology will one day provide salvation (despite the fact that continuous innovations correlate to perpetual increased energy consumption). Its beautiful, congruent with the past struggle, alluring and everything we need to let us know our current habits--which we do not need to significantly change--will one day be permissible. But its simply bullshit fiction.

Frankly, around the world, both the belief in global warming and active socialists parties in a parliamentary system has no strong correlation to reduced emissions. One glaring example is Canada, with an informed populace and NDP support at historic highs, their emissions have increased 58% since Kyoto and their lifestyles are littering the earth with garbage. Of the countries that are reducing emissions, we cannot even determine what the aggregate impact is due to outsourced production and market forces lowering demand for fossil fuels; they may simply be outsourcing their pollution to the world's developing industrial centers (like coal powered China) and encouraging the developing world to utilize their unwanted energy (notice the USs coal exports have climed to record highs this last year). What we do know is that everywhere emissions are going up and if 8 billion people are going to all live like you, its going to take more than solar panels and socialism's blend of earth-raping.

On your quest to implement your technology utopia, please keep in mind that in order to solve our problem, we really needed to stop emitting more carbon into the atmosphere yesterday. Every solar panel and windmill produced in the economic engines relies upon a coal driven industrial backbone. Our salvation providing technology arrives with carbon debt. Providing for the needs of 8 billion people with greeniness doesn't preclude further production, but rather, necessitates it en masse.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #124)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 03:28 PM

134. Is it your position

global civilization is doomed? I knew a man once, whose first response to any suggestion was, "you can't do that" or "that won't work." So, what will work?

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #134)


Response to a geek named Bob (Reply #139)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:03 PM

144. I posit that we need to scale back our consumption and growth or we will die

 

You hope that I get shot? That is sick. Why would anyone wish that upon people who disagree with their ideology? This sounds primitive

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #134)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:01 PM

143. Its my position that if we knew better,

 

...it would be doomed. But we don't. It will carry on and cling to life for as long as possible, shrinking habitable areas and magnifying human misery, while only doling out its benefits to a shrinking number of people who stand on the backs of everyone exploited or poisoned.

But we don't know better. We believe we can cure it with taxes, or green technology, or whatever the fuck else we come up with, despite 10K year track record of pain and ecological destruction on its pathway to infinite expansion. This belief--or hope--deludes us. But what else can we do? We are emasculated, poisoned, dependent creatures who know of no other life than but to slave to keep our captor on his feet so that it may create techno-gadgets to distract us from our pill-muted misery.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #143)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:53 PM

150. I am very sympathetic

to this view. It cannot be rationally refuted. However, we're no worse slaves than most peasants have been since the advent of agriculture and much more physically comfortable. Within the next 50 years the global human population will spike somewhere around 10 billion souls. At that point it is likely that pandemics and environmental degradation will already have triggered a mass extinction. It doesn't have to be that way. It is entirely possible and would be relatively easy to hit the 10 billion peak and avoid the destruction. The problem we need to solve is how. If Casandra's had dominated history we would still be walking on all fours. The global ecosystem would not be imperiled, and we would still be scavenging from the kills of better predators. It hasn't worked out that way. So, we have to save the world or perish. It's that simple. All I'm interested in are solutions to that problem. Reducing consumption is essential. What else? I believe the answer lies with the better angels of our nature and collective action. What do you think?

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #150)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 01:57 PM

154. And I am to yours

 

I've spent a very long time advocating for equality, etc, but I've finally seen the entire system as something malevolent to our very survival and condition, and not something I want to continually prop up and along.


However, we're no worse slaves than most peasants have been since the advent of agriculture and much more physically comfortable.

No, you're no worse. The same cannot of course be said of many Africans facing famine and drought. Something that I still find disturbing is that despite every comfort we are given, mental illness, depression and distress is quite prevalent. I cannot completely agree that these "comforts" are really compatible with how natural man (according to our evolutionary biology) might "prefer" to live (defining preference by states that produce optimal chemical balances in the brain). In any case, we can not clearly argue that we are "happier" than a foraging population that has far less in terms of comforts and technology, but rather, we are no worse off than any other group of agriculturalists.


At that point it is likely that pandemics and environmental degradation will already have triggered a mass extinction.

The killer is going to be famine most likely.


So, we have to save the world or perish.

The world will be fine. Its industrial civilization that is on the brink. Most people looking to save something are trying to save their standard of living by striking a balance, but we are so so far out of possible balance. And with billions more clamouring from the third world to live like us, we haven't a shot.


All I'm interested in are solutions to that problem

The problem is our separation with nature due to being consumed by a game system that depends infinite growth fueled via environmental exploitation. Eliminate the game and the problem ceases to exist. If you are looking for solutions from the government to "fix" everything, its not going to happen; the rules of the game prevent this. The only solutions we can obtain are probably at a regional network to establish resilience (like Transition networks).


What do you think?

I think what we do has zero impact on the system. Any reduction in consumption we make frees up resources for the system to grow via other means. So, do what you must to enjoy life. Every second. If it is in your conscious to raise awareness, go ahead. If you wish to build resilience and stretch out your existence, go ahead. Just don't waste a second, but let go of the notion that we can save everything in my opinion. Don't fill our moments with struggling for a machine that will ultimately destroy us; struggle instead for your humanity and embrace everything it has to offer you.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #154)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:24 PM

156. The world

you envision can sustain a human population of at most 500 million people and probably far fewer. That indeed is the most likely future. I am unwilling, personally, to not resist that outcome, if for no other reason that the collapse of modern civilization would doom billions of human beings, and I will not advocate for that. Furthermore, since we will have used up all the easily available resources, it is unlikely that anything but the most basic agrarian civilization will ever again rise on this planet, and our descendants will believe that the stars are the spirits of dead ancestors rather than travel to the stars and evolve into other (hopefully better) species. I would avoid the extinction of humanity. Returning to the past assures it. We may be the only sentient species, the only species that looks into the night sky and sees the universe looking back. It's unlikely but not impossible. We need to move forward. If we do not make peace with our natural environment, using advanced technologies, we will be using stone tools again, if any of us survive. I would rather billions upon billions of others live after us over a period of eons and eons than live as hunter gatherers or subsistence agriculturalist until our inevitable extinction.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #156)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:35 PM

157. It doesn't need you to advocate for it

 

Its where we are heading. Wheat, corn and soy may not be able to be grown in America by 2050. At least 3 billion are estimated to face famine by the end of the century.

What I advocate for is regional resilience. Get people making their own food locally in a sustainable manner with many levels of failure covered (putting a heavy emphasis on drought-resistant woody perinials & foraged meats). Shift away from a large agricultural systems of monocropping (that is immensely energy-expensive) and try and restore fruit and nut bearing species all around us that promote local biodiversity. We could make a national effort (did you know FDR planted 3 billion trees?) but we will not. Instead, it will be regional and people will die who are not part of regions that are transitioning.

Perpetuating civilization to avoid deaths caused from its collapse will only create a larger monster that will fall harder. Organizing a decline in complexity by shifting to a regional focus that emphasis food security and independence can avoid many of these pitfalls. Essentially, we stand where we can either choose to get rid of our system (and replace it quickly in a very intelligent manner) or we can cling on until its ripped from us. Its the clinging (which you are doing) that will ultimately cause more harm in my opinion. But it is what is more politically viable.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #121)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:06 AM

152. Sad but true.

Of course, there are some of out fellow DUers, like NoOneMan, who seem to believe, even if sincerely, that we'd be so much better off without growth(yes, this typically means all growth, not just population wise) and consumption. This is PURELY faith-based(how fucking ironic!).

Meanwhile, the real root of the problem lies with the Establishment, including the Big Energy duopoly, and their continued stranglehold on the world. And yet, again, certain people absolutely INSIST that we blame growth in general and consumption for our woes, even though neither of these HAVE to be tethered to carbon emissions. And when legitimate solutions are offered, some of them always end up pooh-poohing everything. How this is supposed to make things better in their minds, I have no fucking clue, and frankly, some of this wacky "End Consumption or Die!(1)" stuff ought to be relegated to the Creative Speculation forums where it all belongs.

(1)And, TBH, this typically doesn't refer to just fossil fuels, the usage, of which, btw, I am all in support of phasing out.....from what I understand, it seems to mean consumption in general.)

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #152)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:05 PM

155. Until I see real world proof...

 

That complex, organized production can be untethered from environmental degradation, then yes, I am not pro-growth or pro-production.

As far as I am aware, this has never been historically the case. Believing it could possibly be otherwise is what I would call "faith-based". Production requires inputs (even aside from energy) that come from our natural systems and produces waste as a byproduct. That is the reality of the situation and having 8 billion people scouring resourcing and producing waste probably cannot continue in any manner without further ecosystem breakdown. Or are we going to start pulling hybrid cars our of fairies' asses?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #155)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 09:19 AM

158. All biological activity

generates waste. The issue is with the aggregate impact over time. It seems you think the natural environment is some kind of benevolent faerie land or a Garden of Eden that never was and to which we must return. Actually, it's more like lunch.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #158)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 12:26 PM

160. The ecosystem is a necessary system for life

 

And destroying it will lead to pain, famine and death (IPCC AR4 based studies are predicting billions of deaths from this "lunch"). Why would we hand off a world of misery to our children and other species? Its just stupid. You don't have to like nature to realize we need it.

The natural system has evolved over billions of years to utilize biological waste as inputs for further biological activity in a delicate, complex system. We are altering the landscape faster than evolution can keep up with our waste, and thereby creating imbalances that are killing life and causing sickness.

Its not even about aggregate impacts over time. With 8 billion people producing and consuming what we do on average, its is all breakdown all the time, on a downward slope into what is being projected as the worse catastrophe in human history. If that sounds like "lunch" to you despite the science, apparently we have little more to discuss.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #160)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 01:28 PM

164. You are correct

in very particular. If we can get humanity through the population bottleneck of the next half century, population will begin to decline. If we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels catastrophic climate change may be averted. Changes in the political and economic status quo can drastically reduce consumption. The alternative is unthinkable to me. That, I believe, is where we differ. Sadly, everything will likely play out the way you envision it. I am thankful I will not be here to witness it. I would have liked to see a scientifically advanced global civilization at peace with nature and itself. But then I'm just a dreamer, I suppose, and so hope you are dead wrong. Peace.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #164)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 01:56 PM

165. "climate change may be averted"

 

We've already doubled atmospheric carbon (and its not going away soon) and increased temperatures significantly, contributing to acidification which is dissolving shellfish. In addition, America is in the middle of a devastating drought that may last 100 years, which is already making grain production less than annual consumption and will eventually shift agricultural areas out of the USA within decades.

Meanwhile we are running out of time to even meet the arbitrary 2C target and slowly learning such an optimistic target vastly underestimated the effects of minor elevated rises in temperature.

No, it cannot be averted. Its already happening. We are already having species loss and human suffering linked to this, while accelerating emissions and kicking in positive feedbacks. We know it will get worse, as we haven't even begun feeling the cumulative effects of 30 gigatons of co2 emitted a year. How much worse is up to us, sure (but barely as its mostly out of our hands in terms of reduction), but increasing emissions each year while pretending we aren't headed for worldwide famine is exacerbating the issue.

This takes more than flowery, hopeful, wishful thinking at this point.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:08 PM

55. I definitely support this in theory, but the devil is in the enforcement details

It would require everybody to itemize all their property, which I'm sure would enflame the teabaggers, and cheating would be rampant. I can imagine throngs of rich people shuffling off all their expensive stuff over to grandma's, and claiming they were all "gifts."

I agree, taxing net worth would be more fair than taxing income, but enforcement would be a nightmare.

Edit: the best thing I can think of is taxing real estate and/or sales tax on luxury items. But is a federal tax on those things constitutional?

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:22 PM

58. That would destroy many urban fringe farmers and small businesses.

The majority of family farms are passed from generation to generation and, while the land values escalate, they don't necessarily make any more money off of them. I was just looking at about 18 acres of Sierra foothill land last weekend priced at about $250,000. If someone builds a resort community and golf course a quarter mile up the road after (if) I buy it, that value could increase into the millions without me doing a thing. Should I be forced to pay a 1.5% tax on the value of the land, on TOP of the taxes I pay for any profit it generates, AND the land taxes that I pay to both the state and federal governments, simply because some arsehole developer jacked up the comp values in my area? That would, in essence, put my planned grape growing operation out of business, and force me to sell (most likely to a developer, who will build houses on it, because developers are the only people that can afford those increased property values.)

Also, most small business valuations place the value of a small business at a multiplier of five to ten times its annual returns, depending on whether (and how fast) those returns are climbing or falling. There are a LOT of small businesses that, if you projected their returns out over a ten year period, would have a total valuation exceeding a million dollars. You're functionally talking about a 15% annual tax on the businesses that happen to be near the cutoff point.

We don't tax "wealth" in this country because it's such a nebulous concept (just ask any divorce attorney). What is wealth? How do you calculate it? If someone paid $10 for the first Beanie Baby and it's now valued at $5 million, should they have to pay a 1.5% annual tax on it? If someone else later finds a warehouse full of them and the value drops to $5, does the first person get to demand a tax refund since they never sold it or made any kind of profit, and the "wealth" was not only theoretical, but nonexistent? How about land itself? I had a piece of property that I paid $210,000 for in California many years ago. During the height of the bubble, it's value hit $1.1 million (not theoretical...I stupidly turned down an offer for that amount). It's now worth about $350,000. Should I have been forced to pay a wealth penalty tax because the banks artificially ran up the housing market and overinflated housing values? Even though I didn't sell the property and never made a dime off of that wealth inflation (yes, technically I was a paper millionaire for about a year...whee)?

In theory taxing wealth would be a great way to equalize weath distribution across the nation. In practice, it's a nightmare that would gridlock the court system as every valuation would end up being contested. It's also stupidly easy to rig, as the relative "value" of most things is set by the private market and not the government. It would take no time at all for the real fat cats to find ways to shelter their money, while the white collar middle gets shafted.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #58)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:14 PM

91. In practice this is probably not true

 

There are only so many paintings and what not one can own, and those that can be owned generally already are. The wealthy today shelter that wealth in assets such as property, stocks, and what not. For example, I have heard it said that the Walmart kids own as much wealth as the bottom 100 million or so Americans combined. Some of that is in Art and what not, but the majority is stock and property.

And these are easy to value and tax.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #91)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 01:02 PM

163. How many farmers do you know?

We're not talking Walmart heirs. We're talking about farmers who own land that is necessary to produce hay or corn for their livestock.

I'm in an area with lots of farm families whose land holdings have zoomed in value, but whose annual incomes are pretty meager.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:24 PM

60. We should remind them that Lenin seized the White Russians' assets

 

And that things could be far worse than a higher tax

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Response to Taverner (Reply #60)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:34 PM

65. That's why it's been drummed into all of us for 130 years

That all socialism (especially communism) is bad, bad, BAD!

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Response to Taverner (Reply #60)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:00 PM

84. I think you hit on the winning argument: "Not as bad as the bolshevik revolution". (nt)

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:25 PM

61. This will go a long way towards getting our deficit under control.

 

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:32 PM

64. A Sales Tax with Exemptions for Food, Healthcare, Education, Clothing, and Housing Would Be Better

It would encourage savings.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #64)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:38 PM

67. The state I grew up in had sales tax exemptions for food and medicine

Not so here in Oklahoma.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #64)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:04 PM

89. exemptions up to a certain amount perhaps

 

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:58 PM

71. Tax all money the same: income, dividends and capital gains. nt

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:15 PM

76. Real estate? Farmland? These are all forms of wealth

I know some dairy farmers who are barely paying their bills as it is, and they need their land to produce corn for their cows. You would tax the very asset that keeps them afloat?

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Response to mainer (Reply #76)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:26 PM

107. Hence the adsurdity of the suggestion

.

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Response to mainer (Reply #76)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 06:42 PM

146. Farmers are already payiing tax on their land, tractors,

buildings, equipment and livestock.

Who is paying tax on their stocks and bonds?

Who is paying tax on their intellectual property? RIAA, Microsoft?

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:41 PM

77. I suspect a "wealth tax" would be ...

unworkable.

I would be satisfied if ALL income, regardless of source (with the possible exception of compensatory settlements/jury awards) be taxed at current earned income rates.

That would go all long way to establishing tax equity.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #77)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:57 PM

78. one

 

argument why long-term capital gains taxes are lower than earned income taxes is that the person faces higher risks by investing the capital and could potentially lose most or all the capital. By taxing long-term capital gains the same as earned income, would this discourage investments?

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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #78)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:05 PM

80. Yes ...

that's the argument; but one wonders if that is true.

First, Investment rate of returns are calculated to compensate for that lose (i.e., the bigger the risk, the higher the return); taxes capture returns when the investment pays off.

Secondly, Capital losses can be written off against any capital gains on other investments.

Lastly, the vest majority of capital investments are not result of individual investments; but rather, institutional investing, i.e., investor groups that are going to invest without regard to how the down-stream investor a treated under tax law.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #80)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:01 PM

85. hm...

 

Firstly, would you prefer to get $10,000 as earned income or invest in a project that requires to put in $10,000 with a 50% chance of getting back another $30,000 and a 50% chance of losing your $10,000. In both scenarios you expect to earn $10,000 but in the second scenario you have a 50% chance to lose everything. Lower capital gains are supposedly to be an incentive for investors to take the risk.

Secondly, there are limits to how much you can apply capital losses.

Thirdly, yes but the down-stream investors may choose not to invest in the pooled vehicles.



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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #85)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:29 PM

87. Okay ...

Firstly, would you prefer to get $10,000 as earned income or invest in a project that requires to put in $10,000 with a 50% chance of getting back another $30,000 and a 50% chance of losing your $10,000. In both scenarios you expect to earn $10,000 but in the second scenario you have a 50% chance to lose everything. Lower capital gains are supposedly to be an incentive for investors to take the risk.


Personally, I would opt for the $10K in earned income, as I am not a gambler to that degree. But the the scenrio is inaccurate ... the second scenrio, I would not expect $10K, I would expect (hope for) $30K; and my incentive for placing the bet is the $20K spread between me winning and me losing. The preferential tax treatment is just icing on top of the cake.

Secondly, there are limits to how much you can apply capital losses.


Yes ... As I understand it the limits are an off-set to other capital gains.

Thirdly, yes but the down-stream investors may choose not to invest in the pooled vehicles.


The down-stream investors (I would say, the vast majority) are far more motivated by the vehicles' performance, than their tax treatment.

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Response to bigapple1963 (Reply #78)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:17 PM

93. Every business owner faces the same risks, but only the investor class enjoys low taxes on the profi

 

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:22 PM

96. The vast majority of people hit by a wealth tax would be retirees, who are already

getting extremely low yields from bonds and other secure holdings, and who are pushed into the million dollar plus category by the homes they own outright -- which aren't earning them any money. I have seen how hard many of these people have worked to save their money -- reusing plastic bags, coupons, buying their clothes at yard sales. Unlike the media image, the typical retired millionaire is just a guy with a house who has been scrimping most of his life, building a small business, and cautiously investing his savings.

Your 1.5% wouldn't be a small fraction of what they earn; it could push many of them into the red, with decades of life to finance ahead of them.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:28 PM

97. This already exists

Americans, almost uniquely in the world, are taxed on the basis of citizenship rather than residency. Giving up American citizenship is very hard. American citizens who renounce their citizenship, and who have tax liability in excess of $145K per annum for the previous five years, and who have assets in excess of $2 million, are subject to an exit tax. All of their worldwide assets are treated as if sold on the day before expatriation and taxed, with an exemption on the first $627K.

And honestly, the US system of taxing on the basis of citizenship and not residency is already nonsensical; why should an American citizen who lives and works in the UK or Japan or Switzerland be liable for any US income taxes at all? (There are over five million Americans living abroad; by population, "abroad" would be the 22nd most populous US state. Relatively few of those five million are rich.)

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #97)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:42 PM

100. "why should an American citizen..."

 

Well, because we have no representative, and therefore, no one to pander for our votes. We basically don't exist as a voting block so its fine to piss on us.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #100)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:49 PM

102. Which is why I think the US should do what France has done.

French citizens living abroad have representation in the French Parliament. (And there are about half as many French living outside France as there are Americans living outside the US.)

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #102)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:52 PM

104. Thatd work for me!

 

Not only would our representatives be voices of reality and perspective in an insane echo chamber, but then I maybe wouldn't have to file two returns every year. Way to go France.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:47 PM

101. Totally agree...

...but since Obama sympathizes with the capitalists, he won't.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:45 PM

109. Hear! Hear!

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:03 PM

110. Please define "wealthy"

Is it total assets of a million? Five million? Ten Million? Or just more than YOU have?

What if you're retirement age, have little income, and most of your assets tied up in your house, which does not earn income?
What if you've paid your taxes, put your money into an IRA and low-interest-bearing savings accounts? Does this lifetime of savings get taxed at 1.5% annually?
What if you have a serious illness and need a bone marrow transplant, and that million dollars you've saved up will pay for it ... as long as the US government doesn't swipe it from you because you're "too wealthy"?

Wealth tax is punitive to those of us who've been judicious savers over a lifetime. And don't kid yourself -- this isn't going to affect just billionaires; this is going to affect a lot of professionals because you can bet the definition of wealth is going to cut a swath across a large number of Americans.

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Response to mainer (Reply #110)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:48 PM

115. If you have assets worth 1 million you are WEALTHY

 

A Walmart worker earning 17K a year who somehow magically manages to save an extra fifty dollars a month, every month, without fail, would need to save his money for...

1,600 YEARS before he saved up the million you seem to think isn't a lot.

Had he started saving during the Roman fucking Empire he would just now be catching up to you. So yeah, if you are worth a million you are rich.

Not that Walmart workers can save that much. They can't save anything at all. That privilege is reserved for the wealthy.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #115)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:02 PM

118. And the retiree whose wealth is all tied up in his home...

which he bought 50 years earlier, and who lives on his Social Security payments? How is he going to afford to pay 1.5% of the value of his home, which brings in no income?

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Response to mainer (Reply #118)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 06:50 PM

147. He can sell his million dollar home and buy an entire street in most of the country.

 

Or buy a beautiful $100K home, save the property taxes on the other 900K, and carry on.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #147)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 12:59 PM

162. I don't know where you live in the country

But a million dollars won't buy an entire street in most cities. Not even here in Maine.

And he'd still get taxed, in whatever form his wealth may be.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #115)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 01:15 PM

133. Psssssssst

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Response to Fla_Democrat (Reply #133)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 06:52 PM

148. I'll leave you to do the math as far as how many centuries it would take

 

I'm sure you agree that my point still stands.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 08:27 PM

113. I'm a socialist - of course we should tax wealth

Wow, this discussion brings out the same sort of sentiment that you see from Republicans who, while not rich, seem to think they will be rich some day. Listen - you are not going to be a multimillionaire - you are not going to own paintings worth millions of dollars - you will benefit from a tax on wealth.

It is not nearly as complicated as many believe. Florida already has a wealth tax. Most European countries have a wealth tax. There are smart tax folks who can figure out how to write the legislation. I don't feel sorry for the top 5% of the people who will have to hire an accountant to define how wealthy they are. 99% of the people on DU can calculate their wealth in less than minutes.

Socialists believe in the redistribution of wealth. This is a basic tenet. Of course there have been a variety of ways to implement redistribution. One extreme on the socialist spectrum is wealth confiscation with no compensation (like the Russians and Cubans have done). A wealth tax is a mild measure that can be done via legislation just like progressive income tax.

I'm in favor of it. We can decide the tax rate and cutoff points later.

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Response to OutNow (Reply #113)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:24 PM

119. +1

 

I love people acting like writing tax law is like composing arcane magic spells.

Figure out what branch of wealth is most productive to tax and leave out what would actually hurt smaller land-owners and whatever else.

We're talking about a small group of people hoarding tremendous wealth, most of it gained by super-exploitation of shrinking wages and enlarged productivity in the US.

Time to pay up.

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Response to OutNow (Reply #113)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 09:50 AM

122. Wealth

To begin to think that everyone who is on DU is some broke paycheck to paycheck barely scraping by Walmart worker is pretty telling.

Will I be a multimillionaire? I don't know ... More than likely I will break a mil before 60, the rest depends alot on factors that are out of my control.

I own 15 acres in Cut & Shoot Texas, that when purchased in 1985 was worth about $400/acre. Today that is worth about $5k/acre (alot being improvements), depending on sprawl that land could end up being worth $20k/acre. Depending on what happens, it could end up being worth about what it is worth today. No way to tell.

I own a condominium in Champions Forest, I owe about $30K on it. In the end I imagine it will be worth about $100K, but if the housing market goes crazy again I could get $125 out of it.

I contribute about $15K a year to my 401, my employer matches about $6K, the balance is north of $200K now with the market sitting where it is. I can see that being worth a solid $500K by the time I hit 60.

I occasionally toss a couple bucks here and there at some random stocks, and have a nice savings.

As far as a painting worth a mil?? Please tell me which artist today is going to die before his/her time and leave a couple of paintings lying around that could end up being worth huge sums of money. I have some paintings from some people who no one knows that are friends of friends ... never know.

I never do understand the deflection of "you will never be", "you will never have". I could never live my life with such thoughts, thinking that no matter what I do or how hard I work and save I will "never have", or "never be".

I believe in those who make more paying more in taxes, and I certainly pay my share of them. I would not get to awful upset if my tax rate were to go up by 2-3%, but once you stop to take in all the taxes that get paid to then say since I have been "lucky" and lived below my means and saved for 40+ years that somehow the government is now going to take some of my "wealth" is aggravating.

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Response to Lurker Deluxe (Reply #122)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:42 AM

123. well, yeah. What you said.

I too wonder why DU thinks the US is made up of a few ultra-rich evil people, while everyone else works at Walmart.

There are a whole lot of others who, through careful saving and hard work and years devoted to acquiring skills or education have managed to save up nest eggs during their 50-year working lifespan. To then steal their nest egg because "they have more than the 22-year-old who's working at Walmart" is to discriminate against older Americans.

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Response to mainer (Reply #123)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 04:28 PM

140. It's an old trick, from a 165 year old playbook... n/t

 

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Response to Lurker Deluxe (Reply #122)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 04:59 PM

142. Don't be confused - you are not rich

Yes, lots of folks, even lots of Democrats, have some land, some savings, etc. From your description (will break a million before 60) you and I have about the same nest egg although I'm a few years older.

At some time, in the past, there was significant upward mobility in our country. That time is gone. Wealth continues to be ever more concentrated in the top 2% of the population. If people voted in their own economic interests, the uber-rich would lose every election. Part of the way the banksters keep control is by convincing people in the top 50% of the population in terms of income and wealth that they have more in common with the top 2% than with the bottom 50%. Hey, if you own some stocks, own some land, etc. you're just like the Bass brothers or the Walton family. But it's not true.

Wake up - you're not rich and won't be rich any time soon. Rich is owning your own private jet, multiple mansions (ala Romney), never have to worry about bills or the price of anything, watch your pile of money grow ever larger, buy some Senators and Congress members to do your bidding, etc.

These are the folks that need to have some serious redistribution done right away.

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Response to OutNow (Reply #142)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:23 PM

145. Funny

Materialistic gibberish. I am extraordinarily rich. By any means you shall decide to measure it by.

I am 45 years old, have no health issues at all. None!

I have wonderful parents who are still healthy approaching 80, who I love dearly and love me as well.

I am comfortable in my life and really have no needs or wants that go unfulfilled, except maybe that new CTS-V.

I am happy in my career choice and have very good employment.

To think that wealth is measured solely on the amount of "money" that one has is one of the most depressing thoughts in the world. I could give two shits about a private jet, multiple mansions, or some pile of money ...

To hell with all of that, and to hell with people who are so obsessed with it. I think that those who make obscene amounts of money should be taxed to hell and back, that's fine with me. I would have no issue with a 90% bracket on income with no difference being made between investments/other.

Rich?? LOL! Damn sure am! Little lucky too.

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Response to OutNow (Reply #142)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 12:57 PM

161. Ah, but some people here do consider him rich

You define wealth as:'
"Rich is owning your own private jet, multiple mansions (ala Romney), never have to worry about bills or the price of anything, watch your pile of money grow ever larger, buy some Senators and Congress members to do your bidding, etc."

While just a few posts up on this topic, someone else says anyone who's got a million total in assets is rich and should be forced to sell his house and live off the funds, if he doesn't have any other income.

It's the voices who are willing to define "rich" as "anyone who has more than I do" that make this a worrisome prospect.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 04:14 PM

137. Terrible Idea - Will Never Happen

A country increases its income through investment. That's he we build factories, acquire tools, etc. That investment comes from savings. The United States already has a frighteningly low savings rate. Taking steps to make it worse will make things even worse.

$1,000,000 is WAY too low. It may sound like a lot to some of you, but it isn't really that much in the context of "wealthy" people. Think about a pension for a minute. My company lets me choose between getting paid from an annuity or taking the money in a lump sum. In terms of wealth, it amounts to the same thing. If my expected life space is 30 years and interest rates are 2%, that lump sum would be a million dollars if my pension was $45,000/year. While that an social security would provide a comfortable living, it's not exactly Lifestyles of the Rich. Throw in a paid for house and some outside savings and it is easy to be substantially over that amount. Then consider the fact that a conservative income producing portfolio is lucky to return 3% these days and you are talking about taking half of my investment income every year BEFORE I even start paying income taxes on it.

Think about government bonds. If you want an American to buy long term bonds to finance our large and growing national debt, they'll probably want something in return. Today, they are asking for about 0.8% return on a 5 year bond. With your plan, they'll actually be losing money every year on their investment.

Tax lawyers would love this. I can imagine eons of debate on various loopholes. Do my unvested stock grants count as wealth? What about out-of-the-money stock options? How do you value those? If I have a business that isn't producing any income yet and nothing comparable is being sold, how do I value that? If I own an asset that gets marked up one year (say a painting worth $2mil) and then the market collapses and it is worth a quarter of that the next year, can I get a rebate?

Finally, this notion of holding people's money hostage to prevent them leaving the country is obnoxious. That's the sort of thing that I would have expected from the Soviets rather than a free country. When a country has to take extraordinary measures to keep its citizens from leaving, it is not a good country. The benefits of citizenship should continue to make this a desirable country. When you talk about making this country a place that people want to flee and punishing them if they do, you've definitely lost me.

In order of preference, I'd prefer to see taxes (all set up in a way that is progressive) on consumption first, followed by income next, and only on property/wealth last.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:09 PM

151. yes yes yes

The wealth disparity is so great at this point that it's hurting our ability to have a functioning democracy.

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Response to srican69 (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 10:26 AM

153. Tax the rich? No way Jose.

 

The rich are supposed to tax poor to get richer, not the other way around.

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