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Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:37 PM

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.


That is a quote attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes.

He also said, "A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in colour and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used."

But if we look at taxes in today's context, we have to question whether or not we are paying enough for a "civilized society" or if our society is deteriorating from lack of attention? Is everyone paying his or her fair share of taxes?

I suppose it would all depend on what type of society we would want?

Personally, I see little value in wealth if it is not to make society better. I want the best roads, the best rapid transit, the best schools, the best jobs, the best workers, the best of everything. What other purpose could we possibly want with wealth, unless it would be for personal greed or aggrandizement? And would that be favorable or good for a society? In my opinion, that would be negative and bad for our society and something we should discourage as a democracy.

Therefore, it is bad for us as a society to put a limit on how much wealthy people should pay in taxes. It is detrimental to say the top limit should be 39%. It is anti-democratic for a society to favor the wealthy in such a way, in my humble opinion.

36 replies, 4849 views

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Reply Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. (Original post)
kentuck Jun 2012 OP
bemildred Jun 2012 #1
deaniac21 Jun 2012 #2
The Wielding Truth Jun 2012 #3
deaniac21 Jun 2012 #34
Initech Jun 2012 #36
TBF Jun 2012 #4
Tierra_y_Libertad Jun 2012 #5
AnotherMcIntosh Jun 2012 #6
kentuck Jun 2012 #9
AnotherMcIntosh Jun 2012 #16
kentuck Jun 2012 #17
dkf Jun 2012 #7
kentuck Jun 2012 #8
dkf Jun 2012 #10
kentuck Jun 2012 #11
dkf Jun 2012 #14
kentuck Jun 2012 #15
dkf Jun 2012 #18
CJCRANE Jun 2012 #20
AnotherMcIntosh Jun 2012 #23
Tsiyu Jun 2012 #26
bhikkhu Jun 2012 #22
laundry_queen Jun 2012 #28
CJCRANE Jun 2012 #19
laundry_queen Jun 2012 #29
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #13
One of the 99 Jun 2012 #25
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #12
spanone Jun 2012 #21
eppur_se_muova Jun 2012 #24
gulliver Jun 2012 #27
kentuck Jun 2012 #30
gulliver Jun 2012 #31
kentuck Jun 2012 #32
Shankapotomus Jun 2012 #33
john89 Jun 2012 #35

Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:39 PM

1. And the higher taxes are, the more civilized you can be. nt

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:42 PM

2. SOAK THE RICH!!

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Response to deaniac21 (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:45 PM

3. How about requiring they pay what they can afford. Just like the rest of us.

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Response to The Wielding Truth (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:54 PM

34. I say SOAK THE RICH.

They have the money and they should be taking care of all of us that they have stolen it from.

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Response to deaniac21 (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 10:04 PM

36. Amen! They are reverse Robin Hoods!

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:46 PM

4. Exactly, and it means everyone lives a more

sophisticated lifestyle (more amenities and opportunities) rather than just a few who have squandered all the wealth and keep it in just a few families.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:47 PM

5. In our case, Taxes are the price we pay for corrupt politicians, criminal corporations, and wars.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:52 PM

6. If so, we're not getting our money's worth.

 

Endless wars with war profiteers. "Homeland security" with TSAs and groping-theatre. Radio and TV "news programs" with broadcasters regularly supporting hate speech.

This is a civilized society?

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:21 PM

9. Maybe that is something we could work on with the Tea Partiers?


I think most Americans would agree with you?

Of course, most people here may believe that "greed is good" and would not want to agree with such an anti-capitalist, pro-Marxist, anti-American viewpoint?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #9)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:50 PM

16. Maybe? Not a chance.

 

Make me king and I would impose an Estate Tax of 100% of all estates with values in excess of $1,000,000 except for offsets equal to the amounts used by the decedents to create and maintain jobs in the United States.

Make me king and I would also impose a 200% tax on all money transfers out of this country. If someone wants to transfer $100 million out of this country for any purpose, let them come up with $300 million. $100 million for the transfer, $200 million for the tax.

I'm not familiar with the "Tea Partiers" of which you speak, but I assume that none of them would be in favor of such policies.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #16)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:56 PM

17. Maybe you are correct?


Perhaps there is nothing the two Parties can compromise on?

What would one person do with a hundred billion dollars? Obscene wealth should be treated obscenely.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:52 PM

7. Wealth = incentive to create economic activity.

 

Without those incentives we would produce enough to get the basics, and then what? What is the incentive to create a product that makes everyone else's lives more enjoyable or easier and to put together a plant to mass produce that thing for millions or billions of people?

I don't understand those who pooh pooh the great benefits we've gotten by having people who were that driven.

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Response to dkf (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:00 PM

8. For greedy people...

It doesn't much matter so long as they make more and have more than their neighbor. They do not need wealth they cannot spend, simply for wealth's sake. They should be punished for such a vile character.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:22 PM

10. Look at everything you own, watch, or read and ask yourself when the person responsible for that had

 

Enough To live on.

If they weren't greedy what would your life look like?

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Response to dkf (Reply #10)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:25 PM

11. Contrary to what you may think...

It did not change dramatically by lowering their tax rates from 90% to 35%. Of course, they didn't pay the tax rate of 90% but they don't pay the tax rate of 35% either. I think the greed is good argument is a loser.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:40 PM

14. They expensed everything and had loopholes large enough to drive trucks through.

 

Don't buy anything corporate made and you just may buy from someone who wasn't greedy. I'm sure your life will be just as enjoyable.

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Response to dkf (Reply #14)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:44 PM

15. Corporations suck.

They do not make anyone's lives any better, as a general rule. Yes, my life would be more enjoyable. What is the purpose of corporations, anyway? To make people's lives better or to make more profits for the shareholders? Do you have an idea? I'm sure you do.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #15)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 03:02 PM

18. Their drive to make a profit makes my life better. It gets me access to things I enjoy.

 

It gives me choices and variation in product. It makes me laugh when I see a good comedy, touches me with a poignant story, keeps me guessing and surprises me. It gives me something to share with the people I care about.

I am fully appreciative of what I have and when I think about what enables it all, I have to give a healthy appreciation to others who have made all this possible. On my own, I don't know the first thing about how to create all this. I can see how society can develop the essentials cooperatively, but I do not know how you get to even agree on all these other things to create and how you get them widely distributed.

The system is not perfect. Frankly we need a more savvy populace who can keep themselves out of trouble so the charlatans can't take advantage of them. But I don't see how we get here without incentives.

But for people who have none of these extras I can see where the drive for wealth accomplishes nothing for them.

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Response to dkf (Reply #18)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 03:13 PM

20. But most American innovation was accomplished under higher tax rates.

Higher tax rates on the rich and dynamic capitalism are not mutually exclusive.

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Response to dkf (Reply #18)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 03:45 PM

23. Very eloquent. In the past, that was true. But currently when the super-rich can increase their

 

wealth by means other than producing goods and services to make your life and the lives of others better, there are those within the super-rich ranks that will choose the former over the latter.

Somebody wants to produce goods and services to make your life better? Good. Give them deductions and tax credits for doing so. But if they otherwise want to hoard money so that it is not available to others who would be consumers, there is no rational reason to reward them for that type of greediness.

How do you motivate that type of greedy person who takes great pleasure in accumulating more and more, and with little or no regard for creating more goods and services? We know from the lessons of history that taxation of accumulated wealth works. If they won't spend money in meaningful ways to obtain business deductions and business-related tax credits, more progressive tax rates should be adopted until they are given financial incentives to produce more goods and services.

What should the highest tax rate be? I don't know. But if it was as high as 91% under Eisenhower, that's good enough for me.

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Response to dkf (Reply #18)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 07:26 PM

26. You believe in all of the magic



and none of the consequence.

It's not "magic" or "benevolent" motivation to find a resource, exploit it, produce something with it for pennies in a Third World country, get some buddy in the US to subsidize your selling it in the states at jacked-up prices paying shit wages to your US workers, having a cap on how much you have to pay if your product totally destroys someone's life, using the American highway system to transport your product all over the country, take a huge bonus before you dump the company off to buy something else and the whole time paying no taxes.

How magical!

When the fallout from all of the above becomes more detrimental than not having the little play pretty produced, the magic dims and the benevolence fades.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #15)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 03:24 PM

22. The purpose is one thing, but what they do to get there is another

That is, they exist to make profit, which involves competing for market share and so forth. To compete (or for that matter, to exist at all) they have to make things or provide services that people want. A corporations that doesn't provide what people want, or do things how people want them done, doesn't exist for long.

So the purpose might be to make a profit, but they do that by serving people as people want to be served.

Whether that makes people's lives better is a different problem, as many people choose to live in ways that aren't good for them.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #22)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 07:50 PM

28. That's how it used to work

but there has been too much consolidation. The natural direction of the free market is towards monopoly because monopoly means better profits - competition, contrary to what we have been taught, actually eats up profit. Thus the natural progression is always towards consolidation and monopoly unless controls are in place (and enforced). Once corporations move towards monopoly, there is far less choice for consumers and the focus turns away from serving people to taking advantage of people who have no other choices. And that is where we are today. To bring in policies that enables those large, consolidated corporations to make even more profit, is actually anti-competition and anti-small business and serves only those on top of the pyramid.

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Response to dkf (Reply #14)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 03:09 PM

19. Exactly, higher tax rates on the rich => more spending and more investment in...

infrastructure etc.

Lower rates mean they just hoard the money.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #19)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 07:54 PM

29. Plus

tax cuts are only an indirect stimulus to the economy, totally dependent on whether or not the beneficiaries spend the money to expand, improve, innovate, hire, etc. Whereas government spending directly affects planned aggregate expenditure which increases aggregate demand and thus real GDP.

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Response to dkf (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:26 PM

13. Society and infrastructure = the ability to create economic activity. n/t

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Response to dkf (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 05:17 PM

25. The problem is wealth is no longer derived just by making things

In many cases it is made by destroying companies that make a product or by playing numbers games in the financial markets. From Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, wealth wasn't the primary goal; the goal was to create something that would change the world. However, too often today the goal is just to create wealth regardless of how many are hurt in the process.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:25 PM

12. Taxes are the price we pay for strip searches at the airport and predator drones in Afghanistan. n/t

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 03:14 PM

21. taxes are how congress criminals get paid.

it's all bullshit anyway, when the feds quit helping cities, they just raise the local taxes..as my city just did.....it's a scam

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 05:11 PM

24. One of my favorite quotes. nt

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 07:32 PM

27. Freedom isn't free.

It's unpatriotic to complain about taxes all the time. The democracy decides how much the taxes should be. The democracy decides where the taxes should come from. After that, it's a duty to pay them.

Gripe away, and try to change it if you think it is unfair. Make your best reasoned case. But don't act all disgruntled, and don't try to undermine people's faith in the whole American system just to try to save yourself a few bucks.

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Response to gulliver (Reply #27)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 11:29 PM

30. "...undermine people's faith in the whole American system..."

... and what system would that be?

Would you care to elaborate on that?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #30)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 12:40 AM

31. I agree with your OP completely.

In terms of undermining people's faith, I was talking about how Republicans undermine people's faith in the the American government, education systems, agencies, laws, employees, etc. To save the wealthy a little money on taxes, Republicans constantly slander and ridicule the government and the people in it. They talk about how the government is the problem, and drowning it in the bathtub, etc. Regulations, which put laws into effect, are evil, small business stranglers written by implacable enemies of American prosperity. One hears these jokes and this ridicule so often, it starts to seem like Republicans really don't believe in democracy.

I agree with your OP. Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. We govern ourselves democratically, and there is no limit on taxes or government size other than the limits set by the legitimate voice of the voters. Any discussion about whether taxes are too high, or whether the right or wrong people are being taxed needs to be taken up with the democracy. I have nothing against Republicans making an argument against taxes. But the argument should be made with proper respect for the fact that the taxes that are in place are duly enacted by the democracy, the boss. Griping about those taxes, lying about their value to society, and calling them "theft" or coercion is insubordinate to the boss. It undermines respect of the citizens for their country. Of course, it is Republican free speech right to do that, but it is also mine to say that it is unpatriotic.

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Response to gulliver (Reply #31)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 07:05 AM

32. I thought that was what you meant.


I wanted to clarify for other readers.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 07:15 AM

33. And corporate taxes are the price

mass industry pays for taking away the individual's ability to live directly off the land and environment.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 09:20 PM

35. hey

No one likes paying taxes, especially the wealthy. But how else are we going to have paved roads and schools.

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