How would you change the U.S. tax system?

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 05, 2017 1:08 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
As for taxes, the US tax system is a stranger to me. (The UK tax system is almost as strange, with the comforting distancing effect of PAYE .) But incentive to 'create' wealth must be balanced against disincentives to hoard and hide it, so that investments in workforce (wider and deeper) uplift more of those away from the tip of the hierarchy. I would suggest that punishing those that abdicate their proportionally greater pecuniary responsibilities should be a priority, but I don't see the current CEO of America laying himself open to such measures...


I agree with all of this. And while Thesh is a filthy pinko commie wobblehead, we both (probably) agree that society should not reward wealth appropriation, whether that's through rent seeking, tax evasion, or other economic abuses in general. Thesh'd likely agree that wealth creation should be encouraged, if they could ever admit that is indeed possible for individuals to do something that creates wealth far beyond what the average person can do.

From there, the question is how do we set up the welfare system, especially now when we are on the verge of automating so many shit-jobs in the country, and don't have the heart to just turn the people into dogfood. Personally, I believe we should automate the factories as fast as we can, but actually tax the damned things and use the taxes to provide a guaranteed minimum income for every adult, using that to replace most of the welfare system. Extra welfare for provable disabilities, but better programs in place to help disabled get jobs, and more importantly, none of this fucked up nonsense where if you are disabled but get a job you lose all benefits.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Thesh » Fri May 05, 2017 1:10 pm UTC

ucim wrote:"I know it when I see it." One problem with measuring it however is that merit has different value for different people. You may value artistic talent and not give two toots for the ability to get ideas across. Fred may value teaching ability and not give two toots for acting ability. And so it goes... the measurement problem isn't one of metric so much as one of axes.

The same is true of government and government programs; some programs are more meritorious than others; we (collectively) simply (and legitimately) disagree on what makes a program meritorious. And we are easily persuaded by irrelevant and alternative facts - look how well advertising works. The best-selling car isn't the best car, nor is it the best-for-the-money car, defining "best" in some objective "consumer reports" type manner. Nonetheless, we still have to choose... and in the case of government, we choose one that we all have to live under. We can't each choose our own government (and survive).

Given all this, is a meritocracy "the thing to strive for" even if it's impossible to well-order "merit"? If so, we still need a method of well-ordering something that is inherently not well-ordered. And if not, then what -ocracy should we strive for that's better than one that values merit, however defined?

That was a lot of words to say absolutely nothing at all. The point is capitalism isn't a meritocracy, so why use meritocracy as a justification for not taxing the rich?
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 05, 2017 1:19 pm UTC

I don't think we've ever said "don't tax the rich".

We, or at least I, disagree with you on a number of things.

1) While capitalism isn't completely meritocratic, it's much more so than virtually any other system ever tried
2) There are rich people who did get rich by providing value
2a) We agree that the people who didn't provide value but instead finagled their way to the 1% should have the living snot taxed out of them

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Thesh » Fri May 05, 2017 1:32 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:1) While capitalism isn't completely meritocratic, it's much more so than virtually any other system ever tried


You haven't even defined merit, so you can't make that statement. I think we should go for efficiency (defined by outcomes per inputs) and equality, and from where I'm standing I see we are paying some people a hell of a lot more and the result is that overall outcomes are worse by a long shot. Wasn't there a thread where the gist was that the sheer existence of people being concerned about household wealth is the reason the housing market is so fucked up in places? A problem that goes away completely with public ownership that rents out the land and property, even though it provides significantly less private wealth.

CorruptUser wrote:2) There are rich people who did get rich by providing value


Define "providing value" - if value is defined as market price, it's about scarcity and power much more than actual benefit incurred to society. I see absolutely no way any of those people would have gotten that rich if it was not for the fact that the entire economic structure is designed to make the workers and consumers powerless, and I can't see any way you can assume that statement is true. Also, you shouldn't look at the value of what they produce, it's the difference in value had they not produced it. If someone else would have produced it anyway, can you say the person who was first deserves billions based on merit?

CorruptUser wrote:2a) We agree that the people who didn't provide value but instead finagled their way to the 1% should have the living snot taxed out of them


How do you make a distinction between the two?
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby reval » Fri May 05, 2017 2:19 pm UTC

Yes, MS-DOS was a copy of CP/M, not Unix, from experience with all three.

And there's this surrealistic quality to this thread where people are talking about what *should* be taxed, and Thesh seems to be the only one aware of the raw power of property to make sure that it *isn't* taxed. There's your tautological loop right there: power to make sure no one else gets any power.

Except for a few crossovers who managed to break into the business of business, like Bill Gates: the existing powers like IBM didn't expect him to be able to take advantage of the market position they'd inadvertently provided him with, to twist the computer age into a nightmare of "licensing" the stuff he'd copied from elsewhere. Copyright law, evil as it has always been, never allowed the copyrighting of mathematical algorithms, but now it allows the copyrighting of computer code.

Raw power to make up the rules. And you think they'll let us tax them?

In the event that the oligarchs overplay their hand and we wind up with a revolutionary situation, watch the actors closely: the only thing that matters is the economic basis of the 99%. Taxes on property have to pay for a basic income for everyone and health care for everyone. Everything else is distraction. Anyone who talks about identity grievances is trying to distract from the economic basis. Don't let them get away with it.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 05, 2017 2:57 pm UTC

We are all aware that the rich can and do abuse the legal process so that they don't get taxed. We just disagree with Thesh, who seems to think that people can only become rich by being evil.

@Thesh
"Merit" and "providing value" would theoretically be defined by addition utility, if we could ever agree on how to measure utility. I'm leaning toward Prioritarianism myself, i.e., raising the utility of the people with the least utility should be weighted more heavily.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Fri May 05, 2017 3:03 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby sardia » Fri May 05, 2017 2:57 pm UTC

reval wrote:Yes, MS-DOS was a copy of CP/M, not Unix, from experience with all three.

And there's this surrealistic quality to this thread where people are talking about what *should* be taxed, and Thesh seems to be the only one aware of the raw power of property to make sure that it *isn't* taxed. There's your tautological loop right there: power to make sure no one else gets any power.

Except for a few crossovers who managed to break into the business of business, like Bill Gates: the existing powers like IBM didn't expect him to be able to take advantage of the market position they'd inadvertently provided him with, to twist the computer age into a nightmare of "licensing" the stuff he'd copied from elsewhere. Copyright law, evil as it has always been, never allowed the copyrighting of mathematical algorithms, but now it allows the copyrighting of computer code.

Raw power to make up the rules. And you think they'll let us tax them?

In the event that the oligarchs overplay their hand and we wind up with a revolutionary situation, watch the actors closely: the only thing that matters is the economic basis of the 99%. Taxes on property have to pay for a basic income for everyone and health care for everyone. Everything else is distraction. Anyone who talks about identity grievances is trying to distract from the economic basis. Don't let them get away with it.

I'm sorry, but unless you start talking about how this should change the tax code in concrete ways, you're going to lose people.

A problem with changes in the tax code is that the changes affects the premise of the tax code. Eg capital gains tax is vastly lower than the highest income tax to encourage capital gains. Complication: accounting people convert everything into capital gains, a questionable practice at best.
The best solution I can think of is to have a simple (most simple ideas are regressive )tax code, and then have an separate progressive budget that redistributes it back. You'd need to combine that with nimble (unaccountable) agencies that can adapt as fast as accountants can think up loopholes.
Isn't that what the Europeans do with their taxes?

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Thesh » Fri May 05, 2017 3:11 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:We are all aware that the rich can and do abuse the legal process so that they don't get taxed. We just disagree with Thesh, who seems to think that people can only become rich by being evil.


I'm saying that you are justifying large amounts of wealth because of merit, but you are unable to even figure out how to measure merit, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that people are paid based on merit. The fact that you are justifying people being rich because of merit implies that people die from starvation because their life lacked merit, and the fact of the matter is the vast majority of income is due to power imbalances and not merit. So if you can't say it's due to merit, why not tax the shit out of their wealth and make sure everyone can at the very least survive?

CorruptUser wrote:@Thesh
"Merit" would theoretically be defined by addition utility, if we could ever agree on how to measure utility. I'm leaning toward Prioritarianism myself, i.e., raising the utility of the people with the least utility should be weighted more heavily.


Raising the utility of people? Fuck you - the people are more than just inputs to be used by the rich.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby reval » Fri May 05, 2017 3:24 pm UTC

sardia wrote:I'm sorry

You're not, and please don't say you are.

Specifics on taxation are pointless in the absence of the power to implement any meaningful change. Go ahead, take away the mortgage deduction. The only reason it could actually happen is that it will probably hurt the 99% slightly more than the 1%. It's not a meaningful change in the current climate of wealth and income inequality.

If you ever get an opportunity to redistribute anything, you will have to do so with progressive taxes and universal benefits. Progressive taxation has to specifically target the concentrations of wealth in order to bring the battle where it belongs. Any attempt at progressive benefits ("means testing") is counterproductive. It wastes resources and merely provides the opportunity to focus on distractions and envy games.

Nope: universal basic income, universal health care. Bill Gates gets the same benefits anyone else gets. He just has to pay more towards maintaining the society that gave him his unspeakable wealth.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby arbiteroftruth » Fri May 05, 2017 4:11 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:@Thesh
"Merit" would theoretically be defined by addition utility, if we could ever agree on how to measure utility. I'm leaning toward Prioritarianism myself, i.e., raising the utility of the people with the least utility should be weighted more heavily.


Raising the utility of people? Fuck you - the people are more than just inputs to be used by the rich.


Pretty sure he's talking about prioritizing bettering the lives of the worst-off people, and not about increasing the productivity of the least productive people. He's talking about how much utility people have for themselves, not how much utility they contribute to the rest of society.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby ucim » Fri May 05, 2017 5:11 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The point is capitalism isn't a meritocracy, so why use meritocracy as a justification for not taxing the rich?
I'm not - I'm only mentioning meritocracy because you did, here...
Thesh wrote:Capitalism in no way, shape, or form leads to a meritocracy.
...implying that meritocracy is the goal. Because if it is not the goal, there's no reason for you to bring it up (whether to ding capitalism or for any other reason), and if it is the goal, I'd like to know how you think your preferred -ism leads to it (because if it doesn't, then again, there's no point in mentioning it).

Further, I am not using it (or anything, for that matter) as a justification for not taxing the rich. I do not hold the position that "the rich should not be taxed". I don't even hold the position that "the rich should not be taxed more than the not-so-rich". I think that some degree of progressive taxation is warranted, based on the ideas that

* The rich benefit more from government programs than the poor do
* The rich can better afford funding the programs than the poor do
* The rich benefit from the poor benefitting from the programs more than the poor benefit from the rich benefitting from the programs.

Taxation (and negative taxation, i.e. welfare) should reflect this. However, some forms of taxation can lead to perverse incentives; these are to be avoided wherever possible. Identifying them (and agreeing that that's what they are) depends on the ideology being applied, and we're back to asking what the goal is, because if you don't agree on the goal, you'll never agree on the path.

Promotion of merit is one reasonable goal, but not the only one. Equality is an oft-touted goal, but needs to be balanced against freedom (equality of outcome? equality of opportunity? Freedom to share one's benefits with "undeserving" family and friends?). Freedom itself is illusory; if somebody controls the inputs (e.g. the news you are exposed to), your freedom to enact outputs (i.e. vote for a candidate) is only nominal. It's one of the reasons the tax code remains more complex in execution than it needs to be.

That is why I would press for the actual tax forms to be simplified and made more transparent, even before changing tax law... we (who are voting for representatives who will vote on it) need to know what it is we want to support before we can meaningfully make any decisions on it.

And, while the relationship of -isms to tax code is indirect, it is also quite profound. It defines the reason for having taxes in the first place. All too often "tax reform" is a proxy for "ideology reform" without calling it that, because pretty much everyone agrees that taxes need to be reformed (nobody is happy paying them!), but not everyone agrees that ideology need to be. It's important to not fight one battle while pretending to fight the other.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Thesh » Fri May 05, 2017 5:27 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Promotion of merit is one reasonable goal, but not the only one. Equality is an oft-touted goal, but needs to be balanced against freedom (equality of outcome? equality of opportunity? Freedom to share one's benefits with "undeserving" family and friends?). Freedom itself is illusory; if somebody controls the inputs (e.g. the news you are exposed to), your freedom to enact outputs (i.e. vote for a candidate) is only nominal. It's one of the reasons the tax code remains more complex in execution than it needs to be.


What in the fuck are you talking about? You've been arguing that people should be less free so that a handful of individuals can make more wealth because in the end it provides a net benefit to society. I'm saying you haven't even shown that society incurs a net benefit from allowing privately controlled wealth.

Are you seriously arguing that freedom and equality are at odds at each other? They are mutually inclusive - the poor become dependent on the wealthy, and the wealthy use that to control the poor. You cannot be free unless you are equal.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby ucim » Fri May 05, 2017 6:11 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I'm saying you haven't even shown that society incurs a net benefit from allowing privately controlled wealth.
We haven't even agreed on what "net benefit" means. That's important.

Thesh wrote:Are you seriously arguing that freedom and equality are at odds at each other?
Yes. They are very much at odds. What you say in closing, above ("You cannot be free unless you are equal.") has some truth to it (though it sounds better than it is). Nonetheless, once out the gate, inequality does grow, due to the freedom people have of making good (or bad) choices, being dicks or nice guys, and granting favors to some but not others. Truth is, there never was equality. Natural resources aren't spread equally, and some countries have more than others. Natural gifts (strength, intelligence, etc) are not equally bestowed, and some are better suited to the environment than others. That drives evolution, both in ecology and sociology.

Equality (of outcome? of opportunity? of station in life?) cannot be achieved without sacrificing the freedom of people to choose how to treat kith and kin.

So, yes, they are very much at odds, though I do grant you that inequality also impacts freedom, as does (e.g. corporate and government) power over individuals. And I am not advocating unlimited freedom either; don't make that strawman mistake. Government is all about limiting some freedoms to enhance others. Tax policy funds this directly, and funnels it indirectly. Which direction to take it depends on where you want to go, and like a gyroscope, pushing it this way ends up taking it that way.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Thesh » Fri May 05, 2017 6:41 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:I'm saying you haven't even shown that society incurs a net benefit from allowing privately controlled wealth.
We haven't even agreed on what "net benefit" means. That's important.


I'm using the English definitions of the words. It's pretty simple, there is diminishing returns on spending, thus higher inequality is inherently less efficient at providing outcomes. Second, we spend not just based on benefit, but wealth as well. I believe there was a thread recently on how the housing market focuses on the wealth of the existing homeowners, not the need for housing. This is pretty much the same with our entire economy - we focus on maintaining the wealth for the minority, at the expense of the majority.

ucim wrote:Equality (of outcome? of opportunity? of station in life?) cannot be achieved without sacrificing the freedom of people to choose how to treat kith and kin.


Equality of power. Wealth is power, wealth inequality means that we do not have freedom for all. There are people who are basically slaves today due to their lack of wealth and power. The people at the bottom can't dictate the quality of the products, because any increase in quality inherently decreases profit margins - since the wealth itself is the only goal, the people at the top use their power to prevent those at the bottom from getting what they want. Inequality and freedom are not compatible at all.

On top of that, the whole reason they are able to get wealth off of wealth is because the copyright and patent laws are designed to benefit the rich over the poor. They directly make us less free, for the sake of maintaining inequality.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Ixtellor » Fri May 05, 2017 7:20 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
I'm saying that you are justifying large amounts of wealth because of merit, but you are unable to even figure out how to measure merit, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that people are paid based on merit. The fact that you are justifying people being rich because of merit implies that people die from starvation because their life lacked merit, and the fact of the matter is the vast majority of income is due to power imbalances and not merit. So if you can't say it's due to merit, why not tax the shit out of their wealth and make sure everyone can at the very least survive?


People are rich because of supply and demand. If power came from imbalances then the 20 richest Americans would all be named Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan. 13 of the richest 20 Americans came from middle or lower class backgrounds.

Thank god for bill gates, or I'd spend all day on programming forums trying to learn about distributions or spending hours trying to get my company x modem to work with my company y router and convert my wife company z email.
Computers beg for a natural monopoly and I will gladly put money in Gates pocket for the countless ways he improved life

As to "starving people" I don't see that in modern capitalistic societies.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby eran_rathan » Sun May 07, 2017 6:15 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:As to "starving people" I don't see that in modern capitalistic societies.


Well, then you're a bit out of touch.

https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/public ... df?v=42636

Roughly 12% of the US population is food insecure, and 5% of the population is very insecure.

https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/ ... tSheet.pdf

Roughly 31 million children are served by the low cost or free lunch programs administered by the USDA. SNAP benefits are used by roughly 45 million people. I should also point out that most of those are working families, many of whom are working for the same corporations that receive billions in corporate welfare.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby ucim » Sun May 07, 2017 11:27 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I'm using the English definitions of the words. It's pretty simple, there is diminishing returns on spending, thus higher inequality is inherently less efficient at providing outcomes.
I have no idea what this means. It sounds suspiciously like the shampoo that has "absolutely no pH".

Thesh wrote:Second, we spend not just based on benefit, but wealth as well.
I don't know what this means either, unless you mean "wealthy people spend more."

Thesh wrote:Equality of power. Wealth is power, wealth inequality means that we do not have freedom for all. There are people who are basically slaves today due to their lack of wealth and power.
Ok. Now equality of power can mean many things; one of them being anarchy. I don't think that's really what you mean. But yes, wealth is a form of power. So is an elected office. So is one's set of social connections. So is education, and so is knowledge (the two are different; I can be uneducated but know that you are snogging the mayor's wife; that gives me no small amount of power).

Setting aside wealth (per se) for a moment, what kind of "power" do you want to maintain the equality of? Do you want to prevent some people from getting "too educated"? Too "socially connected"?

ETA: I know you want to limit people's economic power, but if it's power that justifies this, you should also be in favor of limiting people's education and social connectedness, in the name of equality. I don't see that.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Ranbot » Mon May 08, 2017 5:01 pm UTC

Thresh has some interesting ideas and philosophy. I keep waiting for him to say something that is actionable short of total political and economic revolution, but so far nothing. Thresh's views are so extreme and his choice of words dances on the line of being a troll that it's not really adding anything useful and the discussion is veering angrily off-topic. Best not to engage/feed him.


Back on the topic of changing the U.S. tax system.... Another idea I've kicked around in my head is significantly reduce personal income taxes, but off-set with increased sales taxes. This would give people more control over when they get hit by taxes and lessen the perception by some that the gov't is "stealing" money from their paychecks. People who are responsible with their money would effectively get a tax break; and people who are irresponsible and/or can afford the tax will be taxed more heavily. Sales taxes could still progressively target higher income folks by taxing luxury items more heavily; and help low-income folks with no or low taxes on basic necessities. Sales taxes could also target industries for assistance or disincentives; or target industries that require greater public resources/infrastructure to allow them to thrive.

Some disadvantages would be the US economy is largely driven by domestic consumer spending and increased sales taxes could stifle that, but I could argue that happens already when taxes are gleaned from one's paycheck. [*] There would be impacts on cross-border shopping, but impacts would be in both directions, and would be mostly irrelevant for interior states. Getting the balance of sales taxes just right could be difficult and would need constant review to keep up with changing products and consumer habits. Congress would not be able to keep up and would have to delegate those powers to a gov't agency.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby ucim » Mon May 08, 2017 5:28 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:significantly reduce personal income taxes, but off-set with increased sales taxes. This would give people more control over when they get hit by taxes and lessen the perception by some that the gov't is "stealing" money from their paychecks. People who are responsible with their money would effectively get a tax break; and people who are irresponsible and/or can afford the tax will be taxed more heavily.
There is so much wrong here....

"Reducing the perception that gov/t is stealing" is focusing on perception, not actuality. It is inherently disingenuous. It's deliberately hiding what government is actually doing, in order to promote a more agreeable perception.

"Being responsible with one's money" is not at all the same as not spending it; spending money is not inherently irresponsible. A sales tax is by its very nature regressive, taxing the poor more heavily (they can't afford to save). Sure, you can band-aid it by taxing yachts and Teslas at double the rate, but that's doing surgery with an axe. Income taxes are more easily fine-tuned towards the appropriate degree of regressive/progressive taxation, whatever we decide that to be.

The more different kinds of taxes there are, the more people won't realize how much they are being (double) taxed.

Off the top of my head, and one which would answer Thesh's issues, is an asset tax. You are taxed on what you own (or meaningfully control). If you are taxed at a flat 2% rate, then after 50 years, you'll only own about 1/3 of what you had. This makes it hard to pass on a fortune to your heirs, while making it possible (and incentivized) to enjoy what you have while you have it. The first ${some amount} of assets would be exempt, lowering the burden on the poor, and perhaps certain kinds of assets (clothes?) would be exempt, lessening the bookkeeping. It would be like a sales tax that keeps on giving.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Chen » Tue May 09, 2017 11:56 am UTC

ucim wrote:Off the top of my head, and one which would answer Thesh's issues, is an asset tax. You are taxed on what you own (or meaningfully control). If you are taxed at a flat 2% rate, then after 50 years, you'll only own about 1/3 of what you had. This makes it hard to pass on a fortune to your heirs, while making it possible (and incentivized) to enjoy what you have while you have it. The first ${some amount} of assets would be exempt, lowering the burden on the poor, and perhaps certain kinds of assets (clothes?) would be exempt, lessening the bookkeeping. It would be like a sales tax that keeps on giving.


How would this let you enjoy what you have? I mean if you spent all your money on services or consumable goods it would work. Anything else would just cost you more money. I mean there's no real risk of this occurring since it'd be impossible to enforce but it's a completely ridiculous idea. Seems like it would dissaude any type of savings as well which is kind of the opposite message you want to send to people.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue May 09, 2017 2:18 pm UTC

Or people would put all their money offshore. Property taxes already exist, but they only work because 1) you can't relocate a Long Island home to Bermuda and 2) it's easily justifiable due to the expenditures used to protect that property and its value such as schools and fire departments and police and so forth. Money and stocks? Government expenditures do help companies, but in less overtly visible ways.

This has led to problems with redistricting so that the rich only pay for their own schools because fuck poor kids for not working in the asbestos mines like my great grandpappy made their great grandpappies do.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Ixtellor » Tue May 09, 2017 4:14 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:As to "starving people" I don't see that in modern capitalistic societies.


Well, then you're a bit out of touch.

https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/public ... df?v=42636

Roughly 12% of the US population is food insecure, and 5% of the population is very insecure.

https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/ ... tSheet.pdf


I was responding to Thresh saying people starve to death
Being hungry and starving to death are quite different.
So again, people starving to death in modern capitalist societies.... isn't a thing.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby ucim » Tue May 09, 2017 7:34 pm UTC

Chen wrote:How would this let you enjoy what you have?
How would it stop you? If you buy a car, you drive it. If it's worth $30,000, every year you pay a $600 "asset tax" on it. Ignoring for the moment the trusim that no tax ever replaces another tax, that's $600 that the government doesn't have to get from {income/sales/property/luxury/sur/alternative-minimum} tax.
Chen wrote:Seems like it would dissaude any type of savings as well which is kind of the opposite message you want to send to people.
It's not about sending a message to people - if you want to send a message use Western Union. If you didn't buy a car, that $30,000 is still an asset; it gets taxed at the same 2%.

Chen wrote:it's a completely ridiculous idea.
May well be so. The top of my head isn't known for deep analytical thinking.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby phillip1882 » Fri May 12, 2017 1:37 pm UTC

i wold personally get rid of all taxation, and also get rid of several government departments. fbi, cia,nsa, dea, reduce the military budget by 90%, bring all troops home, and probably others i cant think of at the moment. i would also get rid of government welfare, social security, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, farm subsidies, corporate subsidies. i would make gold and silver legal tender, and the government the issuing body.
everyone succeeds or fails based on their own merits, as far as the government is concerned. our founding fathers said, give me liberty or give me death, prove to me that's what you want.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Zohar » Fri May 12, 2017 2:12 pm UTC

Oh yeah that sounds awesome let's go for it.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 12, 2017 2:26 pm UTC

Err... you do realize that the only actual applications for gold are in medicine and electronics, and while relatively rare we have more than enough gold for said applications, right? And thus is actually a terrible investment for society? I mean, when the end comes, would you rather have a silo full of gold or a silo full of grain? The correct answer is a silo full of guns and ammo, and then take over the silos full of grain and gold.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 12, 2017 2:31 pm UTC

@philip, if you want I can organise that for you. You don't pay me taxes, and in return I promise not to raise an army or hand out corporate subsidies. In fact, I set that up already last year.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby heuristically_alone » Fri May 12, 2017 3:38 pm UTC

Everyone starts paying the same percentage of their income on taxes and the more you nake during the year, the percentage you guve decreases exponentially.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 12, 2017 4:51 pm UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:Everyone starts paying the same percentage of their income on taxes and the more you nake during the year, the percentage you guve decreases exponentially.


So... no change?

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby phillip1882 » Fri May 12, 2017 5:24 pm UTC

Err... you do realize that the only actual applications for gold are in medicine and electronics, and while relatively rare we have more than enough gold for said applications, right? And thus is actually a terrible investment for society? I mean, when the end comes, would you rather have a silo full of gold or a silo full of grain? The correct answer is a silo full of guns and ammo, and then take over the silos full of grain and gold.


well obviously if chaos comes id rather have a silo full of grain. however, grain is extremely abundant and would thus make a bad currency.
the point of gold is not so much to help people survive in the harshest conditions, but to make governemnt honest about how much its spending. (read eliminate inflation).
@philip, if you want I can organise that for you. You don't pay me taxes, and in return I promise not to raise an army or hand out corporate subsidies. In fact, I set that up already last year.

allow me to take out loans in gold and silver and you got yourself a deal. further, if you set up arbitration, ill voluntarily donate 7% my yearly income to pay for it. further, if you setup a security force, ill voluntarily donate another 7% of my yearly income to pay for that.
Last edited by phillip1882 on Fri May 12, 2017 5:36 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 12, 2017 5:28 pm UTC

OK it's allowed

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri May 12, 2017 6:49 pm UTC

phillip1882 wrote:i would make gold and silver legal tender, and the government the issuing body.


You're perfectly at liberty to buy American Gold Eagle Coins (90% gold, 10% other metals to make it easier to use as a coin), American Gold Buffalo Coins (99.99% Gold, but its soft and not very useful as a coin), and American Silver Coins.

The problem is, I don't give a care about Gold and Silver. So there's no way you can force me to use Gold / Silver... I pretty much only buy Gold / Silver for special commemorative occasions (close friend's weddings and the like). You are perfectly free in using Gold and Silver however.

I use a local Gold / Silver dealer when I buy / sell gold and silver. A lot of people online like https://www.jmbullion.com/

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But sure, buy all the gold and silver you care about. Just don't force me to do the same. After all, liberty means that I'm free to choose what to do with my money too. For me, all I really want to do is use the 100% fake money created by MasterCard and Visa to make purchases, which is a superior methodology to holding Gold and Silver. BTW: Gold and Silver "certificates" is just as fake as the fake money used by Plastic Mastercards / Visa Cards.

People trust MasterCard and Visa however. Because we've all learned that the important part of finance is not how its represented... but the symbolic relationship of trust that's between all of us. I trust MasterCard and Visa (private businesses! Mind you), even as they create $5000 credit out of thin air and otherwise increase the money supply arbitrarily.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 12, 2017 8:07 pm UTC

Mastercard doesn't loan out money itself, or does it in the US?

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri May 12, 2017 8:12 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Mastercard doesn't loan out money itself, or does it in the US?


That's true. I guess I was being a bit too high level in my description there.

From my understanding, MasterCard and Visa are "protocols". My bank handles the actual lending of money and the creation of credit now that I think of it. But in any case, my point was that the creation and destruction of credit is mostly in the hands of private lenders today.

Do you need $5000? Well, poof. Here's a credit-card application where a Bank can create $5000 out of thin air and give it to you, so long as you sign the papers and do as promised. Done with using the $5000 credit? You can close the credit account and then the $5000 credit disappears into the void. And it is that credit / debt mechanism that runs today's economy (Home buying, Car buying, and Credit Cards basically constitute all of my payment these days. I rarely use raw cash...)

Back in the 1800s, Banks created "credit" and "debt" out of thin air too. They printed "Gold Certificates" (an IOU: a DEBT, a promise of payment), handed them out to everybody and then lied about how much gold was in their vaults. Today we're at least honest about it: there's nothing tying the money down.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby CorruptUser » Sat May 13, 2017 12:32 am UTC

Yes and no. The banking system in effect "creates money out of thin air" because the money they lend out gets deposited back in another bank where it gets lent out again, and with 20% reserves this means that there is 5x as money on computers as actually exists on paper. But this results in you getting 5x as much income, so it's not a loss to you. And by lending money appropriately, specifically to help small businesses grow and NOT TO HELP PEOPLE BUY LARGER HOUSES, this results in the money you have going further as there is more service/good per dollar.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Zamfir » Sat May 13, 2017 5:53 pm UTC

Today we're at least honest about it: there's nothing tying the money down.
I am not sure what this means. Of course there's something thing the money down - for every dollar worth of deposits, bank have more than one dollar of assets. It's just that most of those assets are not dollars

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat May 13, 2017 6:30 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Today we're at least honest about it: there's nothing tying the money down.
I am not sure what this means. Of course there's something thing the money down - for every dollar worth of deposits, bank have more than one dollar of assets. It's just that most of those assets are not dollars


Well, a common complaint of "goldbugs" and "silver bugs" is that "fiat money" ties "fiat money" down. Its all "virtual" and fake. A goldbug / silver bug would argue however that the "virtual asset" tying down the value in a bank is similarly "fake". They want to tie everything to gold so that there is "something real" holding everything down.

Looking at the post again... I admit that I'm assuming a lot about his argument and probably am skipping a few steps here. I've just done these arguments with goldbugs before and the argument almost always moves in that direction. I'm posturing for a response that I've seen before... that's all.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Thesh » Sat May 13, 2017 6:48 pm UTC

According to MMT, the classic model is wrong and the government creates money by spending it while taxes create demand which is what gives the currency its legitimacy. Whether or not something physical ties it down is irrelevant, it just has to be in demand to have value.
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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby Euphonium » Sun May 14, 2017 9:48 pm UTC

slinches wrote:
Euphonium wrote:0% income tax on all income up to $50,000 per household member. 100% tax on all income above $50,000 per household member.

You know this is supposed to be Serious Business, right?

Yes, and I'm completely serious.

With your system, why would anyone spend time getting advanced degrees


Are you seriously that shallow-minded that the thought of studying something because you're really really interested in it is a completely foreign concept to you?

or investing in a business if their income was capped at $50k?


That's kind of the point. Capitalist relations of production are a form of slavery; this is a way to incentivize worker cooperatives.

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Re: How would you change the U.S. tax system?

Postby CorruptUser » Sun May 14, 2017 10:04 pm UTC

Euphonium wrote: Capitalist relations of production are a form of slavery


And the award for Most Childish Comment goes to...


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