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  #21  
Old 03 January 2007, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dog Friendly View Post

What I inferred from Silas' analogy is that the rich enjoy far better access to the services provided by government than the rest of us. He mentioned police response time, and better access to the courts.


I'll suggest that there's far better maintenance on infrastructure in fashionable neighborhoods. I admit I've never been to Lansing, Michigan, but I'll suggest an experiment. Drive through a very expensive neighborhood after dark and count the number of street lights that aren't lit. Then, drive through the nastiest neighborhood you can find, and make the same count. Be sure to make a note of where the broken lights are. Then, go through the expensive neighborhood the next night, and see if the broken lights are still broken. Wait a month, and drive through the poor neighborhood. Count the number of lights that have been repaired -- oh, and mind the potholes.


While people fiddle with statistics constantly, I really don't think anyone seriously disputes that more money is spent per student on schools in fashionable neighborhoods; whether it's three times more or twenty times more is all anyone really tries to argue.
But, most of the things that I am directly benifiting from aren't paid from my federal taxes. Streets, Street lights, schools and police are all paid by my state and property taxes. The show is really being run by the local goverments. Federal taxes, more or less provide a "venue" for the show, by providing an infrastructure and framework to the local goverments.

Is a rich person benifiting more from the infrastructure provided by the Federal goverment? Perhaps. But, I am afraid it is hard to determine what the tangible benifit to the rich person is.

Every year for the past 3 years, the federal taxes that I pay is 3 times the taxes that I paid 8 years ago. Am I getting 3 times the benifit over the past 3 years? I don't know for sure, but my gut says probably not.
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  #22  
Old 03 January 2007, 08:37 PM
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While we wait for Silas, I'll add that the viewpoint to which I was referring, which is not my own, is that people who don't pay taxes shouldn't be allowed to vote.
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  #23  
Old 03 January 2007, 11:13 PM
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Dog Friendly: spot on! Exactly my point! The justification for higher tax rates for the very wealthy is that they benefit more from the services that taxes pay for.

Silas
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  #24  
Old 03 January 2007, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dog Friendly View Post
While people fiddle with statistics constantly, I really don't think anyone seriously disputes that more money is spent per student on schools in fashionable neighborhoods; whether it's three times more or twenty times more is all anyone really tries to argue.
Although I can only speak for California school districts, I will argue this based on my experience with auditing many of them. Believe it or not, the funding for schools in good neighborhoods is usually nowhere near what school districts receive for low-income neighborhoods. School districts with low income receive more federal and state funding per student that high income students do not qualify for.

So why are low income school districts not producing the same educational results in their students than high income districts? Simple. The main reason (imho) is that low income districts tend to be overcrowded and teachers usually are overwhelmed with large class sizes and displinary problems and therefore can not give their students the attention and education they deserve unlike a small high income district that also has an advantage of a different peer system (all students are expected to go to college and compete to get into the best ones). Also, parental involvement seems to increase ten-fold as income levels rise which has a large impact on how the schools and students work.

[/hijack]
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  #25  
Old 04 January 2007, 12:11 AM
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DF, if what you post is what Silas has in mind, I'll go with pretty crappy analogy.
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  #26  
Old 04 January 2007, 01:40 AM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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[QUOTE=snapdragonfly;5264]
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Originally Posted by Singing in the Drizzle View Post
Taxing investments is a bad thing, because it is tax job production. Therefor hurting the growth of jobs. We want to weathy to invest in US jobs. The earning on investments is another thing and should be taxed.

QUOTE]

Maybe, maybe not. What I mean is, I don't think *all* investments bring jobs, especially good paying jobs, but I think they get special tax treatment anyway.

If my information is correct, right now the tax laws are really sweet for people who are shipping our good paying jobs overseas and making foreign investments. I'm not the owner of a business engaged in doing that nor a CPA so I don't know the tax laws on this from experience but I've seen this mentioned in a variety of articles in recent years. If that's true, I don't see how that sort of investment is doing diddly for American jobs.

Also not having extra millions at the end of the year that my accountant is begging me to spend somehow, I don't know this by experience either, but I bet there's a lot of things you can spend your money on that is more beneficial to one's own tax liability than to the rest of the economy. When I get that much money (which I'm sure to soon, as my husband works 75 hours a week so we'll be rich, right?) I'll let ya'll know. Hah.
Think of the problems of having everone that own stock in some company haveing to sell 15% or more off every year based on the value of the stock on the last day of the year. Major stock holder in companies are not allowed to sell that much that fast because of the damage it does. Thing what will happen when all US investers will have to sell to pay their taxes. If your stock loses 15% of the value do to selling it off, what is the point of owning it? The weathy and the poor can not afford it without out selling off some of their investments. Taxing the money before investment and the proffit after selling is the best way and this is were the changes if any need to be done.

As for the companies moving jobs overseas. This need to be handled at the company level with taxes, fees and other laws, not by taxing the investers stock directly.

The other problem is type of investments should be taxed anually. Your house could be a investment. Just think of try to 15% of the value of your house ever year as income tax. How about the baseball card collection or coin collection. A good collection of item can go up in value and people do buy, sell and trade them for investemt porpuses.
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  #27  
Old 04 January 2007, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Friendly View Post
I'll suggest that there's far better maintenance on infrastructure in fashionable neighborhoods. I admit I've never been to Lansing, Michigan, but I'll suggest an experiment. Drive through a very expensive neighborhood after dark and count the number of street lights that aren't lit. Then, drive through the nastiest neighborhood you can find, and make the same count. Be sure to make a note of where the broken lights are. Then, go through the expensive neighborhood the next night, and see if the broken lights are still broken. Wait a month, and drive through the poor neighborhood. Count the number of lights that have been repaired -- oh, and mind the potholes.
In Amarillo, my mom lives in a fairly nice (older, but regentrified) neighborhood. The alleys in that part of town are paved.

There are some really run down parts of town where the main streets aren't even paved. They are some sort of gravel.

So, casual observation would certainly support that.

In my town, the poor areas get a lot less attention from the city than the nicer parts, too. I always snort in disgust when the city council picks apart some businessman's proposal because his building/sign/fence isn't hoity toidy enough for them, isn't "aesthetic" enough, because if you judge by the derelict buildings, weeds, and trash they are perfectly content to allow on the south side of town (the poor side is south and the richies are all north of the Interstate) then they are clearly brimming with bs. Aesthetics, indeed.
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  #28  
Old 04 January 2007, 02:00 AM
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[QUOTE=Singing in the Drizzle;6645]
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Originally Posted by snapdragonfly View Post

Think of the problems of having everone that own stock in some company haveing to sell 15% or more off every year based on the value of the stock on the last day of the year. Major stock holder in companies are not allowed to sell that much that fast because of the damage it does. Thing what will happen when all US investers will have to sell to pay their taxes. If your stock loses 15% of the value do to selling it off, what is the point of owning it? The weathy and the poor can not afford it without out selling off some of their investments. Taxing the money before investment and the proffit after selling is the best way and this is were the changes if any need to be done.

As for the companies moving jobs overseas. This need to be handled at the company level with taxes, fees and other laws, not by taxing the investers stock directly.

The other problem is type of investments should be taxed anually. Your house could be a investment. Just think of try to 15% of the value of your house ever year as income tax. How about the baseball card collection or coin collection. A good collection of item can go up in value and people do buy, sell and trade them for investemt porpuses.
I'm not sure I understand all your points well enough to make an intelligent rebuttal, but, selling off investments generally isn't a problem for poor people, unless you consider hocking one's engagement ring to pay the light bill the same thing as selling off an investment. When someone is getting by at the federal poverty level of around 10,000 a year, I really don't think in which mutual fund to put their excess pay is a big problem for them.
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  #29  
Old 04 January 2007, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Dog Friendly: spot on! Exactly my point! The justification for higher tax rates for the very wealthy is that they benefit more from the services that taxes pay for.

Silas
Yes and no.
  1. The protection the police provide on a $40,000 car is worth exactly 40 times as much as the same protection that they provide on a $1,000 car.
  2. The protection the fire department provides to a $200,000 home is worth exactly twice as much as the protection they provide on a $100,000 home.
  3. The enforcement of a $10,000,000 football contract is worth exactly 500 times as much as the enforcement of a $20,000 teaching contract.
If that were all they protected, the rich would receive the same benefit per tax dollar as the poor. However, the government protects all of us. Even if that were valued at only $1, it would be $1 for you, me and Bill Gates. So, the rich theoretically receive less protection per dollar taxed than the poor, and that's if everything that was taxed, was taxed at the same rate from start to finish.
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  #30  
Old 04 January 2007, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Temple View Post
Yes and no.
  1. The protection the police provide on a $40,000 car is worth exactly 40 times as much as the same protection that they provide on a $1,000 car.
  2. The protection the fire department provides to a $200,000 home is worth exactly twice as much as the protection they provide on a $100,000 home.
  3. The enforcement of a $10,000,000 football contract is worth exactly 500 times as much as the enforcement of a $20,000 teaching contract.
If that were all they protected, the rich would receive the same benefit per tax dollar as the poor. However, the government protects all of us. Even if that were valued at only $1, it would be $1 for you, me and Bill Gates. So, the rich theoretically receive less protection per dollar taxed than the poor, and that's if everything that was taxed, was taxed at the same rate from start to finish.


How do you put a dollar amount on people in the not so great parts of town having longer - if any - police response times whereas people in certain other areas of town get it promptly? Not that I blame police for not going into some parts of town, but still. That's a huge disparity.
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  #31  
Old 04 January 2007, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Singing in the Drizzle View Post

Think of the problems of having everone that own stock in some company haveing to sell 15% or more off every year based on the value of the stock on the last day of the year. Major stock holder in companies are not allowed to sell that much that fast because of the damage it does. Thing what will happen when all US investers will have to sell to pay their taxes. If your stock loses 15% of the value do to selling it off, what is the point of owning it? The weathy and the poor can not afford it without out selling off some of their investments. Taxing the money before investment and the proffit after selling is the best way and this is were the changes if any need to be done.

As for the companies moving jobs overseas. This need to be handled at the company level with taxes, fees and other laws, not by taxing the investers stock directly.

The other problem is type of investments should be taxed anually. Your house could be a investment. Just think of try to 15% of the value of your house ever year as income tax. How about the baseball card collection or coin collection. A good collection of item can go up in value and people do buy, sell and trade them for investemt porpuses.
You have completely lost me

Investments are not taxed. Gains and dividends are taxed. Income from investments is taxed. I don't understand why you are claiming that changes need to be made to avoid having people sell off 15% of their investments for taxes.

Further, most citizens ARE taxed on the value of their house. It's referred to as property tax.

And why would selling investments to cover taxes be any different than withdrawing from savings to pay taxes? (Why...just think if everyone had to withdraw 15% from their bank accounts all at the same time just to pay taxes...banks would collapse.)

Lastly, porpoises are never a good investment. They begin to lose value as soon as you get them home.

Last edited by methuselah; 04 January 2007 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Edited to correct quote attribution (thanks to Wanderwoman)
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  #32  
Old 04 January 2007, 03:55 PM
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To No one in particular with regard to the notion of taxation of wealth vs. taxation of income.

The problem with any tax on wealth such as property tax is that it makes no real assessment of ones ability to pay the tax.

A family may save and work hard to buy entry into a nice neighborhood and quickly find themselves priced out by increasing property taxes.

That I own a home that may have a certain value has nothing to do with whether or not I have liquid income equal to that value.

Let us say, for example my Rich Uncle Pete leaves to me in his will his forty room mansion in Beverly Hills. Obviously if I sell this property it has a real cash value, and that liquid income from the sale should be taxed. Likewise if I rent out the mansion that liquid income from the rental property should be taxed, however if I decide instead to move me and my family into the mansion what is its value?

Is the value of a mansion as shelter truly greater than the value of a shotgun shack left to you by your poor uncle Richard?

By taxing nonliquid assets we only limit the ability of the newly rich, and moderately successful to remain as such, and in essence hurt the meritocracy of capitalism.

Progressive and aggressive taxation is appropriate for liquid assets earned, but to tax a nonliquid asset, forcing its sale to pay the tax is ludicrous, and the true flaw in our current system of taxation.

The goal of taxation is to fund the government, and the role of government is to protect its people. If through a method of taxation the people of a government are hurt, than the government has not done its job and does not deserve its funding.

It is better that a hundred Paris Hiltons rest on the laurels of their ancestors than one hard working citizen lose their dream due to nonliquid asset taxation.

At the end of the day liquid income taxes can pay for our governmental needs while evening the playing field for all citizens. It is never a good idea to attempt to strengthen the weak by weakening the strong, but by asking people to pay taxes simply because their purchases or property implies they should have wealth we do exactly that. A man with a million dollars with which to buy a million dollar home should pay his fair share of tax on that million dollars. But a man who has his home should not fear its loss because his income is not as great as it was at the time of its purchase.
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  #33  
Old 04 January 2007, 03:58 PM
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methuselah, your quote in that last post is confusing. The quote is from Singing in the Drizzle, but since you took it from snapdragonfly's reply, it looks like a quote from snapdragonfly. You may wish to edit it before time runs out, just for clarity.

ETA: YOMANK because of the comment about the porpoises!
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  #34  
Old 04 January 2007, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Temple View Post
Yes and no.

The protection the police provide on a $40,000 car is worth exactly 40 times as much as the same protection that they provide on a $1,000 car.
Except that the police arrive in five minutes to the rich man's house, and in thirty minutes to the poor man's.

Quote:
The protection the fire department provides to a $200,000 home is worth exactly twice as much as the protection they provide on a $100,000 home.
Ditto for arrival times. Also, the fire stations are more numerous in the better neighborhoods, and have better equipment. Finally, firemen get promoted to richer neighborhoods as a reward for time in service, and so the rich neighborhoods have the more experienced firefighters.

Quote:
The enforcement of a $10,000,000 football contract is worth exactly 500 times as much as the enforcement of a $20,000 teaching contract.
An entire bureaucracy exists solely to regulate sports. This is money that, from the point of view of the struggling poor, is entirely inaccessible. The same is true for the national parks, the interstate highways, the airports and seaports, NASA, etc. etc.

(Yes, I know that satellite weather prediction benefits us all; some of these major bureaucracies have a small "trickle down" effect that is of use even to the very poorest of citizens; however, this is only a small percentage of the total cost.)

The benefits simply are not 1-to-1 nor linear.

Silas
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  #35  
Old 04 January 2007, 04:32 PM
pinqy pinqy is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Dog Friendly: spot on! Exactly my point! The justification for higher tax rates for the very wealthy is that they benefit more from the services that taxes pay for.

Silas
For the third quarter of 2006, Federal government expenditures were $2.73 trillion. $809.1 million was consumption, $1.56 trillion was transfer payments ($1.17 trillion in social benefits to individuals, the rest to state/local governments and foreign aid). So the largest chunk of expenditures was for social benefits to individuals. The wealthy receive little to none of that.

pinqy
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  #36  
Old 04 January 2007, 05:21 PM
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AnglRdr AnglRdr is offline
 
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Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
For the third quarter of 2006, Federal government expenditures were $2.73 trillion. $809.1 million was consumption, $1.56 trillion was transfer payments ($1.17 trillion in social benefits to individuals, the rest to state/local governments and foreign aid). So the largest chunk of expenditures was for social benefits to individuals. The wealthy receive little to none of that.

pinqy
How much of that $1.17 trillion was Social Security? Even the wealthy can receive that. I don't know what the breakdown is of socio-economic level and SS receipt, though.

I'm just throwing it out there for fun.
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  #37  
Old 04 January 2007, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by AnglRdr View Post
How much of that $1.17 trillion was Social Security? Even the wealthy can receive that. I don't know what the breakdown is of socio-economic level and SS receipt, though.

I'm just throwing it out there for fun.
the 2006 info isn't available, but here's the annual data for 2005:
Federal govenment social benefits to individuals (in billions of dollars)
Total: 1,078.6
Old-age, survivors, and disability insurance: 512.3
Hospital and supplementary medical insurance: 332.7
Unemployment insurance: 31.8
Railroad retirement: 9.2
Pension benefit guaranty: 2.7
Veterans life insurance: 1.6
Workers' compensation: 2.4
Military medical insurance (military dependents at non-military facilities): 2.1
Veterans benefits: 34.8
Food stamp benefits: 29.5
Black lung benefits: 0.7
Supplemental security income: 33.5
Earned income credit: 49.2
Other (non-profits, student aid, etc): 36.2

Keep in mind that there's a cap on SS benefits...a maximum you can receive regardless of how much you've contributed. My folks are at both ends of not receiving SS...my mother never earned enough to qualify for benefits, and my father's contributions far exceed the cap.

pinqy
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  #38  
Old 04 January 2007, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Except that the police arrive in five minutes to the rich man's house, and in thirty minutes to the poor man's.
Huh? Where on my MDT does it tell me the income status of the call? What if the rich man is not at home? Is there a secret 10 code that I have not learned dealing with income status?
Response time is determined by way to many factors. A city is normally divided up into beats. The higher crime beats receive more units. In my personal experience I may have one officer in 5 minutes in my neighbor hood, and another one in 15 minutes. When I am a poor part of town, and I ask for backup I will have twenty units in less then 2 minutes.
A priority call is a priority call.
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  #39  
Old 04 January 2007, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
For the third quarter of 2006, Federal government expenditures were $2.73 trillion. $809.1 million was consumption, $1.56 trillion was transfer payments ($1.17 trillion in social benefits to individuals, the rest to state/local governments and foreign aid). So the largest chunk of expenditures was for social benefits to individuals. The wealthy receive little to none of that.
How much was paid as interest on the national debt? The poor receive little to none of that.

Silas
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  #40  
Old 04 January 2007, 06:16 PM
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Keep in mind that there's a cap on SS benefits...a maximum you can receive regardless of how much you've contributed. My folks are at both ends of not receiving SS...my mother never earned enough to qualify for benefits, and my father's contributions far exceed the cap.
Yes, but there's also a cap on what you pay into the system. If you make more than about $100k, then you don't pay SS tax on anything over that. So the wealthy aren't really paying that much more into the system. Its the middle class who get a raw deal from SS, since they pay the largest percentage of their income and get back proportionally less than the working poor. SS is one of the few taxes where the amount the wealthy are taxed is not very significant at all compared to the middle class.
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