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Comment: Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48168471) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

As I stated in my other post, I am not proposing the fair tax, it is most aggressive and does exactly what you say it does. I am proposing a tax system that shifts the burden upwards so that the more income one makes, the more taxes one pays. Fair tax usually is a consumption tax, which is a glorified sales tax. Almost all fair tax proposals includes some kind of payment to the poor to help them out with it. However, if it were truly fair, there wouldn't be a need for this payment.

In the 1960s, when the US had some of its greatest increases in GDP, the tax rate was pretty high. What drove the economy was the purchasing power of the middle class. However, since the 1980s, tax law has shifted more and more of the tax burden onto the middle class, pushing many downward and for those who remain, they have less spending ability because of the higher tax burden. As such, the economy has faltered and for the most part has been sustained by consumer debt to make up for the reduced purchasing power. However, debt financing can only go so far before it catches up to you, like it has now, which is why we have companies reporting record profits, paying record dividends and high unemployment.

The mantra "Don't tax the job creators" is a fallacy. Taxing the wealthy doesn't hurt jobs, if the tax burden is lifted from the middle class. Demand for goods and services creates jobs and most of that demand has come historically from the middle class. Policy in the US should be to restore the middle class, at least if we want a strong economy. No "job creator" is going to higher people if there isn't a demand for the goods and services that the employees provide. On the other hand, they will regardless of the tax burden if there is somebody to consume those goods and services. That's the whole idea behind supply and demand.

The "fair tax" is anything but fair. We need to return to a system that taxes people based on their ability to support the needs of the society they are in. That is the system that built America and made it strong.

Comment: Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48168011) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

How is that increasing the burden on the middle class? It actually balances the burden between middle class and wealthy so that Warren Buffet's secretary no longer pays more taxes than he does.

It's increasing the burden on the middle class because it's decreasing the burden on the poor and on the wealthy. Tax revenues aren't going to appear out of thin air, they're going to have to come from the middle class. The Fair Tax would effectively eliminate any taxes paid by Mr. Buffet, as he only actually spends a tiny, negligible proportion of his income, and that is the only portion of his income that would be taxable under a consumption tax. Proportionally, his secretary spends a much greater share of her income (nearly all of it), so unless she's hovering very near the poverty line, a larger proportion of her income would be going towards taxes.

It is not decreasing the burden on the middle and upper classes. If anything, the lower to middle middle class will see a slight decrease. The upper middle class will be about the same as they are now. The upper class, however, will see an increase because the many loopholes and deductions that allow for them to have a lower effective tax rate than the middle class would be eliminated.

Let's say Buffet's secretary makes $60,000/yr and is in a family of 4. Deduct the $36,000 from that for the poverty level plus 25% portion and she pays tax on $24,000. She is being taxed on 40% of her income. Say one of his managers makes $200,000 with a family of 4, after removing the poverty level, she is taxed on $164,000 on 82% of her income. Buffet, making millions would be taxed on virtually all of his income. But the reality is that everybody gets the same poverty level allowance, so everybody gets the same break.

That is also the main reason such a proposal is unlikely to pass -- the upper class is the ones that politicians cater to and it is unlikely they will go for a plan that increases their taxes, no matter how fair it might be. (It also explains the overwhelming support for the "fair" tax by the upper class, because it actually reduces their tax burden further).

Comment: Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48163243) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

I'm interested in protecting the middle class. The poor don't need to be taxed and by removing them reduces the government subsidy required to help sustain them. The wealthy, because of the way are tax code is written often have a very low effective tax rate, so currently, it is the middle class with the biggest tax burden. Going to a system, like I (and many others) proposed, balances out the tax burden between the wealthy and the middle class so they both have the same tax burden.

You don't need a sliding scale if the tax rate is applied to all income instead of just wages. A sliding scale is the sign of a system that has built in inequities. However, with the current system, that favors the accumulation of wealth, if I am paid wages of $100,000, I am taxed higher than somebody who has the brunt of their income in the form of realized gains. Base taxes on all wealth and it doesn't matter how the money is made. That is part of the design behind consumption taxes except that you can shelter consumption taxes by investing it instead of spending it. Unfortunately, the middle class can't afford to set aside that much of their income to avoid paying taxes on it.

A flat tax on all income (no exemptions or deductions), whether you include a poverty break or not, is the fairest system. Everybody pays the same percentage of what they have.

Comment: Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48163133) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

That does sound like a great way of shifting a large portion of the tax burden to the middle class. I'm not sure why you think doing so would "fix" anything, unless you feel that the existence of a middle class is problematic.

But it doesn't because the poverty level amount is first deducted from everybody's income. Then anything above that amount is taxed at the same percentage. No deductions, no exemptions,etc. If you make $10,000 above the poverty level amount, you are tax x% on that 10,000. If you make $1M over that poverty amount, you are taxed x% on that $1M. The middle class person making just $10,000 over the amount pays 1% of the amount the person making $1M over does.

How is that increasing the burden on the middle class? It actually balances the burden between middle class and wealthy so that Warren Buffet's secretary no longer pays more taxes than he does.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48163083) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Consumption taxes are a form of sales tax and are most regressive. Income taxes are the least

Payroll taxes, such as FICA, are far more regressive than a typical sales tax, with the normal exemptions for necessities. Bill Gates is not talking about replacing income taxes with consumption taxes. He is talking about replacing payroll taxes.

But regression/progression is only one factor in taxation. Another important factor is what behavior it drives. Consumption taxes drive less consumption and more saving. Payroll taxes drive lower workforce participation and less job creation.

Payroll taxes, like FICA are regressive only because their is a cap above which they aren't withheld. Lift the cap and they are no longer regressive. Problem solved. In addition, Social Security would be solvent. If they had indexed the cap back in the 1970s as was proposed, the first $275,000 of wages would be subject to it.

As for the behavior, you are correct that consumption taxes lower consumption which lowers demand for goods and services which then lowers wages and the number of jobs to produce those goods and services. Hardly seems desirable. As for payroll taxes causing lower workforce participation and less job creation, that is false. Do you really believe that companies base their hiring off of payroll taxes? Companies base their hiring decisions from the goods and services the public demand. The employee's share of payroll taxes comes from the employee, themself. The employer's share, is fica/medicare and is 7.65%, it's a cost of labor. Lowering it won't create more hiring, raising it will cause a decrease of jobs in the shortfall but as middle class workers have more purchasing power, so they demand more goods and services, hiring increases to supply those goods and services.

Jobs are a result of demand for goods and services. The biggest driver of that demand, outside of military spending, is the middle class. It is a falacy to think that business owners and corporations are job creators. They are not. They simply fulfill the demand for the goods and services by hiring. GM isn't going to hire workers if there is nobody to purchase the vehicles those workers would produce.

Consumption taxes are just another form of sales tax, with the difference being when the tax is paid. As such, since the poor will use all of their income for consumption whereas the wealthy only a fraction of it, it is extremely regressive. That's why most schemes to implement it include various hacks to give money back to the poor. The result is that the middle class end up paying the brunt of their wages in a consumption tax while the wealthy still only pay a fraction. Taxing all of income, with no deductions, would be the fairest system. If you receive money (or the equivalent benefit of money), it is taxed.

Comment: Re:Who consumes more? (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48161617) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

A tax on consumption hits those hardest who consume the most: the middle and lower classes.

Why do you think the middle and lower classes consume the most? I think observation and evidence suggest that people with more money, tend to consume more. (And it's a lot more, so not-close that I don't understand why there's any disagreement on this point.)

Perhaps I'm missing something. What is it?

It is true that somebody making $250,000/yr will probably consume more than a person making $25,000/yr. The problem is that there are a lot more people making $25,000/yr than $250,000/yr. The average per capita income in the US is around $42,000 as of 2012. So, yes, Bill Gates consumes more than most Americans. The problem is the cumulative spending of the 99% who aren't at his level, far outweigh the 1% who are.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 2) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48161583) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Wealth accumulation (by and large) is not the big issue with income inequality. The bigger issues are the access to better education, better security, better health care, etc that wealth provides is as it creates a negative feedback loop.

Economies are driven by the purchasing power of the middle class. Wealth accumulation leads to a decreasing middle class and an increasing lower class. Therefore, the bigger issues you mention are a direct result of wealth accumulation.

If, instead of accumulating wealth, it was spent, then the goods and services provided would create more jobs. The demand to fill these jobs, will increase the wages paid to get good workers. The increased pay the workers receive will stimulate even more demand for goods and services.

Wealth accumulation is not the solution. It is the cause of the problem.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48161527) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Never mind this being the stupidest idea on earth, we already have a wealth tax, and it has a name: inflation

How does inflation fund government services to the general populace? Genuinely curious. I like taxes, I get a benefit from them. I don't see much benefit from inflation (that I am aware of but I am ignorant of much macroeconomics).

Funding government services and managing inequality are separate problems. That doesn't mean that you can't address both with a single solution, but it's a good idea to keep in mind that they are separate so you don't insist on sub-optimal solutions merely because they target both problems if better solutions address the problems separately.

They are separate, but closely related. If there was a more equitable system in the US, then the government wouldn't need to fund social programs like they do now. Most of the increases in social programs over the past 25 years are because of the inequity that is in place.

Comment: Where will they go? (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48161491) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Whereas on a tax on capital, on wealth, does precisely that: it targets wealth inequality directly, reducing the top heaviness of the system.

Never mind this being the stupidest idea on earth, we already have a wealth tax, and it has a name: inflation.

(Hint: enacting a wealth tax will result in those that have money and mobility immediately moving to another nation that does not have a wealth tax.)

Pray, tell, what country will the wealthy go to? For the wealthy, the US has a pretty low effective tax rate. That's probably one of the reasons that the wealthy from other countries try and come to the US. If you are wealthy, you can't beat the low effective tax rate, the health care system and the other perks that come your way in the US.

So again, what country do you think the wealthy will flee to and why aren't they doing so now, if things are so bad?

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48161445) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

A tax on consumption hits those hardest who consume the most: the middle and lower classes.

Real sales/VAT/consumption taxes are almost never implemented with a flat rate. Necessities are usually exempted, which disproportionately benefits lower incomes. Many jurisdictions also implement a personal or household threshold, so you get a flat refund, which makes a bigger proportionate difference to lower income households.

Consumption taxes are not perfect, but they are both more progressive and have less harmful consequences than the tax system we have now. Taxing payroll is very regressive, and discourages work and job creation. It is about the dumbest possible thing to tax. Bill Gates is right. Replacing payroll taxes with consumption taxes would reduce inequality, encourage people to work be more productive, encourage people to invest in America, and reinvigorate our economy.

Consumption taxes are a form of sales tax and are most regressive. Income taxes are the least, if they don't have all the loopholes like the US tax code does. Wasn't it Warren Buffet who complained because the tax system allowed him to pay less taxes than his secretary. The real solution is to fix the income tax system, so that those who have more are expected to fund the society more, versus switch to a more regressive system that says that those who have less fund the society more.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48161361) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Flat tax is usually a way to make the middle classes bear the main burden of tax. The poor get exempt, the rich get ways to avoid it and we get to pay for the shit.

It's already bad enough, there's no need to make it even worse.

By definition, if there are ways for the rich to avoid the tax, say through deductions, etc., then it isn't truly a flat tax.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48161347) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

I'd go for that, and it would be somewhat "progressive" too...in that rich people tend to buy MUCH more expensive items, and more of them.

Untrue.

Taxes on consumption are regressive, not progressive -- the "poor" spend a greater part of their income than the rich.

Moving to taxes on consumption would just increase wealth inequality.

Exactly! While not an actual sales tax, fair tax/consumption tax functions like one and is extremely regressive.

Comment: Or a simple way to fix it. (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48160165) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Why not change the income to be on household income and then deduct from that income whatever the poverty rate is for that size family times some percentage, say 25%. That way the poor and those upto 25% above the poverty level aren't taxed at all. Then everything above that is taxed at 20% with no deductions, etc.

If the poverty level for your size household (say parents plus two kids) is $22,000, then the first $27,500 you earn is tax free, everything about that is taxed at 20% If the family in question has family income of $40,000, they would pay $2,500 in taxes (40,000 less 27,500 at 20%). If the family in question had family income of $100,000, then they would pay $14,500 in taxes.

I'm just throwing out those percentages, somebody would need to figure the proper balance between the poverty rate percentage and the tax rate, but basically such a proposal is a flat tax for those above some point. Basically, nobody is taxed on the minimum amount to live but everything else (wages, interest and dividends, capital gains, etc.) is taxed at the same rate.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 181

by Dcnjoe60 (#48134395) Attached to: The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

I don't disagree with your definition. However, with the Tesla, what is he innovating? There have been all electric vehicles prior to his. The technology he is using isn't being used differently than in those other vehicles. Yes, he is looking at building his own infrastructure, but that has been done before, too. That's not to dismiss what he is doing by any means.

I also agree that the hyperloop is invention, not innovation. While it appears similar to a train or monorail, it really isn't. I would also agree that Arthur C. Clarke was a visionary but only because of his ability to invent and/or innovate, not because of his ideas.

While being a visionary does include conceiving the possibilities, it is more than that. Jules Vernes is a visionary in that limited sense, but Musk is more than that. A real visionary is more than a dreamer but one whose dreams can change society. Take Japan and electronic devices. Many of those circuits were invented in the US by US engineers. Many Japanese companies were innovative in their production techniques to bring the cost down through mass production. However, only a handful of companies, not just Japanese were visionary on how those cheap circuits could transform society.

Take the iPhone - prior to Jobs, there were mobile phones and there were data organizers and even phones that let you put your calendar and get your email and the like. The reason the iPhone was so successful as compared with other smart phone type devices was not the innovations that Jobs made but the vision he had with what could be and then choosing the various innovations to make that vision a reality.

Somebody at Xerox was inventive and/or innovative in coming up with the mouse and GUI, but they didn't have the vision to see where Apple and Microsoft would take it.

So yes, Musk is unique in that he is both visionary and innovator/inventor, but it is the visionary part that makes him notable.

Comment: Re:Rude relatives (Score 1) 445

by Dcnjoe60 (#48134247) Attached to: Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

Have you ever told them how these questions make you feel?

When the behavior got out of hand, yes I did. For the most part they respected it though I doubt their opinions actually changed.

Not to be a therapist, but it's not about changing their opinions, but getting them to quit trying to change yours. It's not that you are right and they are wrong or vice-verse, but instead they respect your views and you respect theirs. It's not about winning, but instead understanding.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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