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Comment: Re:So... (Score 1) 108

by Obfuscant (#49382339) Attached to: SCOTUS: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure

Well, for starters, civil forfeiture is about your non-living stuff, and the 4th Amendment applies to YOU, a living being with enumerable rights.

Under that argument, it is not unreasonable search for the police to enter your home whenever they wish. After all, your home is non-living stuff and the fourth amendment applies only to you.

I think taking things from a living being with enumerable rights counts as a violation of 1) due process (since there has been no due process at all), 2) the fourth amendment right to be secure in one's person AND property, and 3) the concept of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

When your car is seized after you are arrested for DUII, you have not yet been convicted of that crime, and by taking physical property of considerable value you have effectively levied a fine for just being accused of a crime. In theory it is confiscating the means of committing a crime, but nobody has been proven to have committed a crime yet. It certainly is nothing like the concept of bail, which is intended to compel those who are charged but not confined to show up for trial.

Any use of civil forfeiture that occurs BEFORE any finding of guilt is simply a gross violation of the Constitution. That SCOTUS does not stop the practice is insane.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49381105) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

No it doesn't. The only way to get rich is to save. The incentive to save still far exceeds the incentive to spend.

If I have a savings account with $200k in it and I can manage to put $10k a year into it, what incentive do I have to keep that account? Put in $10k, take out $10.5k to pay taxes. Let's say I have a great interest rate of 1% on that account. I wind up with $1.5k more money in that account after putting $10k in. (Those are round numbers for argument only, so don't waste our time insulting me for not calculating things to the penny.)

My best option is to withdraw all my savings and store it in the backyard. That way the government doesn't know I have it and I immediately save at least $10k a year just in taxes. Add the $10k I put in with it and I'll have a full $210k, or $8.5 thousand dollars more than if the money was in the bank. Yeah, I'm "saving", but only because I'm hiding the money.

Other people would figure this out. The rich people you hate so much have lawyers and accountants who will run the numbers and tell them to pull their cash out of the banks, too. Do you not realize what a mass exodus of money from the banking system means? Interest rates on loans will skyrocket as the money supply dries up.

If you merely keep an IRA as tax free, effectively the middle class starts to save,

IRAs are already "tax free", and if the middle class isn't dumping money into them now to reduce their income tax burden, then they aren't going to be dumping money into them when the gurps owning-stuff tax kicks in. They MAY transfer other money in their accounts to the IRA to legally keep from paying taxes on it (so no change in the savings), but most likely there will be limits to IRA contributions (like there are now) and they'll just take their money out of the bank to protect it.

Don't try claiming that IRAs won't have contribution limits. If they don't, then you've just created yet another legal loophole to avoid taxes. If you try to keep people from dumping all their money into a "gurps-IRA" to keep from paying taxes on it, you'll have to do something like mandate that money that goes in cannot be taken out until the owner reaches a certain age. That will disincentivize the gurps-IRA since people need to know they can get to their money in an emergency.

And why save at all, if the government is simply going to start taking 5% of whatever you save away from you every year you have it? You have no clue as to human nature.

The key thing is this is a simple tax structure that soaks the wealthy,

You first claimed that taxing what people own doesn't screw anyone, and you called me stupid for pointing out how many people it would actually screw. Now you admit that you proposed the idea precisely because it screws the rich. But it also screws EVERYONE who owns anything -- rich, poor, middle class. Having the government come take 5% of everything you own away from you every year cannot help but screw everyone who has stuff. I'm not part of the 1% and even I am smart enough to know how this would destroy my retirement savings and home ownership possibilities. That you continue to claim this would be a good system, well, I dunno. Your hatred for successful people is blinding you to the facts.

Here's another fact: taxing people on what they own means that the car that the poor person needs to own to get to work will be costing him 5% of the value every year just in federal ownership taxes. You don't think that screws him, but that 5% ($1k on a $20k car) may be the difference between food and hunger for him. Of course, if he can't afford the taxes, he shouldn't buy the car.

In other words it reduces the gap between the wealthy and the poor,

Yes, we understand the concept of forced wealth redistribution using the tax system as a bludgeon on the people who have any wealth at all.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49380015) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

You fixated on 'global', I admitted it was a poor word choice for what I was envisioning.

As were "sales" and "tax", since what you were talking about is a duty that would be applied at customs when you return. All three words were the wrong thing to use.

I admitted it was my mistake.

In the last posting, before I ripped the idea of a global sales tax to shreds. So don't get upset that I was talking about a global sales tax before you admitted it was a mistake to say that.

But, poor word choice aside, I certainly hope I didn't imply that I was getting rid of the IRS, merely that if we got rid of the income tax in favor of a sales tax, the nature of the IRS would change, because it's duties would.

Wrong. They would still need to audit individuals to make sure they've paid the sales tax on things that they buy. Then they would ALSO have a new responsibility to go digging in corporate records to verify sales tax collections. Implying that the IRS would become a friend of man because their job would be different is just loony. They'll still be a large, powerful tool available to the ruling party.

Well, if you want to know if they tell the truth, you will have to examine their assets and income to see.

What truth? Why assets and income?

Since this is now context-less, I'll return some. This statement is about the "simplicity" of the new system where people would be asked the question "do you meet the requirements for the sales tax rebate?" in order for the IRS to know who to send the free money to.

What truth? D'oh. Do they really qualify as "poor enough" to get the sales tax rebate? Does that person who answered "yes" really even exist, or did they die two years ago? Why assets and income? To know if they are poor enough to qualify. You're making $200k a year and own a mansion and a yacht, what makes you think you'll qualify for the rebate?

Most of the time the qualification for the rebates amounts to this: Are you a legal US Resident, Y/N?

Most of the time current tax rebates and credits are dependent upon income. In fact, I don't know of any significant one that isn't. Maybe the clunkers clunker wasn't, but earned income credit is. Handing out checks for sales tax rebates will almost certainly have the same kind of income test. You don't think any rational politician will let the poor people know that he's voting to hand out free money to rich people, do you?

Current loopholes are easy to hide since they are often complicated and hidden side effects of other legislation. They appear on tax forms that the common person never sees. "Enter the greater of 33.4% of the value on line 45 of form X7Y/4 or 0:". Huh? But when the single page form consists in large part of the question: "do you qualify for the sales tax rebate?", and the instructions on the same sheet of paper say "you do if you are alive and a resident of the US", it will be hard to hide the fact that the 1% is benefiting from the free money intended to help the poor people.

Again, no checking of assets or income necessary.

You don't think an audit checks your income? And I was accused of being naive because I didn't agree that it was an anal probe process.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49377243) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

The government gets to set the rules if they were to set this up, which INCLUDES things like 'We're not going to bother charging sales tax unless you bring in more than $5k worth of goods'.

It's hard to talk about a wandering target. First it's a global sales tax, then it's not.

A sales tax doesn't depend on what you carry into the country, it's on what you BUY. If it is a tax on what you bring in, it's a DUTY, not a sales tax. So excuse me if I'm talking about the global sales tax you proposed while you change the system into something different.

Global was a poor word choice on my part. I should have said 'federal' I think.

Yeah, my mistake. I assume people say what they mean and don't try to second guess them.

What the heck are we even arguing about?

Your global sales tax that really isn't. The idea that a global sales tax would get rid of the IRS because it would replace the income tax.

I admit, if you pass a sales tax idea with a rebate, you'll need some auditing of individuals to make sure they're not claiming extra bodies and whatnot.

Your idea was that it would be as simple as asking people "do you qualify?" That's the entire "tax return" to qualify for the free money rebate. That's not an audit. Well, if you want to know if they tell the truth, you will have to examine their assets and income to see. That's no different than today's audits. And it requires a government agency to do it. Whether that's called the IRS or not, it does a similar job and has the same potential abuses.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49377223) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

Normal people have mortgages.

Are you really so stupid that you don't know the difference between voluntary debt and government taxation? Do you see how wonderfully productive it is to call people stupid when they don't agree with you?

I don't have a mortgage. I'm a "normal people". Under your new taxation system I'd have to find a spare $10,000 a year to hand over to the government if I want to keep my house. Every year. For the rest of my life. Even after I retire and my income drops to zero.

As for on top of, I did not say that. I want a federal property tax to replace existing federal taxes.

I don't know what "that" you are trying to deny saying. You want a tax on ownership, which means the same property gets taxed year after year after year -- until you can no longer afford to pay the tax and you have to sell it. And your attitude toward those who find themselves unable to pay is just pathetic. Don't buy it if you can't afford the taxes. Phhht.

(on everything excluding IRAs and 1 home of upto 200K value)

So after I point out the absolutely absurd result of your proposed tax on ownership you come up with two minor exemptions. Very handy. But you still tax savings that has already been taxed. Not everyone qualified for an IRA, and thus not everyone has retirement money in the bank that was pre-tax. So you'd like to dip into my bank account at 5% per year because I managed to save money while I worked, and you'll keep dipping after I retire and need the money to live on. My main retirement is also not an IRA, so that goes into someone else's pocket, too. Thanks. I worked hard all my life, saved my money, and you want to tax me repetitively on it until I'm living in poverty. You're such a sweetheart.

The fact that you thought 10% or more indicates your knowledge of the math and economics involved is seriously flawed.

I'm sorry I bothered asking you what amount you thought it was going to be. It doesn't really matter if it is 5% or 10%, it screws every person who tries to save for retirement or provide for his family. More property taxes will not make it easier to own a house, it will make it harder. It will decimate family farms and turn marginally profitable operations into losses. But if they can't pay the tax they don't deserve to own whatever it is.

If you make it 2% that only applied if you owned more than 1 million dollars, we could lower the top tax rate to 30% and keep it there.

Uhh, if we apply a federal property tax rate of 2% to only those who have $1 million, we can lower the tax rate to 30%? I'm sorry, to whom does that 30% tax rate apply when you've said it would be 2%? Or were you lying when you said this new property tax would replace existing federal taxes?

Frankly, you don't know enough to have this argument.

And you aren't civil enough to be worth having it with. If only we were all as smart as gurps we'd agree with it. Sure. Nobody knows better.

Comment: Re:Top 1 % (Score 1) 321

by Obfuscant (#49376819) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

"Hey, maybe the rich can pay a bit more tax - like they used to 40-50 years ago"

Hmmm. That's not what I replied to. This is: "So the Top 1% needs to give the bottom 99% all their money."

Do you have some definition of "all" that equates to "a bit more tax"? I don't. And I'm not the one who suggested it, so why you're flipping off on me is a mystery. Makes you look like a moron, I'd say.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49376785) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

Huh? You could still have that exemption.

What exemption? There is no personal exemption for sales tax. What you bought is either taxable or it isn't. You don't get to say "I don't have to pay tax on that YET because I am still below my exemption limit." You'll have to tell Customs about everything you bought (that was taxable) and pay that tax upon entry. Everything, even stuff that you didn't bring back with you. That book you bought and then left in the hotel for the next person: taxed. The gift you bought and gave to your host: taxable. The shirt that you bought that you threw away when it got stained at the party: taxable.

Right now if you've bring back less than a certain amount you don't pay anything and the customs process is simple. Make everything you buy while overseas taxable and it becomes a nightmare.

Packages coming from overseas have to go through customs as well.

Yes, they do. Who said otherwise? You'll have to pay the sales tax on those, too.

Assuming that we decide we need to tax stuff coming from overseas.

It's not a global sales tax unless it applies to everything you buy anywhere on the globe.

That's true for everything though.

Yes, I used just one example of how a global federal sales tax would be regressive. That's why everyone who proposes a federal sales tax tries to mitigate the problem by creating a refund for people below a certain income level. They've usually just claimed that the IRS will go away, and then they create a new system that will require the equivalent to the IRS to manage.

Signs you've never been audited...

You weren't talking about an audit, you were talking about the normal tax process. At least I was. And how there will still need to be an IRS to deal with the "normal tax process" when everyone has to file for their free money. You can't get away from having a federal agency that deals with personal information to make sure everyone pays the taxes they are supposed to, and that people who aren't owed a rebate or refund don't simply raise their hands to get one.

Comment: Re:Top 1 % (Score 2, Insightful) 321

by Obfuscant (#49375829) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

So the Top 1% needs to give the bottom 99% all their money. Problem solved.

Until next year, when the ones who suddenly find themselves in the new 1% have everything taken away from them and given to everyone else. As in, what do you do when the money you've just given away is gone and you need to do it again? Do you really imagine that those people who had no money will save whatever windfall they get by eating the rich for use over a long period of time? (And taking everything away from the 1% is as close to "eating the rich" as you can get without actually eating them.) The vacuum created by emptying out the 1% will create endless opportunities for the 5% to move up, creating the same 1% all over again.

I can think of no better incentive to be non-productive than to know that if you make the magic 1% level you'll have everything confiscated. No better way to destroy any idea of the "land of opportunity" than to reward the use of opportunity with total abject poverty. Well, no, I guess knowing that if you sit on your backside all day you'll get enough to live on is a pretty good incentive to not be productive, too.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49375369) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You
I didn't say "win-win", just "win", in the context of the next sentence about our current president considering it more important to "win" against the awful rich people than to "win" in the goal of funding necessary government services. That's not true sarcasm, it's highlighting the use of taxes as a social engineering tool.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49375295) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

Nope, you'd collect it at customs.

So then customs would go from a relatively inobtrusive process of listing things and not worrying about it unless you bring in more than X dollars of stuff, it will be a complete listing of everything you buy while outside the country, even things you do not bring back with you, and everyone having to pay something just to come home.

A massive expansion of ICE in addition to an expansion of the IRS.

Now, if you include a rebate rather than the usual food/medical care/rent being tax free,

It has nothing to do with just buying food etc tax free, it's the fact that a sales tax on the other things is still highly regressive. Adding a percentage to the cost of everything that isn't already sales-tax free for a poor person has much more impact on them than on the savage child-molesting rich folks this is intended to punish. A $5000 car that becomes $5500 with a ten percent sales tax is harder for a poor person to manage than a rich one.

However, it wouldn't be the anal probing it currently is, it'd consist of 'Are you a party that's eligible for the rebate?'

It isn't an anal probing now, and you can't just have people say "yes" or "no" without some proof -- everyone would just say "yes" and they'd get the free money from the government. No audits, no compliance. That's why audits were started in the first place. That they are a wonderful tool to ensure compliance in other aspects of our interaction with government is just a happy side-effect.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49374715) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

For example, if you eliminate the personal income tax in exchange for a global sales tax, it'd stop auditing individuals and shift towards auditing businesses exclusively.

Hardly. It would have to audit individuals to make sure they paid the sales tax (or what we now call a "use tax" that is the sales tax owed to the state you live in when you buy tax-free out of state) on that large ticket item they bought somewhere outside the US.

You would also have a HUGE number of people whose sole duty it is to audit the individual information that will be part of every "sales tax" system anyone proposes for the US: who gets the rebates? Everyone acknowledges that a "global sales tax" will be massively regressive unless you hand money out to the poor to cover the sales tax for them. Everyone who gets a rebate will have to file and the New IRS will have to work to catch the cheats. You can't just hand-wave that function away by saying 'everyone gets a rebate'. How do they know who to send checks to? There will have to be an annual filing from everyone who wants their check. That means audits, and that means that the IRS will still be a tool of the political party in power to coerce opponents into silence.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Obfuscant (#49373679) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

We're just looking for a way to fund the government here, as a means to the end of improving everyone's standard of living.

The federal tax system long ago ceased to be a way to simply fund the necessary government services and turned into a vehicle for large scale social engineering. Give tax breaks for things "we" want people to do, put more taxes on things "we" don't want them doing. When you look at the things "we" have decided to tax and not tax, you don't get a clear indication that "we" have everyone's improved standard of living in mind.

A plan that would cause the successful to move elsewhere might raise some funds for a while, but is a terrible long-term strategy for improving standard of living.

Yep. But as long as it prevents the successful from having an unhindered better standard of living than everyone else, it's a win. We have a president who admitted on national broadcast TV that he wanted to tax the rich not because it would increase the revenues to pay for government services -- in fact he admitted he knew it would decrease revenues overall -- but because it would be "fair". I.e., it would accomplish the social engineering goal he had for it while it was a step backwards for funding the government operations.

Comment: Re:Ballsy, but stupid ... (Score 3, Insightful) 308

by Obfuscant (#49373591) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead
You mean the article that has the headline "One shot dead at Fort Meade after trying to enter NSA gate" and the second paragraph describing what happened says ""Shortly before 9:00 AM today, a vehicle containing two individuals attempted an unauthorized entry at a National Security Agency gate," (emphasis mine). That article?

While it may have been true that they were overall trying to get off the base, their attempt at entry to the NSA area is what got them shot at. It was "NSA police on the scene fired on the vehicle when it accelerated toward a police car,", i.e., using their vehicle as a weapon, that got them shot.

People who get lost trying to leave a military base (dressed in drag for some reason, it seems) should not ignore security when they approach a gate that has armed guards. That is, as another poster puts it, monumental stupid. And people who are just "lost" won't try to ram a police car just for fun.

Comment: Re:I hope it was an NSA Agent (Score 3, Insightful) 308

by Obfuscant (#49373489) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead

Because everyone is the good guy in their own eyes. Even the worst oppressive dictators don't view themselves as oppressive dictators - they are just trying to do the best for their people,

If you think that Saddam or Bennito or Idi or Fidel thought they were doing the best for their people, you are sadly mistaken. They knew what they were doing, and they knew who the intended beneficiaries were.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 2) 318

by Obfuscant (#49373359) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

Who decides what I OWN is worth?

The government will happily give you an estimate. The real answer will come from the auctioneer when he sells off your house that the government has confiscated to pay off whatever taxes they think you owe on it. If he's good at his job and the right people show up, boy is your tax bill going to be huge. And if the government estimate of what it is worth is a bit too high, well, you'll get a bit of the money from the sale. Enough to rent someplace nice down by the tracks, probably. Enjoy what we let you have, Citizen.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. - Han Solo