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Comment Re:uh, yeah... (Score 1) 105

It can be, but that's over simplified. A capital gain is when a capital asset (stocks, bonds, property) is sold or traded for more value than it was initially purchased for.

As far as the "already taxed" thing goes, there are 2 primary arguments that support this.

The first is the easiest to understand. There is a "Corporate tax" on corporations. If you own stock in that corporation you are part owner, and, in effect, paying that corporate tax. The value of your stock is lower because of that tax. Then, when you pay capital gains, you're getting taxed again. You are quite literally paying taxes twice in this case.

The second is a little bit harder to grasp. Basically it goes like this: You earn money in some way, and you are taxed on it. Then you take that money and decide to save it. You start an investment account and invest in stocks. Then you have to pay capital gains tax on what to you is a retirement account. You were taxed when you earned the money and then you were taxed again when you try to withdraw it from your investment account simply because the stock increased in value.

Lastly there is an argument that's not really about "Double taxes" but is a good argument against our 'current' capital gains system. It's that much of capital gains is not, in fact, profit. If your capital assets are your retirement fund for example, and you hold an index for 30 years or more, when you sell that in retirement the increase in value is treated like profit, when in fact a lot of the increase in value is due to inflation. There are ways to tax that would take inflation into account but the United States has never taken action to change it.

If anything I think the most credible argument against capital gains is that it discourages investment. For example, I have an index fund that pays dividends. In most cases people choose to re-invest those dividends into the same stock. So the index pays out $20 a month in dividends and my account just uses that to buy more shares. But I have to pay capital gains on those dividends... the result? I invest less back into the index.

Comment Re:Why we have a 5th Amendment (Score 1) 871

"As I explained in the first article: If you take away the "right to remain silent", a suspect can still say, "No, I didn't do it," and the police options for "coercing" them are the same as they were before."

Not their legal options. You argue against yourself. You appear to be saying that the existence of the law doesn't matter because police and courts will ignore it anyway. Yet we have 200+ years of history showing that it DOES make a difference.

If that isn't what you're arguing, then I don't understand what you're trying to say.

"That's why I said in the first article: the only answer I would accept is a specific scenario in which the outcome is different because of the Fifth Amendment."

Do you have any idea how many people were NOT convicted because they pled the 5th? You can look them up yourself... I'm not going to do it for you. But I would say that 99% of those made a difference.

But I can give you one (although I don't have an actual citation at hand... it shouldn't be hard to look it up). The recent Federal case in which the judge ruled that the suspect could not be compelled to hand over the password to his hard drive is a specific example of one situation in which it almost certainly made a difference.

"Take the cops trying to coerce a confession. With the Fifth Amendment, the suspect remains silent, which cops don't like. Without the Fifth Amendment, the suspect can say, "I didn't do it", and refuse to answer questions about anything else, which cops don't like. You haven't shown why the outcome in either case would be different. (If you think the cops are going to beat the suspect until they get the answer they want, that's a problem whether the suspect is remaining silent, or giving answers other than what the cops want to hear.)"

The reason this is a straw-man argument is that it isn't JUST the cops. It's our whole court system. The courts can't compel a confession, or accept testimony about one that was compelled, coerced or extorted.

Comment Re:Zombies. (Score 1) 608

"Even if the dollar becomes worthless, my employer will pay me in some form that people selling the basics will accept - some sort of barter-intermediary will be around."

It's happened before, even here, and the people it happened to would have laughed at your reasoning. If they weren't too hungry to laugh.

The consensus (among non-"Keynesian"... which pretty much means most non-Government) economists is that government monetary policy led directly to the crash of '29, and that FDR's subsequent monetary policy prolonged the depression for 10 years longer than it might otherwise have lasted. Which -- hint, hint -- is exactly the kind of inflationary, interventionist policy Obama has been following.

FDR's own Treasury Secretary thought he was nuts... and history pretty much agrees.

But to get back to the main point: it HAS happened before, it WAS bad, and "modern" economics isn't going to prevent it. On the contrary: they are making the very same mistakes that were made 80+ years ago.

Comment Re:Zombies. (Score 1) 608

"I'm not sure anything but technology affects the purchasing power of the median income much"

I am. Government spending, taxation, monetary policy, etc. all affect the median income. I fail to see how you do not recognize that. After all, we are right now, today, climbing out of a terrible recession that was largely caused by government regulation (or lack thereof). And we are right now starting to feel the real ill effects of government-influenced (Fed) monetary policy. Have you looked at your grocery bill lately? Commodities like food are usually the first things to go up when inflation hits.

Lobbying money mostly goes to LOBBYISTS.

Comment Re:Zombies. (Score 1) 608

"I see you didn't actually read my post."

I did actually read your post. I was replying only to the part I quoted. If I had been replying to the other parts, I would have quoted them.

I know how "the system" you describe works.

"Anyhow, it's already illegal to give money directly to elected officials, and limiting donation to election campaigns in the way you describe pretty much destroys the first amendment."

It's not illegal to contribute to campaigns and party coffers. Those are the kinds of contributions I was referring to. And limiting the allowed amounts does not destroy the First Amendment. You are still allowed to contribute to any candidate(s) you want. And it's been done before. What's bizarre and destructive is this notion of "corporate free speech" put forth by the Supreme Court. Corporations are not citizens, and they do not have rights. The people in them do, but that is a very different thing. The Court essentially contradicted itself, because if corporations actually had constitutional rights, much of the regulation currently applied to them would be unconstitutional.

"Would you limit the ability of those who own a newspaper press from editorializing in favor of their favorite official/candidate? The NYT would be 4 pages long!"

Of course not. But while political contributions might be considered "speech", they are not the same kind of speech as an editorial in the newspaper. But even free speech is not absolute. Lines are drawn. You cannot, for example, editorialize about assassinating the President without breaking Federal law. Other limits to speech are recognized by the courts. My suggestion would just be acknowledging that allowing unlimited campaign contributions actually does societal harm. Because, after all, it does. You have acknowledged that yourself.

"Would you limit the ability of someone who doesn't own newspaper press from buying ads rather than buying the entire company? Is freedom of the press only for the very wealthy?"

Again, of course not. This is a ridiculous argument has has somewhere between very little and zero to do with what I was suggesting.

"Would you limit the freedom of people to peacefully assemble and jointly contribute money to buy ads in a newspaper? Is the freedom of the press only for those well off enough to buy a full page ad?"

No, as long as that group and the ads they buy are actually representing people who voluntarily contributed. That part is very important.

"Would you limit the ability of this peaceful assembly of people to ask the candidate for ad copy to run, rather than just making stuff up that accidently harms the guy they're trying to help?"

See the previous paragraph.

"Do you see there's no where you can draw the line without destroying first amendment rights? This hatred of "Ebil Corporations Scary Scary" is misplaced and frankly reflects not having thought deeply about this stuff."

I see nothing of the sort.

Corporations do not REPRESENT the people who make up the corporation. Therefore, contributions made by corporations, which are ultimately derived from the joint efforts of the employees of that corporation, are not making contributions made voluntarily by citizens, nor are the views of the corporations necessarily the views of the individuals in that corporation. It is not representative of the individuals. It is corporate power-mongering, plain and simple.

I do not claim that corporations in general are evil. On the other hand, some of them definitely are. Your attempt to equate corporations with voluntary organizations of people who are of like mind on an issue is a straw-man argument. It's simply not valid. They are two very different things.

Comment Re:Why we have a 5th Amendment (Score 1) 871

"The British shot people too. The reason we have a protection against self incrimination is the history of American colonists being forced by the British to confess to crimes they didn't commit. Many law enforcement personnel attempt to do this constantly. To them it is a game and they win if you confess. Truth plays no role."

I made this point when OP posted his first question, an again when he asked it (a bit differently) the second time. In his third diatribe on this, he seems to have completely ignored the point. I have no idea why.

It is pretty clear that society benefits from a criminal system that cannot coerce confessions. Why OP refuses to see this benefit is a bit of a mystery.

Bystanders can be compelled to testify because they aren't being witnesses against themselves. The specter of forced confessions is lessened in several different ways. Note, however, that a bystander still can't be forced to be a witness in court if it would incriminate them, for a crime, whether the same one or a different one.

Comment ah no (Score 1) 274

The point of Google search is not to provide the best possible search results, it's point is to make money. If Watson were a search engine and provided great results, that'd be fine, but how would they make money off of that? People would spend less time on their site, they wouldn't be able to insert paid adds into your search, and the hardware for the engine would cost far more than what google needs. It wouldn't be profitable at all.

Comment Re:It's effected me about as much as the sequester (Score 1) 1144

And since when has our government been constrained by what's legal? I didn't suggest they "Should" just print money. I'm claiming that this entire debate is for show, it's not a real emergency. It's all about the egos of those involved who either don't want us to pay attention to something that's actually important (like the NSA leaks) or just want us in a constant state of panic so we'll agree to which ever insane reduction in our constitutional freedoms they suggest next. A politicians job is never easier than when the people are in fear.

Comment It's effected me about as much as the sequester (Score 2, Interesting) 1144

It's affected me about as much as the sequester did. Meaning, not at all. And I work for a heavily federally regulated and subsidized industry. My best friends wife works for the the VA and she was told that she was "Critical" and would have to work without pay until the budget was passed. She suggested she felt the flu coming on and suddenly she was getting a paycheck again.

This is all for show. The government quite literally prints money. They don't need a budget, they don't need dept. All of the money they bailed out the banks with was quite literally created out of thin air. We're once again being distracted from the real news. Enjoy the show.

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