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Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 364

Hammurabi, benevolent as he may have been, didn't have to "pass" anything. He simply decreed it.

Assumption 1: Hammurabi was personally responsible for all laws under his reign
Assumption 2: Taxes singling out specific types of businesses are shit.

Reasonable Conclusion: Hammurabi did, indeed, "pass" that tax specifically targeting breweries.

Comment Re: The urban poor subsidized the rich for a while (Score 1) 372

Also, per the second reference, the top 10% of the US pays more than 60% of the TOTAL tax income.

So? They control 77% of wealth in the US, and it's going up. Source: http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

Unless we want wealth (and ultimately, political power) to ultimately concentrate in the top few percent of people, we need to maintain a progressive tax rate to maintain any semblance of democratic society.

Comment Re: The urban poor subsidized the rich for a while (Score 1) 372

Emphasis mine:

Capital gains, when applied to stock market gains, means that a company's worth has increased by making more money, on which the company has been taxed.

That is not necessarily the case. There are innumerable examples of companies whose stock price has gone up even though there has not been a comparable increase taxable corporate income. Stock price depends on a lot of factors, and taxed profits are but one small part.

If you were limiting discussion to dividend income, I could see your point, although I disagree with it... but it is clear from what you wrote that dividends are not what you're talking about.

Comment Re:The urban poor subsidized the rich for a while (Score 1) 372

If you think that a large percentage of urban development isn't subsidized as much if not more than rural development, you're either naive or stupid.

Source, please?

Are you saying that rural areas subsidize development in urban areas?

Or are you simply stating that urban areas subsidize their own development, which would hardly be relevant to the argument?

Comment Re:The urban poor subsidized the rich for a while (Score 1) 372

I think you'll find that when it comes to conflicts between people who produce food, and wealthy concentrations of people and power,

But... in the US... the people who produce the food ARE a place where wealth and power is concentrated. We romanticize the small family farm, but that's not where most of our food comes from.

Comment Re:The urban poor subsidized the rich for a while (Score 1) 372

Emphasis mine:

That being said, I am not convinced that it was a good idea in the first place and lean towards getting rid of it now. I haven't studied the issue

So why are you even talking about it?

This particular subsidy was created because it was recognized that the utility of the telephone system was much greater if just about everyone had one than if there were vast areas where no one had telephone service.

Source, please? If you haven't studied the issue, then don't give speculation as assertion.

Despite your claim, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 explicitly states,

To advance the availability of such services to all consumers, including those in low income, rural, insular, and high cost areas, at rates that are reasonably comparable to those charged in urban areas

Seems to me the point is to ensure remote people get access, not to make the system have a higher utility overall.

Comment Re: Why? (Score 1) 402

I know some great offshore developers, and I also know some American developers that aren't worth their salt. Each assessment needs to be made at a personal level; you can't make a valid blanket stereotyped claim that fits everyone.

I'm in finance, not development. But my experience is that you get what you pay for. Good finance people in India are only slightly cheaper than here in the US; add in the off-shoring complications, it's a losing prospect. We save money on drone jobs, but that's about it.

Comment Re:Yet another great argument... (Score 1) 402

Emphasis yours:

I don't know what country you live in, but in this country, the average salary is over $50,000/yr. That's ample to buy a house in most communities.

To put it another way, you are full of shit.

What country are you in that has an average salary of over $50,000/yr? I assume you are referring to National Account wages, not some other methodology that is known to overstate wages... And using NA methodology, *average* wages in the US are $42k. And why are you referring to average instead of median, which would be more appropriate, since salaries are not a normal distribution? US median wage, for only those 24-69 (the highest earning group, by the way), including only full-time workers, is under $40k.

$40k salary is not enough to afford an average home ($272,900 as per US Census data, 2011).

Speaking of "full of shit" -- if that applies to anyone in this discussion, that person is you.

Comment Re:Yet another great argument... (Score 1) 402

Both your examples are of technologies that were emergent during the times you reference, and as such are not useful for comparison. They are red herrings. We could look, for example, at food prices. Or fuel prices. Or housing.

You should know that real wages have fallen since 1980. Food, housing, fuel -- these are all more expensive relative to wages today than they were in 1980. You try to explain it away by comparing some consumer goods, but that doesn't prove your point.

The divide of riches in terms of money may be growing slightly, but the divide between low wealth and high wealth certainly is not, it's very much shrinking.

That's laughable. High wealth has skyrocketed. Sure, low-wealth individuals now encompass most of the middle class (because the middle class doesn't accumulate wealth anymore), but working-age people with $2 million in assets live a far different lifestyle than those with no assets.

Comment Re:Yet another great argument... (Score 1) 402

(Emphasis mine):

The US has the most progressive tax system in the world (when all taxation is taken into account), yet income disparity seems to be positively correlated to the amount of progressiveness in taxation.

That is a gross misstatement. Income inequality (as per Mankiw et al) in the US is driven by lower redistribution than in other OECD countries. In no way is there a positive correlation between "amount of progressiveness in taxation" and income disparity in OECD countries.

If you stand by your outrageous statement, please provide evidence... I'm assuming you have none (hence the weasel word, "seems").

Comment Re:When is "not enough" still good enough? (Score 1) 577

Using a US football analogy, we can't always make a touchdown with every effort isn't a heroic 9-yard run a good start? Being any more ambitious with the President's plan would risk all-out resistance from every billion-dollar lobby and politician.

Except US politics is not American football. You get your 9-yard run, then your team doesn't bother snapping the ball again. "We accomplished this!" they exclaim in their bid to get re-elected. And that's all they're after, a feather for their environmentalist cap.

Congress won't take up legislation on an issue they already "decided on". The marginal political benefit of considering additional pieces of legislation along the same lines is minimal. They'd rather take up a bill on an unrelated topic, so they can crow about some other meaningless "achievement" to attract single-issue voters.

This is the reward we get for having a two-party system wherein we vote for the lesser of two weevils.

Comment Re:Collateralized vs Non-Collateralized Loans (Score 1) 461

No problem here. They'll find something else to do.

OK, so you don't care about efficient allocation of resources. Fine. There go half your economic beliefs. Or you just don't care when that resource is educable labor? Why the discrepancy?

Not at all. When you don't have government running up the cost of education several fold, it'll become quite affordable for the people who want an education to get an education.

I question this pithy assumption, big-time. And even if it were true, it would still limit education on the basis of access to capital, so it doesn't solve the problem, it simply shifts it a little.

A lot of the current problems are due to the dismal performance of public education. When a diploma isn't worth the paper it's written on, then employers are going to look for stuff that is, such as college diplomas.

Which just reinforces my point that public college education is necessary, and useful, both to individuals and to employers.

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