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Comment Re:They do contribute (Score 1) 448

This is not an ad hominen, it is just an insult.

Please stop doing that. Seriously, please stop.

I'm curious, what motivated you to publicly insult me? What did you hope to achieve? Gratuitous insults don't improve the conversation. As your mother should have taught you, if you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all.

I know I'm wasting electrons on this but the same goes for everyone. If all you have to offer is an insult, restrain yourself. It's not worth it and the rest of us don't want to hear it.

Comment Re:Tax incidence vs competition (Score 1) 448

Not at all, because the wealthy will simply leave their wealth in the corporations. The corporation will own the luxury holiday villa, the corporation will own their huge yacht, the corporation will pay expenses, etc etc etc.

This will only ensure that the 1% will pay even less while placing greater burdens on the lower income brackets

Bearing in mind, of course, that the top 10% earn 15% of all income and pay 24% of all federal taxes. But I digress...

I'm not sure leaving wealth in corporations is necessarily bad. That means the owners of the company, not the employees (including the executives) have it. Since many people are upset that execs get oversized salaries, is that bad?

Anyway, the way we deal with that today is the fat cat gets taxed on the fair market value of the fringe benefit. If you get a company car, you get taxed on the value of a lease on that car. Same for the ski chalet in the Alps. I'm pretty sure this is not that much of a problem. As many people have pointed out, there's only so much a rich person can consume so this sorta naturally limits their compensation.

And how does a small store owner compete, we already see how Amazon has driven most bookshops out of business. The corporations will soon be able to own everything.

I'm not sure they do. Or maybe they're the next SnapChat and make a zillion dollars, God only knows why.

And who owns the corporation? The investors. Who are they? Well, they could be anyone with a 401k or a pension. Or an employee. Or an executive. Or a C-level officer. Or a venture capitalist.

Tell me, what is the difference between the 1% being royalty , with them owning the land, the businesses, the wealth, and a corporation doing the same. You can't vote either of them out. The end results are the same.

One big difference is the 1% can lose their wealth (are we talking wealth or income here?). Just ask anyone who invested in Kodak, Borders, or Sears. And while the 1% can try to get laws passed, we've seen money doesn't necessarily equal electoral victory.

Comment Re:They do contribute (Score 1) 448

Seriously? Is ad hominem all you got?

Let's assume not (he wrote optimistically). What exactly did I get wrong? Explain why it is the tax incidence must fall on the consumers. Why can Apple not cut prices the exact amount of the tax, reduce it's profit margin, and just reduce it's dividend payments? Why can Apple not cut prices so the after-tax price remains the same and over time, reduce salaries and benefits to keep its profit margin the same?

Comment Re:Tax incidence vs competition (Score 1) 448

Yeah, this is where it gets murky, with cross-jurisdictional tax issues. In principle, it seems like the sort of thing where we'd want a world-wide consistent strategy to decide who gets to tax what. All the taxable transactions should fall in one and only one bucket. Problem is, the world seems fractally complicated--every time we try to just Pin Things Down, very motivated people find workarounds.

You can look at this as a feature, not a bug. Having different tax jurisdictions provides competition and back pressure on people who want to raise taxes. The can't just raise them arbitrarily high because the aforementioned motivated people will find ways to move the taxable activity to some place with lower taxes. The US, for example, has a very high nominal corporate tax rate, but we only tax profits when they re-enter US borders. This means many companies (e.g. Apple) "earn" money outside the US and park the profit there. They can't bring it back to the US, the US can't tax it, and the money can't be invested in US offices or factories.

This is something I haven't thought much about so I don't have strong opinions. Not taxing corporations would make the problem go away but will be very disruptive as governments adjust to new levels of taxation.

Comment Re:They do contribute (Score 1) 448

Obscure? I think it is blinding obvious that who pays Apple's tax (or actually doesn't pay anything) is the consumer that buys Apple's stuff.

Think harder and think about the general case.

Suppose I make widgets and there's a tax imposed on my business. Generally, I can do one of three things: I can raise my prices, or I can cut my costs (which for this discussion means cut wages), or I can pay the tax out of my profit margin and accept a smaller ROI. If I choose the first, my customers are actually paying the tax. If I choose the second, my employees are really the ones paying. If I choose the third, my investors bear the burden.

How do I choose? If there are lots of other people making comparable widgets, I really can't raise my prices. My sales will plummet and I'll make nothing. If there is a tight labor market, I won't be able to cut wages. No one will accept my job offers and production will screech to a halt. Finally, if I cut my profit margin, my investors might flee and I won't be able to borrow money or raise new capital.

Generally, you can assume companies will do some combination of the three. Exactly how it balances out depends on the specifics of the market. I have no idea which forces are more dominant for Apple so I can't say who would actually pay the New Zealand taxes. Do you have better information?

Comment Re:Tax incidence vs competition (Score 2) 448

You are talking about tax incidence. But you forgot about an important detail. Companies cannot always simply pass on any taxes.

I feel like I'm really repeating myself but here goes. Of course. The tax burden will fall on customers, employees, and investors. How it gets split up depends on the labor, product, and investment market conditions. If you're in a tight labor market, you can't cut (or not raise) wages. If you're in a competitive product market, you can't raise prices. If you're in a competitive investment market, you can't cut your net profit margin. If all three are competitive, adding a tax may drive you out of business.

Lots of people are uncomfortable with the idea that "companies are people". In this sense, they're sorta right. The company isn't a person paying tax, they're just passing the tax through to actual individuals. I think it's at the individual level where the rubber meets the road and real people need to make real choices about what they can spend on and what they cannot afford.

Comment Re:They do contribute (Score 3, Funny) 448

Oh that's a wonderful deal! So any company that produces fabulous products at prices customers are very willing to pay is now exempt of tax? Please tell that to every other company, because it looks as if only Apple is taking advantage of this New Zealand law.

Actually, yeah I'd prefer we eliminated all corporate taxes and only taxed individuals. I think taxing corporations obscures who is actually paying the tax.

The more I think about it, taxes ultimately fall on people. You and I have to decide we're not going to spend money on things we'd prefer because some of our cash went to a government. Some of that was channeled through higher prices at the store, some was carved off our income, some was lower returns on our investments. But in the end, you and I feel the effects of the tax, not a company. I think it would be clearer and more honest to avoid the middle man.

Comment Re:They do contribute (Score 1) 448

Except it does. The key part here is not whether they are paying taxes but WHERE they are paying taxes.

OK, I disagree. I laid out my position above, that ultimately Apple just passes the tax burden on to individuals. I think the key part is WHO ultimately bears the burden, that is, which individual has to forego spending on something they'd like because money is going to the government instead. What part of that reasoning is faulty?

Comment They do contribute (Score 3, Interesting) 448

All of the things that support civil society matter. Apple's profits are made possible by that civil society, and the company should contribute its fair share.'"

Apple (and every other company) does contribute. They product fabulous products at prices customers are very willing to pay. That means there's a substantial consumer surplus captured by Kiwis. That's Apple's contribution to New Zealand society.

(Side note. I don't remember where I read this so I can't cite it. A study showed that most of the value created by companies is captured by customers. Apple may be worth zillions but if you add up how much people would have been willing to pay for their products, it's something like 10 to 20 times higher.)

Remember also, Apple doesn't ultimately pay taxes. It just collects taxes and writes the check. Ultimately the burden of the tax falls on Apple's customers (through higher prices), employees (through lower wages), and investors (through lower profits). I'm guessing most of them don't live in New Zealand.

Comment Re:Most pay inequality can be fixed a lot sooner t (Score 1) 421

Simply make (private sector) corporations publish ALL of their employee salaries publicly.

This is getting off-topic but this used to be standard practice at HP when I worked there. My manager was required to share the "rate range" for my job classification. That had a matrix showing the range of pay for my level versus my expected raise based on performance ranking (on a 1-5 scale). You could look up your salary and see how you were doing relative to your peers and know based on your ranking, what range of raises you could expect.

I didn't know exactly what anyone else made but I knew were I stood relative to all the other level 60 engineers. Since it was a required process, I think that kept everyone honest: most people would be clustered around the middle of the rate range.

Comment Re:non-issue then (Score 1) 421

When it comes to reproduction, men are actually irrelevant, at least as far as numbers go. I can prove it with a simple thought experiment...

We're talking about the amount of time taken off from work to raise kids. My wife was pregnant for 18 months. She could have worked pretty much all that time except for a few at the end. We've been raising kids for 20 years.

As far as time at work time is concerned, for more than 95% of our time herding rug rats, either of us could have worked and the other stayed home. The only reason it was my wife was we decided to do it that way.

To clarify your last statement, once the kid pops out, both parents are merely involved.

Comment Re: But lets raise minimum wage! -'earn'? (Score 1) 440

So you did already realize that not everyone is poor, ill or otherwise unable to live by themselves by their own choice. (In many cases even if it may seem so from the outside.) That's a good first step.

You're helping those who arent fortunate enough to get by on their own every once in a while. That's a good, too.

Now what youre missing is that everyone has a right to live a decent life independently on you having or not having a generous day today. If you really care about others, especially unfortunate ones, help make sure that they get along decently independently from the daily whims of more fortunate people like you.

So you have noticed we have areas of agreement. That's also a good step.

I don't agree that everyone has a positive right to live a decent life independent of charity. I think that will be a fundamental disagreement I have with lots of people. I don't believe you have a right to any specific outcome in life, only the freedom to make the most of what opportunities you have.

I don't believe this because in order to achieve it, you would have to change from voluntary cooperation and charity to forced cooperation and charity. I don't believe that's good for the victims of the force (that's me, the rich white guy). I suspect there are positive and negative consequences for the recipients of the forced largess (they get immediate relief but there may be unintended consequences like reduced self esteem and poverty traps). And we have a poor history of the forcers staying objective and benevolent. So, from first principles ("Liberty is good") and pragmatics ("Power corrupts"), I do not believe this is a wise path.

Comment Re:But lets raise minimum wage! -'earn'? (Score 1) 440

Others have pointed out the communism/captialism examples. You can also look at the great liberalization and enriching trend which started with the Enlightenment.

Beyond that, I mostly see virtually every political and many personal disputes in my life which seem to come down to someone wanting to tell someone else what to do "for their own good". I barely know what's good for me, I certainly don't know what's good for you.

So to answer your question, no, it's based on a very large number of anecdotes.

Comment Re:But lets raise minimum wage! -'earn'? (Score 3, Insightful) 440

Meddling seems very frequently to be motivated by moral/ethical judgement

How terrible! We should stamp out morals and ethics right away.

What I meant was more along the lines of "I think X is bad. Ban it!" where X is in "dancing", "drinking", "women voting", "pacifism", "homosexuality", "women's voting rights", and so on.

Morals and ethics are a find thing. They're the only thing which makes society work. Just let's please agree where yours end, mine begin, and what are the ones we agree on.

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