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Comment Using corporations to avoid taxes (Score 1) 448

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.

It's bad because if you don't tax it it becomes a vehicle for avoiding or deferring taxes. If I'm a wealthy guy and we don't tax the profits (or revenues) of my company then I have every incentive to use that company as a savings account for money I don't immediately need. Avoiding taxes without taxing corporations becomes trivial. If we don't tax those profits at either the individual level (like in S-Corps) or at the corporate level (like in C-Corps) then you will see a stampede of people using corporations to dodge taxes altogether to the detriment of us all. No wealthy person would ever have to pay a dime of tax if we didn't tax corporations and that's not a good thing at all.

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.

There is a huge difference between being a passive shareholder through a 401K and having enough of a stake in the company to actually influence company decisions. Technically both are "owners" of the company but their level of influence and control is far difference.

And while the 1% can try to get laws passed, we've seen money doesn't necessarily equal electoral victory.

No but a lack of money almost always ensures an electoral loss. Money doesn't cause a victory but it correlates heavily with one.

Comment Selling on eBay (Score 1) 62

The problem with the 'buyer is always 200% correct' mentality at ebay can screw small sellers. Or if you only sell something once or twice a year. You're better off using craigslist.

Speaking from personal experience I would agree. Selling on eBay can be a risky pain in the butt. Never sell anything you can't afford to lose. You might have to take it back even if you do nothing wrong and the item is perfect so take that into account too.

I was a pretty big seller at one point and I can assure you that eBay isn't friendly with big sellers either. But being a small seller is definitely risky. One or two bad bits of feedback can really screw you hard.

Comment Problem buyers != problem sellers (Score 1) 62

I disagree. I sold something. The recipient said there was nothing in the box when he received it. Payment is taken back and I no longer have the item.

That happens sometimes but I'm talking about how buyers protect themselves, not sellers. You are basically backing up what I'm saying that there are more buyers who are crooks than sellers.

Best advice I can give for a seller is to document, document, document. Take pictures of the product going into the box and have witnesses. Make sure you have evidence of the weight of the package and the item. Only ship via traceable services. Use an escrow service if you are really worried or if the item is especially valuable (eBay offers one). Don't sell anything on eBay you cannot afford to lose. There is no way to perfectly keep all crooks from trying to scam you but I've sold probably 15000 items on eBay over the years and over 99% of the buyers are perfectly fine. We had trouble with about 1% of buyers (mostly hard to please people) and about 0.1% were people actually trying to rip us off.

Comment eBay problems - buyers and sellers (Score 2) 62

... but I have a difficult time trusting many of the vendors on EBay.

If you pay PayPal and follow eBay's rules and it's largely a non-issue. (yes I know how people feel about PayPal) It's not always convenient but you can almost always get your money back if the deal goes south. I buy stuff like surplus tooling with some regularity on eBay and I rarely have a problem. By and large if you look at things with a skeptical eye and read all the fine print you should have too much trouble.

I used to make my living selling stuff on eBay and I assure you that there are WAY more problem buyers than sellers. I've had people send me countless fake money orders, refuse to pay, complain about every aspect of the auction despite it being clearly stated (they couldn't be bothered to read), and try every scam in the book. I've even had people buy something and "return" it when in fact what they put in the box were literally rocks.

Comment Prime shipping very reliable (Score 2) 62

Amazon's same day and even 2 day shipping is rarely on time.

I place about 150 orders per year through Amazon Prime and the number that have arrived late I can count on my fingers. Maybe it's different where you live but Amazon is extremely reliable about shipping times to where I live in Michigan. The only times I've had trouble have been when UPS or USPS have dropped the ball.

Comment Breathtaking arrogance (Score 4, Insightful) 523

Now, now... He spends way more time (and taxpayer funds) flying back and forth to Mar-a-Lago in Florida *every* weekend, and I'm sure he gets some work done on those flights -- or, at least, catches up on nap-time.

Don't forget that he flies to his resort at a cost of $3 million in tax money per trip just days after he proposes a budget to cut health insurance and benefits for millions of poor and middle class people. The arrogance is breathtaking. I'd say hypocrisy if it were anyone else but he's never been "one of the people" to anyone actually paying attention.

Comment The US needs to step up (Score 0) 448

the % does not matter, only total dollar amount. and frankly, other countries need to step up

Bullshit. Percentage matters a great deal. I'm much more impressed by someone who donates 2% of their income to help those in need than someone who donates 0.19% (the actual number for the US) The US is the one that needs to step up. Buy fewer tanks that the military doesn't want and do something actually helpful with the money. And yes, foreign aid does help the US. It's a form of soft power.

Comment Utilitarianism vs Deontology (Score 1) 448

Actually real ideology cannot be situational. Real positions are not changing regardless of the circumstances, otherwise it's expedience and not a position or ideology in the first place.


is very much situational and is very much an ideology that it is only the outcomes that matter. You are talking about deontology which is that it is only the rules that matter, not the outcome. Real ideologies can be situational or they can explicitly ignore situations but both are ideologies all the same. Your assertion that "real ideology cannot be situational" is quite simply not true.

Comment Ethics and tax (Score 1) 448

Paying more taxes is not ethical.

It can be. Whether it is an ethical action or not is situation dependent within the context of the society where it occurs.

Governments are necessary evils to maintain social contracts and civilization.

Agreed. One could say the same thing about corporations to a large degree. They are useful tools that allow individuals to collaborate for a greater good than they could achieve themselves.

Overreaching government is unethical.

Agreed with the caveat that your definition of overreach and my definition may be substantially different. The conservative US view of what constitutes overreach is not the only or even necessarily the correct one. And in reality you can get good results from two different governments with very different outlooks on how much government involvement is beneficial. You can have a very involved socialist oriented government or a much more constrained capitalist government and get good results both ways. Neither is inherently better or worse.

Government double-taxing is unethical.

Poppycock. Multiple forms of taxation are used on almost everything we do and for very good reasons. From a cash flow point of view there really is no such thing as double taxation. The tax laws might tax you more than once but at the end of the day you'll pay a certain net amount. Whether you pay $20 or $10 twice the result is the same either way. It is possible for the net tax rate to be too high but the whole "double tax on corporations" argument is a bogus one.

And...corporate income tax is a dumb idea in the first place, when those funds have already been taxes through both income and sales.

Corporate income tax exists so that non-active shareholders who bought shares through a secondary market don't have to pay taxes on their personal income taxes for activities they have effectively no control over. What good is buying a stock that goes up 5% if I pay all that back because Apple had a good year and made a big profit? Yes in a sense it can be "double" taxation but in reality it really isn't aside from the fact that money is paid on two occasions instead of one larger tax bill. And just because you pay (for example) a sales tax doesn't mean all other forms of taxation should be off the table. Good tax policy actually requires a variety of types of taxes to keep funding streams predictable. Depend too heavily on one tax stream (like housing values) and governments can find their budgets under water very quickly in the event of a downturn in that market.

Comment Tax incidence vs competition (Score 4, Informative) 448

It doesn't matter who pays the tax. It's the end user in all cases. Whether Apple sells it's phone $1000 and pays the govt $150 or sells its phone $850 and the user pays the govt $150 makes no difference other than semantically.

You are talking about tax incidence. But you forgot about an important detail. Companies cannot always simply pass on any taxes. Just because the government assigns a particular tax rate to my company doesn't necessarily mean I can raise prices to compensate. The reasons for this vary but usually it is because of competitive pressures. So in many cases the company ends up eating some percentage of the cost and their profits are lower. It's unclear if this would apply in Apple's case but it is clear that Apple cannot simply charge any amount they want. At some point the price gets high enough that people will seek out alternatives which is why Android has huge market share despite modest profits. In the long run (years) all prices are variable but for shorter periods of time there often are constraints on pricing power.

But if a company can manage to (legally) dodge all taxes that can be a huge competitive advantage in pricing power. It allows them to sell a product for less money than would otherwise be possible, even if it is a premium product with a fat margin.

Comment BS about foreign aid (Score 1) 448

It doesn't help that the government has huge amounts of waste, runs an international health service, and pisses away of tax money in "foreign aid" at a time when there is a budgetary deficit in our own country.

Spare me. The US government spends approximately $600 billion per year on a grossly oversized military and coincidentally in 2016 also borrowed about $600 billion to pay for it. Less than 1% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid versus around 16% to the military. The US is among the smallest donors of foreign aid as a percent of GDP among wealthy countries. You're arguing that we "piss away money on foreign aid" when in fact what we are pissing away money on is weapons to defend against mostly non-existent threats. Your "facts" are wrong and I suggest you take some time to discover the real ones.

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A large number of installed systems work by fiat. That is, they work by being declared to work. -- Anatol Holt