Those So-Called Tax Cuts

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Cosima___J
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Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:13 pm

Is Envy More Important than Prosperity?
Star Parker |

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is making a name for himself.

He wants taxes raised on wealthy Americans and is one of the more vocal opponents to the deal that would retain current tax rates for everyone.

“An estate tax cut for millionaires adds exactly zero jobs. A tax cut for billionaires – virtually none,” says the congressman.

But what does Weiner know about job creation, about work, about being an entrepreneur?

Looking over his resume, you see he’s never held a private sector job.

Right out of college, he went to work on the staff of then-Congressmen Chuck Schumer, followed by six years serving on New York’s city council, and then ran for congress in 1999, capturing the seat he currently holds.

Mr. Weiner is a politically ambitious young man who has built power and career by confiscating and redistributing other people’s money.

Consider who the wealthy are that Weiner wants to punish.

Thomas Stanley and William Danko wrote a book called “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy”.

They produced a portrait of who America’s millionaires are and show that by and large these are quiet, understated, self-reliant Americans who are committed to hard work, education, and family.

Their portrait shows that eighty percent of our millionaires are first generation affluent, that less than half received a cent in inheritance funds, and only 19% get any income from a trust fund or estate.

Most Americans – 80% - are not self-employed. But of those that are, two thirds are our millionaires.

Seventy five percent of these self-employed millionaires are entrepreneurs and the remaining quarter are self-employed professionals like doctors and accounts.

These are overwhelmingly self-made individuals, by a large founders and proprietors of prosaic businesses like “welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, coin and stamp dealers and paving contractors.”

Sure, we have high profile billionaires in America. But most of America’s millionaires, those whose income is in the $250,000 and above category whose taxes Anthony Weiner wants to raise, are our nation’s bread and butter entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Regarding the estate tax, or what has come to be known as the death tax, it is probably, of all the ways in which our government takes revenue, the most immoral.

As noted, 80% of millionaires are first generation and two thirds are entrepreneurs. The death tax punishes the very behavior that defines the economic heart and soul of American prosperity.

But perhaps worse, it attacks our most important social institution – the American family.

A recent Pew Research Center/Time Magazine report shows the collapse over the last half century of the traditional American family.

Today 52% of adult Americans are married compared to 72% in 1960. Forty one percent of our babies today are born to unwed mothers compared to 5% in 1960.

It was once a given in our nation that there were inviolable truths that precede government. Once most believed that one of those truths was the integrity of the American family.

The death tax tells us that that government now supersedes family. That politicians like Anthony Weiner can go inside of a family and confiscate the wealth that a breadwinner has accumulated over a lifetime of hard work and prevent parents from freely passing the fruits of their labor on to their children.

Three of four Americans say that the country today is on the wrong track.

The key question today is where we want to go and what it takes to get there.

If we want to get back to prosperity, then it should be axiomatic that protecting freedom, entrepreneurship and family is the answer. Not the politics of power and envy.

jbuck919
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:28 pm

Charles Schumer himself has never been anything but a politician. Many figures of achievement in public service in U.S. history were either always politicians or had only insignificant work lives prior to entering politics. I can think of no more irrelevant a swipe to make at a holder of elective office.

Saying that those who want to tax the rich are just envious is like saying that people who raise their children properly are just being heedful of the child neglect laws.

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Barry
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Barry » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:48 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Charles Schumer himself has never been anything but a politician. Many figures of achievement in public service in U.S. history were either always politicians or had only insignificant work lives prior to entering politics. I can think of no more irrelevant a swipe to make at a holder of elective office.

Saying that those who want to tax the rich are just envious is like saying that people who raise their children properly are just being heedful of the child neglect laws.
Some who want to restore the top bracket to where it was before the cuts of the Bush era want to do so for what I consider to be a very valid reason; that being to raise more revenue to cut into the deficit and debt. There are surely some who are envious. But as I mentioned recently on another thread, there are a number of liberals who get red in the face with anger every time the subject of the wealthy comes up. I don't think it's always envy. They just have more socialistic beliefs than most Americans and think the government's purpose is to re-distribute wealth to a much greater extent than it already does and that those who are having their money taken should just shut up and give gladly. Those who don't are worthy of scorn in their eyes. I see this either in person or on-line at least several times per week.

As I've said, I wouldn't mind returning the top rate to where it was when Clinton was president. I'm actually unhappy with the tax compromise because it basically ignores the deficit/debt issue. But I fear that to many Democrats, restoring the rates to where they were a decade ago would only be viewed as a first step in a series of increases that would likely have a disastrous impact on our economy at some point.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:01 pm

Barry wrote: As I've said, I wouldn't mind returning the top rate to where it was when Clinton was president. I'm actually unhappy with the tax compromise because it basically ignores the deficit/debt issue. But I fear that to many Democrats, restoring the rates to where they were a decade ago would only be viewed as a first step in a series of increases that would likely have a disastrous impact on our economy at some point.
I do not think it is the Democrats who think that way, though I'm sure you can find some on the left who would openly advocate a 90% marginal rate. To the contrary, other than pure greed (which I do not impute to all of them), the only reason I can think of for Republicans to make this their number one priority is precisely because they are afraid that is going to happen. It is the same mentality that the NRA nourishes when it self-servingly argues that not allowing people to own an arsenal of assault weapons would inevitably lead to a universal ban on all guns. Of course, in fairness, on the left, one of the reasons unions are so intransigent is because they are beset by the same mentality, i.e., any concession would soon lead to a return to little or no labor recourse at all, but in this case there is plenty of that situation still in existence to justify the fears.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Barry » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:03 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Barry wrote: As I've said, I wouldn't mind returning the top rate to where it was when Clinton was president. I'm actually unhappy with the tax compromise because it basically ignores the deficit/debt issue. But I fear that to many Democrats, restoring the rates to where they were a decade ago would only be viewed as a first step in a series of increases that would likely have a disastrous impact on our economy at some point.
I do not think it is the Democrats who think that way, though I'm sure you can find some on the left who would openly advocate a 90% marginal rate. To the contrary, other than pure greed (which I do not impute to all of them), the only reason I can think of for Republicans to make this their number one priority is precisely because they are afraid that is going to happen. It is the same mentality that the NRA nourishes when it self-servingly argues that not allowing people to own an arsenal of assault weapons would inevitably lead to a universal ban on all guns. Of course, in fairness, on the left, one of the reasons unions are so intransigent is because they are beset by the same mentality, i.e., any concession would soon lead to a return to little or no worker rights at all, but in this case there is plenty of that situation still in existence to justify the fears.
We are obviously having different experiences. From what I see and hear on a regular basis, "tax the rich" is like a mantra for a number of Moveon.org, Daily Kos type Democrats. And I have little doubt that those types will continue with that line even if they get their wish on the top rate going back to where it was in two years. They may not go for a 90 percent tax, but 50 percent would probably be in their ball park.

Thankfully, it's unlikely that there will be enough of them or Congress people sympathetic to them at any time in the foreseeable future. But I would guess they're as present in the Democratic party as Tea Party sympathizers and Palin-heads are in the GOP.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Cosima___J
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:11 pm

The problems with tax increases are:

1) Historically, when there have been tax increases, tax revenue has actually gone down.
2) Even if the historical trends mentioned above were somehow reversed, what would actually be done with the supposed increase in tax revenues??? When government politicians get their hands on more money, what do they do with it? They SPEND it on their favorite pet programs, just like kids in a candy store. You can tell those kids that the candy will make them obese and unhealthy, but they gorge on the candy anyway! The money would not be used to bring down the deficit. Count on it.

The best way to reduce our deficit is to cut spending.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:48 pm

Cosima___J wrote:The problems with tax increases are:

1) Historically, when there have been tax increases, tax revenue has actually gone down.
2) Even if the historical trends mentioned above were somehow reversed, what would actually be done with the supposed increase in tax revenues??? When government politicians get their hands on more money, what do they do with it? They SPEND it on their favorite pet programs, just like kids in a candy store. You can tell those kids that the candy will make them obese and unhealthy, but they gorge on the candy anyway! The money would not be used to bring down the deficit. Count on it.

The best way to reduce our deficit is to cut spending.
Virtually all economists conclude and even most members of both parties acknowledge that it will be impossible to get the deficit under control without a combination of more revenue and spending cuts. It is not "candy store" projects that are at issue, but huge programs that very few people are interested in eliminating or gutting.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:31 pm

Not all economists are in agreement about the right mix of tax increases and spending cuts. The serious reading I've done tends to lean far more toward spending cuts. My point about the "candy store" was to say that even if tax revenue increases due to raising tax rates (a dubious outcome), the increase in tax revenues will probably go for pet projects rather than towards reducing the debt. How can we get our politicians to put that money (which probably won't be forthcoming) into Al Gore's famous "lockbox" ? What's to keep politicians in Washington from just spending it instead of applying to debt reduction??????

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:37 pm

There's nothing to prevent tax revenues from going to waste - i.e. $400,000/yr paper shifting gov't jobs.

We need more entrepreneurs. Period.
Virtually all economists conclude and even most members of both parties acknowledge that it will be impossible to get the deficit under control without a combination of more revenue and spending cuts. It is not "candy store" projects that are at issue, but huge programs that very few people are interested in eliminating or gutting.
Do what I mentioned above and increase the tax base. Of course, no government program would competently do it so it's up to the private sector and individual motivation. Being unaware of or refusing to take the entrepreneurship track is similar to not applying for a job. Good luck, have fun.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:54 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:There's nothing to prevent tax revenues from going to waste - i.e. $400,000/yr paper shifting gov't jobs.

We need more entrepreneurs. Period.
Virtually all economists conclude and even most members of both parties acknowledge that it will be impossible to get the deficit under control without a combination of more revenue and spending cuts. It is not "candy store" projects that are at issue, but huge programs that very few people are interested in eliminating or gutting.
Do what I mentioned above and increase the tax base. Of course, no government program would competently do it so it's up to the private sector and individual motivation. Being unaware of or refusing to take the entrepreneurship track is similar to not applying for a job. Good luck, have fun.

I'm all for a strong private sector leading economic recovery, but nobody is talking about our being able to grow our way out of this. That could be because it's impossible, and many people who mention the subject at all say so in so many words.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:57 pm

jbuck919 wrote:That could be because it's impossible, and many people who mention the subject at all say so in so many words.
I disagree, if we focus our spending on education and forego or reduce other programs we can do it. Not that anyone will vote for that over their "benefits". I'm not counting on government programs to change our education system anyhow -- private sector innovations are key.

What's impossible is competent government allocation of any new tax revenue. It will go to pet projects not to mention the Social Security vacuum. Just look at this budget compromise. More ethanol subsidies??? Congress' track record is horrible and it won't change overnight. If Congress had a better resume I wouldn't be so much against it. But theory is so far removed from reality (and if we were talking about a perfect world, taxes wouldn't even be necessary :lol: )

One huge problem with politics is that "the rich" are being portrayed as one monolithic entity while it makes no clear distinctions between the leeches and players in our economy -- the iBanker/finance CEO we bailed out is nothing like the tech entrepreneur.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:50 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:What's impossible is competent government allocation of any new tax revenue. It will go to pet projects not to mention the Social Security vacuum. Just look at this budget compromise. More ethanol subsidies??? Congress' track record is horrible and it won't change overnight. If Congress had a better resume I wouldn't be so much against it.
Everyone agrees that there is too much fat in government, but the fallacy is to think that the deficit can be made manageable by trimming all the fat even if that were not the fantasy that it is. The "pet projects" are a tiny fraction of government spending, and while it is certainly going to be necessary to do something about Social Security, that "vacuum" you're talking about is and will remain the difference between varying degrees of poverty and a minimally respectable standard of living for many millions of Americans. The real fat is in the bureaucracies, but nobody seems to be talking about that, and even if they were to be substantially cut down in size, the cost savings would not by themselves be enough by itself for sufficient deficit reduction.

Not giving the government sufficient revenue because they'll just find new ways to spend is like not funding any beneficial program or promoting any societal good because there are people who will try to scam the system. Instead of avoiding doing the beneficial thing because someone will abuse it, the rational course is to do it and create a mechanism for dealing with the abuse. The US government has in fact had an acceptable level of fiscal discipline for most of the post-war period, with the exception of the terms of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush now extending into the Great Recession/Obama period.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:05 pm

jbuck919 wrote:The "pet projects" are a tiny fraction of government spending, and while it is certainly going to be necessary to do something about Social Security, that "vacuum" you're talking about is and will remain the difference between varying degrees of poverty and a minimally respectable standard of living for many millions of Americans.
Two issues with SS:
1/ That's what welfare is for.
2/ SS benefits are limited to the cohort least capable of contributing to economic growth. We need to focus on young people and education, not retirees. Tough decision, but someone has to make it. Not only that but SS is a lost cause, no reasonable tax level would make up for it. It would inevitably leech from the incentives that would activate youth productivity.
Not giving the government sufficient revenue because they'll just find new ways to spend is like not funding any beneficial program or promoting any societal good because there are people who will try to scam the system.
Not true, we have given the government plenty to work with and far too much of it gets lost - I'm sorry, but subsidizing $400k gov't jobs is not just some one-time form of abuse. Your analogy doesn't account for the fact that there is endemic scamming, not the occasional rider here and there.
Instead of avoiding doing the beneficial thing because someone will abuse it, the rational course is to do it and create a mechanism for dealing with the abuse.
Congress needs to do that first before it gets rewarded any new tax revenue to disburse.
The US government has in fact had an acceptable level of fiscal discipline for most of the post-war period, with the exception of the terms of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush now extending into the Great Recession/Obama period.
Because baby boomers have only recently begun to retire.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:26 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:The "pet projects" are a tiny fraction of government spending, and while it is certainly going to be necessary to do something about Social Security, that "vacuum" you're talking about is and will remain the difference between varying degrees of poverty and a minimally respectable standard of living for many millions of Americans.

That's what welfare is for.
SS is welfare (transfer payments to support people's income). What did you think it was? You're not going to make it any cheaper by calling it something else. They may change the criteria for getting it somewhat to keep it on a sound footing, but they're not going to replace it with individual applications for a case-by-case dole to the starving and destitute. Dream on (some dream--more like a nightmare).
SS benefits are limited to the cohort least capable of contributing to economic growth. We need to focus on young people and education, not retirees. Tough decision, but someone has to make it. Not only that but SS is a lost cause, no reasonable tax level would make up for it. It would inevitably leech from the incentives that would activate youth productivity.
Your opinion on this has come up before, and it represents reasoning that could not be translated into a policy suitable for a civilized society. Furthermore, since you still identify with all those young people you see as an army of future entrepreneurs, your attitude is a variation on the banal theme of "The government is spending too much money but it is not spending enough on me." I suggest you consider what has happened historically when repugnance at the measure of resources being consumed by or devoted to a specific group has been translated into policy.
The US government has in fact had an acceptable level of fiscal discipline for most of the post-war period, with the exception of the terms of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush now extending into the Great Recession/Obama period.
Because baby boomers have only recently begun to retire.
No, because we had a couple of presidents who thought, as you do, that we could starve government of revenue and grow our way out of the ensuing deficits (except that I'm not sure George W. even thought about the second half of that). It was bad economic policy that got us where we are, not a lot of people being born after WW II.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:31 pm

Furthermore, since you still identify with all those young people you see as an army of future entrepreneurs, your attitude is a variation on the banal theme of "The government is spending too much money but it is not spending enough on me." I suggest you consider what has happened historically when repugnance at the measure of resources being consumed by or devoted to a specific group has been translated into policy.
Not at all. The entrepreneur does not ask for government help. But subsidies for entrepreneurship is actually a pretty good idea, if framed responsibly the same way NSF grants are evaluated.

The issue of SS and age cohort allocation is new and unique, not something you can map onto past spending cuts (though I would also dispute your evaluation of said cuts). If you want to get into semantics, SS is welfare for retirement and it isn't the means-tested welfare for those in poverty. Aiding people's retirements isn't going to pull us out of our economic hole. This isn't a debate about whether welfare for those with no means should exist. In fact, SS is taking money away from means-tested welfare by squeezing our budget dry.

We have a higher than usual unemployment rate but that's not due to the dearth of jobs -- the "rich" are creating millions of jobs all the time. Contrary to public perception, they aren't "hoarding" wealth for the most part (even the few that hoard spend on goods that create jobs). These jobs are not being filled due to lack of education and labor immobility. The other channel through which the "rich" disburse their income to the rest of the world is through investment, but most people don't seek investment because they don't create their own projects, aren't aware investment is available, or just care about getting a lax 9-5 job with benefits.
The more spending (that's already in our budget) we concentrate in education instead of pork barrel projects, the more opportunities people have to pull themselves out of unemployment or poverty. Unfortunately, we won't be able to make that kind of allocation if we can't even spend responsibly. Again, Congress needs to demonstrate fiscal responsibility first before I consider tax hikes.
It was bad economic policy that got us where we are, not a lot of people being born after WW II.
Did I say it was because they were born? I said it's because they're retiring with SS benefits (or whatever we squeeze out of our general budget). Yeah, bad economic policy = Social Security. We didn't even have to get to George W. to figure that out.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:12 am

living_stradivarius wrote: The issue of SS and age cohort allocation is new and unique....
Indeed; I believe you just invented it.

Come on, Henry, at least give us a reassuring "I've got nothing against old people, but" disclaimer. :)

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:28 am

>Saying that those who want to tax the rich are just envious<

Well that would definitely be me! Regards, Len :mrgreen:

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by John F » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:37 am

living_stradivarius wrote:If you want to get into semantics, SS is welfare for retirement
That is not true, and it's really offensive. Social security is not welfare of any kind. It's a pension plan to which I and my employers contributed a lot of money over a lot of years. That the government runs it and has contributed to it, from the taxes that I and my employers have paid and continue to pay, does not transmute it into welfare.

If you want to get into semantics, you might begin by taking greater care about the meanings of the words you use, especially those that carry a stigma as "welfare" has come to do, and that you clearly intend it to.

Personally I'm all in favor of welfare programs, private and public, those that are properly called such, and find nothing dishonorable in those in need accepting whatever assistance my country legally provides. Indeed, I would rather my tax dollars went to help the needy than further enrich the greedy. But that's a different issue.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:40 am

>SS is welfare for retirement<

Could you elaborate on this--over the years I paid money into the system--would you now not let me at least get that money back with interest? What's your recommendation for social security--eliminate it completely? Regards, Len

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:01 am

John F wrote:
living_stradivarius wrote:If you want to get into semantics, SS is welfare for retirement
That is not true, and it's really offensive. Social security is not welfare of any kind. It's a pension plan to which I and my employers contributed a lot of money over a lot of years.
Now now John, I was responding to the other John who defined it as welfare first. If you wanna go after me go after him first :D
jbuck wrote:SS is welfare (transfer payments to support people's income).
And in that sense I agree, with my qualification. And it is a transfer payment even if you contributed "a lot of money to it" because your returns are paid thrice in kind by younger people. The system is flawed from the getgo, and any stigma you attach to it is a result of this inevitable flaw.

lennygoran wrote:>SS is welfare for retirement<

Could you elaborate on this--over the years I paid money into the system--would you now not let me at least get that money back with interest? What's your recommendation for social security--eliminate it completely? Regards, Len
Yeah over the years the government coerced you into making a horrible investment. It's essentially just another tax your paying.
jbuck919 wrote:
living_stradivarius wrote: The issue of SS and age cohort allocation is new and unique....
Indeed; I believe you just invented it.

Come on, Henry, at least give us a reassuring "I've got nothing against old people, but" disclaimer. :)
Most grandparents would not want their grandchildren to foot the bill. And those are the folks I'm siding with, even if they don't understand how keeping the system afloat would create that result. It's simply the result of population dynamics which the system is essentially structured around.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:09 am

>Yeah over the years the government coerced you into making a horrible investment. It's essentially just another tax your paying.<

So what's your solution--now I'm getting the benefits of that investment--paltry as they are--what do you recommend--and no I don't want to became an entrepeneur! Regards, Len [happily retired] :)

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:16 am

lennygoran wrote:>Yeah over the years the government coerced you into making a horrible investment. It's essentially just another tax your paying.<

So what's your solution--now I'm getting the benefits of that investment--paltry as they are--what do you recommend--and no I don't want to became an entrepeneur! Regards, Len [happily retired] :)
Bite the bullet and wish you had more grandkids to sustain the system :D. There's gonna be a loser in all this - either the kids or the seniors. It's a tough decision but in the end our future wins out. Unless you loosen immigration laws and have foreign workers make everything up with their SS withholdings (which they won't expect to receive).

I actually find it appalling to see people so bent on "getting their money back" without any regard for its ramifications on kids simply because they paid into the system. Well you know what? If you think you have it bad, hundreds of thousands of youths ain't gonna see a penny of what we've paid and will pay into SS.
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lennygoran
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:29 am

>Bite the bullet and wish you had more grandkids to sustain the system <

Just a quick aside the above made me think of--the History Channel show on Hitler and the rise of the Third Reich that I mentioned somewhere else had a large segment devoted to Hitler's call for more Aryan babies from the right kind of young girls and many of them at the camps he demanded they attend came back pregnant at a very early age. Of course the wrong females would be sterilized. :(

>If seniors had to choose between one or the other, would the choose to give up Social Security or would they choose Medicare? Cutting either would save our budget without killing our economy.<

Well you're not suggesting to eliminate one of the programs completely, are you. I agree there might be a need to reduce some benefits. BTW you're not in a rent controlled place in Manhattan, right? Regards, Len [seeking fairness]

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:38 am

lennygoran wrote:>Bite the bullet and wish you had more grandkids to sustain the system <

Just a quick aside the above made me think of--the History Channel show on Hitler and the rise of the Third Reich that I mentioned somewhere else had a large segment devoted to Hitler's call for more Aryan babies from the right kind of young girls and many of them at the camps he demanded they attend came back pregnant at a very early age. Of course the wrong females would be sterilized. :(
Horrible, isn't it? Well that's what the SS pyramid scheme was (unconsciously) designed to depend on, people having enough kids to sustain the system. When Bernie Madoff ran off with the money from his misguided investors, they didn't get nearly any of their money back - nor should we expect that from SS. The SS problem is a collective and institutional one and we can't throw anyone in jail for a flawed system as consolation. Funny how this fits pretty well into Arendt's conception of the banality of evil. We could however, choose not to reelect Congressmen who ignored this problem for so long.


You could mix and match the cuts. But something's gotta give. No, I am not in rent-controlled Manhattan.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:13 am

>You could mix and match the cuts. But something's gotta give. No, I am not in rent-controlled Manhattan.<

Still if I'm gonna have to make some sacrifices I wanna find something you have to cut--there must be some government tax break you're getting away with! Regards, Len :)

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by karlhenning » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:16 am

What if we sell Alaska back to the Russians?

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:24 am

>What if we sell Alaska back to the Russians?<

With or without Palin! Regards, Len :)

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:43 pm

living_stradivarius wrote: Most grandparents would not want their grandchildren to foot the bill. And those are the folks I'm siding with, even if they don't understand how keeping the system afloat would create that result. It's simply the result of population dynamics which the system is essentially structured around.
Then the solution is clear. Just explain everything to the old folks, and with all the continuing love and concern they have showered on their children and grandchildren they will voluntarily forgo Social Security. Why, I'll put it to my mother this afternoon.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:57 pm

I think we all can agree that Social Security is a gigantic Ponzi scheme.

From Wikipedia (where else?)
(A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee.)

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:25 pm

Cosima___J wrote:I think we all can agree that Social Security is a gigantic Ponzi scheme.
No, we cannot.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:52 pm

Are today's Social Security recipients being paid from profits earned by the Social Security System? I keep reading that SS is broke. Or is that an exaggeration?

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by HoustonDavid » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:18 pm

Actually, you can thank the Congress, and legislation they've passed, that allows them
to take any excess received from Social Security receipts and put it back into the General
Fund and use it for their latest excess spending ventures. If the Social Security fund had
been allowed to keep what it received over and above allocations to recipients, it would
probably be good until the next millennia - or thereabouts.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:13 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
living_stradivarius wrote: Most grandparents would not want their grandchildren to foot the bill. And those are the folks I'm siding with, even if they don't understand how keeping the system afloat would create that result. It's simply the result of population dynamics which the system is essentially structured around.
Then the solution is clear. Just explain everything to the old folks, and with all the continuing love and concern they have showered on their children and grandchildren they will voluntarily forgo Social Security. Why, I'll put it to my mother this afternoon.
Nono, you have to have a grandchild explain to the grandparent.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:20 pm

lennygoran wrote:>You could mix and match the cuts. But something's gotta give. No, I am not in rent-controlled Manhattan.<

Still if I'm gonna have to make some sacrifices I wanna find something you have to cut--there must be some government tax break you're getting away with! Regards, Len :)
Yeah like our meager subsidy on education? My federal student loans had a 3% higher rate than my private ones :roll:

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:36 pm

HoustonDavid wrote:Actually, you can thank the Congress, and legislation they've passed, that allows them
to take any excess received from Social Security receipts and put it back into the General
Fund and use it for their latest excess spending ventures.
Actually it has been the other way around for the most part. Congress struggled for decades to meet SS payouts by siphoning $ from the general fund.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:47 pm

lennygoran wrote:Just a quick aside the above made me think of--the History Channel show on Hitler and the rise of the Third Reich that I mentioned somewhere else had a large segment devoted to Hitler's call for more Aryan babies from the right kind of young girls and many of them at the camps he demanded they attend came back pregnant at a very early age. Of course the wrong females would be sterilized. :(
Oh btw, adoption didn't count in Nazi Germany whereas it does in our tax code. Actually the # of children and grandchildren (biological or adopted) should be a way to test for how much SS benefit one receives.

*I'll consolidate all these posts above a bit later
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by HoustonDavid » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:58 pm

Henry, we both misspoke, I should have used the past tense and said "thank the
congress, and legislation they've passed, that allowed them to take any excess
received from Social Security" and this happened for the greater part of the history
of SS. It is only relatively recently that they have had to "siphon" back SS payouts
from the general fund. You implied it has been going on for decades, but it has only
been necessary for perhaps the last two decades, and they were siphoning off the
excess for at least 60 years, which is a great many IOU's that have no hope of being
repaid.

Those in the tsunami of baby boomer supplicants are looking forward to being repaid
the monies they paid into Social Security. They probably naively thought that their
government was keeping their money locked up and secure for all these many years,
and actually expect to get it back as they retire. Unfortunately, their elected
representatives have looked upon it as a goldmine of additional revenue, and only
lately have reluctantly paid back into the fund to meet the Social Security funding
requirement. It will only get worse, of course, but the tsunami will subside in a few
decades as the geezers die out and the population balance reasserts itself. Have
faith my friends: if you live long enough, you will get your money back. :wink:
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by John F » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:25 am

living_stradivarius wrote:
John F wrote:
living_stradivarius wrote:If you want to get into semantics, SS is welfare for retirement
That is not true, and it's really offensive. Social security is not welfare of any kind. It's a pension plan to which I and my employers contributed a lot of money over a lot of years.
Now now John, I was responding to the other John who defined it as welfare first. If you wanna go after me go after him first :D
You're right, jbuck919 said the W word too. It's just as offensive coming from him as from you, and I protest just as strongly and for the same reason. Who said it first doesn't matter, it shouldn't have been said at all, both of you are way off base, and I want that acknowledged by you both. Well?
John Francis

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:36 am

John F wrote:You're right, jbuck919 said the W word too. It's just as offensive coming from him as from you, and I protest just as strongly and for the same reason. Who said it first doesn't matter, it shouldn't have been said at all, both of you are way off base, and I want that acknowledged by you both. Well?
If you're asking for an apology, you ain't getting it from me. If anything's offensive it's your own attachment of the stigma of poverty to the word and your blatant disregard for the kids who are paying several times the amount you paid for your SS benefits. And these kids aren't gonna get a dime of what you're getting. If anyone deserves an apology it's them, not that that's enough. All this talk of what "I deserve because I paid into the system" is simply appalling.

Protest all you want. In the end, the kids are the ones who suffer :|
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:09 am

>My federal student loans had a 3% higher rate than my private ones<

There was a show on PBS showing how those loans are so far from being paid off that there could be a failure that would match what happened with the present housing crisis.

And talk about making choices--just a few weeks ago FrontLine did this show--it was brutal to watch but I forced myself. BTW here are Medicare and Medical cost ramifications of truly epic proportions.

Facing Death

How far would you go to sustain the life of someone you love, or your own? When the moment comes, and you're confronted with the prospect of "pulling the plug," do you know how you'll respond?

In Facing Death, FRONTLINE gains extraordinary access to The Mount Sinai Medical Center, one of New York's biggest hospitals, to take a closer measure of today's complicated end-of-life decisions. In this intimate, groundbreaking film, doctors, patients and families speak with remarkable candor about the increasingly difficult choices people are making at the end of life: when to remove a breathing tube in the ICU; when to continue treatment for patients with aggressive blood cancers; when to perform a surgery; and when to call for hospice.


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/facing-death/

Regards, Len

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:20 am

Depends on the type of federal loan. Not all of them have lax interest rates/terms. Paid mine off.

None of these choices are easy. But someone has to make them. Think about the kids...
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:49 am

>None of these choices are easy. But someone has to make them. Think about the kids...<

Yeah but who! Why should I consider cutting my Social Security payments when I see millionaires continuing to get tax breaks. Another example from that excruciatingly heart rending show I mentioned had the relatives in the room talking with doctors about whether to continue treatment or not. In most cases the amount of money being spent was astronomical--the doctors got to make no choices and it was up to the patient and/or the medical proxy. In the end all they showed died except for one woman who has now been on a respirator in a hospital room for 2 years.

Hasn't choices like this--which would save huge sums of money--led to people comparing Obama to Hitler. Regards, Len

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by living_stradivarius » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:25 am

lennygoran wrote:>None of these choices are easy. But someone has to make them. Think about the kids...<

Yeah but who! Why should I consider cutting my Social Security payments when I see millionaires continuing to get tax breaks. Another example from that excruciatingly heart rending show I mentioned had the relatives in the room talking with doctors about whether to continue treatment or not. In most cases the amount of money being spent was astronomical--the doctors got to make no choices and it was up to the patient and/or the medical proxy. In the end all they showed died except for one woman who has now been on a respirator in a hospital room for 2 years.

Hasn't choices like this--which would save huge sums of money--led to people comparing Obama to Hitler. Regards, Len
Actually most of the choices are made by the individual earlier on in life - whether it be to smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthily/pay no attention to exercise, disregard schoolwork, or settle for a static 9-5 job when s/he could have pushed for bigger, greater things. There are consequences to these choices.

Welfare should only be there to help those who worked for the best in all these respects and circumstances simply befell them (cancer, for example), not those who consciously made the choice to not study math or read or act to move up from the jobs they started out with in high school.

Millionaires, for the most part, didn't just land into where they are. They not only worked hard and smart to earn their keep, but they never gave up seeking to break new ground, creating new jobs, inventions, and opportunities for anyone else who dares to have the same kind of dream or ambition. Start hounding on them with taxes and you break the frontier-breaching incentive mechanism that makes America American. You give newer generations another reason to just sit back and count on the government to save their asses. The problem haunting America is a lack of ambition which results in a lackluster life later on - you have to right to choose it but accept the consequences if you do.

Not even all the ones in entertainment or sports lazed their way to fortune. Exclude all those spoiled brats who sat on their inheritance (yeah, what's up with the estate tax breaks?). So if you want to tax "millionaires" pick on those. It may actually be easier to impose as a tax policy.


Specifically, when it comes to health, had it not been for the ambitions of those "millionaire" scientists, doctors, and inventors, people would be suffering en masse absent the kind of technologies and treatments they created and developed. If they had all settled for mediocre goals or decided not to attempt any form of entrepreneurship, most of us would be dead by now.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:06 am

> or settle for a static 9-5 job when s/he could have pushed for bigger, greater things. <

That was me :( I never really pushed for bigger greater things--well I once to the law degree tests which I found impossible and failed miserably. :(

> So if you want to tax "millionaires" pick on those. It may actually be easier to impose as a tax policy.<

I like that one! Regards, Len :)

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Barry » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:32 am

lennygoran wrote: Yeah but who! Why should I consider cutting my Social Security payments when I see millionaires continuing to get tax breaks.
I don't view a failure to raise taxes as a "tax break." While I'd have preferred that the rates return to where they were, I still disagree with the notion that wealthy people don't pay their "fair share" in taxes. I agree with Strad that most of them have worked hard and made wise choices to get to where they are and don't deserve the attitude that their financial reward for those things should be society's open money pit to take as it pleases.

People at or even near the lower ends of the economic picture in this country pay NO income taxes at all. A large percentage of the tax revenues come from the wealthy.
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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by Cosima___J » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:47 am

"People at or even near the lower ends of the economic picture in this country pay NO income taxes at all. A large percentage of the tax revenues come from the wealthy."


In fact, people at the lower end of the economic picture not only pay NO income taxes, they get the Earned Income Tax Credit. They get money back. I know all about the EITC because at one point in my life, I got it!

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:15 pm

Cosima___J wrote:"People at or even near the lower ends of the economic picture in this country pay NO income taxes at all. A large percentage of the tax revenues come from the wealthy."


In fact, people at the lower end of the economic picture not only pay NO income taxes, they get the Earned Income Tax Credit. They get money back. I know all about the EITC because at one point in my life, I got it!
Probably more people should be paying income tax, or more income tax. But some people should be paying a lot more income tax (in terms of the dollar amount realized from them). Nothing has changed about the price we pay for a civilized society, or the problems of regressive taxation.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:44 pm

>I still disagree with the notion that wealthy people don't pay their "fair share" in taxes. <

Well I don't know how we can check this out but my feeling is that they could pay a little more and still have a nice life style. Regards, Len

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:58 pm

I still disagree with the notion that wealthy people don't pay their "fair share" in taxes.
It is the (to my mind loony) insistence of people who are not rich on going to bat for people who are in this fashion that is the real reason the rich are not being more extensively taxed. In case nobody noticed, there are a lot more of us than them, an imbalance which should, however buffered, translate into votes.

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Re: Those So-Called Tax Cuts

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:03 pm

>In case nobody noticed, there are a lot more of us than them,<

Well I noticed and would like something done--even Bill Gates noticed and he and his father wanted to change things but the citizens of Washington turned down his proposition.

"At last night’s election, Washington voters soundly rejected a plan to introduce a state income tax aimed at upper income taxpayers to pay for education and health initiatives. The Microsoft billionaire publicly endorsed the measure, known as Initiative Measure 1098, and Gates’ father, who helped create the tax, put more than half a million dollars towards a campaign to promote the measure. Despite the support from the Gates camp, the measure was voted down by about 65%, leaving Washington again without an income tax."

Regards, Len :(

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