Comments on: Populists, plutocrats and the GOP sales tax http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: Eliejulz http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-106209 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:20:57 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-106209 Great article. Thanks for the info, you made it easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a 940 annual return
I found a blank fillable form here. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a few related Tax documents that you might find useful.

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By: scythe http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70884 Tue, 19 Feb 2013 21:13:19 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70884 Jindal acts like a brahmin elitist,

wanting to have his nirvana today,

built on the back of a new caste of untouchables –

the american taxpayers and its honest workers,

it’s time to throw a shoe at Jindal

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By: urukhai2 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70852 Sat, 16 Feb 2013 16:33:49 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70852 Pathetic.

First of all, stop worrying about what rich people spend their money on or how much they are allowed to keep. As my mom always said, “mind your own business”.

Second, Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate because he pays CAPITAL GAINS TAX, not INCOME TAX. It’s apples and oranges.

Third, to say that the rich would be at advantage or buy less than poor people under a consumption tax is just ridiculous. I don’t see many poor people buying Ferraris or Yachts or building and filling those mansions that you mentioned with expensive items.

Finally, you need to actually READ the Fair Tax consumption tax and NOT alter it or make false assumptions when discussing. Prices would rise slightly ( they would remain low due to compeitive pressure) but you would keep your ENTIRE paycheck, NO federal taxes of any kind would be deducted ( state/local would, if applicable). The poor would actually benefit as a thriving resale economy would develop (the tax is only applied once upon the purchase of a new item). It is a “green” tax proposal that would encourage recycling/reselling usable items and save millions of tons of paper each year. It would bring back the $3 trillion in tax shelters overseas. It would attract foreign investment. It would be a boom for our economy.

Our current tax system is corrupt and hurts the people, like me, who grew up lower middle class and have become successful through hard work, risk taking, and making more good decisions then bad ones. By exchanging my time, which is literally huge chunks of my life, for this thing called money, I can voluntarily purchase items that make me happy. If that makes somebody rich, but I am satisfied with my purchase, where is the evil that you imply? Why should they be punished? If I spend my time, my life, to earn money, and the government takes it involuntarily, they are confiscating my life… And that is slavery at worst and serfdom at best.

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By: OneOfTheSheep http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70839 Fri, 15 Feb 2013 22:59:33 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70839 @PseudoTurtle,

“…if you put an assumed market value on the services a state provides…then those who use and receive the most benefits should pay the most of the cost. That is the most equitable distribution possible.” Not so. You are ASSUMING that the word “those” means ASSETS and not CITIZENS. “Services” are provided to CITIZENS, and not ASSETS. It is absolutely vital to Americans that the “poor person” not get a “free ride on society”, a situation unfortunately more and more common and the result of the combined effect of well-intentioned but poorly defined and implemented government programs at ALL levels.

Any economic system distributes “wealth” towards those who have or accumulate the resources that fund the provision of goods or services in demand because “wealth” is, in the end, some form of acceptable “exchange” for the risk associated with participating in the “marketplace” that is a majority of human “life”. This is the “game” we must all play from birth.

If the present “monetary wealth of the world” were suddenly confiscated and redistributed to each existing human being, embryos and fetuses excluded, the immediate result would be universal poverty and starvation for a relatively short period but within a short time the “other assets” of America, our houses, cars, intellect and experience and that other major economies would soon see the lion’s share of such “wealth” right back whence it came. As in any game, there are winners and losers; yet some simply excell at just about everything they turn their attnetion to. Accept that.

There is instability in capitalism, just as there is instability when one operates a car or aircraft beyond it’s “design operating envelope”. Drivers or pilots who do this suddenly and invisibly transform themselves into “test drivers” and “test pilots” utterly without necessary experience, training, or roll cages and/or parachutes.

If “speculation” today causes “instability, look at ways to regulate the excesses rather than an absolutely necessary component of capitalism. Speculation” in commodities provides the liquidity and certainty necessary for businesses to make “routine” decisions that otherwise could be “life or death” rolls of the dice. An example would be Southwest Airlines, who has rather consistently made profits by locking in their future fuel prices when all their competitors were sitting on their hands.

On the other hand, is it possible to “constrain” what become essentially “windfall profits” in commodities such as oil price fluctuations from refinery fires, regional conflict, regime change, and the like? To such extent as these are (or can be) manipulated for profit, that incentive can and should be removed and even effectively penalized. Will it be? Unfortunately this would require coordinated and reciprocal global effort in the common good, something economically or politically impossible. “All politics is local.”

The hope, which springs eternal, is that somehow such power could be placed in the hands of competent people that will wield it with appropriate restraint. Trust, but verify, said Reagan. If humanity as a whole can’t do that, we are all, not just “the rich”, to blame equally.

You speak of “constraint” and regulation as one and the same. Your considerable education has not lifted the blindfold of ignorance from your eyes. American government today exemplifies levels of ineptitude, foresight and inefficiency almost incomprehensible.

So, NO, I would NOT hire the present government “management team”. And the “invisible hand” of capitalism and it’s APPROPRIATE “constraint of excesses” must be a marriage of competent partners and not convenience if it is to improve the quality of life in America in the overall.

As I have often said, you can create any kind of society you wish simply by how you tax it; i.e. adopted incentives and disincentives. By that measure, what we are currently doing is not only ineffective and inefficient, it is so contrary to what is appropriate as to be insane.

And I agree with you when you say that “This isn’t rocket science, nor do you need an advanced degree, or even a college degree to figure out what is happening. Simply the ability to read and understand what has happened in the past is all that is necessary. That and an open mind.”

I am not “confused”, you are. It is not for OUR “state” to “choose to spend taxes”. It is for “we, the people” to decide how much of OUR income to give the state to do what WE would have done. This tail has wagged the dog for too long (since WW II).

Yes, a “reasonable” budget is essential. Unfortunately we, as a people united, have yet to reach consensus as to what should be in it. And I agree with you that education should be defined and funded on the federal level.

But you have priorities of budget and taxation backward. Our present problems result from people coming up with an endless and ever-expanding list of expenditures whose appetite currently exceeds the economic value of American economic productivity leaving “we, the people” with a negative amount to live on!
When we again turn this around, and prioritize budgeted expenditures so that they do NOT exceed the amount of OUR income we will permit the state, this nation will again be on a path to past greatness and future potential. Not before.

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By: usagadfly http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70836 Fri, 15 Feb 2013 21:49:39 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70836 The fact is that this country is founded on self-rule more than on any other principle.

Individuals are either treated as free and thus free to determine their own allegiances and action, or they are the chattel property of another, whether an individual, corporation or the State. Individuals who are free are not entitled to be protected and served by the group but are also free to keep what they produce.

Taxes are dues free people pay to be members of a collective group. If you don’t like your group, emigrate to a place you prefer. But do not claim group privilege and then not pay taxes. Wealthy people do not own anyone, in spite of their use of the pronouns “our” and “we”. They are not “entitled” to rule like medieval lords. “We” do not exist to provide services, protection and land to the privileged. That is very much the kind of system the American Revolution fought against. It was most certainly not a fight to replace one set of masters with another.

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By: OneOfTheSheep http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70835 Fri, 15 Feb 2013 21:01:31 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70835 @Eric93,

The reason state and local taxation is as it is preserves the illusion of “local control” over education, etc. While, in the end, all the differences as result merely preserve “local inequities”, this reality is not widely perceived.

You are absolutely right that “If we want to get taxation under control then we need to get spending under control. ”

“If we don’t have uniform budgets, with uniform line items, then…” NO ONE IS… able to ‘compare and contrast’ the budgets of two states and see why one is run efficiently and another is not.” You got it! That’s why politicians will do anything and everything in perpetuity to see that such “apples and apples” comparisons are not possible!

Hope to hear more from you.

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By: PseudoTurtle http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70834 Fri, 15 Feb 2013 20:25:14 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70834 @ OneOfTheSheep —

(1) You state “You seem to believe that the cost of the “protection of the state” to assets of citizens should be bourne in proportion to the assets of each and not the number of citizens. I see absolutely no logic to support this belief.”

The logic, as I explained above, is that, if you put an assumed market value on the services a state provides — because nothing is free, and there are costs associated with running a state — then those who use and receive the most benefits should pay the most of the cost. That is the most equitable distribution possible.

Thus, ANY kind of flat tax, whether applied at state or federal level on either sales or income is WRONG, because a flat tax unfairly burdens a poor person who must support not only his/her meager existence, but also that of the wealthy individual who is getting a free ride on society. That is wrong no matter how you look at it.

For example, a wealthy individual actually uses the benefits of the state more than a poor person. Their personal protection is provided by the state (in terms of both police and military), they use more medical care, housing, education, food, clothing and retirement benefits (ignoring Social Security for the moment).

Thus, each should pay an amount of taxes according to the amount of services provided by the state.

That principle is in fact what this article is all about. Did you actually read it? Do you understand what it means? Apparently, not.

For example, from above “Before 1913, a slanted taxing system deepened the economic divide. Most federal revenue came from consumption taxes. People paid import taxes (the tariff) on everything from coffee to cook pans, and excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and other products.

To use the language of today’s conservatives, taxes were “flat and fair” – everyone paid the same amount. A poor cotton farmer paid the same tax on a pound of coffee that Jay Gould and other Wall Street tycoons paid for their pound of coffee. The tax was small. So it meant nothing to Gould. But even small taxes burdened the poor’s meager incomes.

Worse, when it came to the division of government outlays there was nothing “flat and fair” about it. The super-rich gobbled the lion’s share. Gould reaped millions in federal subsidies for his railway schemes, and millions more when the schemes went bust and the government bailed him out.

In short, the tax system redistributed wealth upward – to Wall Street financiers and the super-rich.”

THAT is where this country is heading, back to the “Golden Age” of the wealthy class, which WILL destroy this nation.

I also said that capitalism is inherently unstable — mainly because the wealthy class will inevitably destabilize this economy because of their proclivity to use the markets to speculate — which is proven by the history of this nation in terms of economic performance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rec essions_in_the_United_States

What is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to constrain capitalism in terms of taxation, trade and banking regulations.

OOTS, if you were in charge of this country and you had to select a management team (i.e. the wealthy controled government) to run it economically and efficiently so that you would obtain the maxiumum sustainable growth to benefit the most people, would you hire these people, given their track record?

I know what they are presenting as their “resume”, but if you run a “background check” on these people you will find they are totally incapable of running this country without repeatedly crashing it into bankruptcy.

WHY would you hire a management team like this?

This isn’t rocket science, nor do you need an advanced degree, or even a college degree to figure out what is happening. Simply the ability to read and understand what has happened in the past is all that is necessary.

That and an open mind.

Stop drinking their “kool aid”.

(2) What you are apparently confused about is what the state chooses to spend the taxes on, not the method of taxation, which are two different things entirely.

FIRST, a reasonable budget for the state must be created each year, not the “ad hoc” politically-driven legislative process that we have now, which is really the underlying problem that is generating government waste.

SECOND, the amount of taxes to be collected can then be calculated to support that budget. This should be a variable tax amount each year to adjust in real time for changes that occur. If this tax was based soley on income (i.e. those who benefit the most, should bear the most burden) with NO exemptions at all, the actual percentage of income tax would probably be very low, certainly much lower than it is now.

THIRD, as I said above, it is the state that is in the best position to decide how the tax dollars should be spent — which you may or may not agree with, but neither you nor I am in any position to run the government, which is why we have elected officials to do this for us — IN ORDER TO PROVIDE STABILITY FOR THE STATE.

That is the key to what I am saying.

Why does the state exist?

The answer should be to provide stability that benefits the majority of the population in terms of reasonable needs and requirements.

ANYTHING that destabilizes the state MUST be immediately suppressed. For example, like this so-called Tea Party tax revolt, which threatens to destabilize this country simply because a few greedy wealthy don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes.

(3) Your ideas about Social Security are wrong.

You state “I believe more along the line of “splitting this baby” as the Social Security tax does. Social Security was not set up to offer everyone an equal “level of dignity” in retirement because it was recognized that consensus on ANY “level” would be impossible. So the wage deduction only applied to a “basic range” of income within which different benefits would accrue, but within this range those paining in less would receive “more” and those paying “more” would receive proportionally less on their contributions.”

Social Security is NOT a tax. Social Security is a form of “social insurance” which has absolutely nothing to do with what we are talking about here. It was set to be a self-funded, stand alone insurance fund.

The problem is the government has commingled the trust fund with the General Fund (during the Johnson era) to make it appear the US economy was doing better than it was in actuality.

Johnson created a number of other programs as part of his is “Great Society” — Medicare, Medicaid and others — which he sold to Congress BUT THE FUNDING TO SUPPORT THESE ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS WAS NEVER APPROVED BY CONGRESS.

THAT is the problem with Medicare and Medicaid and others. The funding depends upon Social Security taxes, because they have no independent source of funding for themselves.

Social Security was NEVER designed to be anything more than an insurance policy for old age.

Social Security has been misued since it was created back in the 1930s, but the problem with it stems from the fact that the government has never been able to keep its hands off of it. Which is why it is insolvent right now, and the ONLY reason why it is broke — government malffreasance that would normally put commercial managers of the fund in jail.

WHY do I have to keep repeating these FACTS?

(4) You state “Our highway system has traditionally been built and maintained by fuel taxation, thus those using these roads and bridges pay more when they drive more. Those who do not drive do not pay such taxes.”

To which I reply that ANY consumption tax is counterproductive, because it increases the costs of products sold in the marketplace. You are wrong that “those who do not drive do not pay such taxes”, since they are passed on to the consumer, thus driving up prices and forcing down consumer demand — which means less profitability for businesses.

(5) You state “Our school taxes are not set up to make parents of those students who score best pay more. They are not collected only from families with children. They are collected, by and large, by a tax appraisal and collection system that can literally force people from PAID FOR homes in their old age by over-taxation. Let’s call this “equal-opportunity” oppression.”

Education should be run from the federal level — clearly attempting to run it from a state and local level has not worked since the US educational system is abysmal compared to any other OECD nation.

THIS is one of the items the wealthy should be paying for through income taxes, since a well-educated nation is in their best interest.

Right now, the wealthy would rather import educated people than accept the burden of paying for our own childen’s education. This is wrong! It undermines the stability of this country, and is creating a two-tier society of wealthy and poor.

Besides, why should ANY homeowner who does not have children be forced to pay for the education of others? That is nothing less than confiscation of personal property by the government without “due process” since the local school boards are always demanding more money for less performance.

(6) You state, “Our fire and police protection are similarly funded. Everyone, rich and poor, has equal right to demand the protection they have BOUGHT AND PAID FOR!”.

In principle you are correct, but as the poor well know they do not have equal right to demand and receive protection they have bought and paid for. The wealthy class receives much more police and fire protection than the poor, most of it paid for by the poor. This is wrong.

(7) You state, “My “point” here is that ALL citizens of these United States have “common cause” to pay on a single-family unit basis for good schools and such military capability as is necessary to assure the survival of our country AS WE KNOW IT indefinitely into the future.”

YOU ARE TOTALLY WRONG!

AS I STATED ABOVE, PAYMENT OF TAXES ON A PER CAPITA BASIS PLACES AN ENORMOUS BURDEN ON THOSE WHO CAN LEAST AFFORD IT, THUS IT TENDS TO DESTABILIZE THIS NATION.

THE ONLY RATIONAL METHOD OF TAXATION IS BY PROGRESSIVE METHODS APPLIED SOLELY TO INCOME.

How much money are we wasting as a nation by allowing the wealthy class to shift their tax burden onto everyone else. I doubt it can even be estimated.

(8) Unfortunately, you descend once again into your tradition rant, in which you babble incoherently which I will not even attempt to dignify with an answer.

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“EVERYTHING comes from the state…”. I have no doubt this has been the belief of each and every tyrant and would-be tyrant since time immemorial, but the state has nothing it did not take it’s citizens or as plunder of war, and most wars in recent years have been financial “tar-babies” utterly devoid of plunder. On the other hand, I agree that “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”, and that “…’enlightened self-interest’ should be the guiding principle for ALL of our laws”. But when you say “…we live in a totalitarian state now…” you leave all reality and credibility far, far behind. If your “opinions” expressed here are really “watered down”, you may well constitute a real and present danger to one and all outside of a mental institution.

You see “equity” as an absolute mandate of government, and yet were this implemented in the manner you suggest and to the extent that would require the “goose that lays the golden egg” would be killed. Americans tolerate our “well off” better than other countries because deep down every one of us hopes to someday join them, just as kids play baseball or football or basketball in hopes “lightning might strike” and they might become a sports legend. All golfers want to become Tiger Woods, and every garage band hopes to become the Stones. Any society that tears down those who achieve success does not achieve equity, but mediocrity.

So yes, America needs a tax “system” that subsidizes “basic” owner-occupied housing, like the two-bedroom house our “greatest generation” bought and raised families in, or decent “parks” for manufactured housing with nominal lots for sale or rent. It shouldn’t subsidize the construction or purchase of 4,000 – 5,000 sq. ft. McMansions the average citizen can’t afford to furnish, heat, cool, clean or maintain, or second “vacation homes” or Estates. We need common sense and balance instead if our current “if some is good, more is better” mind set.

I agree with COindependent that wealth is NOT “finite”! Wealth is created by many forces both long and short in duration all the time, and is destroyed similarly and not always in equal measure. Capitalism is the “magic” by which self-interest is harnessed to create a bigger pie when the rrest of creation os squabbling over how to divide one of fixed size or how to take something from someone else. Of all who criticize it, NONE can point to any alternate economic system that has achieved better results over a reasonable period of time.

COindependent is absolutely correct in observing that “…tax laws in this country are corrupted due to Congress (the political aristocracy) trading political favors for power, money and influence.” and that “If the tax laws were simple, consistent, and evenly applied, the majority of the issues relative to our “collective responsibilities” would be resolved.”

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As I said above to COindependent, and I have said to you previously, I cannot be held responsible for your abject lack of knowledge and education.

That goes for most of the rest of the contributors, as well.

Clearly, when reality conflicts with persal beliefs, reality must be rejected or your ego-centric world will collapse.

There is nothing I can do to open your minds to the truth.

That is why we will continue with this insane political and economic system until it destroys all of us.

I would say that it is you, and others like you, who present a clear and present danger to this country.

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By: Eric93 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70830 Fri, 15 Feb 2013 16:19:44 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70830 An excellent article in general. However one specific I always have a problem is why states should even be able to tax, and why some states tax too much and others tax not at all (at the income level) and yet both provide service. What I would suggest is that all income taxation be at the federal level and then monies be doled out at a constant ‘per capita’ level to each state. This would force states to stick to a common average level of spending per line item in the budget. I believe that much of the excessive spending in spendthrift states is because they are not being held to limits, and probably have no knowledge thereof, because , unlike in business where there are income statements and balance sheets, etc which are uniform, there are no uniform accounting standards for states. One wonders what they do at National Governors Conferences, or National State Comptrollers Conferences, besides ‘eat drink and be merry’ and sit on their thumbs at the taxpayers expense. And what about those in our Universities who are in so-called Municipal and Government Studies departments? Are they too sitting on their thumbs? If we want to get taxation under control then we need to get spending under control. And in a ‘united’ way, ie where these two ‘phenomena’ are known and understood across the country. If we don’t have uniform budgets, with uniform line items, then our so-called academics won’t be able to ‘compare and contrast’ the budgets of two states and see why one is run efficiently and another is not.

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By: thinkb4its2late http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70829 Fri, 15 Feb 2013 15:44:24 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70829 The problem with letting great wealth go untaxed is that it leads to the idea in the minds of the wealthy that they are somehow ‘better’ and more ‘deserving’ of privileged treatment. This undermines the basic concept of a democracy, which is that all men are created equal. Of course this has never been the case, but the principle that we are supposed to be striving for, that everyone does their fair share for the good of society. What is so astonishing is to hear wealthy individuals proclaim that they should not be held to the same standards, they are somehow exempt, straight out of George Orwell, ‘some are more equal than others’.
On the other hand there should be a limit to how much someone can be taxed and simplification of the tax code and elimination of deductions is long overdue. Bowles Simpson would be a step in the right direction.The sooner we get to an equitable tax structure, the less likely the poor will resort to taking out their revenge on the wealthy in the form of exorbitant taxes.

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By: NadrojCO http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/14/populists-plutocrats-and-gop-sales-tax/#comment-70826 Fri, 15 Feb 2013 13:43:37 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=17940#comment-70826 @OneOfTheSheep – Well Said!

I wish the majority thought as yourself and COindependent.

We live in a world with Finite resourses, this is true… But steps are being taken to change that. —www.planetaryresources.com — There are multiple corporations like this one gearing up to mine the solar system for natural resources.

This further supports the fact that wealth is not Finite and can continue to grow. As humans we have always expanded to increase our resources, this trend will never cease no matter the distance. Maybe I’m an optomist, but I envision the upcoming future much like Roddenberry. We may be going through a turbulent period with economic and political corruption, but the American people will only take so much. Eventually the change we need will be demanded, and thankfully we are fortunate enough to reside in a nation founded on democracy and the needs and desires of the people. All that’s left is getting the right ideas into the right hands and forum.

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