Social Question

CaptainHarley's avatar

What in the WORLD can be done about this?

Asked by CaptainHarley (22384 points ) September 20th, 2011

With the ever-falling value of the dollar, and the concomittant rise in prices, more and more people are losing their positions in society and adding the the ever-growing poverty lists. If you have the stomach for it, read this: http://news.yahoo.com/behind-poverty-numbers-real-lives-real-pain-151738270.html

Then try to come up with solutions.

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201 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

OK, the rule should be to make suggestions. Here’s mine: Let’s see…

Home Depot gave their retiring CEO Nardelli $250 Million when the company was going down the tubes. That is enough to cover 4000 jobs at $30,000 per year with $30,000 in benefits and taxes. Those 4000 families would be off the dole and on the tax roles.
But this is an isolated case, of course.
Oops! I just found Lee Raymond from Exxon got $400M There’s another 6,500 jobs.
Hey this is fun.
How about JT Battenburg III? Ripping off Delphi, being charged with fraud and having Delphi pay his legal fees. Another 2000 jobs.
Want more?
I’m sure the above gentlemen earned and were worth every penny by starting the companies, creating jobs and leading the company to roaring success. Oops! They didn’t and they didn’t. the got the money anyway On top of their salaries.

And don’t get me started on “assistance”. You want my asssitance you follow my rules.
Pregnant? The guy must be identified or you abort.
Obese and out of work? You got two months to knock off 10%.
Take drugs? You pee in cup. Assistance stops for three months if you test positive.
You go to the education center every day and learn how to use a computer.
Are you home every day? Clean the area in front of your house.

Here’s another one:
How about demanding any product purchased with federal funds or under federal mandate be made in the US? You want to madate CFL bulbs?. Make them in the US. Or support US factories so they can.
Follow the same rules as China If you want to sell a product here you must develop a localization plan and have it made in the US after 2 years..

Gosh, I’m on a roll and better quit before I break my keyboard. ;-)

wundayatta's avatar

Maybe we should be like other Western nations. Put a little money in poor people’s pockets. Expand the assistance programs.

gondwanalon's avatar

Getting a new Commander In Chief would help tremendously.

zenvelo's avatar

1. Pass the jobs bill.
2. Pass the jobs bill.
3. Pass the jobs bill.

You want to get people out of poverty? Stimulate the economy. The “job creators” (a.k.a. the rich) aren’t creating jobs, and haven’t been creating jobs.

@CaptainHarley The dollar is stronger lately against the Euro and the British Pound than it has been for quite a while.

SuperMouse's avatar

We all need to stop listening to divisive nincompoops and start listening to people like Robert Reich. Or even Jon Stewart for that matter.

People need jobs. We need to focus on creating these jobs. What we do not need to do is cut taxes again on the wealthiest Americans. We do not need any more overpaid CEO’s or multi-million dollar companies paying nothing in taxes. We do not need any more cuts to assistance programs. How about we put Americans to work getting our dilapidated infrastructure updated? Yeah, yeah I know, there is really no such thing as a “shovel ready” project so that is just a game of “hurry up and wait”. How about we cut through all the red tape while we’re at it and actually get this done.

On a more personal note, How about reinstating my financial aid so I can finish my degree and actually be marketable in an economy such as this?

@gondwanalon seriously? What exactly has President Obama done to cause this economy to tank? I would appreciate some details backed up with unbiased statistics rather than opinions.

syz's avatar

Yes, read the article. And then tell me how a certain party justifies extending tax breaks to the rich, not closing tax loopholes for corporations making record profits, and yet cutting funding for things like education, family planning, and any number of programs that help those least able to help themselves.

How do we live in a society that pays $100 million to a thug who beats dogs to death to play a game, yet lets children go hungry?)

marinelife's avatar

Jobs and economic growth are the only ways out.

rOs's avatar

Here is a series of disconcerting figures from Business Insider. They point to the underlying problem – the de facto standard of greed and corruption. The people in power have no interest sharing the wealth (why would they? It’s probably awesome if you have no conscious!), and their lobby sharks certainly block any policies that could lower their company’s profit margins.

I’m fed up with it, my friends and family are fed up with it, and I’m sure you are too. Thousands of people have recently occupied Wall St. People over Profit is the new way, and we hold all the pieces.

YoBob's avatar

Hmm…. we could always:

1) Use our tax and tariff system to encourage companies to hire Americans instead of outsourcing entire industries.

and

2) Move to a consumption rather than an income tax. In short, quit penalizing individuals as well as small business owners for turning a profit.

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, why do you think the falling value of the dollar is tied to poor job growth? Wouldn’t a low dollar actually increase our capacity for local manufacturing jobs to export products?

tedd's avatar

@YoBob Lowering taxes on the rich and our corporations will not change the fact that in China and various 3rd world countries they can pay their workers a tiny fraction of the minimum wage, and pollute without concern for EPA standards. Taxes will have little to no effect on jobs in that fashion. If you wanted to use tariff’s you would have to tariff imported products, something conservatives have been vocal dissenters against.

Penalizing individuals? Ok how about this, you seem open to a fair, across the board even tax rate right? Well it may shock you to find that the richest 1% or 5% in our country (who own more than 50% of all the money) pay less in taxes than the rest of the population. The highest tax bracket on income is 35%, but that’s not how most of the rich make their money. Warren Buffet doesn’t make his billions a year on income, he makes it in the stock market, as do most CEO’s and multi-millionaires. Do you know what the highest capital gains tax rate is?...... as of 2003/04, 15%…. I made 45,000 dollars last year and paid 22%!!

Make the rich pay their portion, and start using that money to prop up job creating legislation and regulations.

SuperMouse's avatar

@tedd, here is Warren Buffett’s take on exactly what you are talking about. Kudos to The Wizard of Omaha.

Smashley's avatar

On a simpler level, beyond all the machinations of politics and economics, education can go a long way. People are convinced they need many things that they don’t, and often have little perspective on what is needed to be happy and healthy, and how those things can be achieved.

I make about $8000 a year. I’m well below the poverty line, but I eat very well and I sleep very well, and I have enough spare time to pursue my many passions. When it comes, I will have lots of time to spend with my family. I have sacrificed many things that some people find essential: I have no tv, no hair stylist, no flush toilets, no Kindle, no smartphone, no microwave… but I also have no debt, many friends and the bounties of the earth- year round.

The caveat to this is that I qualify for free health insurance because of my income level, and quite frankly I find it absolutely shameful and unacceptable that you have to be poor for the government to give a shit about your health. I’m still weighing the options of staying in the US versus returning to Canada to raise my children, and access to health care is the number one factor that will go into that consideration.

Basically, what I’m saying is that knowledge and community go a long way. Get people active and start developing and sharing ideas for better living on fewer dollars, and people will get by on their own, even with minimal cashflow. Health care access is the only real thing I can absolutely say must be changed, on a policy level.

YoBob's avatar

@tedd – Yes, the root of the problem is that China and other 3rd world countries use what amounts to slave labor, and this is where most of the manufacturing jobs went a couple of decades ago. Now, the same phenomenon is happening in more skilled sectors like engineering. So… rather than encouraging companies to outsource we need to put a tax on outsourced labor as well as put a tax on imported H1B workers, thus encouraging companies to hire Americans.

It never ceases to amaze me the consistency with which the left leaning pull the whole “top 2%” thing out of wherever you guys store it. Bottom line is, according to the congressional budget office the top 10 percent of households with the highest incomes pay 70% of all federal income tax . Yes, there are the individual outliers who know how to work the system, but IMHO, these will exist no matter what system you use. Of course, the difficulty in finding opportunities to to “work the system” is one of the beauties of a consumption rather than an income tax. Food, housing, and a basic per-individual tax free allowance would be exempt, so those who barely scrape by would pay nothing. Above that, it doesn’t matter if you make your money digging ditches or selling crack, you will pay your taxes when you plunk your cash down at the register, and everyone generally consumes in proportion to their income.

tedd's avatar

@YoBob Of course the top 10% of the population pays 70% of all income taxes, they have like 95% of all the friggin money!

The argument we’re making is the top few percent in this country aren’t paying their fair share, because a huge chunk (if not the majority) of their money comes from capital gains, which are taxed at a 15% MAXIMUM rate. Meanwhile your middle class and lower class people are being taxed at 25% and higher! How is that fair?

And it would be great if we could tax foreign labor, maybe you should tell your local Republican congressman how you feel so they stop blocking legislation that does exactly that.

wilma's avatar

@worriedguy I think I’m in love with you.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh and while we’re at it… Everybody sacrifices something. Me included!
1) Fix social security and make people work longer. It was set up when people had a life expectancy of 62 so payments started at age 65. The men (sorry ladies) worked 40 years and died early. Times have changed. Come on! It is so obvious! For those of you on Social Security whining “I worked hard my whole life and deserve this” I say BS! You are still alive. You are still sucking air and resources. Get off your duff and do something productive. For shame that you sit home doing nothing and not contributing in some way!

Oh oh oh! (I must have forgotten to take my pills this morning.) Here’s another one.
2)If you are obese, Stop it, damn it! “Wah wah It’s genetic, it’s my thyroid, etc.. ” BS! In one generation we turned into a group of lumbering elephants. That ain’t genetics! That’s laziness and gluttony. I am tired of paying into the medical system because your “sugarbetes” acts up every time you shove another donut in the pie hole, and your knees and hips are bad! You’ve got the control over your own mouth. If the doc tells you during your annual physical to lose weight, you have two months to show 5 pounds of progress. If your weight goes up, the disability payments stop until you hit that level. Every year the level goes down. Eat less and exercise. Simple.

3) Oh and those Handicapped tags you have on your windshield? GONE! They should be short term only or for people missing a leg or incapable of walking. If you are at risk of heart failure, you should not be on the road. You are a hazard. For some people walking into the grocery store is the only form of exercise they get. Take advantage of it.

4)Oh here’s another. Add $2.00 per to the price of a gallon of gasoline and use that to fund the wars. That is $300B a year. everyone would feel a little pain and maybe, just maybe we’d all feel like we were sacrificing a bit. We are paying for it one way or the other. Put the charge up front and center

5) And quit saying this is Republican vs. Democrat vs. Liberal vs Conservative. BS! This is simple math. You can’t write the check if you don’t have the money- and you get the money by taxing people and corporations.

6) Quit saying we are taking from the rich. They got that way by one way or the other, taking from the poor – either by paying lower salaries, or charging more, or taking money from investors. Enough! What? $10M isn’t enough to keep you at a company? Screw you! If you want more go invent something!

Let’s see did I forget to insult anyone? Hmmm..rich, poor middle class, old, fat, thin…...... Oh yeah!
7)Lepers! Clean up after yourselves! Didn’t your parents teach you, “if you make a mess it’s your job to clean it up”? Well, I’m telling you now!

There! I feel a lot better.
Now I’d better get back to work. I have to keep this country moving!!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@wilma Aw shucks. I’m blushing.

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob I have to echo @tedd; it’s pretty low to complain about the top 10% paying so much in taxes when they have an even greater share of the nation’s wealth. See here:

“The top 10% have 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.”

I’ll also note that you left out payroll taxes, which the bottom 90% pay quite a bit of in addition to fed. income taxes.

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – Newsflash: Our country is based on free enterprise and rewards individual achievement. There will always be a top 10%. Unless, of course, you want to create a socialist utopia where the state takes care of everybody from cradle to grave regardless of merit…. (oh, wait, my apologies. I believe you have already stated you are a socialist in another question.)

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob I don’t see how that is a meaningful response to what I said.

Let me be clearer: why are you complaining about the top 10% paying 70% of the nation’s federal taxes, when the top 10% controls even more than 70% of the nation’s wealth, and virtually all of the nation’s income-producing wealth?

Qingu's avatar

I’m also a little disturbed that you pulled out a rant about “rewarding achievement” in response to facts about income inequality. Do you think multimillion golden parachute clauses for failed CEOs reward achievement? Do you think the financial sector, which almost single-handedly precipated the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression, deserves to control 40% of the nation’s GDP and reward its cronies with obscene bonuses?

If you think milliionares are being rewarded for some “achievements” they’ve accomplished, I’d love for you to point out what you think these great achievements are. Or maybe the problem is, I don’t think “making money off of money you’ve gotten from gaming the system” counts as an achievement. In fact, I see such people as parasites.

tedd's avatar

@YoBob Ok fine, the economy is based in individual accomplishment, great. Then why are the poor people being taxed at a higher rate?

rOs's avatar

@worriedguy I lurve your attitude today. What do you think about this recent article about working less hours? More time to invent!

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labour in freedom. ~Albert Einstein

Qingu's avatar

@tedd, duh, don’t you see? It’s an incentive for them to stop being poor! Why, if we let poor people pay less taxes proportional to their wealth than rich people, they’d just want to stay poor their whole lives. Coddling the rich serves as a good ol’ kick-in-the-pants motivation for everyone to become rich!

jrpowell's avatar

Pretty much nobody becomes a millionaire without a lot of little grunts doing shitty work for peanuts.

I still stick by my plan that the highest paid employee in the company can only make 20x what the janitor does.

YoBob's avatar

Taxed at a higher rate? Don’t know what type of math you learned but last I checked 0% (which is what those below the poverty line are taxed) is quite a bit less than the 35% that those in the highest tax bracket pay.

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob first of all, please answer my direct question to you. I asked it twice now.

Second of all, are you aware that poor people who pay no fed. income tax nevertheless still pay payroll taxes?

Third, are you seriously suggesting that we should be taxing poor people who have no net wealth and need all of their income to feed and shelter themselves?

tedd's avatar

@YoBob The middle class tax rate (the one I experience) is around 25%. The highest income tax bracket is 35%.

But the rich don’t make their money from income. Warren Buffet, and the CEO of every DOW-30 company don’t make their money from paychecks, they make it from stocks (aka capital gains). They are paid with stock options, that they can then sell and the tax rate they pay is the capital gains ratenot the income tax rate. The highest capital gains tax rate, is 15%.

And for your information, roughly 43% of the population pays no income tax (that’s the number I’m sure you’re referencing). However, the vast majority of them still pay Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid. Less than 15% of the US population pays nothing at all, and less than half of that receives money back directly.

jrpowell's avatar

@YoBob :: You are straight up lying. I have worked minimum wage jobs and got a bill from the IRS at the end of the year. I worked at a movie theater for $5.25 a hour and still had a good chunk of my check taken every two weeks and then I had to pay at the end of the year.

Ron_C's avatar

Apparently there is no real problem that can’t be solved by lowering taxes on corporations, rich, capital gains, and providing corporate subsidies.

Ask Rich Perry, Mit Romney, and Ron Paul. By the way, the guy living on Social Security is participating in a Ponzi scheme.

Ron_C's avatar

@worriedguy amazing answer, I am pretty sure that everybody is insulted. Of course some people can’t handle the truth.

Qingu's avatar

@johnpowell, he’s not lying in that more than half of Americans pay no federal income taxes (I’m not sure what your situation was, maybe you weren’t eligible for deductions?)

But as you correctly point out, that’s a deeply dishonest way to discuss the issue since almost all of those people still pay taxes, just in the form of payroll, state and local taxes.

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu

“are you aware that poor people who pay no fed. income tax nevertheless still pay payroll taxes?”

Yes, something which a consumption tax with the exemptions already mentioned would address….

“are you seriously suggesting that we should be taxing poor people who have no net wealth and need all of their income to feed and shelter themselves?”

Not sure where you got that idea, and it is this sort of response that compels me to generally not take you seriously.

As for your first question, not sure exactly which one you are referring to, but I believe it goes something like “don’t you know that there are folks out there making huge profits by being self serving a-holes”. To this I can only say that I think there will be no shortage of the criminally self serving no matter what system we work under.

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu

Ah yes, in our last discussion I believe you referred to me as a moron. Now in this one you are flat out calling me dishonest.

Once again, you will pardon me if I don’t feel particularly motivated to continue the discussion.

jrpowell's avatar

@Qingu :: Yes, that was my point. He made it sound like no taxes were paid.

Qingu's avatar

Did I call you a moron? Doesn’t sound like something I would say, and I don’t think you’re one. If I did think you were a moron, I wouldn’t call you dishonest (since a moron wouldn’t know better).

But let’s set aside the merits of consumption tax for now. I just want to pin down your position on the 70% thing. Because you still haven’t answered it directly. Do you actually think it’s unfair that the top 10% pay 70% of fed. income taxes… when the top 10% control more than 70% of the nation’s productive wealth?

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@YoBob ; I want to hear an answer too as I have been following this. Earlier you said “Our country is based on free enterprise and rewards individual achievement.” And I want to hear the answer to the following question from someone who shares a different outlook on things, so can you answer @Qingu‘s question:

If you think milliionares are being rewarded for some “achievements” they’ve accomplished, I’d love for you to point out what you think these great achievements are. Or maybe the problem is, I don’t think “making money off of money you’ve gotten from gaming the system” counts as an achievement.

tedd's avatar

@YoBob While ranting out against Qingu, you completely forgot to comment on the incongruities between the capital gains tax and the income tax rates.

That’s strange. Usually you’re a beacon of information.

YoBob's avatar

Quite simply, I think it unfair for anyone to pay taxes on income. At the end of the day we should be rewarding productivity, not taxing it.

It is my opinion (and last I checked I am allowed one of those), that moving to a consumption tax would make any argument about capital gains tax vs. income tax, and who controls what percentage of the wealth to be irrelevant, and if you look back at my initial response you will see that it is this simple suggestion that has, as usual, digressed into the usual argument about whether or not it is “fair” for a smaller percentage of the population to control a larger part of the wealth.

IMHO, life is rarely fair.

Ron_C's avatar

You know, I’m all for a person enjoying the fruits of his labor especially if he makes something, grows something, or invests in a company that makes things.

I don’t see how that applies to people that inherited money, trade stocks for a living, are hedge fund managers, or specializes in corporate take-overs. There are certain jobs that benefit society and others that harm it. I would much rather see a hooker get a tax break than a pimp that runs a lobbying firm.

The top 400 people own more than the bottom 50% That to me is a recipe for a revolution.

It wasn’t the middle class that invented derivatives, a middle class person didn’t spend our country into debt, we didn’t start wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Libya, why should we pay for them?

Qingu's avatar

You’re completely dodging the question, @YoBob.

Edit: And how in the world do you think a consumption tax would somehow make income inequality a non-issue? Maybe I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. At this point I’m not sure we live on the same planet.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@YoBob Yeah… you said the top 10% are top 10% because they are rewarded for achieving, but what have they achieved? I want to know where that thought came from. What is the validity to that statement? Specifics please.

YoBob's avatar

Nope, just answering in a manner consistent with my opinions on the subject.

I know you would like for me to say either:

Of course that is unfair. At which time you will go on to ask something like whether or not I believe taxes should be raised on that particular demographic and if not, why.

or

No that’s not unfair. At which time you likely somehow call into question my moral fiber.

The truth of the matter is, I believe that arguing about the individual inequities of sub-segments of system that I believe to be fundamentally broken is an exercise in futility, and it is my opinion that rather than quibbling over those inequities our energy would be much better spent talking about a complete overall of the system.

Qingu's avatar

Sorry, @YoBob, but believing that a consumption tax will usher in some sort of utopia doesn’t excuse you from the responsibility to back up your criticisms of the current system.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@YoBob So wouldn’t raising taxes on Capital Gains be reasonable if they aren’t going to overhaul the system? You say that the rich pay their fair share, but most the money that makes them rich isn’t getting taxed at the same rate as the middle class and poor. CEO’s that take in 11million a year might only be getting income tax on 1 million of that – why should the rest go at a lower tax rate?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Qingu

The falling value of the dollar ( which is known in some circles as “inflation” ) results in more poverty, not necessarily more joblessness. When people on a tight budget have to pay $10 a loaf for bread, that means less for them to pay on other necessities. Did you not read the article?

SuperMouse's avatar

@CaptainHarley you are known around these parts as having a somewhat conservative slant on things such as these. How do you propose we help Mr. Ricker feed himself and the family members that live with him? What do you think would help create jobs for workers like Mr. and Mrs. Cordova?

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, the word “inflation” was not mentioned in your article.

And inflation today is historically low. During the recession we actually had a small bout of deflation.

Can you please explain how you arrived at your conclusion that inflation has anything to do with the subject of that article?

gondwanalon's avatar

@SuperMouse You want me to provide unbiased political and economic statistics? HA! I think that you know that there is no such thing.
Nobody is happy about the performance of the U.S. economy and the lack of job creation. Obama is in charge and therefore must take much of the blame. It is actually a mistake for him not to accept the blame.

Qingu's avatar

@gondwanalon, Obama is not a dictator, and the US executive branch has limited authority over domestic matters. The Republican-led House and Senate filibuster abuse has repeatedly hampered his will. Republicans have refused to enact even modest attempts to help the economy that they once supported.

More importantly, Republican policies are what led to this mess. It’s insane to blame Obama for not digging us out of the hole fast enough when he (1) didn’t make the hole and (2) Republicans took his shovel away.

SuperMouse's avatar

@gondwanalon by your logic George Bush has plenty to answer for. Near as I can tell he inherited most of it. Two ridiculous, costly, and failed wars anyone? Now I would like to hear more about your theory about how Obama has single-handedly caused this recession. Bonus points if you can tell me how changing presidents will magically get us out of it.

Disclaimer: Please do not take my criticism of Bush’s rush to war as a criticism of our troops. I have been involved in enough of these types of discussions that I am very familiar with that old chestnut. I respect and support the men and women that serve our country and disagreeing with the the war doesn’t not change that.

gondwanalon's avatar

@Qingu @SuperMouse
As you know the U.S. Congress was led by Democrats for the last 2 years of Bush’s term and for the first 2 years of Obama’s. That’s 4 years of continuous Democrat control.

I’m no Bush lover. But like you indicated, he couldn’t do the things that he did without the help of the U.S. Congress. Yet Bush must accept the responsibility his mistakes as Obama must accept the responsibility for his bad economic policies.

Qingu's avatar

@gondwanalon okay. Can you tie any policies put forth by the Democratic Congress that caused the financial crisis? Can you identify any policies by Republicans that would have prevented the crisis, but were blocked by Democratic congress?

Is there any reason you’re leaving out the 6 years of Republican control over both branches of government that set the stage for lax regulations that led to the financial crisis?

Do you have any understanding whatsoever of what caused the financial crisis, or the economic situation we now find ourselves in (a liquidity trap), or how economists believe US policy can help create jobs? Or are you just taking pot shots at whoever’s “in charge”?

gondwanalon's avatar

@Qingu I thought that this was a discussion about the current situation in the U.S. economy. Frankly I care about your theories the past.

I’m no expert in politics or economics. However I consider the following important factors that have hurt our economy:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will go down in the annals of corporate scandals as one of the greatest accounting scams committed in broad daylight. Barney Frank in particular and Democrats in general were to blame for this subprime mortgage crisis that damaged our economy.

Obama’s 787 Billion stimulus package was a failure.

The “Obama-Care” Bill is over-priced and likely unconstitutional. The U.S. is broke and just can’t afford it.

Obama’s current tax-the-rich bill will more likely tax the middle class because there aren’t enough millionaires’ and billionaires’ to tax enough to put a dent in the deficit.

In my opinion it is obvious Obama is not helping but hurting the U.S. economy. And so I for one will vote accordingly.

Qingu's avatar

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will go down in the annals of corporate scandals as one of the greatest accounting scams committed in broad daylight. Barney Frank in particular and Democrats in general were to blame for this subprime mortgage crisis that damaged our economy.”

Pretty scary claims. Do you have any evidence whatsoever to support this? I know that “you’re no expert in politics or economics,” but can you try, at least?

“Obama’s 787 Billion stimulus package was a failure.”

No it wasn’t.

“The “Obama-Care” Bill is over-priced”
How’s that? It doesn’t add to the deficit.

“Obama’s current tax-the-rich bill will more likely tax the middle class because there aren’t enough millionaires’ and billionaires’ to tax enough to put a dent in the deficit.”

This statement is nonsensical. The bill says what it says; it isn’t calling for taxing the middle class. And raising taxes on the rich could yield $700 billion.

“In my opinion it is obvious Obama is not helping but hurting the U.S. economy. And so I for one will vote accordingly.”
Your opinion is based on demonstrably false claims and ignorance about politics and economics. But I think it’s cute that you’re trying to say that you’re voting against Obama based on his issues or policies—as opposed to the fact that you’re a Republican shill.

gondwanalon's avatar

I was just answering the good captain’s question.

Why do you feel the need for name calling? Why don’t you just relax?

We are both alike in that we are constantly bombarded with political rhetoric, propaganda and lies.

Where is the real truth to any of this mess? If you think that you know then you are the real stooge.

Qingu's avatar

I’m confused. Aren’t you saying you know enough “real truth” to vote against Obama?

If you’re willing to admit you don’t know anything, why are you supporting one political candidate over the other?

gondwanalon's avatar

I admit that I don’t know everything. And I don’t totally trust anything or anyone, especially since Bush.

I’m a conservative. I like capitalism, low taxes, more personal responsibility and freedom.

Humm, I wonder who I should vote for? Whomever that is it would most likely someone who is not Obama. I would vote for Herman Cain if he had a chance to win.

Qingu's avatar

What makes you think that Obama doesn’t like capitalism?

Obama has cut taxes for 98% of Americans. He wants to return the richest Americans to Clinton tax rates. What makes you think Obama doesn’t like low taxes?

What makes you think Obama doesn’t like personal responsibility?

What makes you think Obama doesn’t like “freedom”?

It doesn’t appear that you’ve put much thought into this. It appears that you’re voting based on vacuous slogans and a basically tribal identification with “conservatives.”

CaptainHarley's avatar

SIGH! In my book, anyone who thinks that by bailing out failing financial firms to the tune of over a TRILLION dollars was an attempt to “save the economy” is seriously deficient. And anyone who still likes Obama after all he’s put us through is truly demented.

gondwanalon's avatar

@Qingu Well, there you go again! Please cool it with the name calling. Thank you.

Does Obama like a small government also. HA!!!

Obama plans on raising taxes as part of his jobs bill.

dabbler's avatar

Some things at the top of my list:
Change laws about corporations so that :
—it’s clear they are Not persons and do Not deserve the rights that persons do.
—their boards are more obliged to look after the prosperity of their companies and their shareholders.

A financial transaction tax. That will cut speculation (which is 100% parasitic) and reduce and stabilize commodity prices.

Stop allowing personal income of fund operators to be considered capital gains, it’s not, it’s personal income.

Universal health care for two reasons : eliminate the insurance companies’ middle-man/piece-of-the-action inefficiency; best boon to small business Ever.

Bring back tariffs to encourage domestic industry, especially for things that are vital to defence and basic needs ( e.g. electronics – chips and assemblies and finished goods ).

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley was “your book” written by someone who knows the first thing about finance or macroeconoics? What do you think would have happened without TARP? (And you do realize the program was initiated and halfway doled out under Bush, not Obama, right?)

And why did you cite that? What data am I looking at? I mean, are you aware that the inflation rate right now is under 2%, or are you just speaking out of total ignorance?

Qingu's avatar

@gondwanalon,

First, I’ll note that you answered not a single one of my questions.

You didn’t mention small government in your original post. Why do you favor small government? How small are we talking?

Obama does plan on raising taxes… on the rich. Why are you opposed to raising taxes on the rich?

He’s cut taxes for the bottom 98%. Rememember the stimulus bill? Did you know that a good chunk of the stimulus bill was tax cuts for 98% of Americans?

SuperMouse's avatar

@captanharley, what would you do?

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, core inflation—minus volatiles like food and energy—is 2%.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

Jaxk's avatar

After reading all these replies, I had to go back and check the question. Yup, it seems to be about how to correct the poverty problem. And the only real fix is to create jobs. I can’t help but wonder why so many people would think that raising taxes would create jobs. It doesn’t matter whether it raising taxes on the rich, the poor, or the middle class, raising taxes, doesn’t create jobs, period. I should also add that expanding welfare doesn’t create jobs, extending unemployment doesn’t create jobs, and raising the price of anything doesn’t create jobs. And just for good measure, the Obama jobs plan, doesn’t create jobs.

If you want to create jobs, you need private investment in our economy. Incent investment and for god’s sake stabilize the business environment. Let Boeing build the plant in S. Carolina. Why the hell are we fighting against that? Is it because we don’t want more jobs, construction or factory jobs? We’ve got over a $trillion parked overseas, let the companies bring it back to the US. Hell it isn’t doing us any good overseas and is likely to be spent overseas doing things like build more factories there instead of here. What the hell is the problem? We have the largest oil discovery ever in the gulf of Mexico and it is sitting idle while the government debates the lease agreement in court. Pump the oil, it not only helps with our domestic supply but also creates jobs. What the hell are we thinking?

There are so many things we could be doing to create jobs without spending a dime of tax money. Instead we’re haggling over whose taxes should be raised or whose ox should be gored. And frankly, it seems like this administration is dead set against any attempt to create jobs except Czars for god only knows what.

28lorelei's avatar

I agree with @Jaxk that we have to create jobs, but raising taxes on the rich would help the government get the money to do that. And stop fighting all those overseas wars!

RandomMrdan's avatar

I’m not sure it will ever be fixed. There might be ways of fixing it, but I doubt anything will ever come to pass anytime soon to fix all of this. Maybe I hold a very pessimistic view on the future of not only this country, but the rest of the world as well.

I came across this video that I think relates to a lot of this. And like the video states… it would seem the house of cards has been built, and there really isn’t an easy way to dismantle it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEtBcBDgkKA

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Jaxk

Great answer, dude! : )

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, you don’t think that hiring construction workers to build infrastructure creates jobs? I guess construction workers who work on government projects don’t have “real jobs.” Same with teachers who work at government schools.

You should tell them that sometime.

Also, we are fighting against the S. Carolina Boeing plant because Boeing broke the law. We are a nation of laws. Are you saying the government should not punish illegal actions if those actions create jobs? If you’re saying that the union laws that ostensibly motivated Boeing to move the factory there should be repealed, that’s another matter—but laws are laws, and until they are repealed, you have to follow them.

Finally, I never ceased to be amazed at your views on tax cuts—more specifically, your views on why tax cuts favored by Republicans somehow work while tax cuts favored by Democrats don’t. You support the Bush tax cuts and tax cuts for the wealthy, but you don’t support payroll tax cuts in Obama’s jobs plan. I don’t know why you think anyone but fellow Republican zombies take your views seriously on this matter.

Qingu's avatar

@RandomMrdan, I haven’t watched the video… but I think talking about getting stuff “fixed” is the wrong language to use. The economy is not this binary thing that is either working or non-working. There are degrees of working; there are degrees of misery. And there are things the government can do that will help, even if they don’t decrease unemployment to an ideal state.

During the Great Depression, unemployment peaked at around 25%. Then the New Deal’s spending projects reduced it to 13%. Now, 13% is still very high, and a lot of people were still miserable. The 1937 economy was not “fixed.” But it was still much, much better than the 1933 economy.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@Qingu You should check out the video… it might be information you already know of, but what I liked about it, is how simple they made it so that most people should be able to understand in a way, why our economy is messed up.

I see your point on my phrasing… so, I’ll rephrase it for you… I don’t for-see anything changing from the “status quo” in how the government operates that is going to help reduce unemployment or improve the economy in this country. I’m starting to think this country is becoming ass backwards in a lot of ways. And it’s just frustrating to feel as if there is little to nothing that us “average” people can do to change the course we seem to be on.

Qingu's avatar

Well, you can vote out of office the Republicans who have explicitly said they want to maintain the status quo, do nothing to help the economy or regulate finance, and let the magic “Invisbile Hand” solve the unemployment crisis. If Republicans didn’t control the House, our situation wouldn’t be ideal but it would be a lot better.

gondwanalon's avatar

@Qingu

I prefer not to go into all of the issues that you present which seem to be going in circles and go nowhere.

If you are knowingly spouting off purposely skewed information (rhetoric/propaganda) then you are speaking mostly to true liberal believers and you fool only the weak. I can see right through you.

If you truly believe the ideas that you have presented here as absolute truth, then I just feel sorry for you.

I’m sure that you are a nice person and I wish you well. But I encourage you question what you believe to be true as well as everything that you hear and read.

It is going to be a long and ugly political year in 2012. I think that we both can agree on that. HA!

Qingu's avatar

Again: why are you telling me to question what I believe? Shouldn’t you be questioning what you believe? Considering much of what you believe is demonstrably incorrect, don’t you think it’s rather important to take the needle out of your own eye?

I get the sense that you’re not actually interested in whether or not the things you believe—that Obama is anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, pro-taxing the middle class—are actually true. And that says a lot about both you and the political party you support.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Qingu

Son, you gots issues!

CaptainHarley's avatar

When the cost of living and unemployment become the subjects of popular C & W songs, the problem is big. Keep in mind that this guy is singing specifically about the cost of gasoline and food… two items which the Feds do NOT include in their cost of living index.

http://youtu.be/JzHXO1x73JQ

gondwanalon's avatar

@Qingu I constantly question what I think is true in politics. I consider all political issues to be tainted with falsehoods (liberal and conservative). The apparent difference between you and I is that you seem to accept the liberal agenda to be true and I accept nothing to be totally true.

So you think that you know a lot about me? HA! You know practically nothing about who I am. Frankly your statements are quite illuminating as to who you are. HA!

As I had indicated above, I support the the GOP because it currently reflex more closely the type of government that I think is best for the U.S.A. I will to continue to do so at least through 2012.

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, the Fed doesn’t include food and gas because they are infamously volatile price indexes. You may have noticed a trend where gas tends to get really expensive in the summer when more people drive on vacations and demand is greater?

@gondwanalon, you seem to accept as truth that Obama is anti-freedom, anti-capitalist… all the claims you’ve made in this thread. You just wrote “I support the GOP because it reflex (sic) more closely the type of government that I think is best for the U.S.A.” Do you question this statement? Sure doesn’t seem like you do. Considering you’ve done nothing but mouth off GOP talking points throughout this question.

You have a double standard. Maybe you should take the stick out of your own eye?

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

For some reason, liberals seem to think they can shuffle money from one pocket to the other and solve things. Government spending doesn’t fix anything, it only creates more government. If we want out of this mess, we need private sector investment. If you can’t see that, you’re just not looking.

As for Boeing, another frivolous lawsuit. One designed to stop job creation. I guess you, like this administration, believe that if it’s not a union job, it’s not a job. No wonder we’re in such a mess.

As for the payroll tax cuts, they’ve been tried and failed. Bush tried them, they failed. Obama tried them, they failed. But you want to try them again. A great plan for those that never learn.

Qingu's avatar

Government spending doesn’t fix anything except, of course…
Roads
Schools
Police and fire departments
Pollution
Scientific research
Disaster relief

I could go on. But you know that. You’re not interested in honestly approaching the topic. You’re just interested in chanting slogans.

Boeing is not a “frivolous lawsuit.” They broke the law. You may not like the law. Hell, I might not like the law. But a law’s a law.

And, as in previous discussions, you haven’t revealed any consistent or rational mechanic for determining how tax cuts “work.” Unemployment is still obviously too high. But the payroll tax cut is putting money into the pockets of people who are spending it, which is buoying economic activity—and helping people keep the jobs they have. Economists say that letting the payroll tax cuts expire could cost the economy hundreds of thousands of jobs.

I don’t know whether or not your supply-side cultishness simply causes you to ignore such economists or if you’re just being dishonest here.

Jaxk's avatar

If you want to make a case for the federal government fixing potholes in the street go ahead and make that case. Just don’t try to sell it as some kind of stimulus for the economy, it doesn’t work. Roads, schools fire, police, are all state issues not federal. If you want to make a case for the federal government taking over the entire economy, make that case, just don’t try to sell it as economic stimulus.

Maybe you’d be OK with Boeing moving the plant to China as your guy Jeffery Immelt is doing. If you want to side with the union on blocking job creation, go ahead and make that case but it’s not illegal just because the Machinists Union says it is. Get real.

And I love your economists. “For support, Merkley cites an Aug. 1, 2011, analysis by economist John S. Irons at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.”

Now there’s a surprise. Twist it anyway you like, it still doesn’t wash. You’re mired in your ideology and can’t seem to find your butt with both hands. That’s OK, there are a lot of people in the Whitehouse with the same problem.

gondwanalon's avatar

@Qingu What is truth? Is it simply the opposite of a lie? I think that truth is more complex that that when it comes to politics in which there is no such thing as “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

Sadly there seems to be no absolute or real truth in this complex, uncertain and troubled world.

There are so many different people, and there are so many different ways to look at issues. I don’t see how there can be just one truth in complex political matters.

Truth to me is like liquid water. You can’t pick it up and hold it as it always runs away through your fingers. So I cup as much truth as I can in my hands for as long as I can and keep reaching for more to quench my endless thirst.

Good luck with your truth. And may the best Presidential candidate win in 2012! The future of the U.S.A will depend upon it.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, what do you mean “it doesn’t work”? You keep on saying that. People who fix potholes, repair schools, and do scientific research have jobs. Those jobs are paid for by the government. They spend the money they earn at their jobs on other businesses. Those businesses, in turn, can make more profits and hire more workers.

And no, I’m not okay with Boeing moving to China. Why don’t you read my post more closely? I said I’m ambivalent about union laws myself. Unions are deeply problematic. I’m not going to say we should get rid of all the laws overnight, but I can definitely see how they hold back job growth.

But you are completely missing the point, and it’s a little scary how much you’re missing it. Whether or not you agree with a law is separate from the issue of whether or not people who break the law should be punished. I don’t think pot should be illegal. But if I get caught smoking pot, I can’t exactly act surprised and say “but legalizing pot would create so many jobs!”

And finally, Politifact did not just cite Economic Policy Center, they cited the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center as well.

I can’t even begin to tell you how weird it is that you are lecturing me about ideological blindness, @Jaxk. I mean, I at least know the general principles behind the supply-side economics that you seem to have so much devout faith in. I know about monetary policy; I’ve admitted that such things can work under circumstances. You, on the other hand, either have no clue whatsoever how the other side of the partisan debate even works… or else you’re pretending you don’t because you are a dishonest shill.

Qingu's avatar

@gondwanalon, I don’t see how there can be one truth either. Reality is complex.

I do see how certain candidates can be more truthful than others. I do see how certain claims—particularly ones you’ve made—can be exaggerated, nonsensical, or outright false.

You are right to be skeptical. But skepticism doesn’t mean that you have no responsibility to fact-check your claims and your beliefs.

I remain confused as to why you are spouting off about metaphysics. You support the GOP. When asked why, you rattled off a bunch of false and misleading statements. Are you now trying to argue that it’s okay that your support is based on false and misleading claims, since there’s no such thing as truth anyway?

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

You seem to miss the big picture. Government creating jobs doesn’t work. Hell, their latest attempt at Green Jobs costs us about $5 million/job. And how do they pay for that? They either raise taxes or print money. Both of which take money back out of the economy. Taxes reduce the expendable income and printing money mere makes it less valuable. You end extracting money from the economy rather than injecting it.

There is no criminal case against Boeing, only a complaint from the Union.

Qingu's avatar

“Government creating jobs doesn’t work.”
—Why do you think repeating this nostrom over and over is an effective debate strategy?

“Hell, their latest attempt at Green Jobs costs us about $5 million/job.”
Walk me through that math. I read that the money is loan guarantees, not spending.

Not that I think the green jobs programs is an unqualified success. But you’re misrepresenting its flaws, and you’re also ignoring the fact that government did create or preserve millions of jobs with the stimulus.

You also seem bizarrely incapable of even admitting the existence of jobs like teachers, police officers, scientific researchers, and road construction crews. Are you actually disputing that these people have “jobs”? I’d appreciate a direct answer to this question, @Jaxk, because you have repeatedly implied that they don’t.

“They either raise taxes or print money. Both of which take money back out of the economy.”
Raising taxes on wealthy people does not take much money out of the economy because wealthy people tend to save, rather than spend, their marginal money. Printing money does not take money out of the economy when the economy is operating in a liquidity trap with tremendous demand slack.

Again—these are basic, obvious, Macroecon 101 ideas. The fact that you are blissfully unaware of them should give you pause.

“There is no criminal case against Boeing, only a complaint from the Union.”
I never said there was a criminal case against them. I said they broke the law. The NLRB, the agency in charge of such things, ruled that they broke the law. Are you disagreeing and saying that Boeing did not in fact retaliate against union activity by relocating the plant? Because if they did, they broke the law.

rOs's avatar

I’m no expert, but don’t these figures show the obvious “big picture”? The top 1% could solve many of our problems by simply being more responsible/accountable about ‘business expenses” (e.g. company paid vacations, cars, private jets/yachts, big screen, and other ‘perks’), reduced pay for CEO’s, and by making fewer illegal bribes to politicians. I’m sure that would save them more than enough to pay the higher taxes they should be paying. There’s your government money right there.

Unless you belong to the top 1%, then there is no reason to protect a political position that clearly means keep things the way they are.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

Here’s the simplest way to explain the issue of jobs to someone such as yourself. For every government job you create, it takes about 15 private sector jobs to pay for it. At $100K the cost to the government is about $150K including benefits. At $100K the average tax rate is about 10%. You would need to create 15 private sector jobs to pay for it. It’s a losing proposition. To make it worse, even the CBO has estimated the cost per job to be much higher than the salary ranging from $200K to $560K. And that assuming you believe the made up number about jobs ‘Saved’. It’s a loser, no matter how you slice it.

Yes, I’m saying Boeing did not break the law by relocating their plant. Because they aren’t relocating they’re plant. The new plant is in addition to the old one, it’s not replacing it.

SuperMouse's avatar

“Son you got issues”, making statements about booting Obama, and saying there is really no reason to raise taxes on the rich seems to be about all the conservatives in this thread seem to be offering. Come on now, let’s here how you are going to help the people in @captainharley’s story. One person (I believe it was @Jaxk) mentioned creating private sector jobs. How do you want to get that done? Don’t give me that crap about lowering taxes either because we all know GE paid no federal income taxes in 2010 and I can’t help but wonder how many jobs they added to their domestic payroll in that year.

So how are y’all going to increase employment?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Qingu

Excellent use of Democrat Party talking points… really!

gondwanalon's avatar

@Qingu Put all fact checking aside for a second.

A basic difference in political philosophy is what is really at the heart of this. You think that the U.S. would be better off with Obamas liberal ideas and I think that a more conservative approach would be better. You are entitled you your opinion.

You say that I “rattled off a bunch of false and misleading statements”. Like you are not guilty of doing the same. Please get real.

Back to fact checking. A couple of times you have mentioned fact checking to support claims and beliefs. Well lets just say that you have your propaganda sources and I have mine. There is no place to get unbiased information. And that is the absolute truth!

syz's avatar

“It is not “class warfare” to ask the rich to pay their fair share of taxes to bring down America’s long-term debt.

After all, the richest 1 percent of Americans now takes home more than 20 percent of total income. That’s the highest share going to the top 1 percent in 90 years. And they now pay at the lowest tax rates in half a century.

Before 1981, the top marginal tax rate in America was more than 70 percent. And now it’s half that, and besides, most of the very wealthy take their income in capital gains. And that’s now taxed at 15 percent—down from 35 percent as recently as the 1980s.

Anyone who says the American economy suffers when the rich pay more in taxes doesn’t know history. We grew faster the first three decades after World War II—when taxes were higher—than we have since.

And look: If the rich don’t pay their fair share, the rest of us have to bear more of a burden. And that burden comes in the form of either higher taxes or fewer public services.

If anything, the people who have declared class warfare are those at the top of big corporations and Wall Street—and they’ve declared it on average workers. The ratio of corporate profits to wages is higher than it’s been since before the Great Depression. And even as corporate salaries and perks keep rising, the median wage keeping dropping, and jobs continue to be shed.

I mean, you’ve got the chairman of Merck taking home $17.9 million last year. And then this year Merck announces plans to boot 13,000 workers. The CEO of Bank of America takes home $10 million, and the bank announces it’s firing 30,000 workers.

Call me old-fashioned, but the way I see it, we’ve got a huge budget deficit and a huge jobs problem. And under these circumstances it seems to me people at the top who have never had it so good should sacrifice a bit more, so the rest of us—who haven’t had it as bad in decades—don’t have to sacrifice quite as much.”

Robert Reich

SuperMouse's avatar

Solutions people, this question is asking for solutions! @gondwanalon, @Jaxk, @CaptainHarley what are your solutions for helping these people out of poverty? This question seemed to begin as a very earnest plea for help for some folks who are facing pretty rough times. What are the conservative ideas for fixing this? If you really don’t think the government should do anything for those who are struggling don’t be afraid to come out and say so.

@syz, I freakin love Robert Reich.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@SuperMouse

Other than low-interest loans to those wanting to start their own businesses, and getting rid of most of the Federal Government’s meddling regulations, I don’t have any solutions. That’s why I asked the question.

SuperMouse's avatar

@CaptainHarley I don’t want to start my own business, I want to finish college so I can teach high school students with special needs. Should I be able to get a low interest loan for that? What regulations would you like to see removed that can help the situation?

jonsblond's avatar

I love what the following college students are doing: ABC News

“The average US back to college shopper was expected to spend more than $800 this season—$46 billion in total. If all of that was spent on US-made goods, economists say, that could result in almost a half-million new jobs.”

baby steps

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I don’t really know where to begin in my responses to you sometimes. I guess I’ll start by pointing out that, as usual, you have dodged almost all of the points under discussion, you have neglected to answer the questions I’ve raised, and you have not remotely defended any of the absurd claims you have made.

As to the “It takes 15 private sector jobs to pay for a government job,” again, I’m not even sure where to start: did you just make this up off the top of your head? First of all, so what? Even if this were true, how is this a response to anything I’ve said? The fact that tax revenue is needed to pay for government jobs means the government should not hire people during a recession, when “crowding out” does not apply? Huh? Second, why are you ignoring the revenue that government jobs generate? Whether directly (research, arms sales) or indirectly (providing an educated labor market)? Thirdly, no, we’d better leave it at that, since you have a habit of simply not responding to counterpoints.

As for Boeing, whether you want to call it “relocation” is immaterial and you know it. They were originally going to expand operations in Washington, but instead—in pretty clear retaliation against union strike there—they built the plant in SC instead. That’s illegal. You don’t have to like the law. I’m not sure I like the law. But the law’s a law. If they did break the law, do you think they should be able to get away with it?

Qingu's avatar

@gondwanalon,

“A basic difference in political philosophy is what is really at the heart of this. You think that the U.S. would be better off with Obamas liberal ideas and I think that a more conservative approach would be better. You are entitled you your opinion.”
Everyone is entitled to opinions. I simply don’t think you’ve put any thought into yours. Lord knows your opinions about Obama aren’t based on reality; can you actually show your opinion on conservative governance’s superiority is based on reality?

“You say that I “rattled off a bunch of false and misleading statements”. Like you are not guilty of doing the same.”
I’m not. If you think I am, please tell me what I’ve said that’s false or misleading. Please be specific. I am more than happy to correct myself if I’m wrong.

“Back to fact checking. A couple of times you have mentioned fact checking to support claims and beliefs. Well lets just say that you have your propaganda sources and I have mine. There is no place to get unbiased information. And that is the absolute truth!”
So if I said “gondwanalon is a child molester,” we wouldn’t ever be able to tell for sure? You might have your sources that say there’s no evidence that you are such, but I have my sources too (which I may well have just made up and sent in a chain e-mail). There is no truth, so how can we know you’re not a child molester?

Is this really the road you want to go down? You sound like a nihilist. Except you’re not even a nihilist. You’re a garden variety conservative. But when I ask you to defend your beliefs, you retreat into nihilism, tell me there’s no such truth, and insist that your opinion is just as valid as mine. Maybe I can’t change your opinion, but I hope I can demonstrate to you and to others why I have zero respect for it.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Qingu

Not everyone wants to play by your rules, dude.

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, I understand that. Some people, particularly conservatives, are apparently happy playing by the “I’ll post this anti-Obama chain e-mail on Fluther without bothering to check if it’s remotely accurate” rules of political debate.

jonsblond's avatar

and some people ^^ only like to argue instead of adding anything positive or helpful to a discussion.

gondwanalon's avatar

@CaptainHarley Sorry about commandeering your question. Fluther will likely take some sort of action against me.

@Qingu I doubt that YOU can actually show your opinion on liberal governance’s superiority is based on reality. Because it is actually based on YOUR agenda and liberal propaganda. I don’t believe that you seriously don’t see that!

If you truly think that just about everything that you’ve said here isn’t tainted with political rhetoric and propaganda then you are either blind or you are one of the names that you called me earlier.

Yes I’m a conservative. I’m proud stand up and say that I’m a conservative. I refuse to be intimidated your name calling and hostility towards me.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@gondwanalon

Perfectly ok! That’s why I always put my posts under “Social.” : )

SuperMouse's avatar

@jonsblond to be fair very few in this thread have actually answered the question. There has been all kinds of partisan noise and arguing but very few actual ideas to solve the problem. Come to think of it, Fluther is a lot like GOP.

Ron_C's avatar

@SuperMouse I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. If there are no jobs then there will be no customers, if there are no customers, there are no manufacturers. Of course if there are no factories, there will be no jobs created. The only way to fix the problem is for someone to create jobs. If private industry won’t do it then the government must. Someone has to be the first to break the circle.

Obama actually has a good start. Rebuild bridges and roads is something that can be done and something we need. Too bad the High Speed rail project was killed by Republican governors. If people are working, they’ll spend money. Other people will see the various needs and fill them. The only thing that will stop real progress is if we continue with the trade agreements and no tarrifs. The idea is to build jobs and factories here, not in South America and China.

We also need to rebuild our government regulatory staff. The Republicans didn’t change many laws, they jsut made sure that there wasn’t enough money to enforce them. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy, Say that government doesn’t work then de-fund government to insure it doesn’t do its job.

I truly believe that congress has gone from just being awful to being evil and anti-American. Many, especially the Tea Party gang actually violate their oath of office by not protecting and defending the constitution.

So, @SuperMouse there is my plan:

1. Create infrastructure jobs
2. Protect American manufacturing
3. Elect a congress that believes in America, not foreign corporate power.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Ron_C wahoo! Totally not surprising to me that your plan leans leftward. Come on conservatives, share your plans!

YoBob's avatar

@SuperMouseI already did

As many have mentioned, jobs are absolutely key. IMHO we should be using our tax and tariff system much more aggressively to:

1) Protect American jobs by making it less attractive to outsource or import both skilled and unskilled labor.

2) Modify our system such that rather than acting as a regulatory and financial barrier, especially at the small “mom and pop” business level, it encourages small business to grow, thus creating jobs.

SuperMouse's avatar

@YoBob can you explain the details of your consumption tax idea and how it will help.

rOs's avatar

OK, everyone calm down and think for a second…

Now,

It seems that we would rather engage in circular arguments than supplement public discourse. After watching the torture and murder of a possibly innocent man last night, I thought it was finally obvious to people that our Nation’s unOfficials care very little about Human Rights, or public opinion, or the Constitution for that matter.

As an American, I take issue with this kind of sloppy, barbaric governance.

The information war is clearly raging everywhere- One side is trying to inform us about injustice and corruption, and the other wants you to go back to your TV, parties, and tweet about how much the new Facebook sucks.

It’s simple, either you see that Greed is destroying everything Our Country is supposed to stand for, or you haven’t noticed yet. We can quote statistics at eachother all day long (seriously, just look at these), but it won’t change the fact that many of our fellow Americans suffer and struggle against oppression while the rest of us eat cake.

If we can’t find common ground in the simple facts with each other here, how can we expect our Government to figure it out? Change starts with us.

rOs's avatar

Politics are not about left / right anymore. We should be talking about right / wrong.

YoBob's avatar

@SuperMouse – I’ll be happy to, but first I would like to point out that the idea of using the tariff system to protect American jobs has been put fourth by other more left leaning members of this discussion. @dabbler comes to mind:

“Bring back tariffs to encourage domestic industry, especially for things that are vital to defence and basic needs ( e.g. electronics – chips and assemblies and finished goods ).”

I would like to say how refreshing it is to find something on which a left and a right leaning member of the discussion can agree.

As for a consumption tax, the philosophy is rather simple. Our tax and tariff system is more than just a means of generating revenue, it is a tool that can and should be used to direct private industry, both individuals and companies, towards decisions that are beneficial by rewarding the desired behaviors and making the less desirable behaviors less attractive.

In Texas, rather than a state income tax we employ an at the register sales tax. No messy payroll withholding, no end of year tax forms, and it seems to have worked quite well for a good number of years. I propose that we do the same thing at a national level. It’s been a couple of years, but last time I checked it would only take around a 10% tax on all non food and housing purchases to equal the revenue we currently draw from our income tax system. Further, every citizen could be given a generous tax free allowance to cover the basics of living.

Is it regressive? No, in fact it is naturally progressive. The poor are unlikely to spend anything above the tax free allowance so will pay exactly zero, and if they have enough disposable income to pay above that yearly allowance then they aren’t as poor as they pretend. The middle class and the rich, on the other hand, will be paying in proportion to their spending. If you don’t have income for many luxury items, you won’t pay much tax. If, on the other hand, you are plunking down wads of cash for that new Lexis, you will pay in proportion to your consumption.

Does it encourage growth of small business? Yep, instead of sucking the profit out of mom and pop’s corner store, they can use the money that they would have been paying in income tax to hire an employee. Oh, wait, doesn’t that reduce the amount of money they would be spending at the register? Perhaps, but I would rather that money go towards giving someone a job that giving them an unemployment check.

Does it encourage fiscal responsibility at an individual level? Don’t really think I need to elaborate on that one.

One additional side effect is that there aren’t a gazillion loop holes for “the rich” to exploit. Further, it would have a tendency to drive the underground economy to the surface, for it wouldn’t matter if you make your money digging ditches or selling crack nor does it matter if you are a citizen or an “undocumented worker”, when it comes time to purchase something you pay your taxes just like everyone else.

SuperMouse's avatar

@YoBob don’t tell me let me guess, the liberals in power have fought it tooth and nail for no good reason right?

YoBob's avatar

@SuperMouse – Near as I can figure, yep…

OTOH, perhaps it’s just because the idea is considered “conservative” and god knows agreeing with anything that that those evil conservatives say would be the epitome of political incorrectness.

28lorelei's avatar

There are even bigger problems out there than the US’s internal problems: all the money is controlled by 15% of the world population, while the other 85% has nothing at all and lives in poverty. Not to mention, global warming will render the tropical areas uninhabitable within 100 years if we keep polluting at this rate. And what are we doing about these problems? Well, we are doing something about the environmental crisis, but not enough. Not to mention, we aren’t doing anything near what we should be doing about the unbalance of money. And I also say that in the US govt, we should have senators and representatives who represent the common people (e.g. have their kids go to public schools, have a normal house and life), not just the millionaires.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The jobs market “crash.” if you will, has affected my own family, with both my son and my wife’s son-in-law having lost jobs that simply… evaporated. My son has subsequently found a job way outside his usual field, and it looks as though Vicky’s son-in-law may finally find one in his chosen field. The point of this is that both of these men have young children who depend upon them, and both had relatively high-paying positions. If my own family is affected this deeply by the stagnant job market, how bad must it be for others, and what can be done about it??

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, worth pointing out that Texas has among the worst records in the country for education and health care. You get the society you pay for.

Also, guess what kind of jobs Texas gained the most of? Government jobs.

_Over the last few years, government jobs have been awfully consequential in Texas: 47% of all government jobs added in the US between 2007 and 2010 were added in Texas.
The chart shows that Texas employment wasn’t down much at all in these years, as the state lost only 53,000 jobs. But looming behind that number are large losses in the private sector (down 178,000) and large gains (up 125,000) in government jobs._

Source

Which is fine with me! But I think you’re playing fast and loose with cause and effect…

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – Erm…as a result of rampant illegal immigration, not because of the way we generate revenue.

So, what’s your point?

Qingu's avatar

Are illegal immigrants counted in education and health care surveys?

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – Yes they are. Most of the poor performing schools are populated by very high percentages of the children of illegal immigrants who enter our public school system completely illustrate and having not been introduced to even the most fundamental concepts of math or science. These lie in sharp contrast to our higher performing schools such as the math and science magnate school my son attends (ranked in the top 25 high schools in the country).

As for health care, it is the illegal immigrant who is least likely to have any sort of insurance coverage. So, their only choice is to use the emergency room for their basic health care needs.

That being said, what the heck do these issues have to do with the topic of the state of Texas approach to taxation?

Qingu's avatar

Weren’t you holding up Texas as a beacon of how this approach to taxation creates jobs?

Also, wouldn’t the huge amount of illegal immigrants (i.e. cheap undocumented labor bereft of legal protections afforded to citizens) also help create jobs?

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – Yep, it sure seems we have enough jobs available to keep the day labor market booming.

Not sure exactly what you are getting at with your statement about huge amounts of illegal immigrants creating jobs. IMHO, they tend to fill jobs that I would rather see go to American workers.

But yet again, this is way off topic. Do you have a relevant point to make?

Qingu's avatar

The availability of extremely cheap and unregulated labor probably has much more to do with job growth in Texas than any sort of conservative tax scheme.

High population growth also drives demand (those immigrants need to buy stuff), which also helps create jobs.

My point is that you have proposed a correlation without causation. There are many other factors at work in Texas and it seems much more likely that a high population and cheap labor are responsible for jobs—not that I’m even buying the “Texas creates jobs!” thing since it hasn’t created net private sector jobs, just government jobs!

rOs's avatar

I work for a company that calls excavation/construction/plumbing/lawncare/etc and Emergency Responders all over the Country (about free pipeline safety meetings). I guess you can say I’m a bit of an amateur sociologist – I pay a attention to who does what where. I pay attention to how many numbers have been disconnected. I hear how many people have had slow business, or have had to close down in the recent years. Most people sound downright angry or depressed. Whatever it is, it has affected everyone.

@YoBob I really don’t want to get dragged into this, but I can attest to Latin-Americans creating jobs. They account for a good portion of Construction related businesses, and unsurprisingly their employees were often “white”.

Please stop spewing prejudiced rhetoric – the people don’t need another Cowboy drawing differentiating lines in the sand. Maybe if we actually cared about them, they wouldn’t have to live on the fringe of society. What gives you the right to say that ‘Juan’ is less worthy of America than ‘John’?

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – I merely pointed out that Texas uses an at the register sales tax in order to generate revenue and that the system has been working for a number of years. Further, the reason I pointed to this example is to show that such a system is not just some wild theory. It has been rather successfully in use in one of the largest states in the union for decades.

It is you who are attempting to make a correlation without causation and attribute that correlation to me in an attempt to discredit. While I make no claim that moving to a consumption tax is a universal panacea that will cure all our ills, given that we should be encouraging productivity rather than taxing it, it seems quite a bit more sensible to me that our revenue generation mechanism should reflect those goals.

Alright, here’s your queue…. what’s it going to be today “idiot”, “moron”, “lair”, or do you have some new epithet at the ready for those who don’t share your opinion?

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, again, I don’t believe I’ve ever called you any of those names.

Anyway, I still don’t see how you’ve arrived at your conclusion. It seems like there are way too many other factors in Texas to consider—not to mention the fact that Texans still pay income tax—to determine if the sales tax approach “works,” or what the mechanics are for it “working.” I’m not necessarily opposed to it. But I think you’re overstating its effectiveness, even considering you’ve said you don’t think it’s an all-cure for the economy.

YoBob's avatar

@rOs – If you want to talk about illegal immigration, please start another thread. The topic at hand is the merits of a consumption tax. (FWIW- I count in my immediate family more than a few Hispanics, some of whom are in the construction industry, so I rather resent you assuming racist intent)

@Qingu – With due respect, what conclusion? It is a fact that Texas has been operating quite effectively for decades using a sales tax rather than an income tax for revenue generation. The only “conclusion” drawn is that this system has been proven workable and is worth considering on a National level.

FYI, Texans do not pay a state income tax. Unlike other states, our revenue is generated from a sales tax, which is the point.

Qingu's avatar

Effectively in what sense? The state has huge problems. And the extent to which the state deserves emulation seems to me to involve factors specific to Texas—mainly high population growth and cheap labor. That’s the elephant in the room in terms of a cause for job growth, and you haven’t convinced me that this tax scheme is a cause and not a correlation.

(And you are right, I meant they pay a federal income tax, not state)

YoBob's avatar

Most states these days have huge problems.

Once again, it is you trying to draw causation. My only point is that an at the register sales tax is a perfectly viable system (as evidenced by a large State successfully using it for decades) that has merits worth consideration, the primary one being a move away from taxing productivity (which we want to encourage) to taxing consumption.

Qingu's avatar

But consumption fuels productivity and job growth (people buying more generates more profits for businesses which can then hire more workers, who can then buy more… etc).

And I don’t think capital gains taxes are actually taxing productivity. I think it’s beyond reaching to call the world of finance in which these profits are generated “productive.”

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – Did I mention that an at the register sales tax would eliminate the capitol gains tax? Not only that, it would also eliminate the other gazillion loop holes that “the rich” currently use to reduce their tax burden.

rOs's avatar

“Not sure exactly what you are getting at with your statement about huge amounts of illegal immigrants creating jobs…”

I think it’s obvious why I posted my comment- I disagree with yours. I simply provided anecdotal evidence that Latin-Americans are just as capable of running a business, and creating jobs, as anyone else.

…“IMHO, they tend to fill jobs that I would rather see go to American workers.”

Adding ‘IMHO’ doesn’t take the prejudiced connotation from your statement. That’s fine if you want to be a Patriot, I am too. But being a Patriot isn’t preferring one type of person to another. It’s about loving your Country. America was founded on Human Rights and Equality, so….

28lorelei's avatar

Apparently it’s not fair to tax the rich. But do they deserve that money more than the cleaning lady who earns minimum wage and works her butt off every day for 12 hours straight? No, I don’t think so. Taxing the rich at a higher rate than the poor helps right this situation.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am still not understanding how this is not a regressive tax. How does the “free tax allowance” work? Every time the poor want to buy a pair of shoes do they have to be confirmed as are still being below their yearly allowance? Everyone, rich or poor sometimes has to replace expensive items. Seemingly it would take one broken down refridge and a poor family is over their limit and being taxed just like the wealthy. What if they are forced to buy a bigger ticket item, like a car, that puts them over their yearly allowance? Who determines what this allowance is?

Also, aren’t Mom and Pop taxed on all they consume in running their store? If would seem that it would have to be at a rate that generates enough revenue to keep good old Texas (hey maybe it should be called “Taxus”!) in the black. So this consumption tax would almost have to be equal to what they would be paying in those other pesky taxes you are getting rid of. Following that logic Mom and Pop couldn’t really afford to be hiring that employee.

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, okay, you seem to have completely missed my point. Why do you think taxing capital gains is taxing productive resources?

Capital gains are largely “productive” for the wealthy people who have capital. It’s money that makes money. It doesn’t produce much of anything except making the rich get richer. Why do you think it’s a good thing that this doesn’t get taxed?

YoBob's avatar

@SuperMouse – I propose that the tax free allowance be distributed to every citizen in the form of a “tax debit card”. Each card would carry with it a fixed tax free amount equivalent to some fairly generous basic cost of living amount. When you go to make a purchase you can swipe that card at the register to count the purchase against your tax free amount. When your cumulative purchases exceed your yearly tax free allowance you must then pay taxes on anything else you purchase that year. Food and housing (or at least a reasonable housing allowance) would, of course, be tax exempt.

So… let’s say, for example that the tax free amount is set at $25,000 per year (No, I’m not suggesting this is a reasonable amount, it’s just an example). Consider somebody who earns $30,000 per year. After paying for their food and housing it is highly unlikely that they will have more than $25,000 to spend at the register so they would wind up paying exactly zero in taxes. Now consider somebody making $100,000 per year. Chances are that throughout the course of the year they will use a good chunk of that income to purchase “stuff” (after all, what’s the point of having a high paying job if you don’t use the income to buy “stuff”). They will wind up paying whatever the tax rate is on any purchase they make above the tax exempt allowance. In short, it is naturally progressive.

EDIT: Forgot to mention mom and pop. Their store is presumably making a profit (otherwise they would not be in business long). Under our current system the profit they make as sole proprietors shows up as regular income on which they pay income tax. Under a consumption tax instead of being forced to spend a percentage of those profits in taxes they get to make a choice. They can spend their profits on that <whatever> they have been think about, or they can use the profits to do something wacky like hire a helping hand or save for retirement.

@Qingu – There you go putting words in my mouth again. Can you point out where exactly I said that I think capital gains is taxing productive resources? My opinion of capitol gains taxes is irrelevant to the topic at hand. I merely pointed out that moving to a consumption tax would not only eliminate the capitol gains tax, but all other loopholes in our ridiculously complex tax code as well.

SuperMouse's avatar

@YoBob but what if the person in your example has to buy a car? They swipe their card and could realistically lose a quarter of their tax free spending power. I know cars aren’t bought annually by most folks in lower income brackets, but it could make it pretty tough – maybe even impossible for these people to stay afloat for the rest of the year when they are being taxed – at the same rate as some making four times what they do – on everything but food and housing.

YoBob's avatar

@SuperMouse – Most people make car payments rather than pay cash. The tax could be tied to monthly payments for big ticket items, and let’s face it, if you are paying cash for a car you probably aren’t poor.

SuperMouse's avatar

FYI, I fit squarely into the government’s standards of poverty, and I managed to buy a car with cash last year because I literally didn’t have a choice.

YoBob's avatar

@SuperMouse – I suspect you are in the minority there.

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, you said Texas’ system “has merits worth consideration, the primary one being a move away from taxing productivity (which we want to encourage) to taxing consumption.”

You then said the system would move away from taxing capital gains.

So, you don’t think taxing capital gains is taxing productive resources? Okay… should we continue to tax them, then?

I also wouldn’t characterize capital gains tax as a “loophole.” Unless you are referring to the fact that capital gains tax is much lower than income tax rates and so the low rate is used as a loophole. In which case “eliminating capital gains tax” wouldn’t be closing a loophole, it would be expanding it.

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – You seem to be a supporter of eliminating the capitol gains tax and treating those profits like regular income. I simply pointed out that not only would an at the register sales tax system advance that goal, it would also remove all of those other loopholes that the left leaning generally get their knickers in a twist over.

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, um… what?

1. I guess you could call that “eliminating the capital gains tax,” but most people would call it raising the capital gains tax.

2. How on earth would the sales tax system advance the goal of raising taxes on capital gains? Wealthy people aren’t spending this money—they put it into stocks and make even more money with it.

I mean, this is the fundamental reason why I am skeptical of this plan. Poor people spend almost all the money they make. Wealthy people invest almost all the money they make (and they make money through investing so it’s a feedback loop causing the “rich to get richer). Do you see how your tax system sounds fundamentally regressive, even if you provide subsidies for very poor people?

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – Are you seriously suggesting that people who make large incomes do not spend in proportion to their wealth?

Of course rich people set aside some of their income to use it to build wealth, that’s how they became wealthy in the first place. I think we should be encouraging that behavior not discouraging it. Rather than having an income tax that acts as a barrier to building wealth by removing money that could have been used for investment, we should be using our tax system to encourage saving and the building of wealth.

Yes, there are piggies out there who amass great fortunes. That will exist under any system you implement. But life is temporary and they will ultimately die leaving that wealth to their kids, who more often than not will wind up pissing it away.

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, yes, absolutely—I’m not even sure why you’re disputing this because you go on to basically say just that! Poor people spend almost all of their wealth (on food and shelter); rich people by contrast save most of their wealth (and those savings then generate even more wealth).

Why do you think we should be encouraging the rich to get richer through no effort on their part?

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – I think that we should be encouraging poor and middle class people to get rich. Wealth is not a character flaw nor is prosperity a dirty word. I think that taxing consumption rather than income encourages savings and investment rather than penalizing people for the egregious crime of making a profit.

rOs's avatar

@YoBob, @Qingu? Might you be interested in starting a Fluther Fight Club to settle these differences?

Aaannywaay… here are two must-read Huffington Post articles from today:

There’s a protest on Wall Street?

Keith Olbermann, Michael Moore Criticize Media For Ignoring ‘Occupy Wall Street’

Thomas Jefferson said a long time ago: “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” What Jefferson did not foresee was that the press might curtail their own freedom, abdicate their own responsibility in a free society, in favor of the pursuit of money for corporate investors.

We are unions, students, teachers, veterans, first responders, families, the unemployed and underemployed. We are all races, sexes and creeds. We are the majority. We are the 99 percent. And we will no longer be silent. As members of the 99 percent, we occupy Wall Street as a symbolic gesture of our discontent with the current economic and political climate and as an example of a better world to come.

Blackberry's avatar

@rOs They’re having a mature argument, and this is what we want on Fluther.

rOs's avatar

@Blackberry GA for having the right intentions. I’m sorry if I seem frustrated but it’s hard to watch two intelligent people wasting so much effort to define these overly complex ideologies. The problem isn’t the existence of competition, it’s the nature of it. What we need is a system that awards ambition, but still takes care of the weak. I never thought I would do this, but here’s Roseanne to back me up.

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, you think “letting rich people more easily get even richer” somehow encourages poor people to get rich?

Okay. Why do you think it’s important to encourage poor people to get rich? I mean, I am having trouble parsing this. Are you saying that you think poor people are too content to stay poor, and they’d try to become rich if only wealth was seen to have more benefits?

And you haven’t even addressed my point. Wouldn’t such a tax be regressive? Or are you admitting that it would be regressive, and saying that you’re fine with that because it would serve to motivate poor people to stop being poor or something?

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – I think that removing barriers to building wealth encourages all to do so.

While I appreciate the exchange, I have other more pressing matters than continuing this seemingly endless banter.

rOs's avatar

@YoBob, so basically what you’re saying is, “Feel free to come up with a good solution (but keep in mind- I might just pretend you never said it). In the meantime, I’m going to continue to defend Corporations’ right to hoard as much money and resources as they please. Why not? It’ll be an inspiration to poor people everywhere!”

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, but “encouraging” people to desire greater wealth doesn’t do jack shit to help them achieve greater wealth. Furthermore, I don’t think poor people are suffering from an encouragement deficit.

But this really does get to the heart of conservative economics—let’s make it suck even worse to be poor, and let’s help rich people get even richer… and that way we’ll help disincentivize poverty! It would be funny if so many people didn’t actually believe this.

YoBob's avatar

@rOs – How the heck does advocating scraping our ridiculously bloated tax code that is full of loopholes that “the rich” can and do exploit in favor of a system that taxes consumption rather than income equate to “defend Corporations’ right to hoard as much money and resources as they please”?

@Qingu – “encouraging” people to desire greater wealth doesn’t do jack shit to help them achieve greater wealth” No, but allowing people to use income that is currently sucked away in taxes before they even have a chance to see it does.

Is it really your intent to continue this ad infinitium?

Qingu's avatar

@rOs, I actually don’t have a problem with low taxes for corporations… at least I’m ambivalent about the issue. Corporations aren’t people, and if the extra cash they have from low taxes could be used to pay labor higher wages (or hire people). Of course it’s often used in dividends for rich investors… which is why I’d only support low corp taxes if they’re coupled with very high capital gains taxes and financial transaction taxes.

Wealthy individuals, on the other hand? I’d like to see the top marginal rate go back up to 70%.

SuperMouse's avatar

@YoBob your consumption tax still sucks income from the people who pay it. Like it or not because a greater percentage of their income is spent on keeping them healthy and wise and they have to pay a consumption tax on a good portion of that, they aren’t let with the funds to invest so they may become wealthy.

Qingu's avatar

@YoBob, I’m continuing this because you don’t even seem to understand the basics of what you’re writing about. And you’re being completely incoherent.

I’ll try to spell it out. Let’s take two people, Poor Pete and Rich Rich.

Pete makes 20k a year. He has to spend 15k a year minimum to feed and house his family.

Rich makes 200k a year. He has the same minimum expenditures but chooses to live a more lavish lifestyle, so he spends 100k a year on food and shelter.

Now, under the current tax system, both Pete and Rich pay taxes on their whole incomes, although Pete would probably qualify for a bunch of low-income tax breaks.

What you are proposing is that they only be taxed on their spending. So, Pete would be taxed for 75% of his income, whereas Rich would only be taxed 50% of his income.

Furthermore, Pete already makes so little money that he has virtually nothing left over to save regardless. Whereas Rich already was saving a lot with income tax, and now in a consumption tax he has way, way more to save.

I don’t see how on Earth you’ve concluded that such a system helps Pete save money or become wealthier. Please explain it to me.

28lorelei's avatar

Interesting point I just had to make: compare Finland to the US
in the US, the GDP is 48,665.805, while in Finland GDP is 35,885.066. However, the way the money is used is far more fair and effective in Finland than in the US: there are very few beggars, the government actually does something useful with the money (creates free colleges, large pensions, good unemployment, free healthcare etc.). What do we do with the money? Well Obama is trying to do useful things with it, but Bush Jr. and Sr. messed up a lot of things, in short.
Also, there aren’t as many rich people in Finland, but that’s mostly because taxes are much higher. There aren’t as many poor people either, and the income gap is far smaller in general. So high taxes aren’t always a bad thing… at least if the money is well spent.
I am aware that yes, Finland is a small fraction of the size of the US, and that yes, it is socialist (NOT communist- big difference there). However, we could learn something from them.

And @Qingu, I completely agree that such a system doesn’t help Pete at all. If I were Pete, I would save up what little money I could and try to move to Finland :)

rOs's avatar

@YoBob I think I gave the wrong impression. I actually think that some of your ideas were great. Forgive me for assuming as much. My week has been mentally taxing, and I felt as if the conversation was intentionally ignoring the fact that these things aren’t happening merely because of loopholes. This is all happening because it is profitable to those who influence politics. These issues aren’t new, and the only thing that can change it is massive recognition by the public.

Blackberry's avatar

@28lorelei Interesting. Are you from Finland?

28lorelei's avatar

@Blackberry Yes, that’s how I know. I’ve lived in both countries.

rOs's avatar

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. ~ OW Holmes, Sr

Blackberry's avatar

@28lorelei Can a brotha get a Visa? :)

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – It is you who seem to be missing some basics here.

Both Poor Pete and Rich Pete get a cost of living tax free allowance, So Poor Pete pays 15K a year to feed and house his family leaving him 5K in discretionary funds. Poor Pete has no chance in heck of spending an amount above the tax free allowance, which means he pays exactly zero in income tax.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but earlier in this conversation weren’t you pointing out that under our current system even those below the poverty line pay payroll taxes. Seems to me that Poor Pete has a net gain here (paying zero taxes vs. paying whatever payroll taxes he pays under our current system).

Rich Pete, on the other hand, may make 200K a year, but although he could get by living in a shotgun shack and eating only beans and rice, chances are he spends a bit more freely. I agree (and believe stated as much previously) that housing allowances should be capped. As for food. I suspect Rich Pete eats out (taxable) quite a bit more than Poor Pete. Further, not only is it unlikely that Rich Pete is living the life of a monk, he is quite likely to spend a good chunk of that 200K on the jet ski for the weekend cabin at the lake, that new mountain bike he’s had is eye on, and let’s not forget that shiny new MEphone so as not to be embarrassed when Mr. Jones his neighbor whips his out while they are cruising around in the BMW together. And yes, to your point, Rich Pete will probably set aside some to build wealth, but what the heck is wrong with that? I’d rather Rich Pete have the option of paying for his own retirement (but that’s another story), or perhaps Rich Pete might use that wealth to start “Pete’s Eco Center” to sell environmentally sustainable products like he has always dreamed about and create a couple of jobs in the process.

As for current tax system vs. at the register sales tax, currently Rich Pete is wealthy enough to take advantage of things like capitol gains tax and all of those other loopholes in our bloated tax code. With an at the register sales tax not only does the concept of capitol gains tax go away, but so do all of those other little loopholes that Rich Pete currently takes advantage of. I thought that removing those loopholes was one of the things you support?

The guy you left out was Middle Pete who makes 80K a year. He lives a comfortable lifestyle, but under the current system is not wealthy enough to take advantage of those “rich loopholes” and any income above his basic expenses that he might be able to invest to build wealth are removed from his paycheck before he even sees it. Under a consumption tax Middle Pete has a choice of either maintaining a reasonably affluent lifestyle, but will have to pay the tax on any purchases above the tax free limit or living the lifestyle of Poor Pete while building wealth until he can open “Pete’s Place” like he has always wanted, thus creating jobs and growing the economy.

I have wasted far too much time on this conversation. Have a good weekend.

Qingu's avatar

You never specified your hypothetical COLA, but even if we take that into account you are not remotely addressing the issues I brought up.

You also don’t even really seem to understand what you’re talking about. Again: capital gains tax is not a loophole. The fact that it’s low is the loophole. By not taxing capital gains at all, you are expanding the loophole. What’s amazing is that you are surmising that Middle Class Pete will somehow gain from your system’s “lack of loopholes” without even knowing what those loopholes are or how they work.

You also spend an inordinate amount of time detailing Rich’s luxurious expenses… which I already accounted for (he lives a lavish lifestyle). Nevertheless, even with luxurious expenses, rich people still have much more leftover in savings than middle-class people do, let alone poor people. Plenty of middle class people live paycheck to paycheck; very few rich people do (many rich people live entirely off the interest of their nest egg and don’t receive paychecks at all!)

So yes, your tax is still incredibly regressive even with a COLA; poor people would still have no savings; middle class people would have about the same amount of savings; and rich people would reap a windfall. Assuming you want the same amount of revenue, and assuming some arbitrary COLA for poor people, your tax essentially would shift a huge chunk of the tax burden from the rich to the middle class.

And most importantly, it’s still not even clear if you think this is a problem. Ignore the mechanics of how taxes should be gathered: do you support the idea of progressive taxation? On one hand you want a COLA, so you agree that poor people shouldn’t be taxed; on the other hand you have said you want the rich to get richer as “encouragement.”

And, look. I can understand the appeal of this idea. It intuitively makes sense. And I agree that our tax code is a mess. But your idea is simplistic, and it’s clearly regressive. I hope you’re willing to think about it a lot more.

Qingu's avatar

Another problem with your idea: how would you actually put your COLA into practice? And more importantly, how would you enforce against the numerous black markets that would inevitably spring up in a consumption tax world? (Particularly for wealthy people who can more easily evade?)

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

I have just one question here and I’d just as soon not get into the debate otherwise. If I have a small business or a farm or I’ve merely pumped money into my IRA efficirently over my lifetime. Now I’m ready to retire on my lifes work and can sell my business for $2 million. A reasonable retirement nestegg that will return a comfortable living for the rest of my life. Now if as you suggest, the tax rate is up in the 70% range, so my nestegg goes from $2 million to $600K. Is that what you really want to happen?

YoBob's avatar

@Qingu – Jeez, have you even been listening (erm… reading)? I first mentiont a COLA (although I didn’t call it by that name) way the heck back here and have referred to it several times throughout this “discussion”. I even outlined how such an item can be put into practice in a response to @SuperMouse‘s direct query on the topic.

It is quite clear that you are not interested in really discussing the topic in good faith, but rather wasting as much time of those who don’t share your opinion as possible.

Once again, goodnight.

dabbler's avatar

Edited
That might be closer to what I meant.
But thanks for voting for “G’bye.” !

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk sounds fine to me. What’s the problem I’m supposed to be seeing?

@YoBob, you did mention COLA earlier but I wasn’t sure where you were wanting to cut it off exactly. 20k is still above the poverty line, as far as I know. You said 25k but you said it was “unreasonable.” But I guess I should have used a middle-class person instead of a poor person to be fairer to your position. I am aware that consumption tax advocates generally favor a COLA to cover the poor.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

You’ve answered my question and it tells me all I need to know. Thanks.

gondwanalon's avatar

@Jaxk Yes it is quite illuminating.

cockswain's avatar

I wonder why I enjoy reading threads like this so much.

Qingu's avatar

Upon reflection, I’d like to haggle on that 600k figure. Because I said 70% at the top tax bracket, not throughout.

Which is to say: on your first 250k, you would be taxed at today’s low rates of ~30% (on average). From 250k to 1mil, I’d raise the tax bracket higher to what it was under Clinton (~40% iirc). Then, from 1mil to, oh, I dunno, somewhere above 2mil, the rate would go even higher… though probably not 70%. I think I’d reserve 70% for 10mil or above.

So let’s do the math. On the first 250k of your hypothetical sale, government takes 30%. On the next 750k, gov. takes 40%. And on the last 1mil, gov. takes 50%. So in total, the gov takes:

75 + 300 + 500 = 875k of the 2mil. Leaving you with $1,125,000not 600,000.

So no, I never actually suggested taking 70% of a 2mil business sale, @Jaxk. And it’s troubling that you apparently don’t understand how tax brackets work. (Also troubling that I didn’t think to check your math…)

Qingu's avatar

(I actually think the 30% on the first 250k is probably way too high, but that’s a negligable detail in this example)

rOs's avatar

Statement made by Protesters on Wall St“The only demand we could think of is abstract: Bring down the lobby funded system that controls the world by inducing fear.”

CaptainHarley's avatar

John Atcheson does pretty damned good at toeing the Democrat Party line.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

So, does that mean that you now see a problem with someones retirement being taken by government or is your post merely to haggle about the details. I know exactly how the tax schedule works and making up your details to alter your point doesn’t really do much. Also you forgot the state income tax which in Ca and NY works out to another 10%.

The bottom line is, you appear to be OK with taking away the retirement nestegg from the little guy just so that you can get even with the big guy for being rich. At least that’s the way it sounds.

Qingu's avatar

Haggle details. And if you knew how the tax schedule works then why did you assume that all the 2mil would be taxed at 70% when I said it would be reserved for the top bracket?

I also don’t think these details are exactly inconsequential. I mean, we’re talking almost twice as much money as you said.

And you know what? I don’t think someone who owns a $2 million business is “the little guy.” You know who the little guy really is? The millions of Americans who have no savings or nest eggs whatsoever. The millions of seniors and disabled people who depend entirely on social security to survive. And I find your myopic and entitled view of your own financial security repulsive.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

It was never the absolute number that was in question but rather the concept. You answered that. Now you want to play the game of misdirection and call me names. Won’t work. The fact that you couldn’t even see a problem says it all. As I said, I’m not looking for a debate here, you’re not good at it. I’ve learned what I already knew, just wanted to hear you say it.

rOs's avatar

Well, the cat’s out of the bag. Please watch this clip – Stock Trader leaves BBC speechless. Listen to what he has to say.

“This is not a time for wishful thinking. The government is not going to sort things out. Our governments do not rule to world. Goldman Sachs rules the world.”

cockswain's avatar

I wish more people would focus on this than politics. If it’s possible to separate them.

rOs's avatar

SighLobbyists – Satan’s little helpers…

rOs's avatar

Geez, I’m really not trying to spam or Hijack this thread, but… Michael Moore also weighed in on these issues :)

Today’s Talk of the Nation spoke with callers and discussed the economic/political situation, as well.

rOs's avatar

I really want to stop, but once you pop….. I apologize if you don’t like the alternative music and somewhat extreme tone, but give the vid a chance. ~The More You Know~

rOs's avatar

MSNBC slams police for brutal treatment of peaceful protesters

CaptainHarley's avatar

I have nothing against peaceful protest, but I can’t stand people who put themselves in harm’s way and then, when things don’t go as they’ed like them to, become whinny lil crybabies. Be willing to accept the consequenses of going against the political or social or economic grain. And remember… pain is good, it helps you remember that you’re still alive! : )

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, ever been maced in the face?

rOs's avatar

@CaptainHarley They go against the grain because people, with opinions like that, have not taken our problems seriously. Watch the MSNBC vid again, what if that was your daughter getting maced in the face while protesting this anti-American corporate greed? Surely, you’d want to tell that bully with a badge just where he can stick that baton?

Fail to honor people, they will fail to honor you ~ Lao Tzu

cockswain's avatar

@Qingu Dude was in Vietnam. I’m guessing he’s seen worse.

rOs's avatar

Dylan Ratagin steps up. This is the simple, debate-ending, truth.

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