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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:48 am 
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Location: Somerville, ma.
Alright, baby asleep, let's see how substantive I can be.

Let's do the quick ones first:

No, I can't come up with a case where I complained about that kind of tax evasion in the past four years. I also can't come up with one where I complained about it in the 8 years of Bush before that. It's not something I complain about. There's thundering silence from me, on all counts, because I think it's a diversion as silly as all those chain-emails about how the politicians should have to be on our healthcare, or be paid less. That goes for Republicans as well as Democrats. I'm an equal opportunity apathy provider (for this particular issue).

Really, Bill? Auschwitz and Nanking? I take your point about dehumanization, but let's get real. Taxing America's powerful wealthy another few percent is so incomparable to either of those things that I feel silly even finishing this sentence. America's wealthiest as an oppressed minority is an entertaining piece of fiction.

Income distribution: People aren't wanting to work less for more money. They want the same American Dream of hard work paying off. Instead, middle class wages have stagnated while the income of the richest has skyrocketed. Sure, Pareto's principle applies but there are degrees. The richest are comparatively wealthier and the middle class has struggled. What people want is a share of the prosperity pie. Instead they work hard but don't get anywhere. Now, 20% own 85% of the wealth in the US. That 5% doesn't sound like much, but that 5% means "the rest of us" have 3/4 what we would if it were a 20/80 split. Also, the top 1% own 42.7% now. What does Pareto have to say about that?

Taxes: Unless you are for *true* flat tax and almost no goverment, then you're some kind of socialist. And by true flat tax I mean $10,000 per person regardless of income. That is a real flat tax. Taxing income at a percent punishes the rich for being richer. There's nothing more fair about saying everyone pays 15% than saying that everyone pays a greater-than-linear portion. The only tax that is really equal for everyone is a tax that demands a fixed amount of money from every adult citizen. If you don't favor that, then you're Mao and Marx combined, I say.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:31 am 
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Val

So you don't really want to discuss people avoiding paying their fair share but you do bring up "income inequality."

And you see no link between those 2 topics what-so-ever?

You make a point of saying "20% own 85% of the wealth."

A-Like I pointed out, the folks working in the White House for 100K a year, and failing to pay their taxes would be those folks you seem to have a problem with.

100K is a heck of lot more $$$$ than I make a year.

B-Those "20%" also are responsible for over 40% of Federal tax revenues while nearly 50% of people pay nearly nothing in Fedreal taxes.

There maybe very good reason/s they are not doing so---but the fact remains they are not. And if you want "tax fairness" then EVERYONE has to has skin in the game. I think you and I are in agreement with that point.

Look at it like this---you and I are in business, you do 40% of the work I do nothing or next to nothing. Yet I keep demanding that you pay me more money, and I want more and more of the 40% you make.

Or to look at it yet another way--you mentioned your baby--I presume that you divide up the "taking care of the baby" tasks. You spend 40% of the time doing what needs to be done--changing diapers, 2AM feedings, etc. I do nothing to help you raise, feed, to otherwise care for your child, pay nothing to you or your family for the support of the child, --yet I demand that I be allowed to decide what the kid gets to wear, where the tike goes to daycare, how much you need to spend on its toys etc.

You would think I'm even crazier than you already do. ;)

An yet that is kinda the situation in which we find ourselves.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:04 am 
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cxt wrote:
Val
So you don't really want to discuss people avoiding paying their fair share but you do bring up "income inequality."


What's to discuss? They should pay their fair share. We agree. And you're right, people are a lot more inclined to throw a fit when the other side cheats, whoever that is. Liberals do it just as much as conservatives.

Basically, I think they'll pay eventually, and while the delay is annoying, it doesn't really affect anything.

Quote:
100K is a heck of lot more $$$$ than I make a year.


Sure, but it doesn't amount to a hill of beans compared to the annual tax revenue.

Quote:
B-Those "20%" also are responsible for over 40% of Federal tax revenues while nearly 50% of people pay nearly nothing in Fedreal taxes.


http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/09/ ... ne-graphic


Quote:
You spend 40% of the time doing what needs to be done--changing diapers, 2AM feedings, etc. I do nothing to help you raise, feed, to otherwise care for your child, pay nothing to you or your family for the support of the child, --yet I demand that I be allowed to decide what the kid gets to wear, where the tike goes to daycare, how much you need to spend on its toys etc.


I'm not sure I understand your analogy. I'm doing 40%... who is doing the other 60%? My wife?

I also think people make a huge biased-induced mistake which is to think that people who don't make much money aren't working hard. There are a lot of really cruddy jobs where people work hard but don't make much money, like working at McDonald's. I don't work any harder than a lot of people who make a third of what I do. And it's not because I'm a better person. It's because I was lucky enough to be raised in a middle class household by a mother who cared. I personally know people who are just as smart as me, work even harder, but because they dropped out of school due to a family, they are in a way worse situation financially. That's life and I'm not saying we need to give them endless handouts, but I also think it's really misguided to talk about these people like they're just useless moochers.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:49 pm 
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Valkenar wrote:
Really, Bill? Auschwitz and Nanking? I take your point about dehumanization, but let's get real.

I just did, Justin. I'm calling Obama and the liberals on the "pay their fair share" line. It's fascist. It's noxious. The upper 2 percent already pay many times "their fair share" and yet liberals aren't happy. They want to tax them at ever-higher marginal rates, and call it "fair."

Wealth redistribution - just because you can bully the hardest-working MINORITY - is wrong. It goes against the principles of our founding fathers. It is why they formed a republic with separation of powers, and state vs. federal governments. It protects minorities from "tyranny of the majority."

Valkenar wrote:
Taxing America's powerful wealthy another few percent is so incomparable to either of those things that I feel silly even finishing this sentence. America's wealthiest as an oppressed minority is an entertaining piece of fiction.

The fact that you find discrimination of *any* kind entertaining is disturbing. The fact that you can't see how this 2 percent is what drives our economy and creates jobs for many of the other 98% is revealing. (Most people are employed by small business, and not by large corporations.)

And for the record... we're talking about income and not wealth. There is a difference. It makes a BIG difference to someone like yours truly who spent so many years in graduate school, and lost out on the time value of money. I'm penalized for having a higher income to make up for all those years I was instead building debt so that I could do what I do.

Valkenar wrote:
People aren't wanting to work less for more money. They want the same American Dream of hard work paying off.

Read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Study concepts like delayed gratification or initiative, and how they're related to emotional intelligence. Then come back to this conversation.

The "working harder" part goes without saying. I seriously doubt you'll find a preponderance of 40-hour-per-week workers in that upper 2 percent.

Valkenar wrote:
Taxes: Unless you are for *true* flat tax and almost no goverment, then you're some kind of socialist. And by true flat tax I mean $10,000 per person regardless of income. That is a real flat tax. Taxing income at a percent punishes the rich for being richer. There's nothing more fair about saying everyone pays 15% than saying that everyone pays a greater-than-linear portion. The only tax that is really equal for everyone is a tax that demands a fixed amount of money from every adult citizen. If you don't favor that, then you're Mao and Marx combined, I say.

This is incorrect, Justin. But nice straw man. (1)

"A flat tax (short for flat tax rate) is a tax system with a constant marginal rate, usually applied to individual or corporate income." (2)

- Bill

(1) See Straw man

(2) See Flat tax.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:26 pm 
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Val

With all respect--I do not conduct "argument by link" either present your points or don't. Just because you "blue-line" something does not an argument make.
Besides, having been down that road more than once I can tell you that often what you think something says really does not say that.

In any case I forgot to mention something--you frame your post as if more money in my pocket means less in yours. This represents a fundemental misunderstanding of how money is created and how economics works. The short and sweet version is that money and wealth is CREATED--its not FINATE
The money in Bill Gates pocket was not taken from mine--except in that I wanted to buy his products. His wealth did not nor does it come at my expense. (yes that is a pun)

Also, I undercounted the % last night--erred on the side of caution. According to the July 17th 2012 issue of the Economist:

"The top 5% paid approximately 58.7 pecent of federal income taxes."

We can quibble over the actual % but the fact remains that the folks at the top pay almost all the federal income tax while the folks at the bottom--say 40%-50% pay nothing or next to nothing.
To link it back to my example, your wife may well be contributing 60% to the child care duties, and your doing 40%--but I contribute nothing . And as such I don't get a say in how you raise your child--and I shouldn't.

But in our system, the folks that pay most of the freight, provide most of the revenue are villified for not doing more--while the the group that pays nothing or next to nothing demands larger and larger parts of what others contibute.

Sure many people are working really f'ing hard. I would not suggest otherwise. But we also know that some folks are not. Heck, my bet is that plenty of us have worked/are working right now with lazy slackers---you know and I know it.

Besides its not a ethical/moral question for me. There might well be very good and valid reasons people in the lower 50% are not really paying federal taxes---but AGAIN, your are either paying or your not--its an economic question.
You simply can't run a business let alone a nation with half the citizens not paying federal taxes while demanding that the ones that already pay most of the freight to pay and more and more--while fewer and fewer people pay at all.

It would be quite like you deciding to do less and less and less around the house--your wife's contribution goes from 60% to 90-100% while yours drops to nearly 0. While demanding your wife also takes equally good care of you. And as an added insult to injury--you start insulting your wife in public for being lazy and "not doing enough."

Neither your marruage or a nation can long survive such a situation.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:43 pm 
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Interesting conversation here. It always comes up around the time government either wants to raise taxes/lower taxes or deals with things such as unemployment benefits and such.

I'm not sure the "hard working" approach works. Who's opinion or definition counts when it comes to "hard" work. I'd wager to say that the vast majority of the top 2% would explain that they did "work hard" for what they have. If I work as hard as I am capable (left to your interpretation of hard work) and you work as hard as you can (again left to your interpretation), are you saying that the simple fact that I made more than you doing my "hard work" means I must contribute my earnings to you, simply because you didn't make as much as I did?

I sincerely believe that this argument will never be resolved. There will always be people who believe that they aren't getting their "fair share" of whatever and there will always be those who will champion their causes.

By the way, can anyone tell me of a country where a completely fair system is in place, where the wealthy's money is taken and distributed to the poor, and it is still a completely open and fair society? Not sure I can find one.

Steve


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Bill:

I don't find actual discrimination entertaining. What's amusing is the hyperbole. "Won't someone think of themiiiiiiiiilionaires?" Come on, even if you're right that it's not fair to tax them, these people are not in a state of suffering.

I know about emotional intelligence. It's completely disingenuous to pin all the blame on people who make some bad decisions when they're young on them being stupid. Yeah, they (probably) made a stupid decision. It's real easy to say other people are stupid for making bad decisions when you've never been in their situation (Yes I know about your pauper college years - not the same thing, you still had parents to teach you delayed gratification). There are anecdotes on all sides, but you can't ignore the cycle of poverty on the basis of calling people emotionally stupid unless you're going to make a genetic argument.

The flat tax: I know the normal definition of a flat tax. That's why I was drawing a distinction. Apparently you missed it. It's not a straw man, it's pointing out that a marginal flat tax is just one point on the spectrum of tax progressiveness. It goes like this:

Absolute flat tax, e.g. $2000 per person <-- My "strawman"
Constant marginal flat rate, e.g. 15% per dollar person <-- Your definition
Variable marginal "flat" rate, e.g. 0.01% per dollar^2 per person (*)
Etc. It goes on with increasing exponent.

Basically, at every stage you're just dropping the exponent on dollars. Why is the second step the magic fair one? The point is, any time that exponent goes over one (i.e. everything but the absolute flat tax) you are take more when a person makes more. The only case where everybody pays the same regardless of their income is the absolute flat rate. Why is it fair to have a constant marginal rate and not fair to have a constant exponential rate? Where's the magic in an exponent of 1?

To put it another way, why shouldn't every individual pay the same *amount* regardless of their income?

* Of course that formula wouldn't really work. An exponential tax would be more mathematically complicated. That doesn't make it any less fair. 90 - 100000/x^.65 (for the rate) gives a gist of what I mean.

CXT:
Okay, so no links. What my link showed is that the people who you can accuse of being lazy is more like 7%. (That is, non-elderly people making under 20,000).

At any given moment, wealth is a fixed sum. However, worldwide wealth is always increasing (so far). It doesn't make sense to consider income strictly finite nor does it make sense to consider it to be infinite. It's flexible, but there are limitations. The money in the CEO's pocket really is money not in the pocket of the rest of the workers at that company. My point here is that Bill is describing 80/20 as if it were a natural law, and by implication just. My point is that there is nothing sacrosanct about an 80/20 distribution.

You say we all work with lazy slackers, and maybe you're right. But the lazy slackers where I work make a lot more than the lazy slackers at Walmart.

The people at the bottom pay so little because they have nothing to spare.

Finally, nobody is saying CEOs are lazy, that's not what "needing to do a little more" means in context. It means that maybe you can forego a third private jet in order to help the country that you've prospered in so much to stay afloat. Either that guy skips a private jet, or 100,000 Walmart employees skip breakfast for a year. The money comes out the same.

There's been such a campaign of divisiveness to depict other Americans as lazy, entitlement seeking mooches, when it's really not the situation. The vast majority of people are doing their best. Only a very tiny percentage actually likes being on entitlements of the kind the republican/tea party crows about.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:07 am 
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Val

No you claim that it is what the study said--I have no way of knowing what the study says unless you quote it and I can find it to indepedently varify that is what it says.
Then we can argue about the accuracy and vladity of the study, how it was conducted and what it really says. ;)

"At any given moment wealth is a fixed sum"

Nope, that is simply not correct in any normal use of economic terms. A given person/groups wealth can be calculated at any given time but that has nothing to do with the context of the discussion.

"The money in the CEO's pocket is money not in the pockets of the workers of that company."

Nope, sure he has more money, but unless your implying some unstated criminality then my getting paid X for X job has nothing to do with the money the CEO makes. In a very real way, he/the business has to make a lot of money to even hire me as the cost to pay a person say 25K a year is over 30K to the firm. So if someone isn't making money then they cant even afford pay my salery in the first place.

"Maybe your right, but the lazy slackers where I work get paid a lot more than the lazy slackers at Walmart"

Of course I'm right. ;)

Whose fault is it that the "lazy slackers" where you work get paid more? If they are lazy slacker they should be fired and replaced with people whom want to work. Maybe someone from WalMart perhaps that needs a better job?
That is on you---if you tolerate "lazy slackers" where you work then you probbaly should not be judgeing how other people chose to work. Why do you tolerate such "lazy slackers?"

"The people at the bottom pay so little because they have nothing to spare"

Nope--again, that is the emotional appeal to pity, but it has very little to do with reality. The "average poor person" in the USA owns computer, a car, a cell phone, lives in a house with heat/air and private bath etc. And the single largest health problem in the USA is OBESITY not a lack of food but too much. We need to seriously re-define what it means to be "poor" in the USA in modern terms.

In any case--that they might have "nothing to spare" is utterly beside the point. The point is that nearly half nation is paying nothing or very little in federal taxes. The money to pay for all the programs they use is coming from other people and that simply can't be maintained---as recent studies have shown if you took ALL the money from the wealthy--ever single penny, dime, dollar, dracma or detuchmark--it would run the government for only a handful of days.

Too many takers and not enough makers, and that is not a question of "blame" its is simple math.

"There has been such a campagn of divisiness"

Such as you framing CEOS as chosing to buy a "third plane" instead of helping the nation that has done so much for them? When you (inncorrectly BTW) state that the choice is a "plane" or "workers go without breakfast."

And then you BMW about "divisiness?"....really???

Again, as I mentioned in my first post--which at the time you dismissed as a "red herring" ;) :oops:

Maybe the workers wouldn't have to "skip breakfast for a year" if Kerry, Rangel, The CEO of Costco, The workers in the White House, Federal Employees and Contractors etc, we paying what they owe.

How many "breakfasts" could the HALF A BILLION DOLLARS flushed down the toilet by Obama in the Solyndra deal buy?

How many "breakfasts" could the CEO of Costco buy if he was paying his "fair share?"

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:25 am 
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Valkenar wrote:
I don't find actual discrimination entertaining. What's amusing is the hyperbole. "Won't someone think of themiiiiiiiiilionaires?" Come on, even if you're right that it's not fair to tax them, these people are not in a state of suffering.

On the one hand you cry hyperbole. Then you go straight to two straw man arguments (in red above). Do you read what you write? You are so busted.

Valkenar wrote:
I know about emotional intelligence.

Then you go into a Nature vs. Nurture argument.

Here's what I believe, Justin. This is a land of equal opportunity, and *NOT* equal outcomes. We all get a chance. You bring your IQ, your EQ, and your upbringing to the table, and you roll the dice. We have safety nets to keep you from starving in this country, but we're not going to show you a good time on someone else's dime. Why do I believe in such an incentive-based system? Because it works. It makes your average guy get his lazy booty out of bed in the morning and work.

I do *not* give a rat's booty about someone's alleged schitty upbringing. Subsidizing bastard kids just encourages the kind of activity that creates them. The Great Society programs destroyed black families in this country, and it's taking the likes of Louis Farrakhan to tell young black men that they need to take responsibility for their lives. (I happen to like the guy a lot.) I'm all for private charities and communities stepping up and taking care of their localities. But throwing good money after bad here just lengthens and strengthens the cycle of poverty you claim to abhor. It took Bill Clinton to reform welfare and bring it in line with the kind of equal opportunity principles that this country was founded on.

Valkenar wrote:
The flat tax: I know the normal definition of a flat tax.

Then why are you representing it as the patently ridiculous concept it is not, and pinning that on those you argue with?

.......... See Straw man

Flat tax *implies* flat tax rate. It doesn't imply what you want it to imply. Do not take my word for it, Justin. I provided a reference to back up my assertion.

.......... See Flat tax

Did you read it? Did you supply a reference or is this the world the way Justin says it is? Just wondering.

Oh and for the record, *you* are the only one talking flat tax in the first place. I'm not entirely against the concept, but *I* never mentioned it.

Did you ever take a basic course in economics? There's much written about positions taken on policy change. To be against an increase in "something" doesn't necessarily mean you are against "something." It could merely mean you are fine with things as they are (at whatever level) and want no change from that state. I'm not necessarily opposed to a progressive tax system. But at best, I believe it is a necessary evil - unless you get complete buy-in from those incurring ever higher *rates* of taxation.

The reality is that much of this "tax the rich" nonsense falls not on the wealthy (who quite often make the bulk of their income from capital gains), but from small business owners who might otherwise hire more people if their tax rates weren't increased. So at the end of the day, you hurt the lower and middle class more than these high income earners - all in the name of fairness. Isn't that rich! :lol:

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:10 pm 
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Bill

From my perspective its also instructive to look at the English experience. One of their former politico's (name escapes me right now) was doing interviews on US TV several years ago and he was very blunt in that the Left/Dems were stealing the playbook of the dominent political party in England for 30 years--specifically.

Get as many people as public assistance as possible, thus "locking in" a block of votes.

It worked very well--the real problem was.....as Thatcher pointed out, "eventually you run out of other peoples money."
In any case, because so many people were/are on the dole over in England--in a sense they already are where we are headed, we can use them as a rough guide for rough results here.
Sorry but the info is in British pounds and there are a number of factors that effect the out come--its not what I'd call "peer reviewed" and its more complex than I am laying out--but as a rough "best guess"--or "working model" its pretty accurate.
Guy plugs in his info into a Government website--he is white, healthy, no dependents, male. The results are are follows:

-Income Support 3,702

-Housing benefit 15,121

-Total Entitlements 20, 323 yearly or 389 per week

Please keep in mind that in the UK--again according to government source the Average salary for those less than a year on the job is 19,569 british pounds, while 1-4 years on the job is 23,019 british pounds. You have to have 5-9 years of work experience before you hit 29,894 a year--lets call it 30. Then you have to figure in TAXES---if you make 30,000 british pounds, you get taxed:

-Income tax 4,379.00

-National Health Insurance 2,688.96

Which brings your net take home to 22,932.04. Difference between being on the dole and working a 30,000 pound per year job? 2, 610--pounds a year. Factor in expenses like a car, transport, suits, dry cleaning etc. ands you could spend another 500-800 pounds a year. Factor in travel time and the 2,085 hours of work and you essentially get paid less than you would make by being on the dole and having plenty of free time. Plus he can get at least "some" healthcare, has "some" walking around cash, and does not have to worry about keeping a roof over his head.

You can run the same number for the USA--just someone already did it for England. ;)

Looking at those numbers lets take "slacker" OUT of the equation---maybe your just SMART. You could get paid 20,000 british pounds a year to spend almost all your time training and perfecting your Uechi-Ryu or you can bust your hump working at the Fish-N-Chips Hut, no time to train, no time to hang out with your friends and make pretty close to the same amount.

Heck, I'd pick "training." The more so if I were I were a young person with no dependents.

And this is where I fear we are headed.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:37 pm 
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In the UK it is a lot worse than that. You haven't included sickness and invalidity benefits into that nor have you included state employees. The last labout government under Tony Bliar was an abyssmal failure and left the country heavily indebted. The government now is implementing "Austerity Measures" but lets be clear that is not an economic solution, it's not even an economic term, it just means that you are trying to put right the mess left to you. I said this before on this forum, that tony bliar was a creep, when Bill was compareing him to Churchill 8O

I can give you one exmple that I know of personnally, a family member. He was a hard working man, he worked in accounts as a clerk, but couldn't make enough to keep his wife and his 5 kids so he took another job, and was basically working 7 days a week, with no holidays and always in debt. Then apparant tragedy struck he lost his job....but serendipity he found that he was on £5,000 a year more on benefits. The whole system is insane. Alcoholism is seen as an illness, therefore you get invalidity benefit and because you are an invalid you can claim for money for your "carer" and stay at hom and drink all day

look at this guy, and this is no joke it was the government that made him fat :roll:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne ... -grow.html
MAN mountain Paul Mason plans to SUE the NHS — claiming they ignored his plight as he rocketed towards 70 stone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oygak-bvQts

just found this he lost 140lbs when they stuck him in prison, why didn't they send him back??
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healt ... rison.html


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:42 pm 
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This Just In

Reports are coming across the net/news that Eric Schmidt (Sp?) Chairman of Google big supporter of the President, major giver to Left/Dem politics, big support of the Presidents plans. Avoided paying $2 billion dollars in taxes by sheltering 9 + billion in a offshore account.

Perfectly legal BTW.

Just 2 things-

1-Just a few months ago, during the election, Mitt Romney having an offshore account was like he was automatically a crook. But like I pointed out the rules are considerably different for those of the Left. So you won't hear any of them too upset about it.

2-Another "everyone needs to pay their fair share" Lefty, close to the President that is using every trick in the book to avoid paying what they owe.

So I guess the message is that I need to pay my "fair share", you need to pay your "fair share"--BUT if your on the Left politically then you can make pious pronoucements about "fairness" but in the end--you can hide your loot in offshore accounts and NOBODY is going to make a big deal of it. $2 BILLION DOLLARS IN TAXS think of all the good the nation could have done with that money. How many people could we have helped with that money? How many unemployed people could have been trained? How much health care could we provide?

But hey, the dudes Lefty credentials are top flight, big donor, friend of the President, says the right things-----gotta love being a Lefty. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:49 pm 
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Jorvik

Good lord!

I'm honestly floored at the numbers I get when I add in the sickness and invalidity benefits. And I had not even thought add in the government workers.

Really unnerving to think this stuff is headed our way--and some of it is already here.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:07 pm 
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Yeah. The numbers are massive and pretty much unsustainable. I remember years back my Dad told me that he made a graph of the stockmarket just before a crash, and that it was going hyperbolic. It's the same now with Government spending. The only thing they can do is print more money and they have just announced Qe4


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2001 6:01 am
Posts: 2142
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Bill Glasheen wrote:
Thankfully I have people like my friends Justin and Glenn to offer "alternate" viewpoints. We wouldn't want folks to think this is a one-size-fits-all opinion forum.

Looks like Justin has been fulfilling his role while I have been slacking. I have been so busy with end-of-term work at my colleges, followed by taking a break from the computer, that I barely glanced at this forum this month before now...and when I did glance at it earlier all I noticed was the sad note about Sensei Gushi's passing always at the top of the forum and did not realize this thread was occurring below it. I was also saddened to learn earlier this month of the sinking of the HMS Bounty replica during Hurricane Sandy, amazingly with only two lives lost. Somehow I had missed that news previously in reports of the storm. Tall ships are a passion of mine. Every year I get a Tall Ships wall calendar which in some years has included a picture of the Bounty. Sad to see such an avoidable loss, and particularly such an avoidable loss of life...even if they went to sea so the ship would not be caught in port during the storm, that move only protects the ship and not the crew, and without the quick and effective action of the Coast Guard the loss of life could have been much higher.

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Also a historic event with the deactivation of the USS Enterprise, which sadly is headed to the scrap yard.

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The Secretary of the Navy did announce at the deactivation ceremony that the third Gerald Ford class carrier would be named Enterprise. Given that the current trend has been to name carriers after politicians in order to secure funding, supporters of the traditional naming trends were concerned that the name Enterprise would die out in spite of its historic meaning to the navy. The name working its way into popular culture probably helped its continuance.

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And then there is Sandy Hook. I have a first grader so that one hits close to home.

So my mind has been on other things than who pays what percent in tax and what problems may be generated by less than 4% of the population receiving non-retirement entitlements (welfare and unemployment benefits). Besides, most discussions of this topic miss the mark anyway. For example if we rightly include tax breaks/loopholes and government subsidies for corporations and farmers as entitlements then we get a completely different picture of entitlements in the U.S. from the one commonly discussed. To much focus is on a dichotomy of taxes and spending when what we need is to get all sides working together toward a reasonable financial management of the government. In many ways Bill is right, we need a crisis like going over the so-called fiscal cliff to shock the nation into doing something, the problem is many innocents could be hurt in the process. The biggest problem facing the majority of people is employment volatility after all. We need the politicians and corporations to play their games in ways that don't just keep knocking down those of us who just want to work hard and earn a consistent living to provide for our families.

At any rate, Merry Christmas to all my Dojo Roundtable friends out there in code-space! We may disagree on some things but we are united in our interest in the martial arts, and though we may fight over politics and the economy this forum feels like a family in many ways...heck it probably feels more like a family because we fight! :D

_________________
Glenn


Last edited by Glenn on Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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