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  1. #1
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    What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Leftists love to argue that the rich should pay their fair share of taxes.

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York says her plan to transition the United States away from fossil fuels would require people to "start paying their fair share in taxes." https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/alex...-new-deal.html

    Rich people have been allowed to pay far less than our fair share for far too long. - Tom Steyer https://www.usatoday.com/story/opini...mn/1721033002/

    The examples I could post are virtually unlimited. But the fact that the Left repeats this claim so often requires us to ask, what is a fair share?

    As of 2015, the top ten percent of earners, those making more than $138,000 in 2015, made 47 percent of the nation’s income, but they paid 71 percent of the nation’s income tax. The top 1 percent, the people former President Obama decried the most, made 21 percent of the nation’s income in 2015, but they paid 39 percent of the nation’s income tax.

    The system is incredibly progressive. According to the IRS, in 2015, the top 1 percent paid an average tax rate of 27.1 percent, the top 10 percent paid an average rate of 21.4 percent, the top 30 percent paid an average rate of 17.4 percent and the top 50 percent paid an average rate of 15.7 percent. The bottom 50 percent paid an average rate of 3.6 percent.

    Segment ------ Average Tax Rate:

    Top 1% -------- 27.1%

    Top 10% ------- 21.4%

    Top 30% ------- 17.4%

    Top 50% -------- 15.7%

    Bottom 50% ----- 3.6%

    https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/ari-...tax-reform-too (If you have more recent figures, feel free to share.)

    It looks to me like the wealthy do pay more than a fair share, and then some, both in dollars and by percentages, using "equal" as a standard. If you disagree, explain how the above numbers, or more recent figures, support the idea that the rich don't pay their fair share. What is the standard of fairness that you are measuring against?
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    To answer what is fair, I do have a starting principle.
    -It is immoral for the gov to take 50percent (or more) of an individuals earnings. -

    The reason it is immoral is because for the gov to profit more than an individual on the individuals labor, is to make the person a slave to the gov. As it basically says that, that person doesn't have as much right to his labor as the gov does. So, whatever the "fair" amount is, it can't possibly be higher than 50percent.
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    To answer what is fair, I do have a starting principle.
    -It is immoral for the gov to take 50percent (or more) of an individuals earnings. -

    The reason it is immoral is because for the gov to profit more than an individual on the individuals labor, is to make the person a slave to the gov. As it basically says that, that person doesn't have as much right to his labor as the gov does. So, whatever the "fair" amount is, it can't possibly be higher than 50percent.
    Unfortunately, when you get to individuals who are making millions, the concept of "an individual's labour and what they earn for it" gets a bit complicated. While I agree with the basic moral sentiment behind what you're saying, it really only applies in situations where the labour is easily quantifiable in terms of work done vs. profit made. For someone living paycheck-to-paycheck, this principle can be quite easily applied, but for someone who has accrued the kind of wealth & influence which allows them to earn millions, the same principle just doesn't apply as simply as you've tried to express it here.

    I find it often helps to think of paying income tax as paying for the privilege of earning money. If someone's circumstances and the environment in which they are earning money allow them to earn millions vs the mere tens of thousands which most others are earning, then that is indeed quite a privilege, and one which they should pay for.

    There's a lot more to "fair share" than meets the eye. While at first glance it might make sense to say that since the upper quintiles are paying a larger share of the total tax than the share they're making of the total income, then this means they're paying more than their fare share, there are other considerations to make, as well. One big consideration is "what does the environment require in order for there even be one in which anyone can earn money?" It might just turn out that a healthy and strong economy actually requires what may at first glance seem like an unfair division of taxation, in which case the meaning of "fair" would include "what is required to keep the ball rolling".

    We saw after the RayGun-omics that the trickle-down idea didn't really work as intended and income inequality increased. I always laugh when rich republicans tout the trickle-down theory, since it seems like that's the only time they're willing to entertain the idea of re-distribution of wealth, when the re-distribution ends up being in their favour.

    There's more information now that shows if we want to improve economic growth, we should instead focus our efforts on the lowest earners rather than supporting "job creators" with tax cuts (IMF report: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft...15/sdn1513.pdf). One reason for this is the fact that people in the lower quintiles spend a much greater portion of their earnings than the rich do.

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Unfortunately, when you get to individuals who are making millions, the concept of "an individual's labour and what they earn for it" gets a bit complicated. While I agree with the basic moral sentiment behind what you're saying, it really only applies in situations where the labour is easily quantifiable in terms of work done vs. profit made. For someone living paycheck-to-paycheck, this principle can be quite easily applied, but for someone who has accrued the kind of wealth & influence which allows them to earn millions, the same principle just doesn't apply as simply as you've tried to express it here.
    So, I think I get where you are going with this, but there are a lot of ideas that it could be applied to.. so I want to teas it out a bit.

    So the idea of a person earning millions.

    -The CEO -
    There is the case of the CEO, like Rodger Godel for the NFL. Who by going to an office, and doing work (not that different than maybe a secretary) he is paid millions of Dollars a year.

    Now, I would disagree that there is any distinction between Rodger's basic right to his labor, and the fruit, and anyone else. So there is no moral distinction or like an increased burden for him. He is just making more with the same exact resources that a secretary would use.

    - The Retired millionar --
    In this case you have a person who is no longer working, but has made his millions (for sake of argument say digging ditches with a shovel). Now he takes the money out of his matres and puts it in the stock market and makes millions of dollars every year, doing nothing but watching the sun set.
    So does his money making, not represent his labor? It seems that you are saying no that the line is now blurred.


    Which of the above is what you are talking about? Could you expand on how it is different than actually digging a ditch and earning a wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I find it often helps to think of paying income tax as paying for the privilege of earning money. If someone's circumstances and the environment in which they are earning money allow them to earn millions vs the mere tens of thousands which most others are earning, then that is indeed quite a privilege, and one which they should pay for.
    I totally reject this premis. There is no "privilege" in earning money. you do labor, and you EARN money. That means it is owed to you. Which means it is your RIGHT.

    Now I won't claim to have read the whole thing, but if you have ever read "The Wealth of Nations", it starts off by explaing how wealth is generated, and you will find no basis for a "privilege" in that foundation.

    Finally, the problem with appealing to privilege, is that EVERYONE has the same ones. Like living in America is a privilge.
    If you instead mean like advantages, such as being born to wealthy parents, that is not something that SHOULD be paid for by anyone and does not convey some social debt.


    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    There's a lot more to "fair share" than meets the eye. While at first glance it might make sense to say that since the upper quintiles are paying a larger share of the total tax than the share they're making of the total income, then this means they're paying more than their fare share, there are other considerations to make, as well. One big consideration is "what does the environment require in order for there even be one in which anyone can earn money?" It might just turn out that a healthy and strong economy actually requires what may at first glance seem like an unfair division of taxation, in which case the meaning of "fair" would include "what is required to keep the ball rolling".
    I get this point and I don't think it is a bad one. For example, we can flip this in regards to the poor.
    Freedom is purchased with blood, and that is inverse to taxation. In that those who supply the most blood, supply the least taxation. Namely, the poor.
    So it just is the case that in order to secure freedom the poor must shoulder the burden to pay the price in blood required.

    So what if it is the case that in order to maintain an invironment of freedom that the rich must pay 51percent of his income?
    I think that is a fair question to ask.

    I think the answer is that, there is no system of taxation which the rich would not inherently pay the most burden. Thus, it isn't how much the rich pay that we should worry about, but how much the gov is able to collect for a sustained amount of time.
    For example,we could tax the rich 100percent all they own and earn. .. But that would only last 1year. So we shouldn't do that.

    So the limiting principle should at least be, that we maximize tax collection growth for the nation as a whole... and if that means taxing the poor more than current levels.. then that is what should happen.
    Further, in cases where tax levels don't change the amount collected. Then we should opt for the least level of taxation.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    We saw after the RayGun-omics that the trickle-down idea didn't really work as intended and income inequality increased. I always laugh when rich republicans tout the trickle-down theory, since it seems like that's the only time they're willing to entertain the idea of re-distribution of wealth, when the re-distribution ends up being in their favour.
    I'll be honest.. My brain had a hard time figure out what Ray guns had to do with ecconomics. Being that they are science fiction weapons.
    Then .. it all made sense.

    Honestly, I am not all that well versed in trickldown ecconomics. It seems intuitivly true to me. Namely, that people with money hire people without money, and thus money trickls down.
    Also, the people with money, invest money giving people without jobs.. jobs. Thus wealth trickls down.
    I reject any idea of keepig your own money as "redistribution". We may redistribute tax burden.. but when you keep your money, you aren't redistributing wealth. That is a perversion of the idea of redistribution.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    There's more information now that shows if we want to improve economic growth, we should instead focus our efforts on the lowest earners rather than supporting "job creators" with tax cuts (IMF report: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft...15/sdn1513.pdf). One reason for this is the fact that people in the lower quintiles spend a much greater portion of their earnings than the rich do.
    My general sense is that we tax in the wrong way. We should tax spending not income.
    Last edited by MindTrap028; February 8th, 2019 at 11:21 AM.
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    So, I think I get where you are going with this, but there are a lot of ideas that it could be applied to.. so I want to teas it out a bit.

    So the idea of a person earning millions.

    -The CEO -
    There is the case of the CEO, like Rodger Godel for the NFL. Who by going to an office, and doing work (not that different than maybe a secretary) he is paid millions of Dollars a year.

    Now, I would disagree that there is any distinction between Rodger's basic right to his labor, and the fruit, and anyone else. So there is no moral distinction or like an increased burden for him. He is just making more with the same exact resources that a secretary would use.

    - The Retired millionar --
    In this case you have a person who is no longer working, but has made his millions (for sake of argument say digging ditches with a shovel). Now he takes the money out of his matres and puts it in the stock market and makes millions of dollars every year, doing nothing but watching the sun set.
    So does his money making, not represent his labor? It seems that you are saying no that the line is now blurred.

    Which of the above is what you are talking about? Could you expand on how it is different than actually digging a ditch and earning a wage?
    I guess I'm saying that the way in which the work done by different people is valued is part of what causes issues like income inequality, and that generally, rewarding greed is not a good way to run things. For a society to function, it needs to have people doing the CEO job, AND people digging ditches. Everyone can't be a CEO, because then there wouldn't be anyone to dig ditches. But the way our system is structured that that more people want to be CEOs instead of digging ditches, and for the wrong reasons. These wrong reasons are reflected in how each job is remunerated and therefore how each person is able to live their lives.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I totally reject this premis. There is no "privilege" in earning money. you do labor, and you EARN money
    Yes, you earn money, and a portion of it is taken away as tax. What for? That's what I'm getting at with looking at income tax as paying for the privilege of living in a society which provides you with the opportunity to even do work and earn money. It is definitely a privilege, since you could just as easily have been born in a society in which you have greatly reduced opportunities to work and earn money. For you to be able to earn money, you need there to be a society which exists and continues to function and provide you with opportunities. What enables a society's continued existence and functioning? The financial support from its members, simple as that. It's an important part of what it means to be a productive & valuable member of society. Or, if you want, you could take the simpler route and base it on the fact that there are laws which require you to give some of your earnings to the government, and that the bible tells you to obey those laws given that those making the laws were ordained by god.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Finally, the problem with appealing to privilege, is that EVERYONE has the same ones.
    I don't see how this is a problem. Sure, everyone has the same opportunity in terms of how much they could potentially earn, but the privilege applies to how much they do earn. Again, I can liken it a religion and the common teaching of being "blessed" and giving back according to your blessings. Someone who earns millions, for whatever reason, could be considered truly blessed. Blessed by what? By their circumstances & the society which continues to exist, allowing them to earn millions. They need to give thanks for that blessing.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I get this point and I don't think it is a bad one. For example, we can flip this in regards to the poor.
    Freedom is purchased with blood, and that is inverse to taxation. In that those who supply the most blood, supply the least taxation. Namely, the poor.
    So it just is the case that in order to secure freedom the poor must shoulder the burden to pay the price in blood required.
    I'm not sure I follow the analogy with the poor supplying the most blood and how that translates to taxation.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    So what if it is the case that in order to maintain an invironment of freedom that the rich must pay 51percent of his income?
    There are already places where the rich do pay more than 50% ... even in the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I think the answer is that, there is no system of taxation which the rich would not inherently pay the most burden. Thus, it isn't how much the rich pay that we should worry about, but how much the gov is able to collect for a sustained amount of time.
    For example,we could tax the rich 100percent all they own and earn.
    I'm not sure I follow. You say "it isn't how much the rich pay, but how much the gov collects", and then say we could tax the rich 100% - how is that not "how much the rich pay"?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    But that would only last 1year. So we shouldn't do that.
    We could try it for a year or two ... no harm done!
    But seriously, this does get at the core issue I raised above, and how generally, basing any system on greed is not the way to go. Raising taxes on any demographic is sure to trigger greed-fueled feelings & discontent to those having to pay more. Similarly, lowering taxes for some triggers the rest. That's why these kinds of questions are never simply economic, but political & moral, as well. When taxes are raised on the rich they usually respond with greed by trying to find ways of not paying what they should (loopholes & havens), instead of a recognition that they're blessed and should be willing to pay what is required. This is what does harm.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Honestly, I am not all that well versed in trickldown ecconomics. It seems intuitivly true to me. Namely, that people with money hire people without money, and thus money trickls down. Also, the people with money, invest money giving people without jobs.. jobs. Thus wealth trickls down.
    Except that it doesn't. I recommend you take a look at the IMF report, or read this article which explains the report concisely: https://psmag.com/economics/trickle-...-indeed-a-joke

    The main idea, which I summarized in my last post:
    - if the income share of the top 20 percent increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down.
    - instead, increasing the income share to the bottom 20 percent increases GDP growth

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I reject any idea of keepig your own money as "redistribution". We may redistribute tax burden.. but when you keep your money, you aren't redistributing wealth. That is a perversion of the idea of redistribution.
    That's precisely what I already pointed out with the above. Simply put, since the poor make so little money anyway that they have to spend it all, giving them more ensures that more money is spent (redistributed) to a greater extent than giving the rich more does.
    Poor people are generally not good about keeping money. So if you give them more (by letting them keep more of their income), there's an extremely high chance they'll spend it, which is good for the economy. Whenever I see another one of those stories about some poor schmuck who wins the lottery and blows it all like an idiot I always think, "Well, that's better for the economy!"
    Rich people, on the other hand, are quite good at collecting and keeping money - it's usually how they get and stay rich. Giving more money to the rich is just providing them with more opportunities to accumulate wealth, which is their main goal. This is one of the reasons why trickle-down doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    My general sense is that we tax in the wrong way. We should tax spending not income.
    We do tax spending ... sales tax. If you buy more stuff you end up paying more sales tax.

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I guess I'm saying that the way in which the work done by different people is valued is part of what causes issues like income inequality, and that generally, rewarding greed is not a good way to run things. For a society to function, it needs to have people doing the CEO job, AND people digging ditches. Everyone can't be a CEO, because then there wouldn't be anyone to dig ditches. But the way our system is structured that that more people want to be CEOs instead of digging ditches, and for the wrong reasons. These wrong reasons are reflected in how each job is remunerated and therefore how each person is able to live their lives.
    I'm not clear as to what the "wrong reasons" can be to have a job where you work less and make more.
    and while a system needs both CEO's and ditch diggers, there is a sorting process that takes place which puts people in those jobs.
    IE, there is absolutly nothing keeping a company from hiring a ditch digger to be their CEO. Nor is there anything from keeping a ditch digger, from becoming a CEO on his own.
    The only difference is how much they effect society. Rodger effects the country more than my Dad does.. so As CEO's they make different amounts.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Yes, you earn money, and a portion of it is taken away as tax. What for? That's what I'm getting at with looking at income tax as paying for the privilege of living in a society which provides you with the opportunity to even do work and earn money. It is definitely a privilege, since you could just as easily have been born in a society in which you have greatly reduced opportunities to work and earn money. For you to be able to earn money, you need there to be a society which exists and continues to function and provide you with opportunities. What enables a society's continued existence and functioning? The financial support from its members, simple as that. It's an important part of what it means to be a productive & valuable member of society. Or, if you want, you could take the simpler route and base it on the fact that there are laws which require you to give some of your earnings to the government, and that the bible tells you to obey those laws given that those making the laws were ordained by god.
    This is the thing, we must reject any notion that the gov is what gives the people the power. Our system is built so that it is the people who give the gov power.
    The gov is the one priviledge to exist, not our rights, not the people in any way. It is not a privilage to not be a slave. It is an inherent right. The idea of privilage is direcly opposed to that of rights.

    If you are going to argue in a convincing manner to me, then you will have to base it on respecting individual rights, not in some fallacious appeal to a privilage for working and being "allowed" to keep the fruits of my labor.
    That isn't how the world works.

    Now, you do kinda swerve into a relevant point, in that freedom produces the greatest amount of prosperity for all, but to maintain freedom we need gov, and that gov has to be paid for by the people.
    I am with you there.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I don't see how this is a problem. Sure, everyone has the same opportunity in terms of how much they could potentially earn, but the privilege applies to how much they do earn. Again, I can liken it a religion and the common teaching of being "blessed" and giving back according to your blessings. Someone who earns millions, for whatever reason, could be considered truly blessed. Blessed by what? By their circumstances & the society which continues to exist, allowing them to earn millions. They need to give thanks for that blessing.
    good lord! your making the gov out to be God almighty.
    if we owe anything do to our blessings, that would be due to God, not the gov. That would be an argument for forced tithing to the church. Not the gov.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I'm not sure I follow the analogy with the poor supplying the most blood and how that translates to taxation.
    .. sorry. Not sure it is necissary for the discussion.
    It was just to say that the poor has the majority of the blood spilled in war. Being that rich are so few.
    You can skip it.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    There are already places where the rich do pay more than 50% ... even in the US.
    Yes, that would be immoral.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I'm not sure I follow. You say "it isn't how much the rich pay, but how much the gov collects", and then say we could tax the rich 100% - how is that not "how much the rich pay"?
    Well I'm not advocating that the rich be taxed 100percent of all they own.
    I'm saying that we should be more concerned with how much the gov collects as a total than how much the rich pay.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    We could try it for a year or two ... no harm done!
    But seriously, this does get at the core issue I raised above, and how generally, basing any system on greed is not the way to go. Raising taxes on any demographic is sure to trigger greed-fueled feelings & discontent to those having to pay more. Similarly, lowering taxes for some triggers the rest. That's why these kinds of questions are never simply economic, but political & moral, as well. When taxes are raised on the rich they usually respond with greed by trying to find ways of not paying what they should (loopholes & havens), instead of a recognition that they're blessed and should be willing to pay what is required. This is what does harm.
    We should punish people who criminally break the law.
    We should not punish people for trying to follow the law in a way that keeps the most of their money within their control.

    You are demonizing the latter.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    The main idea, which I summarized in my last post:
    - if the income share of the top 20 percent increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down.
    - instead, increasing the income share to the bottom 20 percent increases GDP growth
    Income share is not about taxation. You can't just increase the income share of the bottom 20percent.. they have to actually make more money.
    It appears that is what your link is focused on. And it doesn't show that it doesn't work (as the income of the poor increased) it just argues that it hurt income equality.

    ---On trickl down Vs some other--
    I don't see it as relevant, because we are talking about what is fair.
    I am arguing for an upper limit and limiting principles.
    all the discussion revolving around trickl down is about a tax rate of 42percent dropping to 35percent or some such.
    That isn't really my concern. Whatever rate provids the most taxes collected over a sustained period of time. If that is 40percent.. fine.

    The main objection to trickl down, is that income inequality grew.. But that is a deceptive measure, because if the tax cut makes people make more money at the bottom.. then it does in fact work.

    I'm alright with the rich getting richer, as long as everyones income is increasing.
    If one tax rate helps the poor make more money (without just giving them money) i'm fine with it.

    -----------

    Quote Originally Posted by sig
    I think that is a good principle rule. For me, the ideal would be more like 25% but 50% should be a maximum from net income. And that would include both state and federal taxes. Also it would include all income, including inheritance and capital gains.
    I would like to see all taxation be based on spending, because that would allow people to make the most money, while equiping their families to become wealthy.
    Like capital gains.. I would rather not see them taxed at all. Because that is how you get rich to begin with. So taxing it.. makes it disproportiantly more difficult for the poor to become rich through capital gains.
    Or like property. When you tax property, it is the poor that lose their houses because they can't pay the taxes.. or forget to pay taxes, etc. The rich..don't have that problem, and losing the family home/farm etc has generational effects.
    Basically whatever you tax, you are going to get less of, and I am concerned (though ignorant as to how it all plays out technically) at hurting the poor and middle class on the way to punishing the rich through taxation.
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I would like to see all taxation be based on spending, because that would allow people to make the most money, while equiping their families to become wealthy.
    Only if you will include all business spending. Otherwise, you are just creating a tax shelter for people who have tons of money. The poor spend nearly all their income, the rich spend only a fraction. not because they are more modest, but because they simply have so much more income. Sales taxes are highly regressive. They would take the already serious problem of wealth inequality and blast it into the stratosphere. It's a terrible idea.

    Like capital gains.. I would rather not see them taxed at all. Because that is how you get rich to begin with. So taxing it.. makes it disproportionately more difficult for the poor to become rich through capital gains.
    Poor people don't have capital gains MT. Not sure what your life experience is, but go find a poor family and ask them about their capital gains. They don't have any because they don't own any capital. They spend all their income on rent and food and utilities and if they are lucky a few consumer products.

    Or like property. When you tax property, it is the poor that lose their houses because they can't pay the taxes.. or forget to pay taxes, etc. The rich..don't have that problem, and losing the family home/farm etc has generational effects.
    Again, most poor people don't own a home. Mind you, they do pay some measure of it through rent none the less. Most property owners are wealthy, often very wealthy.

    Basically whatever you tax, you are going to get less of, and I am concerned (though ignorant as to how it all plays out technically) at hurting the poor and middle class on the way to punishing the rich through taxation.
    We need to stop picking and choosing what we tax and just tax the movement of money from one entity to another. It best represents the overall activity in the economy and thus is a good measure to tax on. Simply taxing the money is the fairest and most economically neutral way to go.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Only if you will include all business spending. Otherwise, you are just creating a tax shelter for people who have tons of money. The poor spend nearly all their income, the rich spend only a fraction. not because they are more modest, but because they simply have so much more income. Sales taxes are highly regressive. They would take the already serious problem of wealth inequality and blast it into the stratosphere. It's a terrible idea.
    What does taxation have to do with income inequality?
    I mean if we had zero taxes... i would assume we would still have income inequality.
    As jesus said, you will always have the poor with you.

    I don't think that using the tax code to hurt the rich just to balance all incomes, is a justifiable moral position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Poor people don't have capital gains MT. Not sure what your life experience is, but go find a poor family and ask them about their capital gains. They don't have any because they don't own any capital. They spend all their income on rent and food and utilities and if they are lucky a few consumer products.
    Well, here I used poor to talk about the people who are not "rich", rich being the top 1percent.
    So there are lots of "poor" that have capital gains.
    For example, there was a teacher who worked the stock market, traded constantly during school off ours etc.
    He made millions of dollars, and became "rich"... but he wasn't really "rich" because capital gains taxes, which he wasn't smart enough to calculate properly, took his profits.
    He was forced into debt to the IRS, and basically was condemned to be forever poor by the gov.

    So, yes.. not only do the poor pay capital gains, but capital gains keeps people from becoming "rich".

    Even if you reject this anicdotal evidence. Wouldn't a good principle be to avoid creating barriers for people to become rich, rather than seeking to tax the rich in that way.

    So for example, if one could show that a property tax would keep the poor.. poor. Then we shouldn't tax property rather than tax property just to find a way to tax the rich.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Again, most poor people don't own a home. Mind you, they do pay some measure of it through rent none the less. Most property owners are wealthy, often very wealthy.
    Finally, something I know a little bit about.
    As a property owner.. I think most property is directly connected to debt.
    while they may easily have assets of a million dollars, it represents huge amounts of risk.
    If you want to know why the poor don't own homes, the major reason is because of regulations (over regulation IMO).
    Not to get too off point, but there are plenty of homes that are 100 years old (and I live in hurrican country), that would be illegal to buid today.
    .. and that change alone has made it so that houses are priced out of the poors reach.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    We need to stop picking and choosing what we tax and just tax the movement of money from one entity to another. It best represents the overall activity in the economy and thus is a good measure to tax on. Simply taxing the money is the fairest and most economically neutral way to go.
    Right.. I guess movement of money is technically different than a sales tax.. but that is kinda the point the same point.


    ..
    One thing about "fairness" is to be treated the same. So I think that the idea of writing a tax law to target one group of people is inherently unfair.
    It is saying that that group has to play by different rules.
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    What does taxation have to do with income inequality?
    Quite a bit actually. It puts a limit on the income of the wealthy, prevents them from building up as much capital which in turn limits their income. It is transferred to the poor and services for the poor like education which both increases their income directly and leads to greater earning potential in the future for them.

    I mean if we had zero taxes... i would assume we would still have income inequality.
    Indeed we would have more income inequality that we do already.

    I don't think that using the tax code to hurt the rich just to balance all incomes, is a justifiable moral position.
    If you allow income inequality to grow too great it almost always leads to violent social revolution and the collapse of cultures and society which in turn creates massive destruction of national wealth on a scale incomparable to taxation.

    Well, here I used poor to talk about the people who are not "rich", rich being the top 1percent.
    That is a very poor choice of words sir. I refer to the poor as those who live below the poverty line and have difficulty making end meet. The middle class and even upper-middle class are what we call those who have significant capital but are not the "1%"

    For example, there was a teacher who worked the stock market, traded constantly during school off ours etc.
    He made millions of dollars and became "rich"... but he wasn't really "rich" because capital gains taxes, which he wasn't smart enough to calculate properly, took his profits.
    That is not really possible. Capital gains tax rates are pretty low overall, so no matter how much profit you made, you would only be taxed a percentage of it no mater how you calculated it.

    He was forced into debt to the IRS, and basically was condemned to be forever poor by the gov.
    Sounds like a load of ******** from someone who simply refused to pay the tax they owed and was penalized for it.

    So, yes.. not only do the poor pay capital gains, but capital gains keeps people from becoming "rich".
    I havve paid capital gains tax, it did not keep me from being rich.

    Even if you reject this anicdotal evidence. Wouldn't a good principle be to avoid creating barriers for people to become rich, rather than seeking to tax the rich in that way.
    It is not a barrier. Taxes exist to pay the cost of govenrment. The government is largely proportional to the economy. So a good principle is to tax the economy so that you can pay for the government that provides services to said economy.

    Finally, something I know a little bit about.
    As a property owner.. I think most property is directly connected to debt.
    while they may easily have assets of a million dollars, it represents huge amounts of risk.
    Not really all that much, not in the long term at any rate. Real-estate is one of the most reliable US markets over the long term and land has strong intrinsic value. Yes, a lot of property comes with debt, but it also is equity. Owning a home is what let me spend three years traveling without a real income source while living debt free and having no financial worries. It is quite powerful.

    If you want to know why the poor don't own homes, the major reason is because of regulations (over regulation IMO).
    No, it is because poor poeple don't have money or assets or sufficeint income to get a loan. It is not due to over regulation.

    Not to get too off point, but there are plenty of homes that are 100 years old (and I live in hurrican country), that would be illegal to buid today.
    .. and that change alone has made it so that houses are priced out of the poors reach.
    Well those regulations greatly reduce the risk to homeowners of complete financial loss and they reduce insurance rates. They increase build costs by about 30%, but in many markets the land costs more than the home anyway so its more like 10-15% of the cost of a mortgage. People who are actually poor can't afford a car, so a 15% discount on a mortgage isn't really anything that would make a difference.

    Income best tracks movement of money from one person to another. A tax like Canada's VAT can work if you do a sales tax because it hits every level of the economy.

    One thing about "fairness" is to be treated the same. So I think that the idea of writing a tax law to target one group of people is inherently unfair.
    It is saying that that group has to play by different rules.
    We should tax money, not people. If you happen to have a lot of money, its getting taxed, if you don't you are safer from taxation. Its not about who you are, it is about what you have.
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    To answer what is fair, I do have a starting principle.
    -It is immoral for the gov to take 50percent (or more) of an individual's earnings. -

    The reason it is immoral is that for the gov to profit more than an individual on the individual's labor, is to make the person a slave to the gov. As it basically says that, that person doesn't have as much right to his labor as the gov does. So, whatever the "fair" amount is, it can't possibly be higher than 50percent.
    I think that is a good principle rule. For me, the ideal would be more like 25% but 50% should be a maximum from net income. And that would include both state and federal taxes. Also it would include all income, including inheritance and capital gains.

    ---------- Post added at 03:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:54 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Here is a chart showing income and taxes paid by individuals in 2014. You'll quickly see that those making about 32% of total income (in the 200k+ group) paid about 70% of all income taxes. So I'd say they're paying more than their fair share.

    But take a look at those making under 50k. They didn't just pay 0% of income taxes, but actually paid LESS than zero. How is that possible? It's because they get a variety of fully refundable tax credits despite paying zero federal income tax. If there is a group paying less than their fair share, isn't it this group that gets refunds of taxes that they didn't even pay?
    One thing you have to keep in mind on these statistics is they are generlly based on Taxable income. The lower end has a lot of standard deductions and the like that reduce their taxable income, such that they show a negative rate. There is some of that on the high end as well but it's part of why a negative tax rate is shown for the low end. Also, it hides some capital gains and inheritance income from the rich since it is taxed a bit differently than regular income is. It also hides off shore income etc... though that is likely not a problem for this purpose.

    All that said, I largely agree that the rich do pay a large portion of the tax. It's not shocking since they have a large portion of the income and an even larger portion of the wealth.

    The green new deal thing is mostly nonsense.
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Here is a chart showing income and taxes paid by individuals in 2014. You'll quickly see that those making about 32% of total income (in the 200k+ group) paid about 70% of all income taxes. So I'd say they're paying more than their fair share.

    But take a look at those making under 50k. They didn't just pay 0% of income taxes, but actually paid LESS than zero. How is that possible? It's because they get a variety of fully refundable tax credits despite paying zero federal income tax. If there is a group paying less than their fair share, isn't it this group that gets refunds of taxes that they didn't even pay?

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    I don't know what a fair tax would be, and I'm not convinced that increasing tax on the rich is cure-all many believe it is.

    However, I work in the oil field. In 2014 oil prices began to plummet. By January 2015 it was down to less than $30 a barrel. Almost immediately, Schlumberger let 9,000 people go, and eventually cut loose 25,000.

    25,000 people.

    That same year, the CEO of Schlumberger took home compensation worth $18.3 million, $5.2 million of which was a bonus.

    25,000 people with no job, and one person - whose salary was generated by those people - was given $18 million.

    There's something wrong with that.

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    There's something wrong with that.
    I thanked you for your post, though you're commenting on job security and income, which are red herrings to the op. I'll bite, though. How educated and talented were the 25,000 people who lost their jobs. Did they have unique skills or could they be easily be replaced when needed? The CEO probably has education, talents and experiences that are very hard to find. Don't you believe that people should be paid what business believes they are worth, as determined by supply and demand?

    And towards the actual topic of this thread, didn't that CEO pay a whole lot of money in taxes? Far more than any of the 25,000 people would have paid, even if they kept their jobs?
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    How educated and talented were the 25,000 people who lost their jobs.
    Well, that's hard to say. Could the CEO handle the workload on the drill floor? Could the driller conduct business with the same aptitude as the CEO? Would the driller have holes to drill without the CEO? Could the CEO drill those wells without the driller?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    And towareds the actual topic of this thread, didn't that CEO pay a whole lot of money in taxes? Far more than any of the 25,000 people would have paid, even if they kept their jobs?
    That's a good question. That's why I said "I don't know what a fair tax would be, and I'm not convinced that increasing tax on the rich is cure-all many believe it is."

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    The lower end has a lot of standard deductions and the like that reduce their taxable income, such that they show a negative rate.
    I think you don't understand what is happening. Standard and other deductions can reduce the tax to zero, but don't cause a negative rate. They can cause a refund of any income tax paid during the previous year, but do not provide a refund beyond that limit. Refundable tax credits, on the other hand, allow refunds even when no income tax was paid during the previous year, or when deductions and other credits bring the tax owed to zero.

    Examples include:

    The Earned Income Tax Credit (which provides up to $6,557 refund for a head of household with three or more qualifying children): https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductio...unts-next-year

    The Child Tax Credit: https://www.cbpp.org/research/federa...ild-tax-credit

    The American Opportunity Tax Credit (educational credit that is 40% refundable, even if no income taxes have been paid)

    The Premium Assistance Tax Credit (for low income people who paid for their own insurance premium, even if they paid no income tax)
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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Leftists love to argue that the rich should pay their fair share of taxes.

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York says her plan to transition the United States away from fossil fuels would require people to "start paying their fair share in taxes." https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/alex...-new-deal.html

    Rich people have been allowed to pay far less than our fair share for far too long. - Tom Steyer https://www.usatoday.com/story/opini...mn/1721033002/

    The examples I could post are virtually unlimited. But the fact that the Left repeats this claim so often requires us to ask, what is a fair share?

    As of 2015, the top ten percent of earners, those making more than $138,000 in 2015, made 47 percent of the nationís income, but they paid 71 percent of the nationís income tax. The top 1 percent, the people former President Obama decried the most, made 21 percent of the nationís income in 2015, but they paid 39 percent of the nationís income tax.

    The system is incredibly progressive. According to the IRS, in 2015, the top 1 percent paid an average tax rate of 27.1 percent, the top 10 percent paid an average rate of 21.4 percent, the top 30 percent paid an average rate of 17.4 percent and the top 50 percent paid an average rate of 15.7 percent. The bottom 50 percent paid an average rate of 3.6 percent.

    Segment ------ Average Tax Rate:

    Top 1% -------- 27.1%

    Top 10% ------- 21.4%

    Top 30% ------- 17.4%

    Top 50% -------- 15.7%

    Bottom 50% ----- 3.6%

    https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/ari-...tax-reform-too (If you have more recent figures, feel free to share.)

    It looks to me like the wealthy do pay more than a fair share, and then some, both in dollars and by percentages, using "equal" as a standard. If you disagree, explain how the above numbers, or more recent figures, support the idea that the rich don't pay their fair share. What is the standard of fairness that you are measuring against?

    1.) The tax rate should, at a minimum, be 50% for any dollar made over 500k. 60% at a minimum for every dollar made over 1M. I'm sorry if anyone disagrees with me, but you're wrong. No one needs that much money, but you know does? Your country. The US has been bankrupted by fools over stupid wars and bad investments, needs a tremendous infrastructure and technological investments, and needs to invest in its citizen's healthcare, education/job training, etc. Even if you don't agree with the Left on how much should actually be done, everyone agrees something needs to be done. And that will cost money. Fact: That money has got to come from somewhere. Do we take it from the least-well off, or do we take it from the most well-off? I vote we take from the most well-off, i.e. those who've profited from the system and have the most invested into the system, anyway.


    2.) Money is not a linear quantity; in other words, the more of it that you own does not, in fact, scale with your proportional living expenses. That's why people who make 22k a year spend virtually 100% of their income on cost of living, whereas someone who makes 200k spends 20% on their cost of living. You can buy more and more frilly things (bigger house, more expensive food, etc), but you don't need to. The cost of living is ultimately what decides what your income means. And so that's what makes 30% of someone's income who makes 100k a year has a lot less impact than 30% on someone who makes 20k. Because a person who makes 20k cannot decide to eat 6k in losses by buying less expensive food or housing. I think pretty much anyone who's even used a budget before will be able to figure out why this basic economic fact. And that is why you tax people who make more money a higher rate.


    3.) Man, I've really got to figure out how these people screw around with their taxes. I'm paying a higher percentage than the top 1%, and that's ****ed up. The system is ludicrously rigged for the the top 1%. If you don't think that's true, you obviously have not spent time reading income inequality and wealth distribution inequality studies over the past 40 years. Anyone who makes less than 80k a year and sings the songs of how unfair it is to tax rich people are deluding themselves. Although honestly, anyone who sings songs about how hard the rich have are deluding themselves, whether they make 50k, 500k, or 500M a year.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    1.) The tax rate should, at a minimum, be 50% for any dollar made over 500k. 60% at a minimum for every dollar made over 1M. I'm sorry if anyone disagrees with me, but you're wrong. No one needs that much money, but you know does?
    As a fellow citizen, if you are going to start from a position that I have to justify to you, or anyone else why I CAN own something, then we are not going to be starting from a common ground. Your justification is completly at odds with basic assumptions of a sound gov.
    You may be able to build a case for why a certain tax rate is needed or necissary, but your off to a horrible start.

    As to your.. if you disagree your wrong. your opinion is noted.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    Do we take it from the least-well off, or do we take it from the most well-off? I vote we take from the most well-off,
    Ahh the two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    2.) Money is not a linear quantity; in other words, the more of it that you own does not, in fact, scale with your proportional living expenses. That's why people who make 22k a year spend virtually 100% of their income on cost of living, whereas someone who makes 200k spends 20% on their cost of living. You can buy more and more frilly things (bigger house, more expensive food, etc), but you don't need to. The cost of living is ultimately what decides what your income means. And so that's what makes 30% of someone's income who makes 100k a year has a lot less impact than 30% on someone who makes 20k. Because a person who makes 20k cannot decide to eat 6k in losses by buying less expensive food or housing. I think pretty much anyone who's even used a budget before will be able to figure out why this basic economic fact. And that is why you tax people who make more money a higher rate.
    Totally agree. Excellent observation.



    @ GP
    Is it fair to say your advocating a "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" approach?
    Because that hasn't produced the prosperity that America has reached. I mean, by every measure the poor in the U.S. are the richest poor in the world.. and I don't care if you disagree with me.. your just wrong. *J*
    To serve man.

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    As a fellow citizen, if you are going to start from a position that I have to justify to you, or anyone else why I CAN own something, then we are not going to be starting from a common ground. Your justification is completly at odds with basic assumptions of a sound gov.
    You may be able to build a case for why a certain tax rate is needed or necissary, but your off to a horrible start.
    Why are you talking about property rights and whether something can be owned? Please fill in the dots for me.


    @ GP
    Is it fair to say your advocating a "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" approach?
    No, I'm arguing for a tax increase because we need it. Then there's a later discussion on how it should be distributed and why, but they aren't the same discussion. I'm perfectly happy to tell you that I agree more or less 100% with Sanders and AOC, but it's ancillary to this discussion.

    Because that hasn't produced the prosperity that America has reached. I mean, by every measure the poor in the U.S. are the richest poor in the world.. and I don't care if you disagree with me.. your just wrong. *J*
    So what, should we lower our standards until our poor meet the level of a third world nation's? Do you honestly think that this is the kind of logic that brought the US prosperity? I promise it wasn't. Until we are completely overtaken, the poor in the US will always be better off than other countries. That doesn't mean that we are being wise stewards of our country's resources and its people until we literally start meeting the standard of living in third-world nations.

    I would argue that being wise stewards means that we should set our sights quite a bit higher than that.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    Why are you talking about property rights and whether something can be owned? Please fill in the dots for me.
    Because money is your property.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    No, I'm arguing for a tax increase because we need it. Then there's a later discussion on how it should be distributed and why, but they aren't the same discussion. I'm perfectly happy to tell you that I agree more or less 100% with Sanders and AOC, but it's ancillary to this discussion.
    Well, you argued that rich people don't need a bunch of money.. but the gov does need the money.
    So. it just sounds exactly like what I said.
    As you do apparently agree with that statement, but think it is separate.. is it possible it just bleed through your POV into this discussion?


    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    So what, should we lower our standards until our poor meet the level of a third world nation's?
    I believe that is the effect you will get if we take the approach you are advocating.
    Because in the U.S. our history has been one of avoiding any idea that the people owe the gov for their lively hood, or that there is a such thing as too much wealth in a single persons hands.
    And THAT attitude has lead to the richest poor in the world.
    VS
    What you are advocating, that has been tried all over the world, and has produced the worst conditions for the poor.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    Do you honestly think that this is the kind of logic that brought the US prosperity? I promise it wasn't. Until we are completely overtaken, the poor in the US will always be better off than other countries. That doesn't mean that we are being wise stewards of our country's resources and its people until we literally start meeting the standard of living in third-world nations.
    You must have some assumptions going on that I am not familiar with.
    In what way do the poor in the u.s have it worse than 3rd world countries poor?
    What is the attitude that brought America the wealth and prosperity the world has never seen.. if not a fundamental respect for an individuals right to their own property and money, and specifically a rejection of the notion of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need".

    If your going to say "I promise it wasn't".. you are going to have to explain it.. because .. I promise you it very much seems it was.

    Your talking about being wise with our countries resources.. but I have no idea how that plays into the tax question at hand.
    To serve man.

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    Re: What is a Fair Share of taxes for the Rich?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    1.) No one needs that much money, but you know does? Your country.
    It is interesting how when the Left wants to limit the rights of citizens (assault rifles, large ammo clips, personal wealth) it frames the issue in terms of "needs" (nobody needs an assault rifle, nobody needs a 16 capacity ammo clip), but when the Left wants to limit the government or receive something from the government it talks about rights. As the great thinker MindTrap once asked, "Did Rosa Parks need to sit in the front of the bus?" No, it was her right to sit at the front. So when you talk of the rich not needing so much money, I have to ask - Don't they have the right to earn and keep money?

    Is there a basis for you to judge a "fair share" tax percentage for the rich?

    Or do you think that the rich should willingly pay whatever the country decides to take?

    At some point or level, doesn't confiscation of income or wealth infringe on personal rights? If so, at what point would you begin to say "that is too much tax, even on the rich."
    Last edited by evensaul; February 11th, 2019 at 04:08 PM.
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