Author Topic: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?  (Read 750 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline shnozzola

Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« on: July 06, 2012, 05:01:03 PM »
My question concerns how people who live in countries with high tax rates and many social services - for  instance, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Finland  -   feel about the quality of life in your countries?  Many in the US feel that higher tax rates are not necessarily evil.  I understand it is much more complicated than just tax rates, but what the heck, we’re just discussing – numbers below show how complicated it can be.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

Denmark    49.0
Sweden      47.0
Belgium       46.8
Norway      43.6
Finland       43.6      
US              26.9

(Based on percentage of GDP, which includes Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Cuba close to the top)

Which governments take the biggest chunk from a $100,000 salary:
Quote
DENMARK has the highest rate of income tax for a person earning $100,000, according to a survey of effective tax rates in 93 countries published on September 29th by KPMG, an accounting firm. But employee social-security contributions in Denmark are only 0.2%, and once such contributions are taken into account, high earners in several countries, including Belgium, Greece, Germany and France, take home less than the Danes. Belgium’s government grabs the highest share from earnings of $100,000, at almost 48%. Between 2003 and 2009, the highest tax rates on personal income declined. But last year they increased by 0.4% as governments sought to reduce deficits. Sickly euro-zone economies such as Iceland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal were among the countries who levied more on their top earners. Countries that have suffered natural disasters, like Japan, may introduce temporary taxes.

Here's another quote from a search:
Quote
Many leftists often point to the "superiority" of Scandinavian "socialism." Leftists often use Denmark and Sweden as their examples, since they are the most successful Scandinavian nations. I already covered this issue in an earlier post, but I feel it is important to rehash this topic and to post a refutation of this leftist fallacy. For this post, we shall define Scandinavian countries as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland. Some might dispute whether we should consider Finland and Iceland as Scandinavian, because of cultural differences (Finland) and geographical barriers (Iceland), though we the point of this post is not to argue whether or not these countries are Scandinavian, but to dispute the fact that they are indeed successful socialist states.

First of all, most leftists will use the USA as the measure of laissez faire capitalism. We all know that this is completely false, so I won't go into detail refuting this casuistry here but I'd like to point several things out: Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, and Australia were all rated as "more free," according to the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom. It would probably be better to compare these Scandinavian nations to Hong Kong or Ireland than to the United states.

Furthermore, Scandinavian nations are not nearly as socialist as leftists claim they are. Although the United States ranks higher than these nations on the Index of Economic Freedom, Scandinavian nations are more free in several decisive areas. Denmark has greater business freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom while having comparable property rights and trade freedom scores to the U.S.  Sweden has greater business freedom and freedom from corruption, while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, property rights enforcement, investment freedom, and financial freedom to the United States. Finland has greater business freedom, monetary freedom, and freedom from corruption than the United States, while having comparable property right enforcement, financial freedom, and trade freedom. Norway, the least successful Scandinavian nation, has greater freedom from corruption than the United States while having comparable business freedom, trade freedom, and property right enforcement. Iceland has greater business freedom, fiscal freedom, and freedom from corruption, while having comparable trade freedom and property right enforcement. In many ways, Scandinavian countries are more "laissez faire" than the United States.

If anyone finds good tables to prove a point - have at it.
I hope this is a lively debate - I've been trying to copy and paste tables - there are alot of considerations - maybe too many.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 05:03:12 PM by shnozzola »
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline Brakeman

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1243
  • Darwins +47/-3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 12:11:43 PM »
It's basically a "do you get value for your money" issue to me. 
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Humanoid

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • Darwins +1/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 05:02:23 PM »
First.. I would define Finland to be social democratic country, not socialist.

We are actually having right now conservatice president and conservative government. Conservative in our case is not near republican though.

We have a pretty high tax rate. I have freelance-tax card and I pay 22% taxes of all income.. which is less that I would pay with regular tax card with my income. But the trick is that I pay personally all side fees that usually employers would pay.

I would say that the standard of living is very good quality in Finland.

We pay lots of taxes but we benefit from it a lot.

We have very good social security system. It means that the social security makes sure that every citizen can provide their basic needs.. home, food, clothing, meds.. It doesn´t allow luxury... but if you are left wihtout a job.. social security system makes sure you don´t lose your home and you will have food in your table for you and your kids.

All medical services for children under 18 are free. Adults pay excess part of the cost but everything that goes over, government takes care of. If you are hospitalized, you will pay the excess only for your stay at the hospital, not surgery costs etc.. It means that people don´t need health insurances.

Schooling system is free. It means that all children from the age 7-19 will get free education from elementary school to high school. Free schooling includes free transportation to school ( if you live over 6 kilometers from school ) and back and warm lunch everyday. Also all books and equipments are provided from the school.. not including high school where you buy your own books.

Universities and other higher education is also free. Of course you pay for your food and living costs, but teaching and participating to courses is free.. there is no tuition fees.

Our system supports equality. In schooling it means that regardless of from what social class you are coming, you can study as high you want. Getting good education doesn´t mean you have to come from higher class family. What talents you have and how hard you are ready work will count.

These are all payed by taxes. Having my own family I pay gladly taxes because the benefits are good.

We have very strong culture of entrepreneuship and it is strongly supported by government.


Offline Frank

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2363
  • Darwins +38/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • You're doin' my head in!!
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012, 01:41:24 PM »
My question concerns how people who live in countries with high tax rates and many social services - for  instance, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Finland  -   feel about the quality of life in your countries?  Many in the US feel that higher tax rates are not necessarily evil. 

High rates of tax are not evil at all. I mean how much money does a family or an individual need to have a decent standard of living anyway? The countries mentioned do not have the vast differences in income that occur in countries like my own and America, Income is much more evenly distributed. They also have less instances of the negative sides of life. They have less crime, less social unrest, less drug and alcohol abuse. On the positive side they enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world.

You also have to consider the added value of what their taxes pay for. Universal healthcare of the highest quality, welfare and social security that make working people in other countries look poor by comparison. The only people who benefit from low taxes are the wealthy who basically use their money to separate themselves from society as a whole, spend on expensive houses and consumables. and then hoard the rest so they can pass it on to their kids.
"Atheism is not a mission to convert the world. It only seems that way because when other religions fall away, atheism is what is left behind".

Offline shnozzola

Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 01:59:59 PM »
^ Agreed.  That's why the American conservative position  angers me.   I'm waiting to see a post showing reasons why high taxation is so bad.  Especially from the countries that are considered the highest.
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 02:47:31 PM »
If you dismiss the fact that income tax is unconstitutional in the US,[1] then at this point I support a flat tax rate for everyone. Every business. On every penny earned, either through labor or investment or profit.

15% seems a fair balance but I don't have the wherewithal to calculate what would actually be needed to support the government infrastructure. 

If everyone pays the same percentage in taxes...well then everyone is paying their fair share.

I assume, for the purposes of this conversation, we are talking about income tax. So

If I only earn 20,000 dollars a year then I only pay 3,000.

If I only earn 2,000,000 a year then I only pay 300,000.

If I earn a combination of 100,000 in labor and 100,000 in investment then I pay 30,000.

The tax on investment would only apply to capitol gains. You shouldn't have to pay taxes on losses.

I believe that high tax rates are not necessary. But neither are tax loopholes.



 1. which 100% of Americans do
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2012, 02:48:47 PM »
So Jay, you believe that those who earn less should pay a higher % of their disposable income than those who earn more.

Why do you believe this?
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2012, 02:56:34 PM »
So Jay, you believe that those who earn less should pay a higher % of their disposable income than those who earn more.

Why do you believe this?

The percentage is flat...the same. Not higher.
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2012, 02:58:17 PM »
Re-read my post, Jay.  Every word.  I'm not going to discuss this with you if you're not going to read what I actually wrote.  Pay attention to the word "disposable".
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2012, 03:00:16 PM »
Re-read my post, Jay.  Every word.  I'm not going to discuss this with you if you're not going to read what I actually wrote.  Pay attention to the word "disposable".

But what does one's disposable income have to do with paying taxes?
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2012, 03:01:40 PM »
First things first, Jay.  I asked you a question in my first post.  Are you willing to answer it?

EDIT:  On second thought, I'll answer your question first.  Paying taxes reduces one's disposable income.  That's what disposable income has to do with paying taxes.  Did you really need that to be explained?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 03:12:17 PM by Azdgari »
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2012, 03:16:08 PM »
So Jay, you believe that those who earn less should pay a higher % of their disposable income than those who earn more.

In light of the current tax laws, this is a very gray area. I average about 20 to 22k per year. Should I count the 4 to 6k I get back from EIC on my taxes as income?

I was only talking about income. Either from labor or investment.

How much I am able to put back each year vs. what you are able to put back each year shouldn't factor in to the equation.

I know people who can't imagine a lifestyle based on my income. They can't fathom how I live and raise a family and pay a mortgage with only around 20k a year income. Technically, I don't have disposable income but I still don't see how we can justify taking a higher percentage from people who are able to have disposable income[1] is fair.

In other words. If I know that no matter how much money I have at my disposal, no matter how much money I earn either through labor or investment or business...If I know the government is going to take away enough of my money to balance the equation to the lowest common denominator...then what is my motivation to make more money?

Again...how does disposable income factor into the equation? Who gets to decide how much you make is disposable? Do you really need that 3,000 sq ft. house?

Mine is only 900 sq ft and there are 5 people living in it. If i can do it so can you.
 1. money they may or may not spend
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2012, 03:52:53 PM »
I asked a very simple question, Jay.  You dodged it.  Care to try again?  I wasn't talking about the current system at all.  I was talking about the flat-tax system you presented.

I stated a very obvious fact about it - the main effect it would have, imo.  I asked you why you supported that effect.  You never answered.  Why did you never answer?

Your post was a good foundation for a discussion, but to follow it would be to accept your dodge of my clear question.  I'm not going to do that.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 03:56:26 PM by Azdgari »
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2012, 04:59:24 PM »
I asked a very simple question, Jay.

Well, the problem is that it is not a very simple question. At least, not in my mind.

It seems to me that you are trying to lead me to a conclusion, presumably one that concurs with your evaluation of the overall effect of a flat tax proposal.

I have indicated that I don't see a correlation between a tax on income vs. what should be done about however much money is left over for the individual after tax returns have been filed.
 
Quote
I wasn't talking about the current system at all.  I was talking about the flat-tax system you presented.

And that is my bad...I don't claim to understand the official Flat Tax proposal which has been bandied about various talk show pundits. I simply stated that I believe everyone should pay the same percentage of tax based on their income...no matter what the source of their income may be.

Quote
I stated a very obvious fact about it - the main effect it would have, imo.  I asked you why you supported that effect.

Ultimately I don't understand how a flat tax rate would hurt people like me any more than the current tax laws do. I am waiting for elucidation on this claim you make. 

Quote
You never answered.  Why did you never answer?

Never is a very long time. Perhaps I will answer once I fully understand the implications of the question? Time will tell.

Quote
Your post was a good foundation for a discussion, but to follow it would be to accept your dodge of my clear question.  I'm not going to do that.

Let's put this aside for a second. I truly want to understand the argument against a flat tax proposal. I can say, based on a purely emotional sense of right and wrong, that I don't think poor people should pay more money from their disposable income than rich people do from theirs. But what does that really mean when we are talking percentages?
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Offline Humanoid

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • Darwins +1/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2012, 05:01:42 PM »
So flat-tax means that everyone pays exactly the same percentage of taxes regardles their income?

I don´t support it. It may seem equal.. all are in the same line. But lets think about justice and happines. In various studies it has become very clear that in countries where the gap between rich and poor is relatively small, people are happier. There are less social and hate-related problems, motivation to do work is higher etc. Compared to countries where the gap is large.

Flat tax supports the mechanics where rich are becoming more rich and poor are becoming poorer. Why? Because the cost for living is same for all. Basically all supplies and necessaties are the same price. The capability of low income people to buy the supplies they need is smaller than the capability of high income.

That is why I support cumulative taxing.

I don´t meant that no one should have more wealth than the others. No. But I would like to support a system that drives the gap between rich and poor as small as possible.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2012, 05:04:13 PM »
Is it the governments job to establish what constitutes financial equality?
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Offline Humanoid

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • Darwins +1/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2012, 05:10:46 PM »
Is it the governments job to establish what constitutes financial equality?

If the people (citizens) give the mandate to government to do it.. then yes.

In our system.. the economics work on two levels. There is private entrepreneurship and peoples own responsibilities. Then there is government that controls the economic system.

It is also governments job to protect the citizens. And one way to protect the citizens is to take care of financial equality. It is actually a major internal security-issue. If people are satisfied.. there is no internal threat to citizens.

Last. This is not government vs. people issue. People elect government. If people are not happy, they elect a government that makes the changes. This system we have has a very strong mandate from the people.

Offline Humanoid

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • Darwins +1/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2012, 05:12:22 PM »
Forgot to add that it was good question.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2012, 05:16:04 PM »
Well, the problem is that it is not a very simple question. At least, not in my mind.

It is only a complicated question if you wish to continue to dodge it.

It seems to me that you are trying to lead me to a conclusion, presumably one that concurs with your evaluation of the overall effect of a flat tax proposal.

My evaluation is a mathematical necessity.  Do you wish to see the math?  I didn't think that my claim was controversial.

I have indicated that I don't see a correlation between a tax on income vs. what should be done about however much money is left over for the individual after tax returns have been filed.

Okay.  When did I broach that topic?  I don't see that I did.  I asked a simple question.  The issues it may raise are not necessarily simple.  But the question itself is simple, and should be easily answered, if you've given any thought to your proposal.

And that is my bad...I don't claim to understand the official Flat Tax proposal which has been bandied about various talk show pundits. I simply stated that I believe everyone should pay the same percentage of tax based on their income...no matter what the source of their income may be.

Hence you necessarily believe that those who make more money should pay a smaller % of their disposable income as taxes.  This is not quantum physics.

Ultimately I don't understand how a flat tax rate would hurt people like me any more than the current tax laws do. I am waiting for elucidation on this claim you make.

That is not at all what I had stated in the first place.  I stated something very specific.  Again, try to respond to the text that was actually typed.

Never is a very long time. Perhaps I will answer once I fully understand the implications of the question? Time will tell.

So...you're afraid of the answer to the question? 0_o

Let's put this aside for a second. I truly want to understand the argument against a flat tax proposal. I can say, based on a purely emotional sense of right and wrong, that I don't think poor people should pay more money from their disposable income than rich people do from theirs. But what does that really mean when we are talking percentages?

Let's say that X makes $20,000 a year, while Y makes $100,000 a year.

Income required to live, let's set that (for the purpose of the demonstration) at $15,000.

X thus has $5,000 of disposable income, while Y has $85,000 of disposable income.  Agreed up to this point, I take it?

Now, apply a flat tax of 20%.  X pays $4,000, while Y pays $20,000.  Agreed?  Now we see how much of their disposable income they are paying:

$4,000 from a total of $5000 is 80%.  X is paying 80% of his or her disposable income in taxes.
$20,000 from a total of $85000 is 23.5%.  Y is paying 23.5% of his or her disposable income in taxes.

Understand now?
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2012, 05:19:21 PM »
Quick question to Humanoid. I am not trying to be argumentative or dismissive but what country are you in? I ask because if you live in a country with a progressive tax rate and everyone seems happy and the system works for you and your countrymen, well then...I want to learn more.
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2012, 05:26:48 PM »
Azdgari

I see what you are saying. I have a few questions but I must go eat. I'll be back soon.
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2012, 05:41:26 PM »
Further math...for a progressive system of taxation.

The progressive system understands that everyone needs (in this hypothetical) to pay at least $15,000 a year on basic necessities.  Penalizing people for not saving large amounts of money allotted to their basic necessities for other purposes is illogical.  So $15,000 is deducted from consideration when applying the tax rate, and only disposable income is taxed.  What you get is something like the following:

X makes $20,000, of which $5,000 is disposable.  A 25% tax rate is applied to that; X pays $1,250 in taxes, 25% of his or her disposable income, post-necessities.

Y makes $100,000, of which $85,000 is disposable.  A 25% tax rate is applied to that; Y pays $21,250 in taxes, 25% of his or her disposable income.

The total taxes taken in with the flat-tax example, between X and Y, are $24,000.  The total taxes taken in with the progressive-tax example, between X and Y, are 22,500.  Tweak the tax rate up a bit, say up to 26.5%, and you'll get the same amount of total taxes taken in by the state.  The difference is that X isn't completly fucked over in this hypothetical, whereas (s)he is in the first one.

To achieve this effect, the % of total income taxed cannot be a flat rate.  In the example described here, X pays 6.25% income tax, while Y pays 21.25% income tax.  Seems dramatically unfair, until you realize how much of each's income is actually disposable.

EDIT:  Corrected an error.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 05:49:52 PM by Azdgari »
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Humanoid

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • Darwins +1/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2012, 05:50:15 PM »
Quick question to Humanoid. I am not trying to be argumentative or dismissive but what country are you in? I ask because if you live in a country with a progressive tax rate and everyone seems happy and the system works for you and your countrymen, well then...I want to learn more.

I live in Finland (Funland)  :P

Well there is no system that is perfect.. but I think we are overall pretty satisfied, because the main line of the system is to make people happy.

Ask more..

I´ll answer tomorrow. It is late at his side of the globe right now and I need to go to bed. Features to write in the morning.

Offline nogodsforme

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6491
  • Darwins +846/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • Jehovah's Witness Protection Program
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2012, 06:08:23 PM »
I don't think that high taxes (or any taxes) are bad, up to a point. Obviously, people have to pay somehow for the common good of their society. And, many societies have found that poverty and inequality lead to social instability. 

Taxes collected for the common welfare of everyone make more sense than spending even more trying to solve problems in the long run. After school programs and social workers are cheaper than more crime and more prisons. So, reducing poverty and inequality through taxes make sense.

The more socially advanced places have figured this out. And they pay tax rates of 40-60% and up to keep their countries stable and pleasant places to live.

But in the US people complain about taxes as if the money is just thrown away, perhaps burned to heat the homes of the politicians or something. And we think that our taxes are the highest in the world, when actually we pay among the lowest rates of any industrialized country. Low 20's-30% for most people.

So in the US we want even lower taxes, since the government doesn't do anything worthwhile with the money. And everything worth doing can be done better by private businesses. So we have cut taxes to the lowest rates they have been since the 1950's. Wealthy people are taking more of the nation's income than ever in our history.[1]And hilarity has not ensued.

Unemployment is the highest its been in my lifetime, largely due to public sector layoffs. Our bridges are deteriorating, school systems are laying off teachers and scrambling for basic funds. Only kids whose parents have the money for fees can be on sports teams or in clubs in many public schools. Forget about music and art classes. Parents have to hold fundraisers to buy new science equipment and computers. After school programs and summer rec gets cut.

Libraries have reduced hours and can't afford to replace worn-out books. Police departments and fire departments have to cut back on hiring. Bus and train fares have to go up to make up for the lost tax revenue. I have read in the news that some cities are going to have twice a month trash pickup instead of weekly due to lack of money to pay the workers. Some counties can no longer afford to pave roads. So, crime goes up and no police. Kids are at loose ends and no programs. Longer lines at the post office and DMV. Neighborhoods start to look and feel crappy.

What about the private sector? Can't it do the same thing for less? Not really, because you have to add in the profit. Private firms have to cut costs to make a profit, so you get lower wages and less qualified employees, or fewer employees trying to do the same jobs. With fewer benefits and less job security.

Private prisons save money by having fewer amenities for the prisoners, fewer classes and drug treatment programs, higher turnover of staff (meaning more inexperienced guards) and higher rates of riots and escapes. We don't have to talk about how inefficient and overpriced private health care is-- there have been many diaries on that already. And private charities can't begin to fix all these problems.

The only way this could possibly work out is if the rich folks in the top 1% with the billions voluntarily hand over a small percentage of their incomes, which would amount to a big chunk of change, to the cities, counties and states.

But they have not shown any desire to do that. They do send their excess money to overseas banks and (surprise) pay millions for lobbyists to tell the 99% that taxes on wealthy people are evil.....
 1. Workers are taking home less of the nation's income, even as productivity has continued to increase.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Frank

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2363
  • Darwins +38/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • You're doin' my head in!!
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2012, 06:20:32 PM »


And that is my bad...I don't claim to understand the official Flat Tax proposal which has been bandied about various talk show pundits. I simply stated that I believe everyone should pay the same percentage of tax based on their income...no matter what the source of their income may be.


Well let me make it easy for you. Do you think that someone whose annual income is 100 times greater than yours should pay income tax at the same rate you do?
"Atheism is not a mission to convert the world. It only seems that way because when other religions fall away, atheism is what is left behind".

Offline shnozzola

Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2012, 06:22:11 PM »
Thank you for answering, Humanoid.  I wanted to hear from someone living with higher taxes and many government services.  Interesting that you say “…the main line of the system is to make people happy.”

If I search for “the pursuit of happiness,”  U.S. conservative Ayn Rand’s Individual Rights web site comes up.

                 http://principlesofafreesociety.com/life-liberty-pursuit-of-happiness/

Wouldn’t it be ironic if American conservative’s values (many of the values you speak of in your opening comment) would best be met with higher taxes and many more social services.

Unfortunately, the type of American people that could learn from a government like Finland’s look down on the rest of the world’s governments.  Those type of people will only consider Romney, and take us further away from …” the main line of the system is to make people happy.”
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2012, 06:23:49 PM »
Azdgari

Your example of the progressive tax does seem more fair than the flat tax.

My bias is towards simplicity vs. complexity. For example

The basic cost of living in NY city, NY is going to be way higher than the basic cost of living in Hampton, TN.

So, lets say x makes 30,000 with 3 children in NY and Y makes 30,000 in Hampton with 3 kids.

How do these scenarios play out using your examples?

The root of my question is, who decides what the basic necessity of living is?  And the further complication is, if everyone has more disposable income to spend, won't the price of everything naturally rise thus landing us back in the same position of the poor not being able to afford anything beyond the basic necessities?
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Offline Frank

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2363
  • Darwins +38/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • You're doin' my head in!!
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2012, 06:37:53 PM »


The root of my question is, who decides what the basic necessity of living is?  And the further complication is, if everyone has more disposable income to spend, won't the price of everything naturally rise thus landing us back in the same position of the poor not being able to afford anything beyond the basic necessities?

It doesn't work that way. The government has to take in enough revenue to cover it's outgoings. If the rich are going to pay less then someone else has to pay more to make up for the drop in revenue from the rich otherwise you would have a deficit so huge you would never be able to close it without enormous cuts that would hurt people like you and barely touch the rich at all. You're like a turkey voting for Christmas.
"Atheism is not a mission to convert the world. It only seems that way because when other religions fall away, atheism is what is left behind".

Offline nogodsforme

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6491
  • Darwins +846/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • Jehovah's Witness Protection Program
Re: Are high tax rates necessarily bad?
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2012, 06:41:07 PM »
Hi, Mr. Blackwell. (I hope you like my outfit. Ahem. Oh, different Mr. Blackwell.  ;D)

I think that the idea is that you can only spend so much on basic needs. You can eat only so much food, wear so many clothes, drive so many cars. Even a Roman orgy did not require unlimited food.  A guy with a million dollars does not buy a million times as much to survive as a guy with one dollar.

Of course it costs more to live in NYC than in rural MN. You take an average family of four and figure out what the basics cost and add something based on region.  That is what the government does now to figure out food stamps, welfare payments, school lunch programs, housing assistance, etc. So a family of four in NYC gets more in food stamps or welfare than the same family of four in rural MN.

The tax situation is figured out the same way. Now I think it is done as a national average, where there is a deductible per person based on the absolute rock bottom living expense. Tax is figured on the amount after the deductibles.

I don't think there should be any deductibles other than that basic one (raise it?) and maybe keep something for working people like the EIC. And I think everything you make should count as income, not just wages.

Most of the special deductions and loopholes go to wealthy people who end up paying even less than the stated amount of tax. And many rich people have no wage income at all, because they live on interest and dividends that are taxed at lower rates. Remember Leona Helmsley-- the rich woman who went to jail for tax evasion? "Taxes are for the little people" was her famous quote.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.