The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.
The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.

Profile photo of Joelle Martin
Joelle Martin @joellemartin

I definitely agree with you on this topic. A flat tax could also bring motivation for people to work harder and become more successful.

Profile photo of Joe Perticone
Joe Perticone @joeperticone

the best and fairest form of taxation would be a 0% income tax for everyone. instead there would just be an import tax and an excise tax, that way it is market driven. it would be driven by human choice and action, not by theft. the income tax essentially says that the government owns all of your money and lets you keep a certain amount. for most of our country’s history we have not had an income tax and everything worked fine

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

Joe, 0% taxation, of course, would be the absolute best case scenario. But lets look at it a little closer. When the Constitution was written the country was protected by the militia which was every man in the country. We would hardly be able to defend this country from the ground only. We would need our military, as is. That takes money. We have The federal interstate system that is necessary to not only keep us moving across the country but also goods and services. We could give it to each state to maintain whatever sections of interstates that is inside their borders, but if they failed to maintain it then you have a breakdown in the system. This is just a couple of examples of things that need to be handled from the federal level, there are many more. I also believe that no matter what taxing system we have, the federal government should be held accountable by WE THE PEOPLE for how that money is spent.

Profile photo of Joelle Martin
Joelle Martin @joellemartin

Obviously 0% is the best, Joe 😉 Do you really think that’s going to happen, though?

Profile photo of Joe Perticone
Joe Perticone @joeperticone

we do not need our military AS IS, our military spending should be drastically cut along with everything else, then there wouldnt be any need for income theft

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

Joe, my intent in saying “as is” was to say that we do need to have a military for our countries defense. We would not be able to defend it with just a militia made up of citizens. It was not my intent to suggest that we need to continue to dump billions upon billions of tax payer dollars into it, just that it is necessary to have them in place. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

Profile photo of Joe Perticone
Joe Perticone @joeperticone

we could reduce our military spending levels drastically and still be able to defend ourselves. many steps could be taken such as reinstatement of letters of marque and reprisal. plus, if you privatized social security, got rid of all the other entitlements (medicare, medicaid, welfare, etc.) we could easily afford a strong military with just an import and excise tax system… and would not be robbing the people and businesses in the process

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

I have to be honest, I’m not really sure how to answer to that Welfare, when used the way it was set up, which was to temporarily assist people through a rough spot in their lives, is a useful, positive thing. Medicare and medicaid, are set in place for people who can’t get health insurance or their insurance provider has dropped them because of things like cancer and diabetes. Also, millions of people have been paying into medicare and medicaid for decades, should we say we are eliminating those programs even though you have paid into it for years and now that you need it, because you have cancer, you can’t get the medical treatment you need. Are these things being abused, without question, are there those who have paid into it and are using it legitimately, to save their lives because it’s all they have, absolutely. I don’t know all the answers, but I think we can come up with something that’s better than just taking away the only thing keeping some people alive, or maybe we can justify it by saying it’s for the good of the country.

Profile photo of Carl Struchen
Carl Struchen @jumpingjoey

We do not need an income tax at all. Simply abolish the IRS, end the income tax and install a national sales tax. In addition to simplifying things and help cut down spending, it is the fairest tax of all. There is no longer an underground economy and even the drug dealers pay their fair share of taxes.

As the IRS scandal grows, this could be the one time to implement it and get rid of the IRS.

Profile photo of Ryan Hill
Ryan Hill @foaryan

Though I’m against the income tax entirely (when did it become the government’s business what you make and how?), a flat tax would be a huge improvement over the current system.

I’d be for a 10% – or 9 – flat tax as opposed to the progressive one we have now.

The real way to start the income tax repeal movement is in the states. As more states move that direction we will see and realize the benefits.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

The idea here is to share ideas about different topics to help each other, including me, to see differing points of view on these topics. A zero income tax sounds very appealing, and maybe enough could be made from sales taxes, I don’t know, maybe. Possibly if we had some information on what a projected amount would be if we used just a sales tax as compared to what the country would need to pay off the National Debt, which would get us out of hock to China, and keep the country running, it would be easier to see if a zero income tax would be feasible. I am still of the mind, for now, that if we are to pay off the national debt and be free of any foreign debt, a flat tax is still a fair tax, even if it’s only temporary until we are standing on our own two feet again.

Profile photo of Gary
Gary @grand-vizier

Honestly I was stunned by the idea of reviving “Letters of Marque and reprisal”
As a history buff I can say with no doubt that those actions were pretty much legalized Piracy with the Pirates splitting the booty with the issuing government.(kind of like companies and unions campaign contributions)
Lots of luck getting any government to allow private ownership of warships or other modern weapons required to make this work. Right Sir,I want to purchase a few destroyers and add a couple of helicopter gunships as well.
People,THINK before you offer these Ideas.
Conquest and looting was the business plan in those times.
As to the military if we dont have sufficient power to maintain our freedom there won’t be anything to tax,nor will we be able to have these free discussions.
Of course there is waste in the military,it’s a government entity and those people don’t have the same concerns that the people paying for it do.Read a bit of history ,you will fint we nearly lost the revolutionary war because no one wanted to send General Washington any money or pay for supplies.
WHATS NEW ??
I’m with Riggs about welfare but I am sure Obamacare is NUTS.
Lets face it,a modern country cannot survive on duties etc.Roads ,airports,ports and hundreds of other things need to be paid for. Even I ,who detests the level of theft,waste and vote buying using my taxes, believes we need taxes.I favor a flat tax,I don’t think a sales taxe will suffice for reasons too numerious to explain here ( I may be wrong) but one thing is certain,a system where people can find ways to avoid taxes on large incomes and people who vote for things for free and pay no taxes is sooner or later going to fail.

Profile photo of Gary
Gary @grand-vizier

@jlriggs57aol-com James: Yes,I have thought about and understood all that for years,I see you are one of us that sees the greater picture.I did not want to use the 10% figure for concern that such a low number might be misunderstood but I
agree with you.The government,properly sized and run with even a modicum
of decent management can run very well and provide the services necessary on 10% of the huge cash flow of our economy . If you like to read and can find it ,William Simon’s book “A Time For Truth”written in 1979 is really worth digging up.He clearly foretold all this even then, and offers some solutions. Simon was Treasury Secretary from 74/77 Chairman of the Economic Policy Board,Chairman of Federal Energy Office, and the East-West Foreign Trade board before returning to senior positions in private business. I know this is old stuff, but hell,I’m an old guyIts a pleasure to discuss this with you on Volkalize. Cool site I think.

Profile photo of Gary
Gary @grand-vizier

@jlriggs57aol-com James: Yes,I have thought about and understood all that for years,I see you are one of us that sees the greater picture.I did not want to use the 10% figure for concern that such a low number might be misunderstood but I
agree with you.The government,properly sized and run with even a modicum
of decent management can run very well and provide the services necessary on 10% of the huge cash flow of our economy . If you like to read and can find it ,William Simon’s book “A Time For Truth”written in 1979 is really worth digging up.He clearly foretold all this even then, and offers some solutions. Simon was Treasury Secretary from 74/77 Chairman of the Economic Policy Board,Chairman of Federal Energy Office, and the East-West Foreign Trade board before returning to senior positions in private business. I know this is old stuff, but hell,I’m an old guyIts a pleasure to discuss this with you on Volkalize. Cool site I think.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

So far I’m a Volkalize fan also. Will see what I can dig up on “A time For Truth”, thanks for the heads up. Obamacare is, without a doubt, the worst idea we’ve had thrust upon us for years. It has been tried and has failed so poorly elsewhere that most have abandoned the idea. Thank you for your input and I hope to talk with you again in the future.

Profile photo of Gary
Gary @grand-vizier

Just another thought on good old Warren Buffet with the overtaxed secretary.
Warren ,bless his soul doesn’t need any income.
He has Billions in investments. Rather than take a salary he can simply borrow what ever he needs tax free against his holdings. The interest is deductible against whatever income he can’t avoid taking.
Warren supports inheritance taxes so he can sell insurance to others who need it to pay inheritance taxes.
Warren opposes the Canadian pipeline because he owns railroads and a company that makes tank cars to haul oil.
Warren thinks taxing people who own private jets is good because he sells them the use of NetJets.
If you we’re thinking Warren is. public spirited guy get a grip on yourself brother.
Only if it profits Warren.

Profile photo of Damien Christian
Damien Christian @djc91ua

@foaryan While income taxes may be unpopular; they are, however, constitutional. The 16th amendment allows the government to tax Americans’ incomes.

Profile photo of Two Cents
Two Cents @twocents

@djc91ua I agree with you that taxes are unfortunately constitutional. @jlriggs57aol-com I think that the a flat tax on income is a great idea. A flat tax of ZERO. I’d rather pay sales tax federal and state.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

I do understand your point but I am curious – do you think that a flat tax would somehow magically make the government spend less? Federal and State sales taxes are still taxes and are wasted just as frivolously as income tax can.
How about a 15% Federal sales tax on top of every other current Federal tax and then a lower (12.5%?) State sales tax that is not deductible from the Federal tax?

What is the point? Is it better that I steal from your left shirt pocket instead of your right shirt pocket?

Additionally – if there was a flat tax of say 10% proposed I would do everything I could to oppose it. I don’t want to lose my deductions, exemptions, tax credits, and loop holes that I paid tax attorneys and the CPA to find and maintain.

Currently I can pay the tax attorneys, CPA, bookkeeper, etc and deduct their fees in the current year which is reportable on the return filed next year. I also can have them file amended returns each year to correct for deductions, exemptions, credits, etc. “discovered” during the 3 year period after the original statutory filing.

A flat tax would be a pain for me. I would have to move all income accounts into a LLC which is out of US jurisdiction and then borrow money from the LLC to be paid back against assets. That would be an accounting headache resulting from a huge pain in the neck.

Why not fix the spending issue first and then adjust where the money to waste comes from? A Constitutional requirement for zero based budgeting in all government in the US would do more for each individual US citizen than a flat tax would.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

Pete, you said, “I do understand your point but I am curious – do you think that a flat tax would somehow magically make the government spend less?”

I, in no way, think that a flat tax would magically make the government spend less.

One of my comments is missing from this discussion, in that post I said the first thing we needed to do is cut all of the unnecessary spending, keeping only the ones needed for the retention of life. If we did not get the nations spending under control reforming taxes in any way would be pointless.

I find it interesting though, that you said, “A flat tax would be a pain for me. I would have to move all income accounts into a LLC which is out of US jurisdiction and then borrow money from the LLC to be paid back against assets.”

It sounds like you are saying that you would do whatever you had to, to avoid paying any taxes at all. What if the whole country followed suit with you and hid all their money away? Then we would have no one paying taxes, therefore, no interstate highways, no international airports, no military, etc.

I don’t think your comments were thought out very well, which is not typical for you.

The idea is to eliminate all the write-offs so that everyone pays the same. No one is able to hide money and no one is able to use write-offs so that they end up paying little or no taxes.

I don’t remember exactly when, but it’s been 20 or more years ago, I saw on the news about Exxon making something like 20 Billion dollars that year and only paid a couple hundred thousand in taxes.

As a business person you may say what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with that, is that they are passing the buck to every working person in this country to pay more than their fair share to make up the difference in what they wrote off and didn’t pay into taxes.

The idea is for every person and every business to pay their fair share. Everyone pays the same. I know business’ try to pay no taxes at all and that every individual would like to pay no taxes at all, however taxes are necessary and the only fair way to make it to where all pay the same is a flat tax.

I understand that hiding your money would make it inconvenient for you but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Why don’t you write a book showing those who work in sawmills, digging ditches, and all the other jobs that pay little to nothing, how to hide what little they make so they don’t have to pay any taxes either. Most of these folks live paycheck to paycheck and could use the break way more than you or me.

Don’t get me wrong, if a person can make a million, a billion, or even a trillion dollars, more power to them, that’s the American Dream, but if any business can’t withstand having to pay 10% taxes without going belly-up then the business isn’t that viable to begin with.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James;
I do understand your point but I don’t agree.

1. Exxon. If you raise the taxes on a business those taxes just get added to overhead and are rolled into the price to the final consumer. There is no way to make Exxon take a smaller portion of income as profit as punishment for being successful unless you want to go to the Soviet system of state controlled everything.

If Exxon is doing business all around the world and making billions that means that the hundreds of thousands of people who own stock in Exxon are making a profit in return for buying a share of ownership in Exxon. Do you really think that individuals should be punished for Exxon’s success?

2. Tax avoidance – I do everything I can to avoid taxes at every level. When I found a way to reduce my property taxes from $4,700 a year to $300 a year I jumped on it. I don’t think that anybody is going to be able to prove that they are willingly paying taxes they don’t have to. Are you going to say that you send some extra money in to the IRS each year to just be a true patriot?

Reaping benefits from tax avoidance is more productive than working to produce more revenue. The expenses on a dollar gained from tax avoidance run about $0.05 to about $0.35. The expenses on a dollar gained from working run about $0.75 to $0.95.
The median expense for a dollar of tax avoidance runs around $0.11 whereas the median expense of a dollar gained from working runs around $0.80.
There was a time when “a penny saved is a penny earned” was true in the USA but now (20th and 21st century) that has become “a penny saved is eight pennies earned”.

I am not in the habit of paying for a dinner at a restaurant that never served me anything. I won’t pay for a car that I didn’t receive. I won’t pay wages for work not done. And I won’t pay for government benefits not received either.

I have no beef with the fact that I am entirely disenfranchised from receiving any of the benefits touted by the salesmen pitching the benefits of paying taxes. I do understand the issue that government is like religion – the people running the organization convince the followers to support them. That is called “voluntary servitude” and it the right of the people to do so. I choose not to. I am a capable white male and I can take care of myself. The fact that the government is closed to me as a person but open to receiving money from me just lets me know how things stand.

The government is no different than the women in the bar who want me to buy their drinks – and who get insulted when when I ask about Quid Pro Quo.

I live on a strict “Quid Pro Quo” philosophy. This for that – No that? Then no this- period.

I started out as a ranch hand (expelled from school 6 weeks into the 9th grade) at about minimum wage of $1 an hour. By the time I was 21 I had a horse, a used car that ran, and an adobe house. You don’t progress by stealing from other people – you progress by trading people what they want for their money – Quid Pro Quo. It wasn’t luck as the losers will tell you – it was and still is a lifetime of hard work.

So an example of how a guy in a sawmill can make it? Do what I did. You can’t plow a field by turning it over in your mind. I used to take some of the work from the other guys in exchange for their dollar an hour. They always thought I was stupid until they began to realize that they paid the tax and expenses on that dollar for me.

I believe that a person has a right to work in a sawmill or digging ditches in exchange for what ever seems acceptable to that person. The fact that the person chose to place a lower value on his labor does not create any obligation on my part. The men who work for me are welcome to go get paid more somewhere else if they aren’t satisfied with what I pay – I’ll even give them a ride to town when I go in to pick up their replacement.

“… no interstate highways, no international airports, no military, etc.” Ok, so exactly why do I care if there is, or is not, an interstate highway in Michigan? I don’t go to Michigan. If the people of Michigan want an interstate I think they should dig deep and pay for their own roads themselves.
I don’t fly so I couldn’t care less if there are no airports. Airports represent no benefit to me. I don’t want to be groped by some government pervert so I drive. I drive from as far south as Panama City Panama, north to Red Lodge, Montana, east to Port Arthur, Texas and west to El Paso, Texas. I like my Suburban – so is the government going to build me a garage for my Suburban? No? Then why should I pay for their airport?

Military? Why do I want to put money into a group of people who go around killing other people? The US Military is a good example. They have been continuously at war with somebody somewhere as long as I can remember. They always have a reason to go kill so part of the local population somewhere – and after they are done they leave some of the most brutal dictators behind to rule in their place.

I would be willing to donate money to the additional support of a military if they were defending the territorial USA or if they were defending Texas but nobody has attacked the territorial USA since the War of 1812 except the Japanese and they got their reward for that. So why am I expected to pay to invade Iraq? You do realize that the US installed Saddam Hussein as head of the government in Iraq – right? And Momar Qaddafi in Libya – and Fidel Castro in Cuba – and Pinochet in Chile – and the beat goes on, and on, and on.

There is a whole economy of people in the USA who do a thriving business in cash and don’t pay a cut to Unca Sammy an Da Boyz. So what exactly is the difference between paying one gang of hoodlums who threaten to send their Boyz wid Da Guns after me and paying another gang of hoods who threaten to send their Boyz wid Da Guns after me. One thug looks just like any other thug – force looks just like force regardless of the color of their clothes.

All that is required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

———————————————-

Previously when I responded to another thread a reader got his panties in a knot and did a great impression of Nathan Lane doing the Church Lady throwing a hissy fit.

I have a question for you that is not meant to be insulting. I hear people talking about the current human condition as if there is some great difference between now and any other time in history.

In re: “civic responsibility for the health welfare and happiness of the communal society”, shared prosperity, just rewards for the poor laborer, living wages, etc.

Are you aware that this is exactly what Karl Marx was discussing and proposing in his book “Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie” which he wrote in 1867?

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

What happened to equality and the individual pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness (including mine)? Has “equal opportunity” been exchanged for “equal outcome at the expense of the successful”

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

As to your question about the current human condition, the only difference I see now between people now and people in the past is that they want to be taken care of instead of taking care of themselves.

I can’t really say I understand this, “Has “equal opportunity” been exchanged for “equal outcome at the expense of the successful”

If you make 2 million dollars in one year and you pay 2 hundred thousand in taxes you still have 1.8 million dollars, if a guy makes 20 thousand a year and he pays 2 thousand in taxes he still only has 18 thousand.

You have 1.8 million, he has 18 thousand, how has the person who has 1.8 million dollars been damaged? He is still living the American Dream of working hard and getting wealthy for his hard work and the other guy is still poor. I guess you have to be a business man to understand the damage that is being done.

There are things that a person has and does for himself, there is nothing wrong with that. But sense we all have to live in the same country, like living in the same house, shouldn’t we provide things for our common good? Like a military to defend us.

Pete, I guess the things you are saying that are so damaging to the business man are just above my level of education.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James Riggs,
I do not believe that you lack the education or ability to entirely comprehend my point of view. You might not agree with me but I do think you understand the issues.

In this world you only have two things to trade for material goods; your time or your talent. You will only live so many minutes and then it is all over. The first 15 to 20 years of somebody’s life is pretty much taken up with parental control and the various obligation place on children to make them conform to the demands of government; school, etc. so that time is pretty much not theirs.

Of your remaining years about 1/3 is spent sleeping and around 1/4 is spent eating, personal hygiene, commuting etc. In general you only have about 20 years to earn enough money to purchase your portion of the “American Dream”.

If you plan to retire at say 60 and probably live to 80 (20 years) you will need 20 times your last years income in the bank on the day you retire. A safety margin of 50% would be reasonable and would amount to have an extra 10 years worth of income saved.

So if you make say $40,000 a year and you plan to retire at 60 you are going to need around $1,200,000.00 in the bank in cash and cash equivalents in order to be secure in your “golden years” and live at the same standard of living as you do now. Recall that inflation will be eating away at that standard of living at the same time.
At five percent annual inflation prices will double about 14 to 15 years. So your $40,000 will spend like $20,000 now so even with reduced future expenses $1,200,000 will be just barely marginal.

You will need to put that away while you are earning your $40,000 and paying your current living expenses. That might be tough to accomplish on $40,000 a year with a wife and five kids.

Most retired people don’t die of old age – generally the real cause of death is that they died of old age poverty resulting from poor planning.

I value my time by the minute and have always done so ever since I realized that I was responsible for myself and any family I might have. I have no plans to “share” with some individual who chose to watch football instead of studying, or chose to get drunk or stoned instead of working, or decided to sleep late and let somebody else take care of them. I don’t deny that that they have the right to throw their lives away any way they chose but I do deny that they have any right to force me to pay for the predictable consequences of their lack of regard for consequences.That said my life is mine and mine alone. My life is also not the government’s to dispose of as they see fit.

The money I earn is mine and I earned it for my survival. I could have done better by just killing people and taking what they had but I find that working is far less risky for me. I don’t want to incur the problems and risks of the law of the jungle. If I have no security in keeping my accumulated pile of material wealth from people who think it is better to steal it from me than work I might as well have just gone ahead with the “fastest gun” philosophy. I learned young that there is always someone who is faster.

It is an unfortunate truth of human history that no one is guaranteed an equal outcome resulting from their labor, or lack thereof.

I would agree with your argument that a flat tax of 10% would result in parity at the least if, and only if, there is a way that I would not be disenfranchised from receiving proportional benefits in keeping with the taxes I pay. My $200,000 at the trough should not provide me with what someone else is paying $2,000 for. Why should I pay ten times more for something than the citizen standing next to me – aren’t we all equal as citizens?

Which is to be the truth in the USA;

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…”

or

as George Orwell said in his book “Animal Farm”: “All Animals are equal but some are more equal than others.”

Military – I agree with the concept of having a military to defend the country from any sort of external violence for the same reason that I carry a pistol and have a .45-70 lever action by the front door. Violence does happen and should be dealt with. So why am I expected to pay for the US military to be stomping around the world killing who ever they are told to? I was in Viet Nam and I was an innocent believer when I arrived at Da Nang until I heard President Johnson explain that I was there to kill the people who were there just to prove that the USA was willing to fight an Asian ground war. The local villagers had no real idea of why we were there other than to kill people.
Why are we in Afghanistan? To protect the world largest heroin supply? To keep some camel jockey from invading Texas?

In my mind if you pay to have someone killed you are just as guilty as the person who did the killing. A rose by any other name … . Fighting for peace is like f*ck*ng for virginity.

The US military and I parted company over this issue – somebody shoots at me I am going to shoot back regardless of what color, or style, of clothes they are wearing, but if they don’t shoot at me I am not going to shoot at them. I am not stupid – people get really irate when you start shooting at them.

If, as an example, Obama and Kerry want to send armed people into Poland, or Crimea, or where ever to change the course of what is happening there, why don’t they just put on their green hats, pick up their guns, and show us how it is done – offer to kick Vladimir Putin’s butt on a field somewhere. Cowards? It’s OK for me to die but not them?

The US military is currently used as the politicians gun. The politicians are very much like the loud mouth bully in the bar who is on the prod and pushing people around. That sort makes me reach for my .380 just to make sure I have it and it is accessible quickly in case I need some additional support. As a kid I learned to not throw the first punch and never let the other person throw the last punch regardless of how long it takes.

How else would anybody expect the people of the world to react to US aggression?

For all the people that the US military has killed since say 1950 what has been accomplished? Are the people of the USA any safer? Any less threatened by radical hostile forces who just live to kill “Americans”?

I am not a “peacenik” by any means but I don’t believe in starting fights just to have something to do. If you and I are neighbors and you hate me with a passion and think I am the worst person in the history of humanity I will just casually avoid you until you bring the fight to me. This is the role that I think the US military should play in the world – Stay at home and mind our own business until someone won’t allow us to do that.
It was General Patton who said “The glory isn’t in dying for your country – it’s in making the other fellow die for his country.”

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

I guess you and I will just see things a little differently. You say paying 10% of what you make is paying more than the guy who makes less, but he is still paying 10%. The amounts may be different but both are still paying the same percentage of their earnings.

If I understand you correctly the only fair way to make the taxes is to have both people pay the same. So if your taxes are 50 thousand because you made 500 thousand, then the guy who made 20 thousand would owe the same 50 thousand, which means he would have to work 2 1/2 years to pay one years taxes.

If you go the other way and the guy that makes 20 pays 2 thousand and the guy that made 500 thousand would only have to pay the same 2 thousand. Meaning that one guy keeps 18 thousand and the other keeps 498 thousand.

Well, okay.

If this is what you meant then I do understand what you are trying to say and we will just have to agree to disagree on what makes a fair tax.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James,
I currently pay considerably more than the people around me despite the fact that I go to extremes to avoid all the taxes that I can. Most of the people around me pay little or nothing in taxes as is the case for more than half of the citizens of the US.
How would a flat tax deal with them? Would they be required to begin to contribute to the system or would they keep their current privileges that currently allow them to receive more in benefits than they paid in resulting in a net tax of zero?

Most business taxes are a fraud since they are paid by the end consumer and not the business. Would the business taxes be reduced to the 10% rate which would result in the consumer paying an effective rate of 20% not 10% while the business continued to pay nothing.

At what point would the 10% be applied? Gross income? Net income? I receive income from corporate profits – would they have to pay taxes on their distributable profits (the amount I get as a distribution) and then would I be obliged to pay the 10% on the money I received from the corporation?
Wouldn’t that be double taxation on the same money?

If I were paid in benefits instead of cash how would the value be fixed to determine the value of the compensation? Would the benefit be taxed on what it costs to produce, what value it adds to the organizational effort, or would it be taxed on the value of the gross savings to me as simple ordinary income?

I am curious to know your thoughts on the implementation of a flat tax.

What if I trade my services with a Doctor. My services have very little overhead and are fairly expensive since I am very good and I charge what the market will bear. The Doctor’s costs are higher than mine but I need his help and we agree to just do business on a Quid Pro Quo basis. Obviously the expended costs would increase operating expense and thereby lower apparent income for both of us. So how would a flat tax get to a fair assessment on that?

How about I give a broker a gold coin that I paid $300 for which is currently valued at $1800 and he accepts that as payment for fees but he lowers the fees to the price I paid for the coin ($300). Would that still be a fair system when you apply the flat tax to the diminished transaction?

How do you see a flat tax being implemented?

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

Pete, sorry it took me so long to reply, I came up with a hot mince-pie under each arm.

First, I want to look at our taxing system right now, as far as how many times a single dollar is taxed. A worker gets paid, he has already paid taxes on his pay, he buys something from Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart pays taxes on it because it is their income, then they pay their worker and they pay taxes on it again, now that worker goes to another store……..and the cycle of taxing continues, literally to infinity. A flat tax will not change that. That is just the way it will always be.

Business tax is as you said, a fraud, with a flat tax there would be no business tax or any other tax, just 10%. A business would be treated like an individual, of course any business should still be required to hold a business license, for the protection of the public more than anything else.

I am not writing the law but to my own assessment bartering is just that, trading one service or good for another. Personally there is not income made in bartering so no tax need apply.

Only when cash is used should a tax be levied. When I say cash I am also meaning checks, credit cards, debit cards, etc.

As to whether it should be set up to use a gross or a net income, my opinion is that it should be on the gross income. If it is used on the net income we would be right back to having deductions, a business can hide a lot of money and call it expenses, where as the average person does not have those kinds of options to hide the bulk of their money.

Again a business would be treated like an individual person.

You said, ” Most of the people around me pay little or nothing in taxes as is the case for more than half of the citizens of the US.
How would a flat tax deal with them?”

Isn’t that the whole point of a flat tax? Everyone paying the same. They would no longer have the multiple loopholes that keep them from having to pay any taxes, which, by the way, leaves all the burden to those who do pay their required taxes.

You made mention that you don’t want to pay for airports or interstates because you don’t use them. What if people in other counties of your state, who don’t use the roads in your county passed a law that their state taxes could not be used to build or even maintain the roads in your county. It would be easy to say you don’t care, but what happens when there’s no funds to fix potholes that keep getting bigger and bigger, what happens when there are heavy rains and part of the road slips away and there’s no money to fix them.

Unless you live on a self-sufficient farm you are going to need to use the roads that surround you.

As I am not, nor have I ever been, a business man I do not know all the ins and outs of how a business operates, all I know is a flat tax seems fairer to everyone more than the present system.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

Thank you for responding. I have noticed that generally when people on Volkalize don’t agree there is just no response.

I am a rancher. I don’t breed cows – the bulls do that. I don’t raise calves – the cows do that. I am a grass farmer. Sunlight becomes grass. Cattle convert grass to steak.
Most of my time is spent growing grass and building or repairing fences.

In economics I used to be referred to as a “prime producer”. A prime producer gathers natural resources and gets them in a form to enter the system of commerce that benefits the prime producer.

Prime producers include miners, fishermen, loggers, farmers, ranchers, petroleum producers, and anybody else who gathers natural resources and moves them into a system of commerce. Everybody else is “service personnel”. The carpenter who builds the house is a service position in the economic stream as does the bricklayer who builds the fireplace or the prisoner in the penitentiary who provides work for the guards.

Barter: (which I currently do Quid Pro Quo et Sub Rosa)
I deliver cows to a slaughter house that doesn’t pay me but instead hold credit on their counting system for cut meat. 1,200 lb of cow on the hoof = 600 lb of cut meat less 200 lb for the guys doing the cutting. I then trade 150 lbs of cut meat to be drawn from the slaughterhouse to a dentist who puts fillings in for me. I accept produce from a farmer in exchange for some legal work and trade off the excess to a man who will dig the hole for my new septic tank.
At no time did any money change hands – no cash, no cheques that are redeemable for money, no credit cards that hold obligations for money.

This system can be carried on indefinitely – and would result in no flat tax due since there is only benefit but no income.

The people in the cities who don’t have what it takes to live by barter would have to accept some medium of exchange for their labor since they will not have time to work and raise their own food at the same time. And they won’t have the place to raise their own food.

The flat tax obligation would shift almost entirely to the citidiots which would be fine with me because I would be willing to trade meat and produce to them in exchange for almost everything they have. The flat tax cash that is paid to the system would accumulate in the hands of the Government Class Nobility who would expect me to pay the flat tax out of what they pay me. As long as the Nobility who make up the government pay me I have cash to pay them but if they don’t pay me obviously I have no cash so I have nothing to pay them with except some spoiled meat and decaying produce (I ate the good stuff!).

This system of a flat tax has been tried for centuries without success. This is why the original progressive tax system was proposed in the USA. Today the tax system looks more and more like the medieval tax system.

I may have misled you regarding my neighbors. I live in a 1950-60s subdivision of 1,200 to 1,500 sq ft frame houses. At one time or another I have owned most of the houses around here – or the mortgages. I bought out my neighbors on either side of me so I live on 10 lots and my son lives in one of the houses also. My house is on 6 lots and the other house is on 4 lots but I own them all.

My neighbors don’t pay taxes because they are net tax consumers. Most of them get food stamps, some commodity food, and some help from the local charity business run by a consortium of local churches. Most of their kids are on Medicaid also. Some of my neighbors are here from Mexico illegally so they don’t really want to get involved with local government and paying taxes. In this county there are around 200 people who make a serious living selling various forms of meth, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, etc. Their customer’s money comes mostly from getting paid by the government to be disabled or whatever qualifies.

Everybody has a refrigerator, TV, car, food, etc. but nobody has an “income” so there will be no flat tax paid by them either.

In Texas a County cannot pass a law that would have any force or effect outside of the enacting County. Travis County can pass all the laws it wants to but they have no effect outside of Travis County. The ability to pass a law that prohibits certain uses implies the ability to pass a law that requires certain uses and Texas has never been stupid enough to bite on that hook.

The fact is that in my County, “federal” money only amounts to 7.1% of all public spending in my County.

91% of all public money spent in my County is raised from local property taxes.

The local school district consumes 86% of all “federal” money coming into the County and the school district amounts to 68% of our property taxes to boot.

My solution? Close the schools – they are no more effective that the post office is and reduce taxes by 75%.

Texas is a net tax payer state – we pay $1.00 in Federal taxes and get 91 cents in benefits. We could improve our economy by nearly 10% through secession.

There will be no solution until the voters require spending controls beginning with a zero based budget.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

Pete, I’ll take this one step at a time.

1) I, the rest of the country, and the cows are relieved that you leave certain duties to the bulls in your heard.

2) Although you do have some places that you can barter I think there are many places bartering simply won’t work. I have my doubts that you could barter at:

* The Hospital
* Your insurance company – car, home, land, etc.
* Automobile dealerships
* Phone company
* Electric company
* Gas company
* TV – Dish or Cable
* Hotel or Motel (if you ever travel)
* Gas stations
* Purchase of farm equipment
* etc

No matter how well you are at bartering there are still hundred of things that you simply will not be able to barter for and they all require cash and in order to get cash you will have to sell something to get what you need.

2) I looked up which countries use a flat tax and found several but no information on how well they work, how they were implemented if they allow write-offs, etc. For the ones that don’t work possibly we could find out what they did wrong and avoid those same mistakes.

3) Welfare is separate issue but that needs to come to an end. Welfare was set up for short-term use when a family was in a bind. It was never intended for long-term or generational use. Also, illegals need to be returned to their country of origin.

4) The thing about the roads in your county was meant to be used as an example not as a literal. Sorry I stated it so poorly that the point was missed.

5) Could not agree more about getting rid of our deficit and maintaining it at 0.

6) I also have noticed that people tend to just not respond when they disagree with what someone posted. Isn’t the whole point of Volkalize, to discuss different topics with people who have a different point of view?

You and I may never agree on this topic, but I enjoy the discussion nonetheless.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James,
I enjoy the discussion greatly.

The insurance company is run by people who eat meat and vegetables and who don’t appreciate taxes any more than I do. The hospital is run by Doctors who are glad to trade professional services and avoid the tax issue. Anybody who is a net tax payer generally can appreciate the beauty of a barter system.

Most of the people who are cogs in the service economy have to pay with some form of money even if it is private script. The issue really isn’t cash – it is tracking the cash flow. Who has it now and where did he get it from.

If somebody wants to do some work for me and I give that person some amount of cash that has collected off the books – who is to know? Lets say that person would have to give up $15 out every hundred to the government – and lose their food stamp or housing eligibility at the same time. Do you suppose that person is going to just stay in their apartment and wish for changes?

My experience is that they will happily take $40 a day for manual labor if they can be assured that it is strictly cash and no paperwork is exchanged.
Right now labor is $58.80 a day to me plus my matching portion of the tax load which brings the total to $67.62. I will happily pay $40 and get the same thing.

I can buy a $100 of food stamps (on a card) for $50. The same applies just about everywhere.
I will happily do work for somebody in exchange for cash (or I will discount my rate for gold or silver) in hand with no records.

I sold a home and the lot for “$10 and good and valuable other consideration”. It says so right there on the deed. We are taxed on the comparable value regardless of hat we paid for a property so there is no reason to put the selling price on the deed in an all cash deal. What do you suppose happened to the cash that was the good and valuable consideration? Do you think I put in the federally regulated bank?

A flat tax won’t change any of that. The Black, Blue, and Grey market thrives in almost every economic system. The real issue is to not encourage the Black, Blue, and Grey markets to grow until they overtake the system.

Instead of my arguing the issue let me tell you what would get me to pay the taxes with minimal objections.

I pay sales tax (5% – 8%) without too much opposition because it isn’t worth my time to make the effort to avoid such a small amount. I can avoid the sales tax also and get my effective pay out down to 1% – 3% but it is just not worth the trouble.

At 10% you are getting to the threshold of where it is worth my time. What I save by circumventing the tax system combined with the fact that it is saved money that I don’t have to pay overhead on to gain the net return is beginning to compete with current equity investments.

Currently it cost me about 85 to 90 cents to bring in a dollar as income. Housing costs, electricity, fuel, clothes, food, lawyers, pencils, paper, computer, traffic tickets, blah-blah-blah, etc. That means that saving a dime is like earning a dollar. If I can cut $1,000 out of my expenses (taxes are expenses too) it is the same as my earning an additional $10,000.

So when I managed to cut my residential property taxes by $4,700 a year for my entire remaining life time you can bet that I did that in a New York minute! I spent $20,000 to do that and I get the $20,000 in about 4 years. From then on I will be netting a $4,700 a year saving which is $47,000 in ten years. What a savings plan – and the government can’t tax me on the benefit I get from saved money!!

In my opinion the US Government is spending about 10 times what it should be even including welfare and all of the other social entitlements. 90% of what the government spends is spent on issues external to the US.
War in Afghanistan, an annual cash entitlement to fund Israel, funding for farmers in Chile, civil wars in Africa, foreign aid, paying for studies of sex trade workers in Thailand, bribing foreign officials, renting unneeded military bases, agricultural development in Africa to compete with US agricultural producers, etc. The list is damn near endless.

Are you aware that the government budget method is incremental? That means it is based on how much they spent during the previous budget cycle. So if they got a 10% increase the year before and you slash their budget to just an 8% increase this year you are imposing a draconian austerity program by reducing the budget by unconscionable amounts. The government is going to have to cut food to seniors and will not be able to pay the military.
In reality the Government is getting 8% over what they got when they got the 10% increase they received last year. They get 100% of this years expense plus 8%.

Obama’s government has run up more debt than the sum of all of the debt of all of the administrations since George Washington’s first day in office. That includes the debt for WWI and WWII.

Where the public money is spent is absurd. The US government gives foreign aid to Mexico ($200,000,000). Mexico then turns around and purchases US Treasury notes at a discount ( $1,000 note for $925) which the US then pays interest on for the next 20 years to maturity. Maturity will be $216,220,000 and they will have collected the interest on the notes for twenty years. This goes on every year.

It is like you giving money to your wife who is giving money to the guy who is loaning it back to you at interest so you can give to her in response to her requests for money.

If the government is reigned in on spending the amount of money currently collected would be 10 times what is needed to run the entire US government for all internal domestic functions. Leave the current tax system in place and cut the rate by 90% and I would pay it without a murmur because it would just not be worth my time to worry about it. I can spend my time finding ways to be more productive. I would not mind a $20,000 or $30,000 tax bill but I be damned if I am going to let a $125,000 tax load go without notice.

When I made $1 an hour I never thought about the tax system. Now I find it is more productive for me to mine the tax system for profits than it is for me to look for new ways to increase my income.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

No matter what kind of tax system is in place there will always be ways to get around it.

Do I agree with the way the government is wasting our money? No. Do I think we should require a balanced budget with a 0 deficit? Yes. Will a flat tax fix everything? No. But I do believe it’s better than what we currently have and those who want to work to get out of paying even a small amount like 10% are welcome to it.

Right now the current tax rate for service workers is 15 to 25%, given the average income for these types of workers.

If the government isn’t keeping the budget balanced, then people will say they aren’t handling the money right so I will avoid paying as much taxes as I can, but I also get the feeling that if the government were working within a balance budget there would still be those who would say, they don’t need my money they are keeping the budget balanced without my taxes and would do everything they could to keep from paying as much taxes as possible.

Any way you slice it, it is left up to those who can least afford it to keep up the maintenance on our military, interstate highways, international airports, etc. There is no need to go into why there is a need for these things as I understand there are those who feel these things are not necessary.

Foreign aid should be cut off, immediately. Take of your own first, and never, ever should any aid be given to any country that has protested us or burned our flag.

We are not the world police nor are we the world welfare office.

Our government finds a million ways to waste money, we need the budget at zero, the government shrunk to a manageable size, and term limits for those we elect to congress.

We do not live in a perfect world, nor a perfect country, but from what I know about the rest of them, I’ll live here.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James,

A balanced budget is not the same as zero based budgeting. A balanced budget means that you spend everything that comes in. The US Government makes payments on debt out of operating expense. The government does not have to clear debts annually.
So they tax based on what they are going to spend and raise the debt ceiling (borrowing limit) every year so they can spend more next year.

A zero based budget is how I live. I pay all my expenses each year and begin the next year with zero income and zero expenses.

Interesting comment on term limits. You mean that if there is a politician who is the peoples choice and the voters are satisfied with his performance in representing their interests year after year – they won’t be allowed to keep that person as their elected representative?
Why not just have the Federal rulers appoint the “elected” representatives and save the cost of the farce of elections?

Are term limits a good idea just because people who are not eligible to vote for that person just don’t like that persons performance?

Zero based budgeting will take the luxurious profit out of government and you will see the size and nature of government change quickly.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

I don’t know if a zero based budget is a good thing for the government. By your definition it seems like you really don’t know what your going to need for to make it through the next year. When our kids were home we had to know how much we were going to need for groceries, rent, gas, and all the rest that we had to pay for, then we could figure out when and if we could go on vacation that year and how much we could spend per day during that vacation.

Winging it and hoping you have enough to live on just doesn’t seem like the right way to do things. What if half way through the year you ran out of money to pay your car insurance? Now you can’t go to work, you can’t earn money and then you can’t buy food. No, that doesn’t sound right.

The reason for the term limits is so we can get rid of the good old boy system, they stay in there so long that they start getting the attitude they have now, that they no longer work for us, we are merely peasants under their feet. Re-electing these people over and over again for decades is not working and the only way it seems to get rid of them is to set term limits.

Many people don’t believe in the vote and that’s their prerogative. No harm, no foul.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James,
Zero based budgeting is what you do at home. You begin with how much money you have and then decide what you can afford.

Texas sets a budget which begins from zero, not how much they spent last year plus last years increase – and then sets a tax rate to pay for that budget. There are legal restrictions on how much the tax rate can be increased before the rate increase triggers a mandatory tax roll back election.
Politicians do not want to face a tax roll back election.

The result is that Texas taxes are pretty stable at a fairly low level.

Term Limits – So… do you agree that term limits does in fact mean that if “we, the people of Texas” are satisfied with our representative – that is just tough. Since the people of other states don’t like our choice for representative we will have to elect somebody else? We lose the right to elect the representative of our choosing?

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

Yes, term limits for all. No more good old boy system where they all know who will play ball under the table and who won’t.

No more Strom Thurman’s or Robert Byrd’s, who go in, and stay in for decades upon decades and make every dirty deal there is because anyone that wants a favor can get the vote they want for the right amount of money or a return vote for something they want to get passed.

Because there are no term limits congress is more like the mafia than a body of government. Haven’t we had enough evidence of that in the past?

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James,

I would object to term limits first on the grounds of the wording of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ”

Term limits deny my consent and substitute the consent of someone else unknown to me.

You, or others, may not like Strom Thurman as he was presented by the newspaper for your agreement but obviously the people who kept voting him in as their representative did want him as their representative.

The only way I would see term limits as reasonable would be if the voters of the other States had veto power over who ever you chose to be your representative in the event that your choice is not acceptable to them.

I would be OK with Texas having veto power over who gets elected in States that are not in agreement with the people of Texas.

Term limits for the President of the United States is how we got such a string of idiots as President. If they do a good job they get thrown out and replaced with a novice who has to rely on the Federal employees who now actually run the government.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

Geez Pete, you made this response an easy one. Thank heavens for term limits or we could be stuck in a communist country led by Comrade obama if it were not for term limits.

If you can prove that term limits are unconstitutional use it to block any attempt to have term limits implemented.

Because you live in a state where the politicians actually work for their people doesn’t mean that the other 49 are as lucky, I know we are not that lucky and many others are like us. We get the socialist liberals who lie a blue streak about what they will do for us, most of the people believe them, then of course, they do just the opposite.

Thankfully, Tzar obama has awoken a lot of the folks in my state and they are no longer listening to the lies of our senators and our representatives.

If they should enact term limits for congress it may be bad for you but it will be a huge blessing for the rest of us.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James,

Until a few years ago the law in Texas was that the Texas Legislature could only be in session two years out of any four. During the off session politicians had to go home to take their whipping or explain what they did or take their whipping.
We have had an influx of Carpetbaggers who managed to change the law so that our Legislature is now in session all the time and too busy to deal with us commoners.

There is still a tradition of going by their office to look them up if there is something that really gets you stirred up.

I make my point during elections also. I make it a point to donate money to the political campaign of whackos that I know cannot get elected. I split the donation that I would give to a legitimate candidate between the nutjobs. I know that the chosen favorite is going to win but if I want their attention I follow this habit.
I know that the people I give money to will not win – but I also know that it is going to cost the chosen favorite a lot more to win if there are some nutjobs out there running up the campaign bill.

The politicians may not be happy to see me come in – but they don’t want my opposition because nutjobs are a cheap way to strike back at the chosen few.

I don’t think that term limits are unconstitutional, but I do think they go against the grain of Americanism. Term limits are what gave us the idiot that is in the Whit house right now. Term limits were the brain child of the Progressives as the only way they could think of to destabilize the American philosophy that guided the government of the people and allowed them to begin the road to creating a special class of nobility out of the people who hold the government.

The first nail in the coffin was the election of Federal Senators by popular vote instead of by vote of the State legislature. No risk of recall of a corrupt Federal Ruler.

The Obama is simply continuing the work begun by the Masters of the Liberal Plantation namely Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressives.

How do you feel their ideas have worked out? Ready for some more ideas from them?

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

Pete, none of their ideas have worked out, but they keep getting support from those that have been in congress forever. Don’t want any ideas from them ever.

I have never heard that term limits for congress was a liberal idea. I do know that for the past year or so they have been promoted by conservatives and is one thing I do agree strongly with.

It’s like everything else, give someone power, allow them to have it long enough and eventually they will become corrupt.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James,
I never said term limits were a liberal idea. Term limits are not a liberal idea – they are part of the agenda of the Progressives.

There is a vast difference between Liberal and Progressive.

Thomas Jefferson was a Liberal. Lyndon Johnson was a Progressive. Do you see the difference?

First:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_%28United_States,_1912%29
Look at the original Progressive Party platform of 1912

Second:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_%28United_States,_1924%29

Third:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_%28United_States,_1948%29

The people who are called “Liberals” are a far cry from liberal. Most of them are Progressives like Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

“Conservative” refers to someones belief regarding national economic issues.

I’m a liberal Conservative Jeffersonian Democratic Republican. That is not a joke or contradiction in terms.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic-Republican_Party

Here is a political quiz that I find most people generally agree with where it places their views. Do me the favor and let me know what you think of where it places you.
http://www.gotoquiz.com/politics/political-spectrum-quiz.html

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

comment comment

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

Here is what the test came up with.

{Compass:

You are a right moderate social authoritarian.
Right: 4.07, Authoritarian: 1.41}

I learned a long time ago to put little to no faith in this type of test. Who put the test together, was it someone with a liberal agenda. Just because a person doesn’t think we should attack another country just because they are mistreating their own people or because they do not have a democratic form of government is a directly pointed question to try to prove that conservatives are war mongering lunatics, which simply is not true, but, according to the test if you don’t vote for anything war, your a moderate.

Just as if you say the government should have control over some things that you are a socialist. There are some things that need to be handled at a federal level, not to the extent that they are now, but nonetheless are necessary. The test tries to show that you are a socialist if they have any authority proving that conservatives are anti-government.

I took their test and got their results, but it changes nothing. I am still a strong conservative with strong conservative values no matter how the test tries to make conservatives look like evil war mongering killers.

Anyway, moving on. You talked about the progressives, obviously you were speaking in the past tense and I translated it into present tense, as the link below will show.

{Obama’s Progressive Agenda: Missing a Main Ingredient

Based on his inaugural speech—and a populist re-election campaign—President Barack Obama intends to pursue a more progressive direction in his second term. Pundits from across the political spectrum have already declared the president a bona fide, card-carrying progressive.

And

First, the vindication: Time and again, as in the 2012 presidential election, progressives are reminded that their views—not the rightwing dogma propagated on Fox News—are in the mainstream; that Democrats do well when they embrace progressive ideas and run on them.}

Thus, the confusion.

http://inthesetimes.com/article/14471/obamas_progressive_agenda_missing_a_main_ingredient

To me there is no one more socialist, communist, or liberal than obama and I have heard him spout the word progressive in a million speeches. That is why I associated progressive with liberal.

I merely misinterpreted how you were using it. My apologies.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan

James,

My Political Views
I am a far-right social libertarian
Right: 8.5, Libertarian: 6.64Political Spectrum Quiz

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -4.95Political Spectrum Quiz

My Culture War Stance
Score: -3.71Political Spectrum Quiz

The Progressives have redefined the meaning of the words they use whenever it suits them. If you look at the Progressive National Platform of 1912 you will see why Obama said “Finally, after 100 years we got this done.”

The items in the Progressive platform are the elements of what the “Conservatives” are objecting to today.

The Obama’s agenda and philosophy is clearly lined out in the Progressive ideals.

Here is a link to the membership roll of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/caucus-members/

You might want to take a look at who is a proud card-carrying member of the Progressive ” ” – they don’t call themselves a “political party” anymore because they work inside both the Republican and Democrat parties and anywhere else they can acquire positions of influence although most of them are Democrats.

The three links I provided give a good overview of the history of the Progressive movement and what they have done to the USA.

How do you think Thomas Jefferson or James Madison would be treated in todays USA?

Profile photo of JasonBerky
JasonBerky @jason-bercovitch-3

The WORST possible tax is a flat tax. A flat tax essentially prices 99% of the population OUT of the retail market, AND, let’s say you did set the rate at 10%, the Federal government wouldn’t exist. That means NO border protection. No Interstate Highways. NO military. NO individual protections from lies. Now, I’m not saying I love the Federal Government and support everything it does, BUT I will admit the Federal Government is NECESSARY and it’s the people controlling that government that make the difference

Profile photo of Julia Wotten
Julia Wotten @juliaw

@jason-bercovich-3 I completely agree that a flat tax is not the best option.

Although I believe it is not a good option because although it might sound fair because everyone is taxed the same percent of their income, it is not fair at all. One dollar out of ten dollars is much harder to afford than 10 dollars out of 100. One person still has 90 to spend while the other only has 9 left over. Some people do not make enough money to be taxed at all because the wage they make is so low they cannot afford to live as it is.

@jlriggs57aol-com @peter-t-Burke
@foaryan
@twocents

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw

Ok, Jason and Julia. Please instruct me on what is a fairer, simpler taxing system than the flat tax, I am curious beyond belief. What we have is a disastrous nightmare and is one of the most regulated pieces of work known to man.

I would love to hear any ideas that you guys may have to make taxes fairer.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@foaryan
@twocents
@jason-bercovitch-3

@juliaw

The original intent behind the progressive tax system was “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need”.
So the result was that the most productive in a capitalist materialist system were punished for not being comparable with the least productive.

The history of taxation shows us that the real beneficiary of taxes is the tax collector and the power to tax is the power to destroy.

In the system that preceded the current “take from everybody and keep it” system the taxes were basically levied on goods bought and sold. So the more you bought or sold the more you paid. In this way the rich paid more voluntarily and the poor paid less. The resulting taxes on home-brewed Barley Wine were drastically less than the taxes on imported French brandy.
5% of the cost of the barley is going to be far less than the delivered cost of imported French brandy. Even George and Martha Washington brewed their own beer. Chicory coffee came into existence as a result of the same argument over taxes on imported goods.

To use your example (sort of) the guy with $10 who saves all of it will not pay anything while the guy with $100 who spends all of that will pay the most taxes.

The law is absolutely equal – it forbids Kings and Beggars alike from sleeping under bridges. There are many issues that the law cannot and will not ever remedy.

In the system that preceded the Progressive Party’s scheme to make the wealthy and the poor equal in material comfort taxes were essentially voluntary – and were not resulting from excessive spending on the part of the government.
People bought or sold things and paid the taxes. Taxes could easily be avoided by simply buying or selling less. In their essence taxes were voluntary and paid at the discretion of the buy or the seller.

The tax rate was set according to the budgetary needs of the representative government. If the tax paying public didn’t like the budgetary management of their representatives they voted them out at the next election.

The elected representatives worked on a proposed budget for next year and then set the current tax rate accordingly based on actual historical collection amounts.

That said – it was also a given that the government existed to serve the just ends of the governed not rule over a citizenry that required cradle to grave care due to their incompetence in determining their own best interests.

The stream of promises from the government, and its supporters, assuring the citizenry that government will cure poverty in their life time and make all people secure in their existence is simply disingenuous and cynical with a calloused disregard for truth.

One of the elements of living in poverty is lacking the wherewithal to accumulate to material goods necessary to avoid poverty. In the event that the person is physically incapable of improving their lot in life the individual quality of charity is entirely appropriate.
When government becomes involved in assisting people to improve their lot in life the method is generally robbing those who have – taking a large share and giving the remains to some of the those who don’t have.

Lyndon Johnson was an extreme progressive Democrat and even he described the US Government’s system of making money as being like taking a 100 lb block of ice – putting in a wagon and sending it to Washington who would send back the appropriate portion for you to have an ice-cube to put in your iced tea.

My opinion of a fair system:

1. One single State Valued Added Tax and one single Federal Value Added Tax (VAT) that cannot by Constitutional amendment exceed 5% per transaction per taxing authority with the proviso that the sum of applied taxes may not be compounded to result in an actual effective tax rate greater that 10% on the final finished goods and;

2. a statutory prohibition on any and all other taxes of any nature or purpose and ;

3. no license fee or user fee may be implemented, save and except by the direct action of publicly elected officials of the venue in which the requirement for the license or user fee exists and;

4. no action of any elected governmental body shall work to institute any license or user fees save those fees specifially ratified by the voters of the applicable venue.

Government claims to do what even Jesus Christ says would not happen. The poor will always be with us. That is not a reason to permit and encourage the rampant growth of a corrupt and cynical government that rules with absolute power of life or death.

Profile photo of JasonBerky
JasonBerky @jason-bercovitch-3

@peter-t-burke

How can you say- “the most productive in a capitalist materialist system were punished for not being comparable with the least productive”????!!!!

Your telling me working 2 jobs and 80 hours a weak is un-productive? Because working 2 jobs and 80 hours a week at $8.25/hour (california) means $660/week. 4 weeks a month = $2640/month. Rent alone in many southern california cities can eat up 50% or more of that income NOT INCLUDING TAXES! now how is it that a flat tax benefits the people NOT at the top of the Corporate ladder? How’s is a flat tax fair?

I am not saying we don’t need to change and update our tax code but a flat tax will make this country significantly worse NOT BETTER. Many countries charge lower tax rates then the US. the 50 states each determine their own income tax rates. For those that are not happy, they have options for where to live but making billionaires out or millionaires does not thing to improve anyone’s life except those in the top 1%

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jason-bercovitch-3

Jason,

I’ll be happy to explain how a flat tax is fair if you will be kind enough to show me where I said a flat tax was fair. If you will re-read my previous comment where I said what a fair system is in my opinion.

Why do you work if it is not to produce what you need to survive and thrive in this society? Working 80 hours for $660 is not my idea of productive. I charge between $100 and $185 an hour depending on what I am doing – and I consider that to be marginally productive. On the average I work about 30 – 40 hours and bring in about $6,000 a week (around $24,000 a month). I used to work for $1 an hour ($160 a month) but I got tired of that and did what it took to make the change.

By the way the 50 States do not determine their own income tax rate. I live in Texas and I can assure you that Texas does not set it’s own income tax rate because Texas (and six other states) does not have an income tax other that what is imposed by the Federal Rulers. We do have a balanced Budget Amendment to the Texas Constitution though which controls spending so we don’t need a State income tax.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@jason-bercovitch-3
@peter-t-burke

Jason, you said: “Many countries charge lower tax rates then the US.” To be exact there are 3 countries that charge less than the U.S., Turkey, Chile, and Mexico. Even with our current, confusing, unfair, tax system, that does nothing but help the IRS grow into an even bigger monster, we still have one of the lowest tax rates in the world.

Not only is a flat tax fairer for all, but it would nearly eliminate the need for the IRS, taking away a chunk of the power of the government over U.S. citizens and would lessen government spending by removing possibly millions of IRS employees, thus shrinking the federal government.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/international.cfm

The Numbers: How do U.S. taxes compare internationally?

U.S. taxes are low relative to those in other developed countries. In 2008 U.S. taxes at all levels of government claimed 26 percent of GDP, compared with an average of 35 percent of GDP for the 33 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Attachments:
You must be logged in to view attached files.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com

@jason-bercovitch-3

Jason,
I agree with James that the effective rate of money captured by the various US Governments out of the gross domestic product is among the lower amounts captured by governments from the people who earned the money.

My issue is that the amount captured is frivolously expended for the benefit of the Government Class in the US – all taxes are badly managed from my perspective. They are spent by the government class based on how much they, the government class, can get and not based on how much is needed for reasonable public benefit.

So why should I pay any tax that I can avoid?

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@jason-bercovitch-3

How redundant is the term “government waste”? It’s like saying the same word twice.

The Webster definition of “Government” should be “waste”.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@jason-bercovitch-3

Jason,

What happened to you? I was hoping for a response.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke

Maybe his powder got wet and he has to wait for it to dry before he can fire his next volley.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com

James,

I am disappointed by the practice of just not answering the other parties when an exchange does not go as expected.

My view is if I can’t win I can at least learn. Win, lose, or draw I gain from the exchange.

That is what it took for me to move from ahead from living on the highways. I used to argue with grown men who had not recovered from the 1930s depression.
They were still riding the ShoeLeather Express, living in Hoovervilles, and dining at banquets of roasted Hoover pigs. The libation of choice was Thunderbird.
I was always confused by their practice of taking comfort in knowing that they would reach a point where they could just retreat from an exchange and be satisfied in knowing that the other person was just igrant of da fax.

When I realized that was why they never recovered from the 1930s, I finally moved on.

The 1950s and 60s were certainly an Institution of Higher Learning.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke

Unfortunately Pete, it happens more often than not. We seem to have a lot of drive-by posters who pop in make a statement and when their statement is refuted, especially with facts that can be proven, they disappear.

Maybe a couple of tips might help the drive-by posters.

1) Actually take the time to find out what you want to say is true or not. (Do a little research)

2) Once you have verified what you thought was true, put your thoughts together. (Don’t just start typing)

3) Don’t rant or throw insults at the other posters. (If all you’ve got are insults, you’ve already lost the discussion.)

4) Don’t be a drive-by poster. (You lose credibility.)

If we all came on here and we all agreed with each other, where is the discussion? Where is seeing a different point of view? Where is the learning?

I have disagreed with many on this site, you win some, you lose some, but you always learn something.

Posting, then disappearing, seems to be a trend.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com

Hmmm… I checked to make sure I used deodorant this morning! I wanted to make sure it wasn’t me. Oh well!

One of my favorite quotes comes from Henry M. Robert:

“The great lesson for democracies to learn is for the majority to give to the minority a full, free opportunity to present their side of the case, and then for the minority, having failed to win a majority to their views, gracefully to submit and to recognize the action as that of the entire organization, and cheerfully to assist in carrying it out, until they can secure its repeal.”

Henry Martyn Robert – Parliamentary Law

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke

Well don’t look at me, I always gargle with Listerine and have a tic-tac before I post a comment.

Here’s one of mine.

“We always want the best man to win an election. Unfortunately, he never runs.” — Will Rogers

Profile photo of Gary
Gary @grand-vizier

@jlriggs57aol-com
@twocents
@ joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
I once read that every problem has a simple ,obvious,common sense answer that IS WRONG.
A modern country needs taxes.
The idea that import/excise taxes will work OR generate enough revenue cannot be taken seriously.
The idea that we don’t need a military in view of even the most obvious events current or historic is absurd and not worthy of refutation.
The single LARGEST problem is that of complete lack of interest in spending tax money wisely.
Nobody is accountable so no one cares how the money is spent.
My estimate is that the government can function quite well on less than 40% of its current budget.
There is an old idea called 0 based budgeting.
Each year or so an agency would have to define its goals and come before congress with the premise that it has 0 dollars in its budget.
It would have to explain what it intends to do,justify it from a cost benefit perspective and ask for a bill to provide the money.
They would also have to show,conclusively that there is no other agency doing the same thing to avoid duplication or worse agencies at cross purposes such as the support for tobacco farmers while trying to reduce smoking.
we are paying subsidies for electric cars and finding we don’t collect enough gas taxes to pay for the roads now so we need to collect mileage fees from electric cars to make up for the loss of the gas taxes they don’t pay.
Every time money moves through government at least 40% of it is wasted on overhead and administration.
ANSWER get government to be responsible for spending wisely and get it completely out of thing it can’t,which is MOST things

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@grand-vizier
@twocents
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey

Gary, it sounds good except for a couple of things. Those in charge of putting together this zero budget. Can you say that these folks can be so accurate that they can foresee anything that might pop-up and already have that added into the budget that they have already turned in and has passed?

For instance, say we’re talking about the agency that handles bridges. They have their budget, everything is on track, but then some natural disaster happens and takes out a very large, very expensive bridge. Now what? They can’t ask for more money because the budget is already set. Now you have a major bridge at the bottom of the river and no funds to rebuild it.

The other problem is people. People do not like change, especially when it comes to their money. You say that to achieve the budget for what is needed, the tax rate will be at 23% for the next 2 years. So what happens? People get used to the 23%, then there is a need to do some extra things across the country, I don’t know what, but something. Now the rate has to be taken up to 35%. There would be a grumble across the country like you have never heard before.

You simply can’t keep jacking taxes around on people. They would hate it and it would start a lot of mistrust for the government. (You know, like it is now.)

Set a flat rate and leave it alone. Get rid of the IRS and start shrinking the government.

Profile photo of Gary
Gary @grand-vizier

@jlriggs57aol-com
I did not say what the tax rate would be. But if spending is cut I hope you will agree there is a far better chance of less taxes than otherwise.
I am also not argueing against the flat tax.
I expect there are details that need to be addressed but I do believe that would be far better than the current method.

As for who puts the budget together ,who does it now? Someone is doing it.
I am just saying instead of automatically getting increases give SOME justification and reasoning for why the agency should be getting ANYTHING .
Nobody can predict the unknown ,that’s why congress routinely passes emergency spending.
They will continue to do so.Whats new about that?
I don’t get the argument about people not liking change in tax rates but it happens all the time.
Taxes were just raised.
Sometimes they get cut.
Same old story.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@grand-vizier

Gary, if I made the insinuation that you set a certain rate I apologize. The numbers I used were just examples.

What I was trying to show is that as the budget changed, due to what needed to be accomplished, the tax rate would have to change accordingly, which would frustrate most taxpayers on the years it went up. People like to know where they stand, they probably have their personal budgets all set then the government hits them with a higher tax and messes them up. Set a rate and stay there. Every time a person gets a raise or a company increases their sales, the rate stays the same but the amount of paid taxes increases, but all the person sees, is that he is still paying the same rate.

As far as tightening up the vice on those who make the budget, I couldn’t agree more, make them accountable for every dime. If they are found untrustworthy, throw their butts out and find someone honest. (Or as close as you can come to it in DC.)

The emergency spending with an already set budget would mean you would have to work outside of the budget that was set, which does away with the zero budget until you can increase the budget for next year to make up the difference for the emergency.

The fact that taxes are raised and lowered continuously (especially raised) frustrates me and everyone I know or talk to.

How pleasant would it be to know that from now, until the day you die, you will only pay 10 or 15% and never see another tax change your whole life. Think about it.

Say goodbye to the IRS, H&R Block, and all the other tax companies that the common guy has to pay to fill out their taxes every year.

Again, my apologies for the misunderstanding.

Profile photo of Ross Bryan
Ross Bryan @ross-bryan-31

Anyone remember 9-9-9?

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

Ross, I have to admit to ignorance on the 999 Plan, thanks for bringing it to my attention. For those who also have never heard of it, here is an excerpt from the link below.

Herman Cain’s “999 Plan”: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
By Dean Clancy
10/06/2011

So what about Herman Cain’s 999 tax plan? Turns out it has some very good aspects — and some others, not so good. I’d give it two rousing cheers and one bronx cheer.

The plan is called “9, 9, 9″ because it would replace today’s complicated and economically burdensome federal tax code with a simple, three-part system, consisting of a 9% flat tax on individuals, a 9% flat tax on businesses, and a 9% national retail sales tax.* That’s it.**

The plan thus has three major virtues: It’s bold, it’s simple, and it’s fair. And by proposing it, Cain is showing some political courage and imagination. Grassroots voters are hungry for just those things. No wonder this plan is fueling Cain’s strong standing in the GOP presidential race.

But there are some flaws.

http://www.freedomworks.org/content/herman-cains-999-plan-good-bad-and-ugly

There are definitely some positives here. What do you guys think?

Profile photo of Ross Bryan
Ross Bryan @ross-bryan-31

@jlriggs57aol-com
@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey

I’ll admit, I love the idea of a flat tax. But like Obamacare, I’m not so sure its implementation would be all that smooth, much less popular with the American people, either. And here’s why…

In the past century, American society has adapted to a progressive tax system – which those in a higher income bracket pay more of the tax burden because they have more disposable income left over after paying for the basic necessities of life – i.e., housing, food, utilities, healthcare, the clothes on their backs, etc. They squeak by living paycheck to paycheck, usually accruing a good bit of debt along the way, too. Many of modest means fixed their daily budgets around the idea they’ll get back a lot of what they put in come tax season – using all the usual write-offs come tax season.

Yes, a flat tax would make life so much simpler – allowing us to drastically downsize the IRS and shed a ton of bureaucrats. And a lot of middle-income types might even save a little money. But in all reality, if imposed a lot of people who aren’t currently paying much in taxes would suddenly be forced to pay anywhere from nine to seventeen percent of their income to the federal government (depending on whose plan). And the wealthiest amongst us – who, though paying half the taxes in this country, are still doing quite well – would get a MAJOR tax cut.

So how would that make the Republican Party look if millionaires and billionaires had their tax burden reduced by several hundred percent, but a single mother living somewhere in Appalachia (who doesn’t currently pay taxes because she has two kids to a deceased husband and works a nine-to-five at the local WalMart) all of a sudden has to pay nine or fifteen percent of her income to federal government – forcing her and hungry kids to the food pantry at her church?

Community organizers would mobilize against us and we’d get slaughtered at the polls. In Red States across the US, we’d see new wing of socially conservative anti-flat tax Democrats emerge, capturing the votes of previously Republican voters.

Allow me to finish off with the following analogy: In our over-medicated society, there are a lot of people on anti-depressants who really don’t need to be on meds – they just need a more holistic approach, coupled with a healthier lifestyle and greater social engagement. However, even though that be the case, weaning them off those drugs isn’t so easy. It takes a careful, measured approach.

That same rule applies to our tax system – and trust me, I’m no big fan of central economic planning.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

Ross,

As you say the transition may not be smooth and folks may not like it, but I think the answer comes from you. You said, “In the past century, American society has adapted to a progressive tax system…….” If we, as a people could adapt to something as disastrous as what we have now, surely we could adapt to something that is better.

Speaking about the folks that live paycheck to paycheck, we lived that way for quite a while when we first got married. We did not accrue a lot of debt along the way, we learned fast that we had to live within the confines of my paycheck. A cheap apartment, a cheap car, clothes, dishes, some furniture, etc. from thrift stores. I was taught the old adage, “Use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without”. And that’s exactly what we did. We were holding out until I could get a better job that paid more.

Now as far as the widow with kids working at Walmart goes let’s say she is making minimum wage, to make it easy, an even 8 bucks an hour, no matter the hours they will still take 23 to 31 percent, approximately, depending on how many dependents she claims. Now like you said if you play the deduction right she will get a lot of that back when she files her taxes in April. With a 10% flat tax, which is what I have been talking about since I started this discussion, she won’t get back a lump sum at the end of the year, but she will be taking home 13 to 21% more of here check every week, which would be enough to make sure there was food on the table, or the utilities were paid every month. It’s a tit for tat trade-off.

You said, “And the wealthiest amongst us – who, though paying half the taxes in this country, are still doing quite well – would get a MAJOR tax cut.”

As I had stated in an earlier post that several years ago there was a news report on TV that told that Exxon had made over 2 billion dollars that year, but only paid 150,000 dollars in taxes. If we had a flat tax at the time, they would have paid 200 million. So where again is their major tax cut?

As far as a “new wing of socially conservative anti-flat tax Democrats”, I really don’t care, liberals will always find something to be enraged about.

Everything about a flat tax would have to be meticulously looked at, studied, researched and scrutinized before being enacted. We don’t want to throw something together that has not been thoroughly checked, then force it down the throats of the American people without some assurances that it’s going to work. We’ve already seen what that kind of thinking gets us, in the form of obamacare. May it die a quick but painful death.

Is a flat tax perfect? No. Do I have all the answers? No. Would it be fairer, simpler, and still give us enough money to run the government? If it is done correctly, I believe the answer is yes.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-3

Ok – I have sat here and read these posts – one after another. It seems like an exercise in futility to me to discuss the merits of a plan that is not likely to be implemented – and if it was implemented it would make no effective change.

Everybody is in favor of some variety of a flat tax. Great – the only real world effect would be that I would have to just find some other method of avoiding the tax load imposed one me.

Any variety of tax on my income is a vast incentive to find a way to change how my income is reported or even determined.

1. Bookkeepers exist to serve the business with details about the cash flow in the business.

2. Accountants exist to reconcile the profits of my efforts with the desires of the government. Accountants arrange the results of the bookkeeping to minimize the apparent income and thus the tax load.

3. Tax attorneys exist to find a pathway through the tax system without paying government any amount that can be avoided by any means.

Any form of tax applied to my income is an incentive to find a way through the briar patch while avoiding the taxes which are just thorns on the briars that make up the briar patch.

“I don’t care what you do with me, Brer Fox” said Brer Rabbit. “Just don’t fling me in that briar patch over there. Roast me, Brer Fox, but don’t fling me in in that briar patch,” said Brer Rabbit.

“It’s so much trouble to start a fire,” said Brer Fox, “that I think I’d rather hang you.”

“Hang me just as high as you please, Brer Fox,” said Brer Rabbit, “but for Lord’s sake don’t fling me in in that briar patch.”

“I don’t have any string,” said Brer Fox, “so I think I’d rather drown you.”

“Drown me just as deep as you please, Brer Fox,” said Brer Rabbit, “but for Lord’s sake don’t fling me in in that briar patch.”

“There’s no water nearby,” said Brer Fox, “so I think I’d rather skin you.”

“Skin me, Brer Fox, snatch out my eyeballs, tear out my ears by the roots, and cut off my legs,” said Brer Rabbit. “Only please, Brer Fox, please don’t throw me into the briar patch.”

“It’s not going to be much fun skinning you,” said Brer Fox, “you’re not scared of that. But you are scared of the briar patch.”

And with that, Brer Fox yanked Brer Rabbit off the Tar-Baby, and he flung him -KERPLUNK!- right into the briar patch.

Well, there was a flutter where Brer Rabbit landed, then “Ooo! Oow! Ouch!” he screeched and he squalled. Then after a while, there was only a weak whisper from Brer Rabbit. Brer Fox listened.

“I got him! Brer Rabbit is dead!” said Brer Fox.

But then he heard a scuffling away at the other end of the briar patch. And low and behold, who does Brer Fox see scrambling out but Brer Rabbit himself, playing a briar bush whistle.

“Born and bred in the briar patch, that’s me,” laughed Brer Rabbit. “I told you not to throw me there. In all the world, that’s the place I love best!”

With a lippity clip, he hopped away.

A dollar of income carries an overhead of around 90% in expenses to acquire that dollar.
A dollar saved out of tax expense carries an overhead of around 35% to 45% – and that gets reduced as the route around the tax is established. The next application of any particular tax can be circumvented at a minimal expense.
The fact of my savings is up to me.

Will somebody explain to me why I would suddenly stop saving money out the tax expense and begin to just give away money that I earned?

Why would I co-operate with a flat tax system any more than I have co-operated with the current progressive tax system?

Paying a sales tax would be less onerous because if I don’t want to pay the tax I can just not buy the 2014 Expedition – I could just continue to drive my 1999 Suburban. My choice. I can eat steak or hamburger as I see fit. I can reduce tax load by buying cheaper imports instead of more costly US products.

I realize that pay-offs to the ruling class (taxes) are a fact of life in the USA just as bribes (campaign donations) to politicians, and protection money (free meals to law EnFORCEment) to the cops are.

I am asking if there is some logical argument that shows how any system of tax on income is going to do any better than any system of tax on income has ever done.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

Pete, please don’t take offense to what I’m about to say, but we have all been discussing how this would affect different sects of the population and the population as a whole. You have mostly talked about how it would affect you and your way of living. I’m not saying you’re wrong for feeling that way, but the focus of the discussion is how a flat tax could be beneficial or detrimental to all the people.

It obviously doesn’t bother you to side-step the laws wherever possible to save money, I’m just a little confused at why it would matter to you at all. No matter what system they set up you will find a way to hide your income. I understand that this will be an inconvenience for you to figure out ways to keep from paying taxes, but I have faith you will overcome all obstacles.

As I said before, we are talking about the bulk of the population, the folks like me, who can’t afford to hire bookkeepers, accountants, or lawyers.

As far as a sales tax is concerned, I have a home, a car, and a motorcycle that are all paid for so I have no fears about a sales tax doing me much harm and I am sure the bulk of what you have is paid for also, so the sales tax would affect you only slightly. But again we are talking about everyone. What about the millions upon millions of young people who are just getting started, the price of a first new car is enough of a burden, then add-on an excess of taxes and it would be near to impossible for a young couple just starting out and if excessive taxes on car would be hard, just think what it would be for them to buy a house.

I understand that whether those millions of young couples could afford to buy a car or a house is not your problem.

To answer your question, “I am asking if there is some logical argument that shows how any system of tax on income is going to do any better than any system of tax on income has ever done.”

The logical argument is that there has been taxes on income, there is taxes on income, and there always will be taxes on income.

To my way of thinking a 10% flat tax is the fairest tax I can think of, from the ditch digger all the way up to the CEO of the biggest major corporation in the U.S. Everyone pays the same percentage. Those who earn little get to save a portion of their earnings that would have been taken through taxes and the rich would continue to do what they’ve always done, get richer, and more power to them.

If I said anything that offended you, I apologize, I did not do it intentionally.

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

James,

I am not offended in the least. I am never offended by truth. You have responded to what I asked and I appreciate that. Thank you for the courtesy of a direct and considered response.

Currently most people in the USA are paying around 1/2 of their earnings to support a government that is blowing the money on wars all around the world, aiding South American farmers to the tune of 340 million dollar they did not earn, and running a system that increases the number of people forced into poverty each year. The boondoggles and scams the government uses to bleed the people dry would make Shylock of Venice look generous.

Things are not better in the USA today than they were 50 years ago – they are a lot worse. Far more poverty in this the best of all possible worlds.

How will continuing the same destructive repressive way of taking money from the people make life better for the people?

You are right. People like me will always find a way. The fact is that $100 out of my neighbors income will hurt him and his family a lot worse than $10,000 out of me. The flat tax will shift the damage to the people who can least afford it.

There is a point where percentages sound great but fail entirely to represent reality. 10% sounds good until you realize that some of my neighbors spend that on food.

The result of a flat tax will be that the system of exemptions, credits and special privileges will have to be continued – and thus I will find a comfortable spot to lounge in the briar patch again.

I don’t do anything that is specifically illegal – but then again that is an entirely relative point of view. The government despises the law and passes “regulations” instead. I feel no moral obligation regarding regulations. I do take advantage of every possible way to conserve and increase my asset holdings.

How will spending money that was taken from my neighbors to try to take money from me help my neighbors? I am not alone in this pursuit. Corporations, investors, and most people who have gathered enough to be comfortable do the same thing.

Do you really think that some moron who could only get a government job is going to be able to figure a way to get this under control? They just collect enough to pay for them to live as they would like to become accustomed to and that’s about it.
If a flat tax was implemented would there be any new net tax payers? I don’t think so.

The government is not going to allow the people to pass any tax system that reduces the government’s standard of living.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

Pete, you said, “Currently most people in the USA are paying around 1/2 of their earnings to support a government that is blowing the money on wars all around the world,………”

But then you said, “There is a point where percentages sound great but fail entirely to represent reality. 10% sounds good until you realize that some of my neighbors spend that on food.”

They are currently having 50% of their wages taken in taxes, but under a the flat tax they would only have 10% taken. They would get to keep 40% more of their income. How will this make things better for people in the U.S? Every person in the country would keep 90% of what they make.

As far as things being a lot worse in the U.S. today, than they were 50 years ago, you are absolutely right, and part of this is that we shrink government and to hold them accountable for every dime they spend. Another point of the flat tax is that there would be no exemptions, credits, or special privileges, just a plain 10% only.

Has the government wasted our money? Yes. Is the government wasting our money? Yes. As we have discussed at different points in this discussion, before anything will help we must shrink the government, we must implement a plan that eliminates the national debt, we must keep government in check, not just for 5 or 10 years, but for the rest of its existence. We can no longer worry about what “the government” will allow, we have to vote in those who understand that our government officials are corrupt and wasteful and must change. Don’t say they aren’t out there. The great state of Texas has one of the best, who is trying very hard to fight the idiocy in Washington, as does Kentucky, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and several others.

Do things have to change before any taxes at all will do any good? Yes. Waste is waste, whether you are using the current tax system, a sales tax, or a flat tax. But as far as what comes out of the pockets of the bulk of the American people 10% beats 50% any day of the week.

Pete, I am going to re-post my last comment to Ross.

“Is a flat tax perfect? No. Do I have all the answers? No. Would it be fairer, simpler, and still give us enough money to run the government? If it is done correctly, I believe the answer is yes.”

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jlriggs57aol-com
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

James,

If you are talking with somebody who thinks that any idea or solution comes to fruition fully formed and perfect in all ways I think you are wasting your breath.

There is no need to tell me that the discussion is about an idea that is not fully formed or perfected. The fact there is something left to consider is why I am participating in the issue.

Personal/Consumer Taxes & Fees

Federal income tax
State income tax
Local income tax
Employee social security tax (your employer pays the other half)
Employee Medicare tax (your employer pays the other half)
Property taxes
Road toll charges
State sales tax
Driver’s license renewal fee
TV Cable/Satellite fees & taxes
Federal telephone surtax, excise tax, and universal surcharge
State telephone excise tax and surcharge
Telephone minimum usage and recurring/nonrecurring charges tax
Gas/electric bill fees & taxes
Water/sewer fees & taxes
Cigarette tax
Alcohol tax
Federal gasoline tax
State gasoline tax
Local gasoline tax
Federal inheritance tax
State inheritance tax
Gift tax
Bridge toll charges
Marriage license
Hunting license
Fishing license
Bike license fee
Dog permit/license
State park permit
Watercraft registration & licensing fees
Sports stadium tax
Bike/nature trail permit
Court case filing fee
Retirement account early withdrawal penalty
Individual health insurance mandate tax
Hotel stay tax
Plastic surgery surcharge
Soda/fatty-food tax
Air transportation tax
Electronic transmission of tax return fees
Passport application/renewal fee
Luxury & gas-guzzler car taxes
New car surcharge
License plate and car ownership transfer taxes
Yacht and luxury boat taxes
Jewelry taxes & surcharges
State/local school tax
Recreational vehicle tax
Special assessments for road repairs or construction
Gun ownership permit
Kiddie tax (IRS form 8615)
Fuel gross receipts tax
Waste Management tax
Oil and gas assessment tax
Use taxes (on out-of-state purchase)
IRA rollover tax/withdrawal penalties
Tax on non-qualified health saving account distributions
Individual and small business surtax (page 336 of Obamacare)
Estimated income tax underpayment penalty
Alternative Minimum Tax on income
Business Taxes & Fees
Federal corporate income tax
State corporate income tax
Tax registration fee for new businesses
Employer social security tax
Employer Medicare tax
Federal unemployment tax
State unemployment tax
Business registration renewal tax
Worker’s compensation tax
Tax on imported/exported goods
Oil storage/inspection fees
Employer health insurance mandate tax
Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (page 2001/Sec. 9007 of Obamacare)
Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Page 2010/Sec. 9008 of Obamacare)
Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Page 2020/Sec. 9009 of Obamacare)
Tax on Health Insurers (Page 2026/Sec. 9010 of Obamacare)
Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans, i.e. “Cadillac” plans
Tax on indoor tanning services
Utility users tax
Internet transaction fee (passed in California; being considered in other states and at federal level)
Professional license fee (accountants, lawyers, barbers, dentists, plumbers, etc.)
Franchise business tax
Tourism and concession license fee
Wiring inspection fees
Household employment tax
Biodiesel fuel tax
FDIC tax (insurance premium on bank deposits)
Electronic waste recycling fee
Hazardous material disposal fee
Food & beverage license fee
Estimated income tax underpayment penalty
Building/construction permit
Zoning permit
Fire inspection fee
Well permit tax
Sales and Use tax seller’s permit
Commercial driver’s license fee
Bank ATM transaction tax
Occupation taxes and fees (annual charges required for a host of professions)

The 50% tax paid by US citizens is not the income taxes. Income taxes are just a small portion of the taxes imposed on US citizens. Replacing the current system with a 10% flat tax will have little of no effect on me but it would still be a disaster for my neighbors because they are not net income tax payers. My neighbors pay the consumption and use taxes but they get “Obama bucks” when they file their income taxes. They pay in all year and then get back all of what they paid in plus some of what little I paid in.

Changing the system to a flat 10% income tax would just be an increase in their taxes with no benefit.

The “one tenth” tithe to the government has been tried and applied for centuries and the results are always the same. There is good reason why the people who founded the USA did not make a provision for any form of income tax in the US Constitution and the Progressives had to add it (for the children and the old people and the good of the country, you know).

Any tax on income is repressive. It serves to give incentive to hide or disguise income. We have learned that much after 8,000 years of taxes.

A modest tax on consumption (value added sales tax) forces the government to participate in the growth of commerce if the government intends to slurp up some of the profits for themselves. If I don’t sell my goods, the politicians don’t get money.

Most poor people don’t buy Ferrari’s, or imported wines, or vacation in the Canary Islands but those who do will pay a whopping tax due to the prices of those luxuries. If I want a private helicopter the sales tax is just a cost that I will pay if I want the helicopter – but I don’t have to pay that tax – I can just forget about it and go home.

Food, rent, electricity and transportation to work is entirely a different breed of cat.

A clear tax plan and a Constitutional amendment for a balanced zero based budget will benefit everybody in the USA.

Politicians are like a robber with a gun to your head – no amount of money is enough. The tax isn’t the problem as much as the uncontrolled spending is.

No matter what the tax rate or method the politician can just borrow money and debt finance what ever they want to do while they keep the cash collected to pay themselves and their co-conspirators and accomplices.

Profile photo of James L. Riggs
James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@peter-t-burke
@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

I think I have run the gambit on this. We will just have to agree to disagree. I appreciate all your thought and input.

Profile photo of Lauren
Lauren @thatykidlauren

I agree with the fact that a level and equal tax should be distributed evenly, but how realistic is that? A %10 tax on someone who makes say “$500″ a year is losing $50. $50 that could be the difference between life and death, if we are being “realistic” here. But look at big corporations that barely pay taxes to begin with. Are we really just going to let them slide by? I’ll say that I’m strongly against taxing the rich and giving the lower and middle class a tax cut, but I don’t believe that a flat tax is going to be the solution. If it was so easy, a flat tax would have worked years ago.

Profile photo of Julia Wotten
Julia Wotten @juliaw

@peter-t-burke wow, that list of taxes is insane. Although I don’t think all of those are taxes. Some of them are considered licenses and fees for public services.

@thatkidlauren I agree with you. percentages of income are not the same for all people. It doesn’t hurt the rich guy to give 10% but it hurts the poor guy to give 10%. I dont think anyone should be hurt by taxes but there are things we need to pay for and some are more able to pay a higher percentage.

@jlriggs57aol-com yes this debate went on for a good amount of time! Thanks for starting it, I read most of the comments definitely some good info in here.

I am still shocked at that long list Peter posted. its pretty insane but I guess theres a reason we pay all those fees and taxes. We are lucky to live in a country with so many great services and so much freedom.

@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

Profile photo of Peter T. Burke
Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@juliaw

That is just a partial list of taxes and the euphemisms for taxes such as “license fee”, “User fee”, “Administration fee” and all the rest of entitlements that are due to government. If you think they are not really “entitlements” just try not paying some of them and see how fast the government reacts.

Juliet Capulet said “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet!” In Texas we generally refer to the process of renaming how money is extracted from the subjects of the government by the phrase “same shirt – different pockets”.

What many of my kind who are actual conservatives are objecting to is the total amount taken from those of us who are net tax payers when it comes to government. We pay in and get nothing back that we couldn’t provide for ourselves – better – faster – more efficiently – and more effectively.

If you examine the list and think about it everyone of those methods by which government takes the earning of someone else are entitlements of the agents of the government. Would you be more comfortable if there was just a “Voluntary Contribution to the Support of Needy Politicians” instead of a Federal “Income Tax” ?

So, what entitlements do you think are necessary? And which ones of the preceding list do you think are collected and spent feeding and clothing the needy?

@djc91ua
@twocents
@foaryan
@jason-bercovitch-3
@juliaw
@grand-vizier
@joellemartin
@joeperticone
@jumpingjoey
@ross-bryan-31

Profile photo of Walter
Walter @walterhellums

I really like the idea of a sales tax. But, this type of tax would be more difficult to manage and require more tax money just to run the system. I think a flat tax, while not ideal, is much easier to manage.

Profile photo of Brandon
Brandon @sverhmashina

I find it very hard to believe that such a method of taxation would be viable to generate the revenues needed to sustain the demands made of the modern state. 10% is pitifully low to account for lost revenues generated from the upper income brackets, and if you were to adjust it to a more realistic 15-20% then it really impacts the possible purchasing power of the middle and lower classes. Imagine a house hold earning 75 000 a year and a household earning $300 000 a year. If we assume a 20% flat tax, the lower household will take home $60 000 to cover living costs before that income even makes it to consumer purchasing that helps keep the economy afloat. The family that earns $300 000 and takes home $240 000. If we assume annual living costs, all things being equal except for earnings, are $40 000 a year for both households, the lower one will be spending less in the economy purchasing consumer goods and be more inclined to save their earnings (sounds good on paper, but inflation largely erodes the value of wealth unless you’ve got the personal finance skills or can afford an investment manager), while the higher earning household will be more inclined to spend their money (and take financial risks that are vital to an economy focused on growth).

Simply looking at everyone paying the same rate sounds fair, but when you actually look at what that really means then you see that such regressive taxation only aggravates inequality (and arguably erodes confidence in the democratic and capitalist system we hold so dear) and serves to transfer purchasing power away from those who need it most. The principle is the same if shifted the focus of taxation on consumption (VATs) rather than earnings and wealth.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

In order to comment you must:
SIGN IN

or

CREATE A PROFILE
VIEW SIMILAR TOPICS