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#1 Aug 15 2011 at 7:27 AM Rating: Good
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Maybe too many words, but I'm sure it's right up to par with his skill set.

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#2 Aug 15 2011 at 8:10 AM Rating: Excellent
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GAH!

The problem not being dumbed down, but flat out wrong in places:

Tea Party colouring book wrote:
In 1773 we had a Tea Party and this led to freedom from high taxes. Today we are having another Tea Party and this will lead to freedom from high taxes again!

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the 1773 Tea Party about Americans paying taxes that were then spent in Britain, and not returned to America?

Wasn't it even MORE about American merchant trading ships being forced by British Law to sail to and stop in London before they went anywhere else in the world?
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#3 Aug 15 2011 at 8:37 AM Rating: Excellent
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Ask your friends what this means. Are you going to have your own tea party?"

Apparently this authors wants conservative raised little boys to get the **** punched out of them for being queer.
#4 Aug 15 2011 at 8:50 AM Rating: Good
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Yeah, my sister didn't think it'd harm the toddler boys she babysat to paint their fingernails and toenails when she painted hers, while they played dress up.

Then they grew up, went to school, apparently mentioned the fun of nailpolish, and got themselves beaten up. Australian schools not perfect yet. Smiley: frown
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#5 Aug 15 2011 at 8:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
Then they grew up, went to school, apparently mentioned the fun of nailpolish, and got themselves beaten up by a wallaby. Australian schools not perfect yet. Smiley: frown

That's a sad story.
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#6 Aug 15 2011 at 9:15 AM Rating: Good
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Aripyanfar wrote:
Then they grew up, went to school, apparently mentioned the fun of nailpolish, and got themselves beaten up. Australian schools not perfect yet. Smiley: frown

Kids will be kids, will be kids, will be kids. It's always the same, it's human nature to hate what's different.

When we grow up we're supposed to teach ourselves that this behaviour is wrong. Some people don't quite manage that, though.
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#7 Aug 15 2011 at 9:42 AM Rating: Good
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Ask your friends what this means. Are you going to have your own tea party?"

Apparently this authors wants conservative raised little boys to get the sh*t punched out of them for being queer.
Thanks, I love having to wipe beer off of my monitor. I really didn't see that one coming.
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#8 Aug 15 2011 at 10:02 AM Rating: Good
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ITT we learn wallabies are homophobic gaybashers.

Not bad for a Monday morning.
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#9 Aug 15 2011 at 10:13 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
ITT we learn wallabies are homophobic gaybashers.

Not bad for a Monday morning.

Their purse pouch is a handy place to keep their denial.
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#10 Aug 15 2011 at 11:29 AM Rating: Good
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Aripyanfar wrote:
GAH!

The problem not being dumbed down, but flat out wrong in places:

Tea Party colouring book wrote:
In 1773 we had a Tea Party and this led to freedom from high taxes. Today we are having another Tea Party and this will lead to freedom from high taxes again!

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the 1773 Tea Party about Americans paying taxes that were then spent in Britain, and not returned to America?

Wasn't it even MORE about American merchant trading ships being forced by British Law to sail to and stop in London before they went anywhere else in the world?


Don't forget about the part where our taxes today cannot in any sense be considered high.
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#11 Aug 15 2011 at 12:15 PM Rating: Good
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What Kachi said x1'000
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#12 Aug 15 2011 at 12:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
Are you going to have your own tea party?


Smiley: lol
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#13 Aug 15 2011 at 12:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
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Are you going to have your own tea party?


Smiley: lol

Misinformation Is Fun!

Smiley: schooled
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#14 Aug 15 2011 at 12:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
Quote:
Are you going to have your own tea party?


Smiley: lol

Misinformation Is Outright lies are Fun!

Smiley: schooled

FTFY
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#15 Aug 15 2011 at 3:27 PM Rating: Decent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the 1773 Tea Party about Americans paying taxes that were then spent in Britain, and not returned to America?

Wasn't it even MORE about American merchant trading ships being forced by British Law to sail to and stop in London before they went anywhere else in the world?


It was a combination of factors. Not the least of which was that the later reduction of massive amounts of taxes paid in England for tea bound for the colonies intended to allow the East India Company to undercut the smuggled tea still contained the Townshend Act tax. It wasn't about the price of tea, but about the use of taxes as a means of control over those who paid the taxes, while ensuring those those same taxed people couldn't exert any control over themselves.

Britain was willing to sell tea essentially at a loss of tax revenue as long as it could continue to collect the one tax that allowed them to directly control the magistrates and governors of the colonies. That's why it was a big deal. And it's paralleled today in the growing reality that the percentage of people paying the largest share of taxes is shrinking, while the government collecting those taxes uses the money collected to buy votes among the population not being taxed.


It's still about using taxes to control the people. Same basic issue, even if the specifics vary.


Kachi wrote:
Don't forget about the part where our taxes today cannot in any sense be considered high.


Care to defend this statement? High relative to what and when? Remember, it's not necessarily about the amount being paid, but about why the taxes are being collected, and what is being done with the tax dollars. It's also not just about revenue (which is obviously down right at this moment). Don't confuse revenue with tax rates. They're not the same thing.
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#16 Aug 15 2011 at 3:37 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Kachi wrote:
Don't forget about the part where our taxes today cannot in any sense be considered high.


Care to defend this statement? High relative to what and when? Remember, it's not necessarily about the amount being paid, but about why the taxes are being collected, and what is being done with the tax dollars. It's also not just about revenue (which is obviously down right at this moment). Don't confuse revenue with tax rates. They're not the same thing.

Compared to the rest of the world today, and compared to tax rates in US history?
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#17 Aug 15 2011 at 4:30 PM Rating: Decent
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Nilatai wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Kachi wrote:
Don't forget about the part where our taxes today cannot in any sense be considered high.


Care to defend this statement? High relative to what and when? Remember, it's not necessarily about the amount being paid, but about why the taxes are being collected, and what is being done with the tax dollars. It's also not just about revenue (which is obviously down right at this moment). Don't confuse revenue with tax rates. They're not the same thing.

Compared to the rest of the world today, and compared to tax rates in US history?


Again, tax rates and tax revenues are not the same thing. The concern driving the anti-tax argument isn't so much that tax rates right now are too high, but that tax rates (overall) will have to increase to match the increase in spending.

Specific tax rates change over time, but historically the US has for a long time generated tax revenue in the 17-19% of GDP range, while spending in the 18-20% range (so running manageable deficits). Under the Obama administration, spending has jumped to 24-25% range. Absent legislative action to get that spending back under control, the only alternative is to increase taxes in some way (many ways most likely) to bring tax revenue up to match.

The precise tax rates, what is taxed, who is taxed, etc is subject to debate, but the fact is that unless spending is reduced, some combination of new taxes will have to be levied to increase the revenue. And that is revenue levels which we have not seen in the US since WW2. So, when folks on the right complain about high taxes and argue that we need to cut spending and *not* raise taxes, this is what they are basing their arguments on.


What is your position based on? Anything?
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#18 Aug 15 2011 at 4:33 PM Rating: Good
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I searched the interwebs and I found this:


"The top marginal tax rate was reduced to 58% in 1922, to 25% in 1925, and finally to 24% in 1929. In 1932 the top marginal tax rate was increased to 63% during the Great Depression and steadily increased, reaching 94% (on all income over $200,000) in 1945. During World War II, Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly tax payments. Top marginal tax rates stayed near or above 90% until 1964 when the top marginal tax rate was lowered to 70%. The top marginal tax rate was lowered to 50% in 1982 and eventually to 28% in 1988. However, in the intervening years Congress subsequently increased the top marginal tax rate to 35% (the top marginal tax rate as of 2007)."


Edit: also I found this. Seems like tax RATES were higher in the past.

Also, you pay a lot less than other countries in the world do. Quit whining.



Edited, Aug 15th 2011 6:36pm by Nilatai
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#19 Aug 15 2011 at 4:43 PM Rating: Decent
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Nilatai wrote:
I searched the interwebs and I found this:


"The top marginal tax rate was reduced to 58% in 1922, to 25% in 1925, and finally to 24% in 1929. In 1932 the top marginal tax rate was increased to 63% during the Great Depression and steadily increased, reaching 94% (on all income over $200,000) in 1945. During World War II, Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly tax payments. Top marginal tax rates stayed near or above 90% until 1964 when the top marginal tax rate was lowered to 70%. The top marginal tax rate was lowered to 50% in 1982 and eventually to 28% in 1988. However, in the intervening years Congress subsequently increased the top marginal tax rate to 35% (the top marginal tax rate as of 2007)."


Edit: also I found this. Seems like tax RATES were higher in the past.


You're missing a key ingredient. How many people actually met that "top marginal rate" (and how many actually paid it). Back when that rate was 90% and then 70%, there were only a few hundred people who paid it. It was not significant in terms of generating total tax revenue, but that's what the liberal sources talk about all the time.


What has happened isn't that the rich got richer, but that more people got rich. Over time, we've increased the number of people making large amounts of money and reduced the rate that they pay at those income levels. The result? We collect about the same total revenue as a percentage of GDP today (ok, prior to this current recessionary period), as we did 20 years ago, and 30 years ago, and 40 years ago, and 50 years ago, etc.


The point is that regardless of what the top rates were over time, the total portion of the economic pie the federal government has consumed in the US has historically been just under 20% of GDP. If Obama and the Dems have their way, this will change. If you buy the whole "We have to raise taxes to pay our bills" argument, then they will have succeeded in increasing both total spending and total taxes as a percentage of GDP to levels higher than they have been in 70 years.


That's what is meant by "high taxes".

Quote:
Also, you pay a lot less than other countries in the world do. Quit whining.


I'm not interested in duplicating the anemic economic growth, technological development, upward mobility, and employment levels those countries typically have. That's not really a winning argument.
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#20 Aug 15 2011 at 4:53 PM Rating: Good
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You're playing semantics gbaji. Taxation is based on percentages of income. You said you weren't interested in revenue.


The % of income taxed in the US today is less than it has been. The % taxed in Europe, which more than competes with the USA in "technological development, upward mobility, and employment levels". Perhaps not economic growth, because of issues with Greece and such.

Either way, you're not paying a lot of tax, at all. On anything. Especially not fuel. That US citizens complain about fuel prices is laughable at best.
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#21 Aug 15 2011 at 5:26 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
historically the US has for a long time generated tax revenue in the 17-19% of GDP range, while spending in the 18-20% range (so running manageable deficits). Under the Obama administration, spending has jumped to 24-25% range. Absent legislative action to get that spending back under control, the only alternative is to increase taxes in some way (many ways most likely) to bring tax revenue up to match.

The precise tax rates, what is taxed, who is taxed, etc is subject to debate, but the fact is that unless spending is reduced, some combination of new taxes will have to be levied to increase the revenue. And that is revenue levels which we have not seen in the US since WW2. So, when folks on the right complain about high taxes and argue that we need to cut spending and *not* raise taxes, this is what they are basing their arguments on.

Ok, so long term tax revenue has been generated at 17-19% of GDP and spending has been at a rate of 18-20% GDP. This means that overall the US has been either undertaxing or overspending by one percent of GDP if it wants to average a balanced budget.

Now, raising taxes or cutting spending would be interchangeable if they had equal costs and benefits. This is where a majority of the developed world disagrees with a seeming majority of US citizens. From an international perspective US spending on the commonwealth of America is ridiculously low: not high enough, or spent in the right places to maintain a civil society.

Every other developed, wealthy nation spent the 20th century consolidating oversight and spending at the Federal level, to try their best at smoothing out ghettos, and making sure every person in the nation going through a poor part of their economic cycle has equal minimal life-support, and opportunity to better their education, work and business.

I CANNOT think of a single nation that has been a working, largely-corruption-free democracy for more than 50 years, apart from America, that has "dough-nut" cities, abandoned cities, or abandoned suburbs. Even when their Housing Bubbles have popped, and their markets have crashed. No other democracy but America has urban decay on that scale. And my guess is that the US community is not there for individuals when they have transitions in their lives. Lose your health in America? Bankruptcy. Lose your job in America? Shortly your business is lost from your local supermarket and retailers because you can't buy groceries or new clothes. Your local businesses can't afford so many staff, and lay some off. A downward spiral of increasing community poverty commences, with no help from comfortable communities further afield to arrest the negative feedback.

A couple of plants shut down with 10s of thousands of jobs lost to the city? An economic and social hurricane lays wastes to suburbs, which in turn take down hundreds of thousands of jobs; dozens, hundreds of suburbs.

Everywhere else in the developed world there are failsafe mechanisms. Interrupts and redirects from freefalls to the economic bottom of homelessness, bankruptcy, and guaranteed lifelong welfare dependency. There's a social contract that says that there are TWO things required for personal success and contentment. One is personal effort and work. The other is organised, equally available community assistance when you need it, if you need it. Get laid off? You can afford rent, groceries, bills, healthcare and some clothes, as long as you prove you are looking for work each week. You may lose your house if you have a mortgage when you lose your job, but you don't have to lose everything. Your community isn't going to go go down with you.

The poorest, worst run American schools are poorer and worse than the worst in any other Democracy. The worst educated of the US citizens seem to be more ill informed than the worst in any other democracy, and a boatload of non democracies. You seem to have no universal system for financing tertiary education. So many Americans can't better themselves because they can't gain education that reaches up to their intellectual or skills potential. Undereducating and undermedicating your workforce and business owners impoverishes both the private and public sectors of your nation.
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#22 Aug 15 2011 at 5:39 PM Rating: Decent
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Nilatai wrote:
You're playing semantics gbaji. Taxation is based on percentages of income. You said you weren't interested in revenue.


No. I'm clarifying the semantics being used. Tax "rates" (specific ones anyway) are not the same as revenue. "Taxation" or "high taxes" could mean either of those (or some combination of both). When people say they are concerned about "rising taxes" or that "taxes are too high", they are usually looking at the share of total GDP being consumed by the government. That's our "total tax" if you will. That tax is generated via a whole set of different tax rates on different things. Pointing at one single tax rate for one bracket and attempting to make some broad statement about taxes in general is fallacious.


Quote:
The % of income taxed in the US today is less than it has been.


What do you mean by "% of income" though? The percentage someone in the top bracket pays? The percentage the person in the bottom bracket pays? Some average? Or the total amount paid as a percentage of the total income earned by everyone? I'm being very very clear. You are being very vague (or are repeating other's vague statements).

It doesn't matter which tax rates we're talking about. Spending as a percentage of GDP has increased from around 20% of GDP to 25% of GDP over the last few years. If we do not act to bring spending back down, we must increase total revenue to match. That will require tax rate increases. I can't say exactly where or what or who, but the end result will be that the government will consume a higher percentage of our total economic output than it has since WW2.


That is a fact. That is the "higher taxes" that the conservatives and Tea Party folks are talking about. That is why they are so steadfast against raising taxes as a solution to our current deficit problem. That solution does not bring us back to a balance, but has the net effect of increasing both spending and taxation across the board. It is not fair, nor does it bring us to some kind of parity with past economic conditions.

Quote:
The % taxed in Europe, which more than competes with the USA in "technological development, upward mobility, and employment levels". Perhaps not economic growth, because of issues with Greece and such.


Was there a point in there?

Quote:
Either way, you're not paying a lot of tax, at all. On anything. Especially not fuel. That US citizens complain about fuel prices is laughable at best.



You're missing the forest for the trees. Stop looking at individual rates. Look at the whole picture. Absent spending decreases to bring spending down as a percentage of GDP, our total tax burden will increase. Which exact things suffer increases in tax rates to accomplish this is subject to debate, but that is what is on the table. To pretend that there's no real tax increase at risk here until it's here and unavoidable is duplicitous.
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#23 Aug 15 2011 at 5:44 PM Rating: Good
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Meh.
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#24 Aug 15 2011 at 5:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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List of countries by tax revenue as percentage of GDP

Oh look! In the OECD, the USA is the second lowest taxing nation, at 24% of GDP, followed by Mexico at 17.5! The "usual" tax rate for the European countries that spring to mind as comfortable and cosmopolitan is roughly 40%. The OECD average is 34.8% But hey, you don't want to hear about foreign nations. Nothing to learn there!

Country 	HF     OECD    Eurostat 
 
		 
 Australia 	30.8 	27.1 	 
 Austria 	43.4 	42.8 	42.8 
 Belgium 	46.8 	43.2 	44.3	 
 Canada 	32.2 	31.1 			 
 Czech Republic 36.3 	34.8 	36.1 
 Denmark 	49.0 	48.2 	48.2	 
 Finland 	43.6 	43.1 	43.1 
 France 	46.1 	41.9 	42.8	 
 Germany 	40.6 	37.0 	39.3 
 Greece 	33.5 	29.4 	32.6 
 Hungary 	37.3 	39.1 	40.4 
 Iceland 	40.4 	41.4 	36.7 
 Ireland 	30.8 	27.8 	29.3 
 Israel 	36.8 	31.4 	 
 Italy 	        42.6 	43.5 	42.8	 
 Korea, South 	26.8 	25.6 	 
 Luxembourg 	36.5 	37.5 	35.6 
 Mexico 	09.7 	17.5 	 
 Netherlands 	39.8 	39.1  	39.1 
 New Zealand 	34.5 	31.0 	 
 Norway 	43.6 	41.0 	42.2 
 OECD  		        34.8 	 
 Poland 	33.8 	34.3 	34.3 
 Portugal 	37.0 	35.2  	36.7	 
 Slovakia 	29.5 	29.3 	29.1 
 Slovenia 	39.3 	37.9 	37.3 
 Spain 	37.3 	30.7 	33.1 
 Sweden 	47.9 	46.4 	47.1 
 Switzerland 	29.4 	30.3 		 
 Turkey 	32.5 	24.6 		 
 United Kingdom 39.0 	34.3 	37.3 
 United States 	26.9 	24.0 	 
 
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#25 Aug 15 2011 at 5:54 PM Rating: Decent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
gbaji wrote:
historically the US has for a long time generated tax revenue in the 17-19% of GDP range, while spending in the 18-20% range (so running manageable deficits). Under the Obama administration, spending has jumped to 24-25% range. Absent legislative action to get that spending back under control, the only alternative is to increase taxes in some way (many ways most likely) to bring tax revenue up to match.

The precise tax rates, what is taxed, who is taxed, etc is subject to debate, but the fact is that unless spending is reduced, some combination of new taxes will have to be levied to increase the revenue. And that is revenue levels which we have not seen in the US since WW2. So, when folks on the right complain about high taxes and argue that we need to cut spending and *not* raise taxes, this is what they are basing their arguments on.

Ok, so long term tax revenue has been generated at 17-19% of GDP and spending has been at a rate of 18-20% GDP. This means that overall the US has been either undertaxing or overspending by one percent of GDP if it wants to average a balanced budget.


That was the least significant thing to get out of that btw. What is significant is that spending has increased to historically high levels relative to GDP. The Dems want to increase total tax revenue to match, while the GOP wants to decrease spending back to "normal" levels. That's what is important.

Quote:
Now, raising taxes or cutting spending would be interchangeable if they had equal costs and benefits.


Which they don't. Increasing taxes hurts the US economy in the long run. Cutting spending simply returns us to the same status quo we were at just a few years ago. One is a good idea, the other a really really bad idea.

Quote:
This is where a majority of the developed world disagrees with a seeming majority of US citizens. From an international perspective US spending on the commonwealth of America is ridiculously low: not high enough, or spent in the right places to maintain a civil society.


And yet, somehow the US has still managed to remain the country everyone else in the world looks up to economically (well, until very recently). I don't see a lack of people wanting to come to the US, nor the general perception that the US is the land of opportunity (again, except very recently). Again, I don't see why the US should be seeking to emulate nations which are less prosperous and less desired as a place to live than the US is.

Quote:
Every other developed, wealthy nation spent the 20th century consolidating oversight and spending at the Federal level, to try their best at smoothing out ghettos, and making sure every person in the nation going through a poor part of their economic cycle has equal minimal life-support, and opportunity to better their education, work and business.


And they failed miserably. For the very reasons us silly conservatives have told you over and over the whole time. Social spending doesn't work. It "solves" the immediate symptoms of a problem, but makes the actual problem worse over time. This is why those other countries have steadily increased the percentage of their own economies they spend on those programs. Still haven't licked poverty yet though, have they? And along the way, they've made themselves poorer as well.


What Europe is doing economically is completely unsustainable. Surely you can see this? And while I know that misery loves company, insisting that the US should copy them just seems to me to be like the drug addict trying to get all his friends to join him in his addiction so that he doesn't feel so bad about the poor choices he's made.

Quote:
I CANNOT think of a single nation that has been a working, largely-corruption-free democracy for more than 50 years, apart from America, that has "dough-nut" cities, abandoned cities, or abandoned suburbs. Even when their Housing Bubbles have popped, and their markets have crashed. No other democracy but America has urban decay on that scale.


Decay takes many forms though. Ever taken a train past the miles and miles of rows of council housing around London? Every person from the US I've spoken to has commented on this and how you simply don't see anything like that in the US anywhere. Now that's some urban decay! They aren't fixing the problem. They're just spending massive amounts of money to hide the symptoms. We could spend trillions of dollars to put all our poor into communities full of government housing as far as the eye can see too. We just don't think that's a good solution.


Quote:
And my guess is that the US community is not there for individuals when they have transitions in their lives. Lose your health in America? Bankruptcy. Lose your job in America? Shortly your business is lost from your local supermarket and retailers because you can't buy groceries or new clothes. Your local businesses can't afford so many staff, and lay some off. A downward spiral of increasing community poverty commences, with no help from comfortable communities further afield to arrest the negative feedback.


And yet, a stunning number of people in the US manage to succeed anyway. They work harder because they know both that they are responsible for themselves *and* that they'll get to keep a larger portion of the fruits of their own labor. Well, unless the left has its way, of course.


Look. My point here isn't to argue with you about whether the US *should* spend more money, but merely to get you to acknowledge that if we do, that money will have to be paid for via "higher taxes". So, when conservatives point at the increased spending commitments and equate them to higher taxes down the road, they are absolutely 100% correct to do so.

Right?

Edited, Aug 15th 2011 4:58pm by gbaji
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#26 Aug 15 2011 at 5:56 PM Rating: Decent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
List of countries by tax revenue as percentage of GDP

Oh look! In the OECD, the USA is the second lowest taxing nation, at 24% of GDP, followed by Mexico at 17.5! The "usual" tax rate for the European countries that spring to mind as comfortable and cosmopolitan is roughly 40%. The OECD average is 34.8% But hey, you don't want to hear about foreign nations. Nothing to learn there!



And? Can we agree that if the spending the Dems have created is left the way it is, that the taxes as a percentage of GDP in the US will have to increase? Ergo, we will have "higher taxes", right?

Your own opinions that we *should* have higher taxes are a separate issue entirely.
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#27 Aug 15 2011 at 6:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
You're missing the forest for the trees. Stop looking at individual rates. Look at the whole picture. Absent spending decreases to bring spending down as a percentage of GDP, our total tax burden will increase. Which exact things suffer increases in tax rates to accomplish this is subject to debate, but that is what is on the table. To pretend that there's no real tax increase at risk here until it's here and unavoidable is duplicitous.

Yes, the USA needs to raise taxes. D'uh.
Yes, the USA needs to weed out ineffectual or wasted public spending. D'uh.
LOOK AT THIS
Table 1: Distribution of net worth and financial wealth in the United States, 1983-2007 
 	Total Net Worth 
Top 1 percent	Next 19	Bottom 80 percent 
1983	33.8%	47.5%	18.7% 
1989	37.4%	46.2%	16.5% 
1992	37.2%	46.6%	16.2% 
1995	38.5%	45.4%	16.1% 
1998	38.1%	45.3%	16.6% 
2001	33.4%	51.0%	15.6% 
2004	34.3%	50.3%	15.3% 
2007	34.6%	50.5%	15.0% 
  
 	Financial Wealth 
Top 1 percent	Next 19	Bottom 80 percent 
1983	42.9%	48.4%	8.7% 
1989	46.9%	46.5%	6.6% 
1992	45.6%	46.7%	7.7% 
1995	47.2%	45.9%	7.0% 
1998	47.3%	43.6%	9.1% 
2001	39.7%	51.5%	8.7% 
2004	42.2%	50.3%	7.5% 
2007	42.7%	50.3%	7.0%


Quote:

Figure 6: Share of income paid as tax, including local and state tax
Screenshot

Source: Citizens for Tax Justice (2010a).


The top fourth of your population HAS fat on the bone to spare some more to the rest of the country. They really, really do.
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#28 Aug 15 2011 at 6:30 PM Rating: Good
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Trickle down doesn't work. You need to tax the poor less and the wealthy more.
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#29 Aug 15 2011 at 6:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Aripyanfar wrote:
gbaji wrote:
historically the US has for a long time generated tax revenue in the 17-19% of GDP range, while spending in the 18-20% range (so running manageable deficits). Under the Obama administration, spending has jumped to 24-25% range. Absent legislative action to get that spending back under control, the only alternative is to increase taxes in some way (many ways most likely) to bring tax revenue up to match.

The precise tax rates, what is taxed, who is taxed, etc is subject to debate, but the fact is that unless spending is reduced, some combination of new taxes will have to be levied to increase the revenue. And that is revenue levels which we have not seen in the US since WW2. So, when folks on the right complain about high taxes and argue that we need to cut spending and *not* raise taxes, this is what they are basing their arguments on.

Ok, so long term tax revenue has been generated at 17-19% of GDP and spending has been at a rate of 18-20% GDP. This means that overall the US has been either undertaxing or overspending by one percent of GDP if it wants to average a balanced budget.


That was the least significant thing to get out of that btw. What is significant is that spending has increased to historically high levels relative to GDP. The Dems want to increase total tax revenue to match, while the GOP wants to decrease spending back to "normal" levels. That's what is important.

Oh whoops, I meant to address that, and forgot. National economies go through cycles of high and low revenue. Usually low revenue coincides with higher unemployment and a higher need for public spending, and high revenue coincides with higher employment and lower need for public spending. So governments MUST be able to identify the "good" years, and build surpluses, or balance their budgets, so that they can sanely go into deficit when it is necessary and prudent to do so. Saving for inevitable cyclical emergencies, so to speak.

It is disingenuous to point at public spending jumping to 25% of GDP under Obama in isolation. It is perfectly clear that this is a result of the US and global commercial banking industry going into meltdown and causing the Global Financial Crisis. Any Republican politician, any politician at all, who said that they would not have gone into the same levels of debt as Obama to bail out the banks, everyone's finances, and provide a huge stimulus in the face of a looming Depression, is either a liar or catastrophically ignorant. Every economist and politician agrees that the GFC was the biggest global economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Yes, your debt is so high you're fucked. No, NO ONE COULD HAVE PUT THE USA IN A BETTER POSITION THAN IT IS NOW. Letting the banks fail or letting the private sector cope alone with the GFC would have made things exponentially worse than they are now. So you are just going to have to suck it up and pay the deficit down in the long term with higher taxes. As one of the above tables shows, The top 25% of your population CAN AFFORD IT.
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#30 Aug 15 2011 at 6:45 PM Rating: Decent
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Ari. You're still missing the point I was making. We're still talking about "raising taxes" in the US. The fact that you think this is a good thing is a separate argument. I'm just trying to get folks to stop parroting this bizarre notion that since the top marginal tax rate was 70% in the 60s and 90% in the 50s that this magically means that we're paying on total less taxes today than ever in history.

That's simply not true. The left is attempting to make this argument about the right wanting to keep historically low taxes to help out their rich buddies, when what it's actually the left that is trying to increase our total tax burden to historically high levels (again, aside from WW2). It is deceptive to make that argument, yet I keep hearing it repeated. I'm just trying to get people to recognize that this is about increasing spending above historical levels in the US, and raising taxes above those historical levels as well. When the GOP demands spending cuts instead of tax increases, we're not changing anything in terms of historical levels. We're fighting *against* increases which the left is trying to ram past the American people.



Having said that, your charts are measuring two different things. "Wealth" is a measurement of how much you have *after* you spend money on things. Tax rates affect economic activity (income and spending among other things), not wealth. You can't compare them directly. Certainly, you can't try to argue that one group pays more taxes relatively speaking. Like I said, we don't tax wealth.


The first chart is meaningless in this context. You can't say *why* the distribution of wealth has shifted over time. It also doesn't show us whether those in the lower percentiles are worse off, or whether it's just that the wealth at the top has grown significantly. It also absolutely can simply reflect a changing trend from a society that saves and invests for its future to one that spends a larger share of its earnings for today. Somewhat by definition, those with large amounts of wealth *don't* spend all that they earn. If they did, they wouldn't be wealthy.


Which has an interesting correlation to the second chart. Remember that spending is taxed. Sales tax, right? Well, when people in the bottom brackets spend more of their earnings buying things rather than saving or investing the money, guess what happens? Their relative tax burden appears to increase. Also, that chart makes the top look smaller than it really is. Remember that the top 1% is 20 times smaller than the 20% brackets used earlier. Meaning that each individual pays 20x more for each percentage of the total tax burden. That chart is constructed to make it look like tax burden tapers off at the top. But it doesn't. The bracket ahead of it represents 4x as many people. To make the top 1% correctly sized relative to the 95-99% bracket, you'd need to stretch it out to be 4 times as high.


Assuming you wanted a fair graphical representation of what that portion of the total tax burden really represented, of course. But I'm sure that whomever made that chart wanted to do the exact opposite of that.

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#31 Aug 15 2011 at 6:46 PM Rating: Good
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Again, you're talking about revenue. When you specifically you said you didn't want to talk about revenue...
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#32 Aug 15 2011 at 7:01 PM Rating: Default
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Nilatai wrote:
Trickle down doesn't work. You need to tax the poor less and the wealthy more.


And yet, when a housing bubble collapsed, which had the primary effect of significantly reducing the amount of investment capital that rich financial firms had on hand, what happened? Didn't it "trickle down" to affect a whole bunch of people?

If a big financial firm losing some money can cause a pizza delivery guy to lose his job, then can't we say that the fact that the big financial firm had that money in the first place created some kind of economic conditions which caused the pizza delivery job to exist in the first place? That's "trickle down", and it absolutely does work.

You see it every day. It's just hard to connect one to the other. It's only when we see the reverse (like just recently happened with the housing bubble collapse) that the effect is obvious. What's amazing to me is that even after such blatant evidence is plopped right in front of many people's faces, they still refuse to see it.


The wealthier someone is, the smaller the portion of their wealth which provides for them, and the greater the portion of their wealth which provides for others. If you stop and think about it, this should be readily apparent (even "obvious"!). Someone living paycheck to paycheck consumes 100% of his wealth on himself (he has none left over, so actually has no real "wealth" at all). As one becomes more comfortable, they are able to keep more of their money in some form of savings or investment. This money doesn't benefit them directly at all. They earn some gains on that money, but only when that money is used in other economic endeavors which net an even greater amount of gain (which means that *someone* got the benefit of the money). As earnings increase, the portion of those earnings used to provide for one's own standard of living shrinks compared to that which is put into some form of investment. When we get to the "uber rich", they're often living off a tiny tiny portion of their total earnings potential, with the entire remainder left available for others to use in the form of loans, capital investments, job creation, and a host of other things.


When you "tax the rich", you mostly don't affect their own fortunes. You're really just taxing what they invest their wealth in. The wealthier the person, the less they're affected by taxes at all. Why do you suppose Warren Buffet is fine with paying higher taxes? It's not out of some kind of altruism. It's part ideology, but I'll point out that he certainly didn't argue for higher taxes back when he was still building his wealth. It was only when he was so wealthy that we can't possibly raise tax rates high enough to ever affect his own lifestyle that he suddenly gained this newfound "perspective" on taxes. He knows what most wealthy people and most economists know, but that only conservatives will tell you: That the truly rich don't really pay taxes. No matter how high you raise them. All you accomplish with higher taxes is make it harder for anyone else to become rich. Now, if you believe that all people should have the same opportunities at wealth that you had, you will opposed this. If you want to seal off the route to wealth for others so that you can remain in your own small elite world of special powerful people, you'll fight to raise taxes.


Buffet doesn't do this out of altruism. He does it out of greed. Greed doesn't just manifest as a desire to have more than you have today (although he's certainly done that), it also manifests in the more ugly form of working to prevent others from "catching up" to you. That's why he says what he says. He knows that higher taxes make it harder for new people to gain wealth and prosperity. And I can only assume that his own ugly desire to remain at the top of the pile of rich people drives him to prevent others from competing with him.
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#33 Aug 15 2011 at 7:03 PM Rating: Decent
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Nilatai wrote:
Again, you're talking about revenue. When you specifically you said you didn't want to talk about revenue...


Um... For the second time. I didn't say I didn't want to talk about revenue. I said that revenue and specific tax rates (like the top marginal rate) are not the same thing. Dismissing complaints about "higher taxes" because the top marginal rate is lower than it was in the past fails to address what people are talking about when they say "higher taxes".


They're talking about the total revenue the government takes as a percentage of GDP. So I absolutely do want to talk about revenue. Because that's the issue at hand here.
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#34 Aug 15 2011 at 7:14 PM Rating: Good
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Now, raising taxes or cutting spending would be interchangeable if they had equal costs and benefits.


Which they don't. Increasing taxes hurts the US economy in the long run. Cutting spending simply returns us to the same status quo we were at just a few years ago. One is a good idea, the other a really really bad idea.

Just 180 degrees wrong. Arbitrary taxes and arbitrary spending would be a lottery that would likely hurt the US economy. But Governments don't do it that way, stupid. They target taxes, and they target spending. On the tax side, a progressive income tax works fine and is perfectly fair. You don't have to tax the sh*t out of the rich, just put a moderate tax on them AND MAKE SURE THEY PAY IT. A wide ranging low level Goods and Services Tax, or Value Added Tax, done in a smart way* sweeps up money lost in tax loopholes and income/corporate tax dodging. *The Australian Goods and Services (GST) tax forced a lot of businesses out of the "grey market", because businesses can claim back the GST THEY paid on their business costs. So in the end only the consumer pays a flat 10% GST.

On the spending side, you obviously safeguard the nation, then you spend on a sensible mix of moral puroses and nation-building, asset-building purposes. Infrastructure: transport, water, electric power, Natural gas, communications. These raise productivity and are human rights in a developed country. Universal Safety Net. Goes without saying for both moral and productivity purposes. (a years worth of public unemployment benefits costs SO MUCH LESS than a years worth of jail time, or remedial social work/mental illness healthcare/urban decay from homeless. Universal healthcare/Public healthcare in parallel with Private healthcare. Again, both a moral and productivity issue. Fact: $1 in up front preventative medicine saves $19 dollars of later remedial medicine. NEVER get in the way of access to healthcare. Law and order. More police=fewer crimes, finally proven by Freakonomics. Better equipped and supported police is cheaper than replacing a whole police officer, Access to legal defence, and timely and fair trials is a human right, Judges are better at setting effective sentences than politicians.

By any modern measure the USA is undertaxed and underspending. Your physical assets and human resources (all citizens) are degrading as a whole. You used to be the world leaders. You have been sliding backwards for a long time, not just after the GFC.
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#35 Aug 15 2011 at 7:37 PM Rating: Decent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
Oh whoops, I meant to address that, and forgot. National economies go through cycles of high and low revenue. Usually low revenue coincides with higher unemployment and a higher need for public spending, and high revenue coincides with higher employment and lower need for public spending. So governments MUST be able to identify the "good" years, and build surpluses, or balance their budgets, so that they can sanely go into deficit when it is necessary and prudent to do so. Saving for inevitable cyclical emergencies, so to speak.


Ok. Good point. However, those are "natural" effects on spending and revenue though. Revenue drops because economic activity decreases during a recession. It doesn't drop because we lowered tax rates, right? Similarly, spending increases because more people are in need of existing social services. We don't increase the scope of those services, right?

But this recession is different than the last 2 or 3 because the Dems did increase the scope of social services. They passed legislation to create new benefits, and new programs, and new objectives. Thus, we had more than the usual revenue/spending gap we'd expect in a recession of this type. That in turn created greater deficits than normal. Which created greater debt accumulation, which lead to fears of rising taxes to pay for it, which in turn (according to us conservatives) has caused businesses to be hesitant to invest as strongly in the domestic market than they would normally.


As I've pointed out in past threads, there's a reason why the Democrats predicted summer of 2010 would be the "summer of recovery". It's because past recessionary trends followed a very predictable pattern, and that pattern said that we should have started to recover at that time. But we didn't. So. What changed? Like I said, we spent more money than in past recessions. We didn't just end out spending more to provide existing services to an increased number of people, but actually increased the number and type of services (and other stuff) that we were spending money on. That's what changed. That's why this recession isn't starting to recover after 2 years like we saw with the dotcom and 9/11 crashes, and the S&L crash.

Quote:
It is disingenuous to point at public spending jumping to 25% of GDP under Obama in isolation.


I'm not though. Even in past recessions, spending didn't increase nearly that much. Surely you can acknowledge that we didn't just spend more money because more people were in need of existing services, but that we also expanded services and created new areas of spending? My statements are not in isolation. My statements are in full recognition that we spent more money on "new things" during this recession instead of just spending more on existing things as a natural consequence of the recession itself.

Quote:
It is perfectly clear that this is a result of the US and global commercial banking industry going into meltdown and causing the Global Financial Crisis. Any Republican politician, any politician at all, who said that they would not have gone into the same levels of debt as Obama to bail out the banks, everyone's finances, and provide a huge stimulus in the face of a looming Depression, is either a liar or catastrophically ignorant.



I disagree. Many conservatives and most GOP politicians opposed spending more than just the TARP. They did that precisely because they did not believe we needed to spend more than that money to address the immediate problems caused by the housing bubble collapse, and that to spend more money would hurt economic recovery.

Guess what? Looks like they were right!

Quote:
Every economist and politician agrees that the GFC was the biggest global economic crisis since the Great Depression.


Because of its worldwide effect? Sure. But that's not the same as every economist and politician agreeing that the Recovery Act the Dems rammed through congress and a half dozen other "stimulus related" bills and amendments to bills that they added on top of that.

Quote:
Yes, your debt is so high you're fucked. No, NO ONE COULD HAVE PUT THE USA IN A BETTER POSITION THAN IT IS NOW.


False. Had the GOP been in control of Congress in 2008 and retained the presidency (and congress) in 2009, we would be in a vastly better position than we are right now. If you can't see this, it's a failure of your own ability to see beyond a very narrow set of ideological assumptions, and not because those possibilities don't exist.

Quote:
Letting the banks fail or letting the private sector cope alone with the GFC would have made things exponentially worse than they are now.


Sure. But that's not what the GOP proposed. We wanted to do TARP. Bail out the banks. Maybe even do a small token stimulus via direct checks like Bush did (twice). Doesn't cost too much, doesn't hurt to much, and doesn't help too much either. But it does make people feel better, so there's something. What we opposed was the massive spending in the recovery act and other stimulus related spending that followed for the next year and a half.

We did not need to spend that money. We did not need to do anything more than stop the financial institutions from failing, provide them enough capital to recover, and then allow the economy to recover naturally as a result. The negatives in the economy were because of the financial failures. Fix the failures, and those negatives will turn around. You don't need to do anything else.

We're in this mess, not because of the GFC, but because of the Democrats reaction to the GFC. They used the fear at the time to pass spending that in many cases had absolutely nothing to do with economic recovery. The Democrats, for the first time in 40+ years had sufficiently high numbers to pass a whole laundry list of things their lobbyists wanted. And despite the fact that we were in a recession and could not afford these things, they decided to spend massive amounts of money on them anyway.

That's why were in this debt crisis. It had nothing to do with the initial financial problems. Had we just done TARP and stopped there, we'd be fully recovered right now, probably down below 6% unemployment, likely never have exceeded 8% unemployment (another prediction they made based on past recession patterns which didn't happen because of their own actions), and we'd all be looking back on it like it was no big deal. Instead, as I have said in the past, the Democrats ideologically hindered economic platform is leaving us at the bottom of a recessionary pit, looking up and wondering how to get out.

Quote:
So you are just going to have to suck it up and pay the deficit down in the long term with higher taxes. As one of the above tables shows, The top 25% of your population CAN AFFORD IT.


Not the issue. Tax rate changes didn't create the deficit. Too much spending did. Fix the spending and the rest will fix itself. Or do we once again refuse to listen to the conservatives despite that they seem to be right about 99% of the time about these things?
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#36 Aug 15 2011 at 7:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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Or it could be argued that raising or lowering the tax rate a few percentage points isn't really going to matter much as long as the private sector is busy deleveraging. Arguably we could do whatever we wanted with the federal budget and its effect on the broad economic picture could be less than the stimulus package. Of course, it's bad politics to admit there's little you can do about it all I suppose.

Not that anyone wants to wake up 10 years from now in bad financial situation while the baby boomer retirement is in full swing, but I do find it hard to believe we can really do that much in the short-mid term to change what's going on with the economy.
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#37 Aug 15 2011 at 7:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
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This is where a majority of the developed world disagrees with a seeming majority of US citizens. From an international perspective US spending on the commonwealth of America is ridiculously low: not high enough, or spent in the right places to maintain a civil society.

And yet, somehow the US has still managed to remain the country everyone else in the world looks up to economically (well, until very recently). I don't see a lack of people wanting to come to the US, nor the general perception that the US is the land of opportunity (again, except very recently). Again, I don't see why the US should be seeking to emulate nations which are less prosperous and less desired as a place to live than the US is.
Three reasons for that. You used to have a LOT of oil per capita. You are prepared to sell a LOT of military equipment overseas, and have been prepared to help pull down democratically elected governments and otherwise foment overseas wars you aren't directly engaged in in order to sell more arms and otherwise further large US corporate interests. Finally, economic effects DO NOT ALL APPEAR WITHIN FOUR YEARS TIME. In fact economic effects can take 20, 25, 50, 100 years to play out after their causes started. You used to be the SOCIAL world leader. And your SOCIAL aspects had many ECONOMIC effects. Back in the 17 and 18 hundreds, you broke the old class system. The rest of the world was only giving out education, the right to own land, the right to move freely and many other rights to a select few pre-selected High-Class people born into their position. The US smashed that system to pieces and out of moral considerations freed up its citizens. Any male could settle land, mine for resources. The entire population being freed up to do as they wished within their own resources was an economic tsunami that just flowed and flowed and flowed, while Eurasia was still mired in class bondage, and Africa in colonial bondage.

And then somewhere in the latter half of the 20th century you lost your social edge on the rest of the world. You were so used to being the world social leader in the past, and the present economic superpower, that you stopped advancing socially, because you seemed to assume that either you were perfect, or that you were better than every other nation. But in the mean-time other nations overtook you in moral progression and social progression and it's having effects. Other nations are growing (apart from the GFC blip) while you are stagnating. You are satisfied with: Do as you wish within your own resources. Other nations have progressed to: Do as you wish with your own resources and a common pool you get a share out of. It may sound *SHUDDER* like socialism, but it REALLY helps the free market as a semi-detached system.

Trust me, people from undeveloped nations are still begging to get into the USA, but Europeans, Canadians, the developed SE Asians, and the oil rich Middle Easterners have not coveted US citizenship for at least a couple of decades. THE US is a nation that is polarised politically so badly (while the main parties have few differences) that a goodly portion of your social progressives want OUT. The USA has beautiful individuals, beautiful geography, beautiful and terrible history, but much of its private and public processes, and many of its social groupings are becoming ugly by external and internal standards.
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#38 Aug 15 2011 at 7:53 PM Rating: Decent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
Just 180 degrees wrong. Arbitrary taxes and arbitrary spending would be a lottery that would likely hurt the US economy. But Governments don't do it that way, stupid. They target taxes, and they target spending. On the tax side, a progressive income tax works fine and is perfectly fair. You don't have to tax the sh*t out of the rich, just put a moderate tax on them AND MAKE SURE THEY PAY IT. A wide ranging low level Goods and Services Tax, or Value Added Tax, done in a smart way* sweeps up money lost in tax loopholes and income/corporate tax dodging. *The Australian Goods and Services (GST) tax forced a lot of businesses out of the "grey market", because businesses can claim back the GST THEY paid on their business costs. So in the end only the consumer pays a flat 10% GST.


That's wonderful, but still fails to address the point. I already said that I don't want to get caught up in the specifics of which taxes increase on whom and why? That's a side issue, at best.


The issue is that however we slice it, we have to increase the total tax revenue in order to pay for the increased relative spending. You speak about this as though it's just a matter of focusing where our taxes go. But we're still having a total effect. I'm all for making our tax rates smarter. But we should not loose sight of the total tax burden that results.

I'm all for something like a VAT. If it replaces income taxes, maybe. The problem is that when the left talks about implementing these "better" forms of tax, they mean to implement them in addition to the existing taxes. For them, it really does seem to just be about increasing the total amount of money that the government has to spend.


And guess what? As conservatives it's that total economic footprint we really really care about. We don't particularly oppose a progressive tax system, as long as the total footprint of those taxes remains relatively small. Our problems with the progressive tax system recently isn't that it's progressive, but that the progressive nature has been so manipulated as to create a net benefit for an increasingly large percentage of US citizens to allow increasing total taxes. We oppose it because it's being used to increase that total footprint. And we don't want that footprint increased.


Quote:
By any modern measure the USA is undertaxed and underspending.


I disagree with your invented "modern measures". The US has historically maintained a very consistent level of both taxing and spending. It's only in very very recent years that the left has made a massive push to increase both of those to higher levels. Arguing that it's somehow abnormal for the US to continue doing something which has worked quite well for all this time because other countries who have historically done poorly compared to the US are doing it just seems kinda absurd.

It really seems more like a group of drug addicts trying to talk the one clean guy into joining them. And we all know what their motivation for doing that is.


Quote:
Your physical assets and human resources (all citizens) are degrading as a whole. You used to be the world leaders. You have been sliding backwards for a long time, not just after the GFC.



That's debatable. I'd say we've lost more since the Dems began their spending spree than in this "long time". It's funny because everyone looks at the Clinton years as a great period of economic boom. Sure. Bush's term looks very "flat" relative to that, but the same economic principles were in play during both periods. We flattened spending. Economic growth (and increased prosperity) created too much revenue, so we cut tax rates across the board. This created a predictable negative which played out during Bush's terms, but was leveling off and trending back upwards into growth again right up until the housing bubble collapsed.

Conservatives like myself will argue that the bubble was (or should have been) just a temporary blip on the broader economic trend. Had we just done TARP, we'd have recovered, we'd be back to normal revenues, with normal spending, and be happily skipping along and looking at all those other countries with overspending governments who were struggling to recovery and telling them that they should do it our way.

Unfortunately, the Dems won congress in 2006, and won bigger majorities and the White House in 2008. Thus, we employed the same "wrong" economic solutions that the Europeans would employ. As a result, we're suffering the same kind of problems. Well, technically worse, since the Dems aren't used to implementing these sorts of things and grossly overdid it. The point being that our current bad condition is because we made the mistake of doing the sorts of things you're arguing for. Had we listened to conservatives and the GOP, we would not be in this mess right now.

Edited, Aug 15th 2011 7:21pm by gbaji
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Reminds me of this:

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This full-color illustrated book is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.


What exactly would you call civilization with little or no taxes?
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More importantly, what's wrong with broccoli?
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lolgaxe wrote:
More importantly, what's wrong with broccoli?


Nothing; once you add enough beer.
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#42 Aug 15 2011 at 8:17 PM Rating: Decent
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Interesting direction to take this Ari. I like it! Smiley: smile

Aripyanfar wrote:
You used to be the SOCIAL world leader. And your SOCIAL aspects had many ECONOMIC effects. Back in the 17 and 18 hundreds, you broke the old class system. The rest of the world was only giving out education, the right to own land, the right to move freely and many other rights to a select few pre-selected High-Class people born into their position. The US smashed that system to pieces and out of moral considerations freed up its citizens. Any male could settle land, mine for resources. The entire population being freed up to do as they wished within their own resources was an economic tsunami that just flowed and flowed and flowed, while Eurasia was still mired in class bondage, and Africa in colonial bondage.


Those social advances were based on classical liberalism. And you're correct, it does create significant economic benefits along the way. Just want to make sure I point that out, because it's relevant to your next paragraph:

Quote:
And then somewhere in the latter half of the 20th century you lost your social edge on the rest of the world. You were so used to being the world social leader in the past, and the present economic superpower, that you stopped advancing socially, because you seemed to assume that either you were perfect, or that you were better than every other nation. But in the mean-time other nations overtook you in moral progression and social progression and it's having effects. Other nations are growing (apart from the GFC blip) while you are stagnating. You are satisfied with: Do as you wish within your own resources. Other nations have progressed to: Do as you wish with your own resources and a common pool you get a share out of. It may sound *SHUDDER* like socialism, but it REALLY helps the free market as a semi-detached system.


See, I just disagree with this. What happened isn't that the US stopped "advancing" socially, but that a competing social theory (social liberalism) came along. This is not an advancement of classical liberalism, but is in many ways a reversal of direction. But those who espouse it work very very hard to make it seem like it's "more advanced" and "more moral" and otherwise just an improvement over the original.

But I don't see it that way, and neither do most conservatives. We see social liberalism as going in the wrong direction. It's a well marketed variation of communism (technically, communism is a sub-set of social liberalism really). It sells in small chunks over time, what occurred in great leaps via revolutions in Russia and China. It has all the same problems with poor economic growth, low technological development, and crushing authoritarian intrusion on personal liberties. It just gets there more slowly, is all.


Social liberalism sells authoritarianism in the form of free education, and free health care, and free housing. But what is the cost? What American Conservatives understand innately is that when you get free things economically, the cost is always freedom itself. The government gives you those things. They are not "free". They will always come with strings attached. That's what we conservatives here in the states understand. It's what we see so clearly. It's what we're constantly trying to warn you about. There's nothing substantially different between the systems in Europe and that of the old Soviet Union. You're just taking your time getting there. But you will. Your children or your grand children, will not only live in a society in which their freedoms are heavily curtailed, they will demand to live in it! They will condemn anyone who speaks against it as haters of freedom to boot! Because they will not know that freedom isn't having a free house, or free education, or free health care. Freedom is *not* having those things given to you, but earning them on your own.



Quote:
Trust me, people from undeveloped nations are still begging to get into the USA, but Europeans, Canadians, the developed SE Asians, and the oil rich Middle Easterners have not coveted US citizenship for at least a couple of decades. THE US is a nation that is polarised politically so badly (while the main parties have few differences) that a goodly portion of your social progressives want OUT. The USA has beautiful individuals, beautiful geography, beautiful and terrible history, but much of its private and public processes, and many of its social groupings are becoming ugly by external and internal standards.


The US is polarized so badly because we're desperately fighting to *not* adopt those same social liberalist ideologies in our country. I'm sorry, but sometimes there is something worth fighting against, and to me, this is absolutely it. I'm not going to give in to an ideology which I believe will ultimately undo and destroy the very principles of freedom and liberty that this country was founded on, just in the interest of avoiding a conflict! Sorry, but that's just insane.

The reason this same polarization hasn't happened (as much anyway) in other countries is because they never fully adopted the principles of classical liberalism in the first place. As you say, we led the way. But somewhere along the way, other prophets like Marx and Engles came along and convinced many European nations to adopt something that wasn't quite as free, and didn't quite as strongly hold to the same principles. They substituted rights and liberties with government provided benefits. They convinced the people that if they didn't get those things, that their rights were being infringed. And what few voices in Europe might have argued against it were drowned out by all those who'd bought those equivalences and shouted them down as evil men denying everyone their rights!


But here in the US, we know what liberty really is. And it's not a free meal, or a free education, or free health care, or free housing. None of that makes a person free. In fact, it does the opposite. It makes that person a slave to whomever provides them those things. And that's why we fight against it, and will continue to fight against it. I know I probably can't convince you of this, but can you at least entertain the possibility that maybe the people living in the nation which began the modern movement towards liberalism might just know a bit better what freedom actually is? Maybe we fight because we know something you do not? And maybe you do not because you've grown up in exactly that authoritarian system which taught you from day one that your rights hinged on the government providing for you and that anyone saying otherwise was denying your those rights?



It's just that to me, this is so clear, so obvious, that it's hard to understand how someone could with a straight face say that the social movements in Europe some how have advanced society in anyway. To me, the governments just figured out how to use the idea of freedom to enslave you without you realizing it. And judging by many of the posts I see here, they've done their job very very well.

Which makes me sad. Smiley: frown

Edited, Aug 15th 2011 7:32pm by gbaji
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#43 Aug 15 2011 at 8:23 PM Rating: Default
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Kuwoobie wrote:
Reminds me of this:

Quote:
This full-color illustrated book is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.


What exactly would you call civilization with little or no taxes?


Freedom?

Oh, I'm sorry, did you mean that to be rhetorical?
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#44 Aug 15 2011 at 8:27 PM Rating: Excellent
Freedom, as long as you have money, otherwise, you're screwed.
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#45 Aug 15 2011 at 8:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Aripyanfar wrote:
Every other developed, wealthy nation spent the 20th century consolidating oversight and spending at the Federal level, to try their best at smoothing out ghettos, and making sure every person in the nation going through a poor part of their economic cycle has equal minimal life-support, and opportunity to better their education, work and business.


And they failed miserably. For the very reasons us silly conservatives have told you over and over the whole time. Social spending doesn't work. It "solves" the immediate symptoms of a problem, but makes the actual problem worse over time. This is why those other countries have steadily increased the percentage of their own economies they spend on those programs. Still haven't licked poverty yet though, have they? And along the way, they've made themselves poorer as well.


What Europe is doing economically is completely unsustainable. Surely you can see this? And while I know that misery loves company, insisting that the US should copy them just seems to me to be like the drug addict trying to get all his friends to join him in his addiction so that he doesn't feel so bad about the poor choices he's made.

Nu Uh. Badly targeted social spending doesn't work. Well targeted social spending works.

Teen birth and abortion rates, per 1000 women 15–19
Country 	birth 	abortn 	combned pct aborted 
Netherlands 	7.7 	3.9 	11.6 	33.6 
Spain 	        7.5 	4.9 	12.4 	39.5 
Italy 	        6.6 	6.7 	13.3 	50.4 
Greece 	        12.2 	1.3 	13.5 	9.6 
Belgium 	9.9 	5.2 	15.1 	34.4 
Germany 	13.0 	5.3 	18.3 	28.9 
Finland 	9.8 	9.6 	19.4 	49.5 
France 	        9.4 	13.2 	22.6 	58.4 
Denmark 	8.2 	15.4 	23.6 	65.3 
Sweden 	        7.7 	17.7 	25.4 	69.7 
Norway 	        13.6 	18.3 	31.9 	57.4 
Czech Republic 	20.1 	12.4 	32.5 	38.2 
Iceland 	21.5 	20.6 	42.1 	48.9 
Slovakia 	30.5 	13.1 	43.6 	30 
Australia 	20.1 	23.9 	44 	54.3 
Canada 	        22.3 	22.1 	44.4 	49.8 
Israel 	        32.0 	14.3 	46.3 	30.9 
United Kingdom 	29.6 	21.3 	50.9 	41.8 
New Zealand 	33.4 	22.5 	55.9 	40.3 
Hungary 	29.9 	30.2 	60.1 	50.2 
United States 	55.6 	30.2 	85.8 	35.2

The higher the social spending on education, social safety nets and public healthcare, the lower the teen birth rate, and the lower the crime rate 20 years later. European Crime rate? Lower than the USA.

Europeans nations have been high taxing, high spending for DECADES. They still have to fiddle, and they still aren't nirvanas, but they are VERY nice places to live. They are world leaders in the next generation of technologies, and Australia and America are stuck while present corporate interests convince governments to hold desperately onto 20th century tech, processes and standards. The European Turtle is coming up on the American Hare. You had a three hundred year head start. You've slowly squandered it by siding with existing business giants against newcomers. You glorify the wealthy as if wealth is a reliable indicator of moral merit, when that is no longer the case.

Poverty? Population living below national poverty line (%)
Country 	UNDP 	CIA[6] 	Year 	  
 Austria 	N/A 	06 	2008 	  
 Belgium 	N/A     15.2 	2007 est.  
 Canada 	N/A 	09.4 	2008  
 Denmark 	N/A 	12.1 	2007  
 France 	N/A 	06.2 	2004 	 
 Germany 	N/A 	11 	2001 est. 	 
 Greece 	N/A 	20 	2009 est. 	 
 Ireland 	N/A 	05.5 	2009 est. 	 
 Mexico 	17.6 	18.2 	2008[18] 	 
 Netherlands 	N/A 	10.5 	2005 	 
 Norway 	N/A 	N/A 	N/A 	 
 Portugal 	N/A 	18 	2006 	 
 Spain 	        N/A 	19.8 	2005 	N/A 	 
 Switzerland 	N/A 	07.4 	2009  
 United Kingdom N/A 	14 	2006  
 United States 	N/A 	12 	2004 


Half of Europe is doing better than the USA. Oo, oo, somebody cross reference this with the tax table!

This is FUN!
Table 7: Income equality in selected countries 
Overall Rank	Gini Coefficient 
1.  Sweden 	23.0 
2.  Norway 	25.0 
8.  Austria 	26.0 
10.  Germany 	27.0 
17.  Denmark 	29.0 
25.  Australia 	30.5 
34.  Italy 	32.0 
35.  Canada 	32.1 
37.  France 	32.7 
42.  Switzland 	33.7 
43.  U. K. 	34.0 
45.  Egypt 	34.4 
56.  India 	36.8 
61.  Japan 	38.1 
68.  Israel 	39.2 
81.  China 	41.5 
82.  Russia 	42.3 
90.  Iran 	44.5 
93.  U. S. A.	45.0 
107.  Mexico 	48.2 
125.  Brazil 	56.7 
133.  S Africa 	65.0 
 
Note: These figures reflect family/household income, not individual income. 
Source: Central Intelligence Agency (2010). 



Edited, Aug 15th 2011 10:36pm by Aripyanfar
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#46 Aug 15 2011 at 8:33 PM Rating: Default
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Technogeek wrote:
Freedom, as long as you have money, otherwise, you're screwed.


Your mistake is assuming that money is either required for or provides freedom.

Edited, Aug 15th 2011 7:34pm by gbaji
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#47 Aug 15 2011 at 8:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Technogeek wrote:
Freedom, as long as you have money, otherwise, you're screwed.


Your mistake is assuming that money is either required for or provides freedom.

Edited, Aug 15th 2011 7:34pm by gbaji


If we are talking about freedom within a system that uses money, then I would agree with both.

Freedom, essentially, is your ability to command your own destiny. Money is intrinsically tied to that in our world.
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#48 Aug 15 2011 at 8:51 PM Rating: Decent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
Nu Uh. Badly targeted social spending doesn't work. Well targeted social spending works.


Works at doing what? I think the problem here is that you and I completely disagree about what we should be doing in the first place.

I'm not sure what birth and abortion rates have to do with this discussion at all.

Quote:
Poverty? Population living below national poverty line (%)


This is at least on the same topic. I'll point out that different nations calculate poverty differently and the UN method (which is the only one we could argue is "common"), actually measures upward mobility within the first half of the population (meaning that higher poverty rates using the UN method really just measure higher upward mobility). Oh, and poverty measurements universally fail to measure the poverty prior to the application of those very social systems you're talking about. Some of us want to know if the base human condition is improved or worsened as a result of the presence of those social nets. Our argument is that the really important poverty figure isn't how many people still go hungry even after the government feeds them, but how many people can't feed themselves in the first place.




Quote:
Most of Europe is doing better than the USA. Oo, oo, somebody cross reference this with the tax table!


Again, better at what? Equalizing outcomes is not about equalizing rights, or liberties. It's almost always involves more reduction of freedom and removal of the fruits of people's labors. It's very very hard to make someone not be poor. It's much much easier to take away from someone who is well off. So equalizing usually results in the middle class becoming poorer, and the poor not being any wealthier, but receiving government benefits which mask the fact that they are poor (and conveniently fudging the poverty figures as I stated above).

You're being sold a sack of BS.

Quote:
Table 7: Income equality in selected countries


Huh? What the **** does income equality measure? The degree to which the government meddles in people's lives? You can't even make an argument that income equality makes people more prosperous on average. Again, income equality means you've squished the middle class and faked the numbers for the poor. Take away the effects of what you're doing and look at your economy. You'll see that those countries you are lauding have massive populations of poor who have no hope of ever achieving success in life because of precisely the social net you think is so wonderful.


You've put large portions of your population on the equivalent of reservations. That's usually not so great for those who live there. Sure, they get lots of free stuff paid for. But they'd almost universally rather have more opportunity to make their own lives better.


I'll go back to my starting point. You and I completely disagree as to what good social policy is in the first place. The very things you hold up as accomplishments, I view as horrific intrusions on human freedom and dignity. They certainly are not thing to be proud of. Heck. The systems you promote basically eliminate anything anyone might be proud of at all. When your outcomes aren't the result of your own actions, but some benevolent provider, what can you be proud of? That you spelled your name correctly on your application for some free thing?


As I said earlier, you've adopted a social policy which moves you in the exact opposite direction to that which made the US so great initially. Somewhere along the way, you've been sold the idea that what you're doing is "better". But it's not. I see it. Why can't you?
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#49 Aug 15 2011 at 8:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Aripyanfar wrote:
[quote]I CANNOT think of a single nation that has been a working, largely-corruption-free democracy for more than 50 years, apart from America, that has "dough-nut" cities, abandoned cities, or abandoned suburbs. Even when their Housing Bubbles have popped, and their markets have crashed. No other democracy but America has urban decay on that scale.


Decay takes many forms though. Ever taken a train past the miles and miles of rows of council housing around London? Every person from the US I've spoken to has commented on this and how you simply don't see anything like that in the US anywhere. Now that's some urban decay! They aren't fixing the problem. They're just spending massive amounts of money to hide the symptoms. We could spend trillions of dollars to put all our poor into communities full of government housing as far as the eye can see too. We just don't think that's a good solution.

No, you just leave them homeless, on the streets, in queue day-by-day charity shelters, from where getting a job is a miracle. Bravo. No miles of council housing here. Well done.

Australia did the rows of public housing towers mistake. It was a mistake. New public housing is broken up into architect designed, varied sized plots scattered individually. The old towers are being done up and several sold off as yuppie apartments. That breaks up the concentration of public housing in that area, and they are desirable since they are in prime locations to transport and shops.
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#50 Aug 15 2011 at 9:00 PM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Technogeek wrote:
Freedom, as long as you have money, otherwise, you're screwed.


Your mistake is assuming that money is either required for or provides freedom.


If we are talking about freedom within a system that uses money, then I would agree with both.


Money is a placeholder for being owed for goods or services you have previously provided to someone else though. Its value only exists within that context, and it's dangerous to remove it or make statements about it without recalling what it really represents.

Quote:
Freedom, essentially, is your ability to command your own destiny.


I'd say that it's the lack of someone else telling you what to do, but close enough.


Quote:
Money is intrinsically tied to that in our world.


Only when money actually represents a debt owed. The problem is that if the government steps in and gives you goods and services with someone else's money, it's not giving you "money". No one owed you that, because you didn't provide goods or services to them. You are *always* free to provide goods or services to someone else. A society which protect freedom will protect the reward you should receive in return. Once you start treating money as something which has value by itself and which you can take from one person and give to another, then it ceases to have any impact other than negative on that person's freedom.


You take freedom away when you take someone's money (like say in the form of taxes), and you do not give freedom to anyone when you give them benefits bought with that money. The freedom is in the exchange of the fruits of your labor for the fruits of someone else's. The second you use money in a way other than that, it no longer has that connection.



Which is very relevant in the context of social safety networks.
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#51 Aug 15 2011 at 9:11 PM Rating: Decent
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gbaji wrote:
Aripyanfar wrote:
[quote]And my guess is that the US community is not there for individuals when they have transitions in their lives. Lose your health in America? Bankruptcy. Lose your job in America? Shortly your business is lost from your local supermarket and retailers because you can't buy groceries or new clothes. Your local businesses can't afford so many staff, and lay some off. A downward spiral of increasing community poverty commences, with no help from comfortable communities further afield to arrest the negative feedback.


And yet, a stunning number of people in the US manage to succeed anyway. They work harder because they know both that they are responsible for themselves *and* that they'll get to keep a larger portion of the fruits of their own labor. Well, unless the left has its way, of course.
It's true there are a buttload of hard-working, successful Americans. I'd guess the super-majority are hard working, and the super-majority keep to their own moral highground. It's the gap between rich and poor where you're slipping. Your super-rich out-rich everyone else compared to your national peers. Your super poor are suffering worse than your national peers. The former is only a concern because the latter exists. It's the latter that's a moral letdown.
Try this on for size: in countries with rationalised, universal safety nets and single payer option helathcare, people are more honest because they know that other people ARE looking out for them when they need it. They are more inclined to pay the taxes they legally owe, because they feel more benefitted in return. Because more are paying their allotted taxes, tax rates don't have to be as high to cover spending, unlike in Greece, where dodging tax is a national passtime. And people work harder because in order to get more Net income, they have to make twice the pay rise to get the same personal Net take-home wages than in the USA. I reckon this guess at net national motives is as good as yours.
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