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#1 Feb 06 2012 at 11:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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So we're a family of four now. About median income, nothing special. Don't own a home or anything like that. About what I imagine an average American family to be like. I was dutifully filling out my taxes this weekend. I got all my paperwork together and got everything submitted. I love e-filing for the record, so much easier than the old days.

The end result?

I'm officially getting paid to live here now. The refund came out to more than I paid this year in taxes. Thanks mainly to the child tax credit. I can't say I was too surprised, I've been expecting this for a while now. Given all the ranting and raving about debt recently, I can't help but feel like I'm driving the getaway car though. For the record I wouldn't mind paying more. I'm not entirely sure I enjoy the feeling of being a freeloader or anything. Still that extra money will eventually be put to good use, hopefully stimulating that housing market at some point.

Anyway this is kind of old news, but I've not been following politics as closely the last month or two. So a question for people who are: is anyone going to change this? You know, the child tax credit, is it going away? I've heard it's due to expire or shrink at some point. You hear a lot in the news about raising or not raising taxes on the rich, but not so much about this little nugget.
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#2 Feb 06 2012 at 12:02 PM Rating: Good
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The Child Tax Credit is currently $1,000 per rugrat. It's that way through 2012 and, if not extended, will revert to $500 per tyke. The premise is that kids are expensive and assisting parents in this way is in the common good since it beats food stamps.
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#3 Feb 06 2012 at 12:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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Well I won't look a gift horse in the mouth or anything. We're not exactly food stamp poor though.
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#4 Feb 06 2012 at 12:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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I was using a bit of hyperbole.

The government figures that you can use the extra money to raise your kids. Also, it's a nice political gesture to appeal to the lower/middle class.
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#5 Feb 06 2012 at 1:10 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
I was using a bit of hyperbole.


You and your metaphorical stuff. It's all over my head.

Smiley: disappointed
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#6 Feb 06 2012 at 1:36 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
The Child Tax Credit is currently $1,000 per rugrat.


Sort of. But, as with most things IRS, it's a little more complicated.

You can get up to $1,000 per child, but the Child Tax Credit is what's called a "non-refundable credit," which means it's used to lower the amount of tax that you owe. If, lets say, you have four kids, and you owed $2,000 in tax based on your adjusted gross income, then you can only receive $2,000 for the child tax credit. But, of course, it can be even more complicated than that. There's a really fun worksheet starting on page 4 of this publication that helps you determine what you can take.

Of course, then you can go down to where the "refundable credits" are at the bottom of the second page of your 1040 and take what's called the "Additional Child Tax Credit." Usually, that's just what you could take, less what you already took as a "non-refundable credit." But sometimes, it's trickier. There's a really fun worksheet that you have to fill out to see exactly what you can take.

There are also what's called "Phase out amounts" where the child tax credit is concerned. For married taxpayers filing a joint return, the phase-out begins at $110,000. For married taxpayers filing a separate return, it begins at $55,000. For all other taxpayers, the phase-out begins at $75,000.

Leave it to the IRS to make things as absolutely complicated as they possibly can.

ETA: Of course, all that to say, usually it works out to $1,000 per rugrat, as Joph said. But it can be confusing to just assume it's always that amount, and you'll automatically get $6,000 if you have six kids.

Edited, Feb 6th 2012 1:37pm by Belkira
#7 Feb 06 2012 at 1:52 PM Rating: Good
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Belkira wrote:
But, of course, it can be even more complicated than that. There's a really fun worksheet starting on page 4 of this publication that helps you determine what you can take.

There's a really fun worksheet that you have to fill out to see exactly what you can take.

Fun worksheets?

I had always assumed the child tax credit was merely an acknowledgement that kids under 16 are an investment but a liability.

There are pieces of machinery that are eligible for way bigger tax breaks than kids.

Btw, the rugrats fall off the child tax break just as you're sending them off to college. Be sure to look for the tuition tax credit. Smiley: wink
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#8 Feb 06 2012 at 2:13 PM Rating: Good
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#9 Feb 06 2012 at 2:50 PM Rating: Good
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Technogeek wrote:
Thank Gbaji, I'm sure he'll appreciate it.


Not specifically speaking of the child tax credit itself, but it is problematic when an increasing percentage of the total population in a Democracy either doesn't pay taxes or actually receives more money back (in tax refunds and benefits) than they pay. You end out with an unequal situation where everyone's vote is equal in terms of affecting what government does, but not everyone is equal in terms of paying for what government does. All those in the "paying nothing, or making out" category now have every incentive to vote to have government keep expanding the size and cost of its programs. Why not? They're not paying for it. And in all likelihood they are the biggest recipients of the result.


Everyone should pay some portion of the tax burden. Progressive taxes are fine, but should never become so much so that the "free money" situation occurs.
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#10 Feb 06 2012 at 3:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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#11 Feb 06 2012 at 3:22 PM Rating: Good
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I paid basically zero taxes last year and got back a hefty sum and there was no complaint about that.
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#12 Feb 06 2012 at 3:30 PM Rating: Good
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I haven't done mine this year yet, and since I don't have kids, am gainfully employed, and am not a minority I'm sure I'll get screwed once again. Smiley: wink

In truth, I'm debating on how to do my taxes this year. The past 5 or 6 I've been using an accountant, he was a pretty sharp cookie, and kind of a motivator as well. He never charged excessively, and was always real thorough and fast at doing my taxes. He retired and made a referral to some gal in town, but I don't know that I really need this level of service. I'm a home owner, but with no dependents and not having my own business, I'm thinking I should just use turbo tax or one of those to get it done this year.
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#13 Feb 06 2012 at 3:34 PM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
I paid basically zero taxes last year and got back a hefty sum and there was no complaint about that.


Did you post about it here? It's not like this is the first time I've made the point about the danger of having too large a percentage of the population not bearing the costs for the things they vote on.
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#14 Feb 06 2012 at 3:44 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
lolgaxe wrote:
I paid basically zero taxes last year and got back a hefty sum and there was no complaint about that.


Did you post about it here? It's not like this is the first time I've made the point about the danger of having too large a percentage of the population not bearing the costs for the things they vote on.


Considering lolgaxe's line of work, I think him laying his life on the line in the military is more than enough reason that his vote should bear up no matter what amount of taxes he's paying.

Of course, that's just according to your fucked up logic. Personally, I feel that it's more than fair that every citizen gets an equal vote, and that their vote doesn't count more if they have more money. But you thinking that the rich should rule the poor doesn't surprise me in the least.

Edited, Feb 6th 2012 3:44pm by Belkira
#15 Feb 06 2012 at 4:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Technogeek wrote:
Thank Gbaji, I'm sure he'll appreciate it.


Not specifically speaking of the child tax credit itself, but it is problematic when an increasing percentage of the total population in a Democracy either doesn't pay taxes or actually receives more money back (in tax refunds and benefits) than they pay. You end out with an unequal situation where everyone's vote is equal in terms of affecting what government does, but not everyone is equal in terms of paying for what government does. All those in the "paying nothing, or making out" category now have every incentive to vote to have government keep expanding the size and cost of its programs. Why not? They're not paying for it. And in all likelihood they are the biggest recipients of the result.


Everyone should pay some portion of the tax burden. Progressive taxes are fine, but should never become so much so that the "free money" situation occurs.


There will always be a cutoff point where benefits received are greater than benefits paid. Math just doesn't let us do otherwise unless the levels of graft are obscenely high.
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#16 Feb 06 2012 at 4:16 PM Rating: Good
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What Belkira said.
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#17 Feb 06 2012 at 4:20 PM Rating: Default
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
What Belkira said.


Doesn't lolgaxe live and work in NY? That's not exactly a war zone. Not everyone who is employed by the military is putting their life on the line, you know. Also, child tax credits should be a percentage of tax paid, not a fixed amount. That would solve the whole "getting back more than you paid in" dilemma.

If you don't tax a fixed amount, you shouldn't credit a fixed amount. Kinda simple.
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#18 Feb 06 2012 at 4:28 PM Rating: Good
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All I know is that we missed out on an extra grand because Jacob's due date was wrong.
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#19 Feb 06 2012 at 4:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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BrownDuck wrote:
Doesn't lolgaxe live and work in NY?
This year, yeah. Last year no.

Anyway, I wasn't singling gbaji out. No one complains that we're paid with tax dollars, don't pay tax on it, and still get extra when we file taxes on that money when deployed. At least I find that situation kind of ridiculous. Not just soldiers, either. The private contractors over there make six figures easy, and get pretty much the same treatment.

Edited, Feb 6th 2012 5:34pm by lolgaxe
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#20 Feb 06 2012 at 4:49 PM Rating: Good
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BrownDuck wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
What Belkira said.


Doesn't lolgaxe live and work in NY? That's not exactly a war zone. Not everyone who is employed by the military is putting their life on the line, you know. Also, child tax credits should be a percentage of tax paid, not a fixed amount. That would solve the whole "getting back more than you paid in" dilemma.

If you don't tax a fixed amount, you shouldn't credit a fixed amount. Kinda simple.


Personally, I don't think it's really a "dilemma." And in some cases, like the EIC, for example, the point was almost to give people more money back than they paid in.
#21 Feb 06 2012 at 4:59 PM Rating: Decent
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Belkira wrote:
Personally, I don't think it's really a "dilemma." And in some cases, like the EIC, for example, the point was almost to give people more money back than they paid in.

I don't really have a horse in this race either way, but it would make more sense to me that if we want to give money to targeted groups, we establish a way to do so outside of the tax system. I'm not sure why tax refunds became the de facto way to do this.
#22 Feb 06 2012 at 5:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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Majivo wrote:
Belkira wrote:
Personally, I don't think it's really a "dilemma." And in some cases, like the EIC, for example, the point was almost to give people more money back than they paid in.

I don't really have a horse in this race either way, but it would make more sense to me that if we want to give money to targeted groups, we establish a way to do so outside of the tax system. I'm not sure why tax refunds became the de facto way to do this.


Why do you want to add more cost to the system for no gain?
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#23 Feb 06 2012 at 5:18 PM Rating: Excellent
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Debalic wrote:
All I know is that we missed out on an extra grand because Jacob's due date was wrong.

You won't be crying when he's 17.
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#24 Feb 06 2012 at 5:21 PM Rating: Good
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Majivo wrote:
Belkira wrote:
Personally, I don't think it's really a "dilemma." And in some cases, like the EIC, for example, the point was almost to give people more money back than they paid in.

I don't really have a horse in this race either way, but it would make more sense to me that if we want to give money to targeted groups, we establish a way to do so outside of the tax system. I'm not sure why tax refunds became the de facto way to do this.
We do both. Dependents are a $2k income deduction and families with a combined income under a certain threshold receive monthly cheques, decreasing the closer you are to the cap. THEN, there's another monthly cheque that all families receive of $100/child under some magically deduced age, but you have to count that in your income come tax time.
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#25 Feb 06 2012 at 5:29 PM Rating: Good
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Finishing up our taxes tonight (hopefully) but man oh man, I miss those rugrat credits. And Ray won't accept my argument that it makes tax-sense for us to have another kiddo.Smiley: frown
#26 Feb 06 2012 at 5:54 PM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
Not just soldiers, either. The private contractors over there make six figures easy, and get pretty much the same treatment.

Speaking of which, anyone seen Totem lately?
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#27 Feb 06 2012 at 6:07 PM Rating: Decent
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Belkira wrote:
Of course, that's just according to your fucked up logic. Personally, I feel that it's more than fair that every citizen gets an equal vote, and that their vote doesn't count more if they have more money. But you thinking that the rich should rule the poor doesn't surprise me in the least.


How on earth did you translate what I said into this? I was not arguing (or even suggesting) that votes should be based on how much you earn. I said that in a Democracy where everyone's vote is equal, it's dangerous to have too large a portion of the total voters who are not paying in taxes for the things that government does. I'm not arguing that we take away the vote for poor people, but that we make sure that every person pays at least some taxes. That way they know that there's a cost associated with anything they want the government to do. Even if it's a small amount, it's a good idea. Having no cost at all means no incentive at all to not vote for more and more spending.


And frankly, as long as we have politicians successfully selling the idea that they'll provide goods and services for the people and make "someone else" pay for it, we're going to continue to have huge economic problems.
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#28 Feb 06 2012 at 6:18 PM Rating: Decent
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Timelordwho wrote:
There will always be a cutoff point where benefits received are greater than benefits paid. Math just doesn't let us do otherwise unless the levels of graft are obscenely high.


For some of the people, yes. I'm assuming your "cutoff point" is about income level? So if we tax less and provide more benefits as income decreases, then their must be a cutoff point at which some low enough amount of income will result in more benefits (in this case, we're just talking dollar value) than is being paid. As you say, this is a mathematical certainty.


The point I'm making is about what percentage of the total public is below that cutoff. As we increase the benefits (and the range of income which can receive them), and we shift the tax burden more to those making more money, aren't we also increasing the number of people who are under that cutoff? What happens when that number is the majority? Isn't that problematic for a sustainable Democracy where everyone has the same vote?


Examine what happens over the long term if you have a society where the bottom 75% of earners pay zero taxes. What happens to spending? What happens to benefits? While we should (hopefully) see that an endless increase in spending and benefits for that non-paying majority will result in disaster, will human nature allow for anything else? I don't think so. It's a red/green game scenario and will end up either with economic collapse *or* political turmoil/revolt. People are greedy by nature. Not just the rich, but all people. I honestly think that some people forget this truth.
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#29 Feb 06 2012 at 7:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Isn't that problematic for a sustainable Democracy where everyone has the same vote?

Nah. The poor don't have billion dollar Super-PACs
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#30 Feb 06 2012 at 7:50 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Isn't that problematic for a sustainable Democracy where everyone has the same vote?

Nah. The poor don't have billion dollar Super-PACs


We're not talking about "poor" though. Those who do want to use class warfare as a political tool absolutely *do* have super-pacs. And they absolutely do have a desire to increase that cutoff point so as to increase the number of people they can influence with the "vote for us and we'll give you a better deal" approach.

What part of me talking about the danger when those below the cutoff become a majority made you think I was talking about the poor?
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#31 Feb 06 2012 at 7:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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For varying definitions of poor. The point being, people are continuously motivated to vote against their own interests through the power of money and the messaging it brings.
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#32 Feb 06 2012 at 8:12 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
For varying definitions of poor.


Family of four making a median income in the US? I'm not aware of *any* definition in which that qualifies as poor. Do you? So can we stop playing word association games here? The issue I'm speaking of has nothing to do with disenfranchising "the poor" and everything to do with the dangers of government buying votes from people who are not poor, by convincing them that all the money its spending on goodies for them (the "not poor") wont cost them anything because they'll just make the rich pay for it.

Quote:
The point being, people are continuously motivated to vote against their own interests through the power of money and the messaging it brings.


Sure. But they usually think they're voting *for* their own interests. My point being that they become even easier to manipulate if they're not invested in the costs of the things they are voting for. How long does the line for something free become? The fact that it's bad for them down the line is not in question here.
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#33 Feb 06 2012 at 8:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Family of four making a median income in the US? I'm not aware of *any* definition in which that qualifies as poor. Do you?

Doesn't matter since it wasn't my point. Strike the word if you really want. The line at which the bottom portion is at monetary parity to influence politics to the same degree as the upper portion is so far up the chain that it's hard to take your wails of lamentation for the future of democracy seriously.

Quote:
Sure. But they usually think they're voting *for* their own interests.

That would be the point, yes.

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My point being that they become even easier to manipulate if they're not invested in the costs of the things they are voting for.

Luckily the upper level can still outspend them 15:1 on that messaging without breaking a sweat.
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#34 Feb 06 2012 at 8:39 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Family of four making a median income in the US? I'm not aware of *any* definition in which that qualifies as poor. Do you?

Doesn't matter since it wasn't my point. Strike the word if you really want. The line at which the bottom portion is at monetary parity to influence politics to the same degree as the upper portion is so far up the chain that it's hard to take your wails of lamentation for the future of democracy seriously.


But that's irrelevant if we accept your statement that money is used to influence people into doing things against their best interests. This is going to be true whether a majority of people pay zero or less taxes or not. Only the means by which that money is used to manipulate them and the ease to which the manipulation can occur has changed.

My counter is that when that population number reaches a majority they become more easily manipulated. Because their condition of benefit gained from the government requires that they vote in support of those who promise to keep it that way. So they must also support any social agenda that "side" has as well. And despite your attempt to make this like it's "rich versus poor", it's not. Those who want to raise that cutoff point and thus increase the percentage of the population in that condition absolutely *do* have super-pacs, right?

It's one rich group versus another, with different agendas and ideologies. So how about we stop pretending it's about rich versus poor and actually look at the agendas and ideologies themselves and make a decision that way instead of playing it off with cheap rhetoric?

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Sure. But they usually think they're voting *for* their own interests.

That would be the point, yes.


Except you still don't seem to be able to wrap your head around the idea that the "side" you think is for the poor and against the rich, is just as rich and just as likely to be lying to the voters to get them to vote the way they want them to. You immediately leaped to a "rich versus poor" dynamic, even though it had nothing at all to do with the situation at hand.

Quote:
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My point being that they become even easier to manipulate if they're not invested in the costs of the things they are voting for.

Luckily the upper level can still outspend them 15:1 on that messaging without breaking a sweat.


I think you're still thinking this is about the "poor" (working class, lower middle class, whatever) empowering themselves by taking control of government spending and using it to siphon from the rich to provide for themselves a better life. My point is that this isn't the case at all. It's really telling that you just can't seem to shift your perception of this away from that though. Amazingly myopic in fact.


What's amazing is your blind assumption that liberal rich people have purely altruistic motivations, while conservative rich people don't. The biggest difference between them is that the conservatives actively try to limit government because they know that this gives "the rich" too much ability to control the population. The liberals sell the idea that by expanding government they're actually empowering the masses. But they're just using their money in a different way. It's still about control. Moreso IMO (but then I'm obviously biased).

Edited, Feb 6th 2012 6:40pm by gbaji
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#35 Feb 06 2012 at 8:50 PM Rating: Good
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Not specifically speaking of the child tax credit itself, but it is problematic when an increasing percentage of the total population in a Democracy either doesn't pay taxes or actually receives more money back (in tax refunds and benefits) than they pay.


Ya thats the problem its not a millionaire who doesn't care for the poor paying lass taxes as a % of income then someone making 50K/year. Of course rich folks love the middle class. We pay all the bills.



Edited, Feb 6th 2012 9:51pm by rdmcandie
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#36 Feb 06 2012 at 8:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
It's really telling that you just can't seem to shift your perception of this away from that though. Amazingly myopic in fact.

Delicious irony.
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What's amazing is your blind assumption that liberal rich people have purely altruistic motivations, while conservative rich people don't. The biggest difference between them is that the conservatives actively try to limit government because they know that this gives "the rich" too much ability to control the population.

This... defies description. But... yeah. Wow.
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#37 Feb 06 2012 at 9:06 PM Rating: Default
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rdmcandie wrote:
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Not specifically speaking of the child tax credit itself, but it is problematic when an increasing percentage of the total population in a Democracy either doesn't pay taxes or actually receives more money back (in tax refunds and benefits) than they pay.


Ya thats the problem its not a millionaire who doesn't care for the poor paying lass taxes as a % of income then someone making 50K/year.


Love the rhetoric. So are you saying that millionaires who do care for the poor pay different rates of taxes than millionaires who don't? If not, then why insert that phrase?


Quote:
Of course rich folks love the middle class. We pay all the bills.


We're also vastly more susceptible to the economic winds of fate. And there's a lot more of us. Millionaires pay a much higher portion of the total tax burden per-capita. And as a group they pay a higher average portion of taxes relative to their incomes as well. I'm not saying that the middle class doesn't pay a high share of taxes. But the biggest threat to the middle class isn't an upper class that is too wealthy, but a lower class that drags us down into poverty in their pursuit of ending income inequality.


The enemy of the proletariat isn't the rich, but the middle class. If an economy has a healthy middle class then they serve as a constant obtainable goal which might encourage the working class to pursue upward mobility on their own rather than join in a socialist movement. The poor and the working class don't look at the uber wealthy and realistically wish they could achieve that lifestyle. They look at the middle class folks and want that for themselves. And as long as they think they can obtain that with hard work, they'll work hard. But if you can shrink the middle class, or make it harder to working class folks to advance, then you can convince the poor and working classes that they can't achieve success on their own and then you can effectively control them.


Read Karl Marx sometime. He explains this quite clearly. Sadly, a **** of a lot of people follow his ideology but don't understand the methods being used. Those people are also called "suckers".
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#38 Feb 06 2012 at 9:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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What's amazing is your blind assumption that liberal rich people have purely altruistic motivations, while conservative rich people don't. The biggest difference between them is that the conservatives actively try to limit government because they know that this gives "the rich" too much ability to control the population.


Interesting take on conservatism. I mean, Batshit insane, obviously, but interesting.

Out of curiosity, what do you think of automatic cost of living adjustments for the federal minimum wage?
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#39 Feb 06 2012 at 9:10 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
It's really telling that you just can't seem to shift your perception of this away from that though. Amazingly myopic in fact.

Delicious irony.
Quote:
What's amazing is your blind assumption that liberal rich people have purely altruistic motivations, while conservative rich people don't. The biggest difference between them is that the conservatives actively try to limit government because they know that this gives "the rich" too much ability to control the population.

This... defies description. But... yeah. Wow.



/shrug

You're the one who instinctively responded to a post about the dangers of having too large a percentage of the population not paying a share of the tax burden with a statement about poor people not being able to afford to influence politics. What did you think you were doing there? It sure looked like you automatically framed the issue into a "rich versus poor" context, and assumed that those fighting to increase the percentage under that cutoff were "for the poor", while those opposed to it were "for the rich".


Am I right? Cause if you meant something else, then by all means explain away.
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#40 Feb 06 2012 at 9:10 PM Rating: Excellent
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Smasharoo wrote:
Interesting take on conservatism. I mean, Batshit insane, obviously, but interesting.

Hey now. The gigantic strawman argument in there deserves a mention too!
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Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#41 Feb 06 2012 at 9:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Am I right? Cause if you meant something else, then by all means explain away.

I couldn't possibly do a better job than you've already done for me. Thanks Smiley: smile
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Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#42 Feb 06 2012 at 9:19 PM Rating: Default
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Smasharoo wrote:

What's amazing is your blind assumption that liberal rich people have purely altruistic motivations, while conservative rich people don't. The biggest difference between them is that the conservatives actively try to limit government because they know that this gives "the rich" too much ability to control the population.


Interesting take on conservatism. I mean, Batshit insane, obviously, but interesting.


More or less Batshit insane than a group of people who'd just won a war of independence creating a system of government which limited their own power? Modern conservatives are those people who still believe that human nature is such that the only way to limit abuses of power is to limit power, and thus we can best serve the cause of a free society by limiting government as much as possible. Modern liberals are those who believe that they can use the power of government to make the lives of the citizens better, if only they could increase the governments power enough to do so.

Now, we can speculate as to their motivations regarding the intent to create a system in which abuse of that power will become easier and the people less free, but intent isn't really relevant here. The result of their actions *will* make abuse of power easier and *will* result in less liberty for the people within our society. At the risk of a cheesy reference: At best, we can view modern liberals as those who would use the Ring for good, and with the best of intentions, but ultimately through them, it would do evil. How many years now have I referred to the Democrats as the party of unintended consequences? It's like that.


Quote:
Out of curiosity, what do you think of automatic cost of living adjustments for the federal minimum wage?


On the fence really. We already have a federal minimum wages, so that horse is out the barn already. Automatic adjustments are problematic IMO because they leave open the possibility that manipulation of the indexes used to measure cost of living can result in manipulation of the wages. It also ties our hands too much. If we have to pass legislation to increase the wage, then this means that actual people have to look at the issue and make a decision. Doing so automatically takes the responsibility out of the hands of the individual representatives and thus makes a poor decision as likely as a good one.


At the end of the day I also happen to believe that minimum wage decisions should be based on more than just cost of living. That's a more complex argument though, and I have to get going, so I'll leave it at that.

Edited, Feb 6th 2012 7:21pm by gbaji
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#43 Feb 06 2012 at 9:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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Read Karl Marx sometime. He explains this quite clearly. Sadly, a **** of a lot of people follow his ideology but don't understand the methods being used. Those people are also called "suckers".


Firstly it's painfully obvious you haven't read Marx. I mean PAINFULLY. It's clear you've read biased criticism of Marx, and likely sort of broken telephoned that on your way to this post into, well, I'm not sure what, but it's barely recognizable.

The Bourgeoisie aren't the middle class. There really isn't anything in Marx about a middle class per se. You're part of the Proletariat, you understand that right? You don't control the means of production, you don't own anything. You produce value through work, and that value is returned to you in diminished form through your wages. Bob Kahn is the Bourgeoisie, directly, in your case. He profits from the surplus value of your labor, without labor of his own. Marx writes, a very little, about the diminishing of the petit Bourgeoisie, (which you also aren't) but it's nothing resembling important.

You seem to be confusing class with wealth. Wealth has nothing to do with class for Marx. A worker with a high incomes is still a worker. Someone with a smaller income, who does no labor, is sill part of the Bourgeoisie.

Marx writes about capitalism distorting the value of labor, that's the primary point of all of his work. Redistribution of wealth, and other derived tactics are attempts at solutions to the obvious unfairness of someone who does no labor profiting form the labor of others.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/

He does write about members of the Proletariat who are convinced they're part of the Bourgeoisie. I don't recall the term "sucker" being used, but it might be an acceptable translation. Malcolm X references a similar concept in the famous House ******/Field ****** speech. I bet you refer to the company you work for as "We" don't you?
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To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a *****. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? ***. Your priest? Straight. **** off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#44 Feb 06 2012 at 9:41 PM Rating: Good
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I don't know about the USA, but in Australia and European countries, you'll be paying State/Federal taxes every time you spend money on something. Sometimes it's as low as 10% of the retail price, usually it's higher, being a mix of GST/VAT, tariffs, payroll taxes etc that are all passed on to the end consumer. There are also local council fees on any owned property, including the family home.

This is often why Federal benefits/"taxes" will compensate lower income people rather than charging them. For instance, in Australia the Goods and Services tax is no more than 10% of the price of goods or services. (It does not accrue up the wholesale/manufacturing chain.) Personal income tax is about 30% for most Australians. And yet the GST manages to account for 30% of the Federal tax income.
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#45 Feb 06 2012 at 9:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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More or less ******* insane than a group of people who'd just won a war of independence creating a system of government which limited their own power?


You mean by limiting the vote to property owning Christian white males? Considerably more ******* insane than that. The idea that the founding of the US was some magical event in the history of governance is a mythological one. The only interesting aspect was the rejection of a hereditary aristocracy, and it really wasn't that novel.
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Disclaimer:

To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a *****. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? ***. Your priest? Straight. **** off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#46 Feb 06 2012 at 10:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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The only interesting aspect was the rejection of a hereditary aristocracy, and it really wasn't that novel.


If only it were less so today.
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#47 Feb 07 2012 at 11:22 AM Rating: Excellent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
I don't know about the USA, but in Australia and European countries, you'll be paying State/Federal taxes every time you spend money on something. Sometimes it's as low as 10% of the retail price, usually it's higher, being a mix of GST/VAT, tariffs, payroll taxes etc that are all passed on to the end consumer. There are also local council fees on any owned property, including the family home.

This is often why Federal benefits/"taxes" will compensate lower income people rather than charging them. For instance, in Australia the Goods and Services tax is no more than 10% of the price of goods or services. (It does not accrue up the wholesale/manufacturing chain.) Personal income tax is about 30% for most Australians. And yet the GST manages to account for 30% of the Federal tax income.


It varies a good amount from state to state here. We don't have any kind of sales tax here in Oregon for example. There's an state income tax, and we end up paying a more reasonable amount there.
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#48 Feb 07 2012 at 12:18 PM Rating: Good
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Finished preparing the returns last night for Ray and me. $3200 a federal refund and for the first time in 5 years, $1000 for a California refund.
#49 Feb 07 2012 at 4:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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This thread was relatively interesting until Joph totally gbaji'd it.
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#50 Feb 07 2012 at 4:46 PM Rating: Default
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Smasharoo wrote:

Read Karl Marx sometime. He explains this quite clearly. Sadly, a **** of a lot of people follow his ideology but don't understand the methods being used. Those people are also called "suckers".


Firstly it's painfully obvious you haven't read Marx. I mean PAINFULLY. It's clear you've read biased criticism of Marx, and likely sort of broken telephoned that on your way to this post into, well, I'm not sure what, but it's barely recognizable.


Yeah. Take the blinders off sometime and actually read and you might see otherwise. ;)

Quote:
The Bourgeoisie aren't the middle class.


I didn't say they were. I said that the Bourgeoisie (the rich, but that's what I was talking about) were not the true enemy of a Communist movement. Note, I said "movement", not a communist state already in existence. To achieve the communist victory, first must be destroyed the old middle class (or even the concept of the middle class).


Quote:
There really isn't anything in Marx about a middle class per se.


Except the parts where he specifically mentions the middle class. First, he talks about the process of how the proletariat gain the power they need to take control. Part of which is this:

Quote:
The lower strata of the middle class — the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants — all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialised skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. Thus the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population.


But this doesn't always happen:

Quote:
The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance, they are revolutionary, they are only so in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat; they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat.


But for the movement to succeed and the grand future to be realized, they must be taken into the proletariat. They must be shown that they are just cogs of the machine as well.

Quote:
The “dangerous class”, [lumpenproletariat] the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.


That paragraph directly follows the one before. He's talking about the middle class. And how some of them might not just become equally poor wage slaves like the rest, but instead cling to old ideas that they can achieve prosperity and rise above the proletariat. Of course, Marx sees this as those people taking greater money as bribes, but that's a subjective opinion.

In the modern context, the communist revolution as envisioned back then didn't happen. They were wrong. Opps! Wages did not flatten. The workers did not become extensions of the tools they wielded. There did not arise a massive and unified workforce, all equally oppressed. Instead, the middle class got bigger, wages for those not owners of the means of production became wider. And along the way, everyone's standard of living got better.


So instead of recognizing that they were wrong, the communists have instead embarked on a century long quest to force the conditions that Marx spoke of. Because before the glorious revolution can happen, they have to eliminate all the stuff in the way. And guess what? The modern middle class is in the way. The movement only works if they can easily divide the whole workforce into "rich and poor". But the sad reality (for them anyway) is that there's a whole range of folks in between. Thus, they become the enemy.



Quote:
You're part of the Proletariat, you understand that right?


In Marx's vision of the world, I would become part of it, yes. But Marx's vision of the world didn't turn out to be true. Hence, the problem.

Quote:
You don't control the means of production, you don't own anything. You produce value through work, and that value is returned to you in diminished form through your wages.


And this turned out to be 100 times better than anything Marx and Engel's could have dreamed possible. And that's a problem for modern communists (and to some degree socialists as well).


Quote:
You seem to be confusing class with wealth. Wealth has nothing to do with class for Marx. A worker with a high incomes is still a worker. Someone with a smaller income, who does no labor, is sill part of the Bourgeoisie.


Yes. But Marx was wrong. Get it? The reason he defined class as something having nothing to do with wealth was because he assumed that over time everyone who wasn't Bourgeoisie would become equally low paid as part of the Proletariat. That's the point of the whole thing. It's a reaction to a condition which Marx assumes will occur. In his world there will be no wealth held by anyone who isn't in control of the means of production. Period. So division by wealth isn't possible.


Clearly, that didn't happen though. The middle class didn't just hang on as bribed turncoats, oppressing their fellow workers. The middle class grew and thrived. And that's why they are the enemy of the modern communist movement. They must be eliminated for the Proletariat to grow, and for them to be angry enough to create the revolution Marx envisioned.

You read the words, but don't seem to understand what they mean:

Quote:
You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible.


Here he's talking about the upper middle class, but still mentioning it. Well, actually, he's making a case for why elimination of private property is a good thing. Of course, it's good only in a circular fashion. If you eliminate it, then everyone becomes equally poor/rich/whatever, and the revolution can proceed. But you have to eliminate private ownership of property first. Remember that this is all a means to an end. A process by which some kind of utopian future will emerge.


Remember also that they were wrong. Not just a bit wrong, but completely horribly laughably wrong. Why anyone puts any stock in these nutty theories is beyond me. Honestly, there's no better proof of it than in this line:

Quote:
In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour. In Communist society, accumulated labour is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the labourer.


Best intentions and all that. But what actually happened is that those societies which embraced the Free Market resulted in widened and enriched lives for the workers. Those which embraced communism resulted in oppression and poverty for the workers. Marx was wrong. Period. When will people realize this and stop repeating any of the theories he espoused?


Quote:
Marx writes about capitalism distorting the value of labor, that's the primary point of all of his work. Redistribution of wealth, and other derived tactics are attempts at solutions to the obvious unfairness of someone who does no labor profiting form the labor of others.


Sure. But he was wrong. Let's not forget that. His "solution" to the problem of unequal wealth was worse. Much much worse. It doesn't work. It has never worked. Even doing just partial amounts does harm with no benefit. It's a failed philosophy and should be tossed on the dust heap of history.


Quote:
He does write about members of the Proletariat who are convinced they're part of the Bourgeoisie. I don't recall the term "sucker" being used, but it might be an acceptable translation. Malcolm X references a similar concept in the famous House @#%^/Field @#%^ speech. I bet you refer to the company you work for as "We" don't you?


I'm sure you congratulate yourself on convincing others to join up and fight for the cause of worker liberation, while you yourself are part of that middle class which benefits massively as a result of the free market. How oppressed do you feel Smash? Do you think you'd personally be better off if you were a member of a union working in a factory? So... it's equality for others, but not for you, right?




Edited, Feb 7th 2012 3:05pm by gbaji
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#51 Feb 07 2012 at 5:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
This thread was relatively interesting until Joph totally gbaji'd it.

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Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
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