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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  The Debt Crisis . . . Whose fault? And how do we fix it? (PT, PF) « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Debt Crisis . . . Whose fault? And how do we fix it? (PT, PF)  (Read 4638 times)
indianasmith
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« Reply #90 on: April 14, 2011, 06:50:17 AM »

So . . . even though the top 1% of wage earners in America pay 40% of the government's total tax revenues, that's not enough?


Hey, I've got an idea!  Let's just kill all the rich people and take EVERYTHING and give it away to folks who have done NOTHING to earn it!

Yeah, that's the ticket!!!!!

Your economics, quite frankly, reek of Marxism, sir.  So you might as well open up the gulags to go with it.
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Flick James
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« Reply #91 on: April 14, 2011, 10:34:34 AM »

On one hand, Indy, you have a point about Strangelove's advocacy of forceable confiscation of wealth. The comparison to Marxism is not outrageous.

On the other hand, there is a reason that the top 1% pay 40% of the tax revenues. They have most of the income. You're certainly not going to pay off the debt from the middle class.
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« Reply #92 on: April 14, 2011, 10:51:22 AM »

dr stranglelove- I think you would have a point if our govenment was more honest and also open about the spending they do but I think the perception, very correct, is that DC is a money pit and the problem isn't that they are doing eveything they can and don't have enough revenue but that they are not ahh....good at budgeting. We haven't had a balanced budget since 1975!

So, to say that rich people should pay taxes I think kind of passively makes the point that the PROBLEM is that there isn't enugh revenue. I don't think that is a good argument and it doesn't ring true for alot of people. The rich might not pay as much as you like, but trillions of dollars DO go into DC and it doesn't go where it's needed but to all these beaurocracies and deals.

If they balanced their budgets and then were like "okay we had to axe this or that" and we could be like "okay we will make up that shortfall" it would be one thing. That's not happening.

I DEFINITELY agree 100% on military spending, though. I don't know why there hasn't been a concrete propsal to eliminate all our ridiculous bases around the world and jsut all that stuff. Why do we have bases in Germany and Japan? it's 2011

Also, maybe not exactly related to the budget but related to the cold war being way over: why is it illegal to go to Cuba??  You can go to Iran or the Sudan but you can't go like a few miles away from Miami???
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« Reply #93 on: April 14, 2011, 10:58:42 AM »

I watched most of Obama's address last night regarding his debt reduction plan. I'm not an Obama supporter, but there was some good and bad I took from the speech.

The good: initially I had heard radio news blurbs stating that his reduction plan was heavy on defense cuts, but if I were to base the agenda on his speech alone, I would say that was fairly unfounded. I was surprised that he seems fairly even-handed in where he wants to cut spending. Whether it will happen or not, I don't know, but I am an advocate of cutting a great deal of spending in just about every area of the government, in areas dear to both Republicans and Democrats. That at least gave me a small jolt of hope in an mind that is otherwise generally cynical of what any politican says. Cut that spending.

The bad: I'm never a fan of tax increases. Tax increases are just like all the entitlement programs that have slowly crept into the American system over the last 80 years or so, once they're there, it becomes extremely difficult to get rid of them. What may be seen initially as temporary quickly becomes permanent. Once the government has that source of revenue, they don't want to give it up. Also, I find Obama to be increasingly arrogant. His comments about the Republicans having "nothing serious" in their reduction plan came across as a mean-spirited stab to me. Paul Ryan is, of course, showing party loyalty when he said that Obama was "poisoning wells" in regard to that statement, but it's not without merit.

In regard to the overal spirit of the thread, we live in a mixed economy. Elements of capitalism and elements of socialism, locked together in a big, bureaucratic, inefficient mess. This kind of mixed economy is far more debt-inducing than either pure capitalism or pure socialism can ever be, hence why we are buried under a debt that other countries aren't. Between capitalism and socialism, I will always choose the former, but I'm not stupid enough to ignore that a purely socialist system is more efficent than what we have in place now. We have the dangerous combination of the size of government and spending that a socialist country has with the resistance to taxing that a capitalist country has to pay for it. Until the country swings one way or the other, we will continue to be buried in debt. I am opposed to socialism, and always will be, but I also recognize that this mixed economy we have is even worse, at least in terms of debt. We have become the equivalent of a family that maxes themselves out on credit cards but continues to splurge with their income instead of paying their bills.
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ulthar
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« Reply #94 on: April 14, 2011, 10:59:31 AM »


On the other hand, there is a reason that the top 1% pay 40% of the tax revenues. They have most of the income. You're certainly not going to pay off the debt from the middle class.


True.  But at some point, at some tax rate, it does become confiscatory.

Upon reflection, I do have to modify my earlier comment a little bit, or at least clarify it.

I stated the opinion that progressive taxation is wrong (indeed, evil in my book).  I am specifically applying this to progressive tax RATES, not to be confused with what could be termed progressive tax revenues.

Clearly, even at a flat rate (and I won't argue in favor of a regressive tax rate...just as evil), the higher income levels will pay more into revenues.  So, by arguing against progressive rates, I am NOT saying that the rich actually putting more money into the coffer is wrong.

I wanted to clarify this because I am vocal proponent of systems like The Fair Tax.  First, I think income taxation itself is punitive, no matter what the rates or rate structure is.  On it's face, the premise of taxing what people earn tells people earning is "bad."

The Fair Tax is a consumption tax...each individual is 'free' to 'control' the amount of tax they pay based on what they choose to spend.  A super wealthy person is going to spend more, so he pays more (but the same rate) as anyone else.  *IF* he chooses not to spend his money, he keeps it...the ownership, or indeed generation, of wealth is not taxed (punished).

Advocates of The Fair Tax do not suppose for an instant that everyone will pay the same dollar amount into the system.  So, the 1% pays 40% stat will still hold (or something close to it).

Finally, I think the ONLY way to get to any kind of positive tax reform is to do away with withholding.  People have to know what they are actually paying to want to get a handle on where the money is going.

The system we have in place is genius....governmentally sanctioned theft with the threat of the use of force (and imprisonment), as Peter Sellers points out above, and people don't fight it because they fail to realize that the few percent they get BACK at the end of the year is but a fraction of what they paid in...but they got a refund, so "the government gave me money."

(To the spirit of the real Peter Sellers I apologize...the allusion was uncalled for...)
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« Reply #95 on: April 14, 2011, 11:26:21 AM »

ulthar,

I like your post. The other half of my post, by the way, covers the confiscatory part.

 Cheers
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bob
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« Reply #96 on: April 14, 2011, 06:47:25 PM »

Here's what I propose.

Abolish the health care bill passed last year. By doing so several trillion dollars going towards it would go away and back into the treasury.

Lower salaries for all those who work in government, if and only if their salary is taken out of the treasury where the debt is cut from.

Getting the troops out of Iraq and Afganistan. Several trillion dollars have been spent trying to impose the American political system over there. What works well for one country does not always work well for another.

Get the servicemen out of Libya. The last thing we need is another stupid war that this country has no business being in.

Substanically lower the retirement packages for all those who work in goverment and again if and only if their retirement packages are taken out of the treasury where the debt is cut from.

Higher taxes for the wealthy, they can afford it. I mean the top 10 percent.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 07:35:36 PM by bob » Logged

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indianasmith
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« Reply #97 on: April 14, 2011, 07:32:22 PM »

I believe in starting what we finish.  Withdrawal from Iraq is underway now, because that country is slowly stabilizing.  Withdrawal from Afghanistan will turn the country right back over to the Taliban, and we WILL be hit again.  We weren't in Afghanistan OR Iraq when the first 9/11 happened.  Libya - we came in too late with too little to help the revolutionaries.  Pull out for now, and when Gadaffi gives his public victory address, park a Hellfire Missile upside his head.   Then the rebels can have a legitimate chance.

It all comes back, though, to Congress flat out refusing to exercise ANY form of fiscal self-control, and the main culprits there are the Democrats.  The Republicans spent too much those last few years, but the Democrats have made them look like pikers!

As far as the President's speech goes - he sounded good.  He ALWAYS sounds good; that's how he got elected.  But his policies and actions always give the lie to his pretty speeches.  The only thing I really expect him to cut is the military, since he shares the institutional liberal loathing of it.  But I doubt a penny of those savings will go to cut down the debt.  He will find another way to promise the voters money in exchange for their votes, so he can be re-elected, and we will pile on ANOTHER trillion or two in debt.

In the end, entitlements must be cut.  Period.  It is the ONLY path to fiscal salvation.
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« Reply #98 on: April 14, 2011, 07:50:39 PM »


Higher taxes for the wealthy, they can afford it. I mean the top 10 percent.


You had me til here.  All your points have merit (whether I agree with specific ones or not, they are good points) except this one.

"they can afford it" is kind of a dangerous game to play with other people's possessions.  If the top 10 percent of the population is ALREADY paying Lion's Share of the tax burden, at what point does it become enough in your analysis?  At what point do you say, "ok, the 'rich' are taxed enough now."

And has been said time and time in this thread...revenues are NOT the problem; spending is.  From the essence of most of your post, you agree.  But why then the fall back to the revenue side of the equation again...because higher taxes WILL NOT WORK.

You cannot tax the rich enough to make up for the current budget deficits, much less the planned growth in government spending over the next decade.  Run the numbers yourself.  Say you want to tax the top 10% at 90%, or even 95%...and assume the number of folks in that bracket stays the same (which it won't) and see if you can meet the current budget.

Because if you don't, you are STILL increasing the national debt even though you are punishing the wealth producers in the economy, which will in turn hurt ALL segments below it that depend on that wealth for THEIR growth.

I really would like to see the numbers on this...we are talking deficits of TRILLIONS of dollars, and I just don't think increasing the tax revenues of a handful of "they are too rich and therefore I don't like them" people is going to touch that.
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« Reply #99 on: April 14, 2011, 08:34:01 PM »


As far as the President's speech goes - he sounded good.  He ALWAYS sounds good; that's how he got elected.  But his policies and actions always give the lie to his pretty speeches. 

I can attest to this. He gave a town hall meeting in my neck of the woods last year. I was there. He's charasmatic as all hell and is an excellent public speaker.
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ulthar
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« Reply #100 on: April 14, 2011, 09:24:23 PM »

I found some numbers to answer my own question; I'll go at this from a couple of different angles.

First, let's look at a 'wealth tax,' which, if we are going make taxes punitive, why not go for broke?

"Wealth" is best defined by net worth, not income.  Net worth equals total assets minus total liabilities.  

In 2004, the average net worth of the top 10% in the United States was $831,600.  Let's overestimate the number of people that represents and say it's 10% of the population (not earners)...or, about 3,000,000 people.  So, 3,000,000 people earning and average of $831,600 would be 2.49 trillion dollars.

Now, let's say we want to really stick it to them and tax the at 90% of their net worth...just take it away from them.  They CAN afford it, right?

90% of 2.49 trillion is 2.24 trillion dollars.  The current national debt is 14 trillion dollars.  So, if you wipe out essentially the entire wealth of the top 10% (those that HAVE the wealth, remember), you have only dented the national debt by about 15%, from 14 trillion down to about 12 trillion.

And....that wealth is gone.  This hypothetical tax system hits ONLY the "evil rich," so unless our government spending programs funnel it right back to the top 10%, there is NO MORE LEFT to finance the government.

Trying to finance the current debt by taxing the wealth of the wealthy is a perpetual motion machine - a fantasy, in other words.

Okay let's shift to income..it's ongoing, right?  We should be able to pinch the rich, the top 10% wage earners, and pay down the debt...at least according to the Marx and Engels based progressive taxation system.

In 2008, the top 10% of households earned on average just under $200,000, and we'll use the same 3,000,000 earners figure, giving about 600 billion in taxable income.  Hitting them for 95% in our punitive, progressive system, we get a revenue of 570 billion per year in revenues from our top 10%.

If the ONLY thing we used that money for was paying down the debt, that is, we financed the CURRENT year government with the rest of the 90% of the working population, it would take 24.5 years to eliminate the debt (that's 14 trillion divided by 570 billion).

The problem is that the remaining 90% cannot pay for the operation of the government at current budget levels.  So, even if the top 10% did put 95% of their earnings into debt reduction ... the debt would still GROW by some significant percentage of the annual budget.

So...we can soak the rich all we want...sure does feel good to stick to the "haves," doesn't it?  But without reining in spending AND insuring the growth of wealth, there is no practical hope of eliminating the national debt.

Finally, ALL of this assumes 'zero sum' economics...that tax rates and tax burdens have no effect on incomes, wealth and net worth of individuals.  Since this is not born out in practice, the situation is even more "dire."  You simply cannot generate the kind of revenue needed by increasing taxes.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 09:26:46 PM by ulthar » Logged

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« Reply #101 on: April 14, 2011, 09:58:26 PM »

You boys need to look closer at Western Europe where there've been 90% tax bracket, which I expect you're aware of.  So, we wander off into how much "betterer" we are (or is that "gooder"?) I tease you, and I know your worth, but philosophies have been proven, as you might both insist, look to history.  It's about money overall, not what one individual makes.  How much does one person's family need to live on, and, exceedingly well? 
Fair is fair, afterall, or, "Share, share, that's fair!"   Drink  How much cash was generated? 
One man may be happy to have loved his childhood sweetheart.  Another may be happy to live humbly on a boat and find pleasure and satisfaction in sacrifice.  Not too many people are that happy.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #102 on: April 15, 2011, 06:43:29 AM »

You're a good man, AHD!
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« Reply #103 on: April 15, 2011, 09:18:30 AM »

Quote
We weren't in Afghanistan OR Iraq when the first 9/11 happened.

??? we had a no fly zone we were enforcing and SANCTIONS on Iraq. We weren't in Afghanistan because there was nothing there.

We were in the middle east on the Saudi soil and giving billions to dsespised dictators. This was the impetus for 9/11 and in fat the formation ofAl Queda itself.

They were over here because we were over there. It's called blowback.
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bob
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« Reply #104 on: April 15, 2011, 07:38:45 PM »

New ideas based on old ones:

Here's what I propose.

Abolish the health care bill passed last year. By doing so several trillion dollars going towards it would go away and back into the treasury.

Getting the troops out of Iraq and Afganistan. Several trillion dollars have been spent trying to impose the American political system over there. What works well for one country does not always work well for another.

Get the servicemen out of Libya. The last thing we need is another expensive war that this country has no business being in.

Lower the retirement packages for all those who work in goverment and again if and only if their retirement packages are taken out of the treasury where the debt is cut from.

Make goverment employees pay a higher percentage of their own benefits, if and only if the money used to cover their benefits is taken out of the treasury where the debt is coming from.

Lower salaries for all those who work in government, if and only if their salary is taken out of the treasury where the debt is cut from.

If I am reading the following link correctly they are. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress#Pay_and_benefits

Cut funding for NASA by 10%.

Cut funding for the War on Drugs by 10%.

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