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Eamonn

A wake-up call?

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While it's fair to say that I have always been very Left of center for a very long time.

Watching what has happened in the past few elections, it seems to me that there has been a feeling of "Change" more than anything else.

Just change the people that are there. No matter what side they are on, no matter what they say they are going to do or might do. Just kick 'em all out and bring in new faces.

 

Many of us see the size of the deficit.We kinda know that this isn't a good thing, but when faced with finding ways of paying it down? All the cuts and cut backs seem to hurt or cause harm and those who are hurt or harmed fall into a special case.

At the local level. Where I live I see billboards that want schools to cut back, increase classroom sizes, stop spending money on sports.

At the State level things seem to be in a real mess. State workers are being cut and their pensions and health care packages are in jeopardy.

Republican Governors like Tom Corbett, here in Pa. Were elected after stating that they wouldn't raise taxes, which they may not themselves do. Still they know in their heart of hearts that in order to pay for essential services the guys at the county and city level will end up raising taxes.

To me this seems just a case of passing the buck.

 

I haven't read the news yet today. So I'm not sure if the Shut down is going to happen or not?

From what I have seen on the TV and read this shut down is no longer just about funding. It has become more about the add ons, the special agendas of the groups who now feel that they have the power to force through things that might feel are important.

While I might admire their passion? I can't help but feel that they are pushing their luck and adding on their special projects at this time is just plain wrong.

Maybe now that people have had a chance to see what these new faces are up to and see that just kicking the bums out and replacing them with fresh bums? Really isn't the answer. We can hope that the time has come to take a real look a real long hard look at what we want and who is going to stand up and work toward doing what we want.

If the majority think about it and want to cut the size of government? Then that's fine and dandy. They will of course need to be aware that there is a cost to these cuts.

If on the other hand the majority looks long and hard and decides that maybe all these cuts are just too painful? Then, they must also see that there is a cost for this.

While I might be willing to pay a little more in taxes? That's just me.

My hope is that what is happening now will act as a wake-up call and the time has come for everyone to really look at what is important to and for them? Then vote for the group or the person who stands up for what they want and what they believe in.

Ea.

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For those of you who believe that you are taxed to little. Please go to http://treasurydirect.gov and pay as much extra as you want.

 

That you would advocate violently taking money from others just because you don't want the government to live within its means is morally reprehensible.

 

The problem with tax increases is that they do not raise more revenue. Never have, never will. Higher, lower taxes, it does not matter, revenue will remain at about 18% of GDP. You just cannot spend at 25% of GDP with that sort of revenue. The only option that actually works is to cut spending. Yes, it may hurt some people for a while. But it will be much worse in about 10 years if nothing is done.

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"That you would advocate"

I'm sorry, I didn't think I was doing very much advocating, other than saying that we all need to think about what it is that we really want.

 

Have to admit that I have a big problem with terms like "morally reprehensible."

 

While some might and do find taking money from others just because you don't want the government to live within its means morally reprehensible.

 

Some might and do think hurting and causing harm to the people who can least afford it to be morally reprehensible.

 

Making this choice and being willing to put up with the consequences is worthy of our discussion and I would hope what people will think about when it comes time for them to vote.

Ea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That you would advocate violently taking money from others just because you don't want the government to live within its means is morally reprehensible.

 

Maybe I missed something, but is the topic Robin Hood? Who's advocating violence??

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Perhaps Eamonn is a thug in real life, lurking in the dark alleyways of rural PA with a baseball bat or a tire iron, just waiting to violently take money from others.

 

However, I don't believe we've seen that side of Eamonn on this board. Or maybe I missed that thread.

 

Jet, I admit I'm not as anti-tax as you are so we probably won't agree on some things no matter what. What I really don't understand though, is why it is ok to cut services and benefits for the middle and lower-middle class, while leaving the wealthiest individuals unscathed. Why is it so impossible to close a few tax loopholes on the wealthiest among us? What happened to shared sacrifice, when the sacrifices are falling almost entirely on the poor and middle classes?

 

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The Fair Tax would eliminate most of this rancor.

Jet, I guess you weren't following things back when we shifted from a balanced budget and a surplus to our current status partly BECAUSE of those 'temporary' tax cuts. Personally, I think there is a moral responsibility to pay for goods and services that are received...even if the costs are painful. Sure, if we don't want the pain, get rid of the services. But in the meantime until we make that decision, we should not put that bill off onto future generations..we should pay those bills now.

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So, even though they still are only a very small amount compared to what needs to be dealt with, how many billions have now been theoretically cut in the series of extensions. As I understand it, each extension has included some cuts, so we need to add them together. We must be close to that 100 billion that has been bandied about?

 

I tend to agree with Pack on this. Someone on PBS just said that what we need in the budget and government is a "heart transplant", not just temporary stints.

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That you would advocate violently taking money from others just because you don't want the government to live within its means is morally reprehensible.

 

Who is advocating violence?

 

If everyone paid the same tax rate, we wouldn't be in this bind! A flat 20% on all income with no loopholes!

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There are certain advantages to a flat tax and it is definitely easier to administer and figure out. On the other hand, it tends to ignore the fact that relatively poorer people can less afford to spend as high a percentage of income on taxes, and relatively wealthier people can. It isn't just absolute dollars in question here, it is the whole notion of graduated tax systems.

 

Still, given a choice between the current system and a true flat tax, I think I'd prefer the flat tax. The current system has so many loopholes and exceptions for wealthy individuals (don't even start on corporate taxes) that it hardly even resembles the concept of progressive taxes, anymore, particularly at the high end of the income scale.

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violently taking money from others

 

This is the view I dont understand. We have somehow come to believe that we dont have to pay for our democracy, that somehow taxes themselves are an evil thing levied upon us by ignoble forces they are not, they are rather one of the cornerstones of democracy.

 

I still believe that government of the people, by the people, for the people has not perish[ed] from the earth, and I am a full part of that. Whatever we the people do through our democratic institutions we are responsible for it. No matter how much we might disagree with the action: be it waging war, providing health care to poor people, or simply funding the local schools, we are all taking that action and all have the obligation to pay for it.

 

If you look around the world to countries that dont openly fund their government through taxes you universally find tyranny rather than democracy: the oil countries of the Middle East, the mineral rich states of Africa, Venezuela, Russia. The citizens of these countries dont, and arent even allowed to, levy taxes upon themselves, and this is in part why their governments feel free to take actions that are divorced from the will of their people.

 

So it is not a confiscatory act when you pay taxes rather it is your duty to pay them and to ensure that so does everyone else. This is the price and obligation of democracy.

 

I think our founders understood this better at the birth of our republic than we do today. Taxes are not a taking of my money by a government that I am somehow disassociated from. They are rather one of the three pledges mutually made for the support of this Declaration [of Independence] our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred honor. A pledge I still feel bound to today.

 

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Just to make sure everyone is 'on the same page', a flat tax is very different from the 'Fair Tax'. A flat tax keeps the IRS but applies the same tax rate on everyone as has been mentioned. It is merely a single tax rate. A 'flat tax' does not eliminate the prospect of special interest incentives, deductions, credits, etc. It could end up pretty much the same as we have now if left to the lobbyists and politicians.

The Fair Tax, on the other hand would eliminate the income tax altogether. It is an internal tax levied on every step of the supply chain so that by the time a purchase is made, all the taxes have already been paid. If structured to be revenue neutral, it could automatically adjust to balance the budget and provide the cybernetic restraint that we have lacked through personal (un)discipline. The market would merely do its thing and if we, as a society, choose to fund public services, we would automatically pay for them, reflected in the final purchase price of goods and services. Yes, the goods and services would be more expensive at the checkout. On the other hand we would keep that portion of our earnings which are currently being paid in income taxes. The only people who could complain about this are those who pay no income tax (and this currently includes some very rich people as well as the indigent). But in general it puts the burden of the costs onto those of us who churn the market with our transactions. It would be a nearly optimal linkage of the marketplace to the federal government.

 

Of course this would still leave us vulnerable to the idiots we elect to state government.

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"Who's advocating violence?"

 

Taxes as confiscatory. They say, "Give us your money or we will come and throw you in jail". That is violence.

 

"Some might and do think hurting and causing harm to the people who can least afford it to be morally reprehensible."

 

Not providing something is not the moral equivalent of active harm. Say I lived alone on a desert island. All I have to eat are bananas and fish. One day a ship comes by. They give me steak, potatoes and Diet Coke. This goes on for a week. Then one morning the ship leaves and I am back to having bananas and fish. Has this ship caused me harm by leaving? No. Is it under a moral obligation to stay and continue to provide me steak, potatoes and Diet Coke? No. The same is the case with government. Withdrawing a service that would not exist if the state did not exist at all is not doing harm.

 

"What I really don't understand though, is why it is ok to cut services and benefits for the middle and lower-middle class, while leaving the wealthiest individuals unscathed."

 

I do not believe they should be left "unscathed". There should be an end to subsidies. Corporations should pay for the negative externalities that they create.

 

"The Fair Tax would eliminate most of this rancor."

 

Payroll taxes are stupid taxes. They penalize productivity and are involuntary. A consumption tax would be far better. The do not discourage wealth creation and can be avoided by anyone willing to do without a particular good.

 

"I guess you weren't following things back when we shifted from a balanced budget and a surplus to our current status partly BECAUSE of those 'temporary' tax cuts."

 

We did not go from a surplus to a deficit because of the tax cuts. A significant factor in the loss of revenue with the recession in 2001-2002. Additionally the decrease in revenue was less then the increase in spending. Revenues from income tax decreased about $150 billion between 2001-2002. Spending increased by $225 billion. By 2003 income tax revenue was about $200 billion as spending increased by $390 billion. By 2008 income revenue was about $175 billion ABOVE the 2001 baseline while spending was now $1.1 TRILLION more than it was in 2001. (Those numbers are in 2005 dollars) So while it is true that the change was partially because of the change in taxes, it was a small part compared to the increase in spending.

 

"I think there is a moral responsibility to pay for goods and services that are received...even if the costs are painful."

 

There is. Beyond your, "if we don't want the pain, get rid of the services", is government the best method of delivering those services. In many cases the answer is "No".

 

"But in the meantime until we make that decision, we should not put that bill off onto future generations..we should pay those bills now."

 

Better, if we cannot pay for those bills, then like it or not we should discontinue the service. That is the problem that Eamonn does not want to address. We are already to the point that even if we took all the money (not just income, but all their wealth) from the top earners we still would not have enough to cover our current spending.

 

We cannot tax our way out of this. There just isn't enough money.

 

"If everyone paid the same tax rate, we wouldn't be in this bind! A flat 20% on all income with no loopholes!"

 

Make it a consumption tax instead of an income tax and I would likely agree. Ideally taxes should directly target the externality that needs to be addressed. Fuel taxes are a better means of paying for roads than property taxes.

 

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T2Eagle: "This is the view I dont understand. We have somehow come to believe that we dont have to pay for our democracy, that somehow taxes themselves are an evil thing levied upon us by ignoble forces they are not, they are rather one of the cornerstones of democracy."

 

There are taxes and then there are taxes. Initially the Federal Government was funded mostly by tariffs, user fees and property taxes of various types. Being voluntary, these forms of taxes tend to be readily self limiting, which is why, until the establishment of the income tax, government taxation and spending was mostly local. The confiscatory income tax changed that. Now instead of the users of the service being the ones to pay for it, government is able to provide services to the people that do not pay for it. Such charity cases as GE, ADM and Boeing, as well as wonderful activities like war.

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Taxes as confiscatory. They say, "Give us your money or we will come and throw you in jail". That is violence.

 

No, it's not. Go check your dictionary.

 

In a civilized society, we have to follow the rules. Our rules are set by our chosen representatives. Nearly 100 years ago, they chose to adopt the federal income tax, even putting it into the Constitution. Was Republican President William Howard Taft a "violent" man for supporting it?

 

... as well as wonderful activities like war.

 

I'm fairly certain the U.S. waged war before the income tax came along.(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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