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# Taxation

11/15/2012 9:11 PM

Recently taxation of the rich has been in the news. Mathematician Bernoulli came up with an equation that shows the rich should pay a higher tax rate. Here's some info, my question is at the end.

An article was found in the 4-volume set of books The World of Mathematics, circa 1956. The following is from Volume 2, from the article "The Application of Probability to Conduct" by John Maynard Keynes.

There are several interesting passages in the article, but I'll use one found on page 1369: " . . . no one but a miser regards the desirability of different sums of money as directly proportional to their amount; . . . . Daniel Bernoulli deduced a formula from the assumption that the importance of an increment is inversely proportional to the size of the fortune to which it is added."

Let's call m the moral fortune, and p the physical fortune. There is some value at which the physical and moral fortunes are equal; this can be any amount, which can be thought of as the income at which \$1 equals \$1 to the owner. These lead to an equation involving a natural logarithm which shows that the tax rate should increase as the income increases.

I want to reevaluate the constants in this equation. The Federal poverty level for a family of 4 is \$23000. But what is the income at which moral and physical income is the same--where does an actual dollar equal a dollar of worth? \$60000???

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#1

### Re: taxation

11/15/2012 9:44 PM

"...no one but a miser regards the desirability of different sums of money as directly proportional to their amount..."

How is that not just an opinion? Was Bernoulli gifted with omniscience, that he knew what everyone thought about money, including what people as yet unborn might think? The arrogance of that statement is startling to me.

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#22

### Re: taxation

11/17/2012 11:55 AM

Amen. go in peace.

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#2

### Re: taxation

11/15/2012 10:31 PM

Which Bernoulli? None of the several great Bernoulli mathematicians were alive in 1956. They were all dead by more than a century in 1956. I also doubt that they wrote that opinion in English.

I ask because the enigmatic concept intrigues me. I'd like to get closer to the original to unwrap the riddle.

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#4

### Re: taxation

11/15/2012 11:04 PM

The third paragraph tells you it was Daniel.

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#81

### Re: taxation

11/18/2012 8:37 PM

Yes, looks like the italicized portion of #6 may be it. Now I'll have to dig out my boxed copy of the World of Mathematics and compare the sources.

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#3

### Re: taxation

11/15/2012 10:44 PM

This sounds like decreasing marginal utility. No matter how general the principle is, different persons could assign different evaluations. This would result in person-by-person variations of the \$60,000 estimate.

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#5

### Re: Taxation

11/16/2012 12:30 AM

- America is capitalist and greedy - yet half of the population is subsidized.
- Half of the population is subsidized - yet they think they are victims.
- They think they are victims - yet their representatives run the government.
- Their representatives run the government - yet the poor keep getting poorer.
- The poor keep getting poorer - yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
- They have things that people in other countries only dream about - yet they want America to be more like those other countries.

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#6

### Re: Taxation

11/16/2012 2:10 AM

'Half of the population is subsidized - yet they think they are victims'

.

There has been a huge amount of subsidization for a very long time. Certainly to those with the lowest income but they hold no monopoly on being subsidized nor on feeling like victims.

.

It would be pretty difficult to argue that the poor are the ones in positions to set the discussion points, to outline the party planks, or to expect to be rewarded for contributing a substantial amount to the winning candidates coffer. So while the subsidy to the poor is the most easily visible and publicized, it is not the only nor even really near the top when it come to size.

.

Subsidization occurs in a number of ways, the dynamics of which are typically quite complex. Some of the largest subsidies are subtle, and complex enough to be beyond communicating to most typical citizens with the confines of a typical in-depth magazine article. In some cases, while it is not too difficult to notice significant market distortion induced by a subsidy, it isn't an easy task to accurately define the groups that are the ultimate net recipients of the subsidy nor the groups that ultimately shoulder the net burden.

.

One thing to consider is that the United States is not a closed system with respect to subsidization. It is no closely guarded secret that the US has actively developed and protected sizable net subsidies for itself for many decades. So any accusations of one US citizen calling some group of US citizens something akin to welfare queens, would best be tempered with an understanding that the very significant net benefit the US has put so much effort into strong-arming out of the rest of the globe, effectively makes any US citizen the recipient of probably the largest subsidy by far.

.

Not convinced? Check out the volumes traded daily on the FOREX. Check out the percentage of that is US dollar denominated. Ask yourself if net short sales on things like silver or gold that regularly exceed 150% of the annual mined production of the precious metal, might have anything to do with putting upward pressure on a currency that is being printed as rapidly as the presses will run with interest rates kept slightly below zero effectively?

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#8

### Re: Taxation

11/16/2012 7:47 AM

I doubt anyone here needs convincing. Some subsidies have been obvious for a long time. The railroad industry was heavily subisidized early on - the 'robber barons' got that way due to crony capitalism. Many of the individuals who profited the most from the transcontinental railroad were politicians who were either part owners of the rail companies or who got sweet stock deals from the rail companies as kickbacks for the subsidies.

Many other large industries benefitted from similar types of 'crony capitalism'. The coal industry was another example, where certain individuals got special deals from federal and state governments for buying land or getting mineral rights to public lands, even in some cases forcing people off their own land. They also got laws passed allowing them to exploit the labor force. The initial rise of unions (in the US) was for workers' rights against these forms of 'crony capitalism'.

On a smaller, more personal scale, back when it was in the interest of the federal government to increase the size of the population, large families were subsidized through deductions on income tax and mortgage interest paid. It recent times when it was decided that the population had grown enough, personal exemptions were decreased so having a large family became more expensive. Currently there is a growing movement to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, which would make it relatively more expensive to own the size of house needed for a large family.

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#13

### Re: Taxation

11/16/2012 11:24 PM

When you reduce or eliminate the mortgage deduction, the prices of houses will fall. Housing prices are simply dictated by what people can (or are willing to) afford. The last few years certainly bear that out.

Similarly, college expenses would not be climbing at such a high rate if easy/cheap money was not available to prospective students. Because enrollments have not dropped, colleges and universities have had no incentive to hold down costs. As long as star-struck students show up at the registrar's office with fistfuls of money, the schools have no reason to economize. Easy government loans to 'help' students are in fact subsidies for some of the most wasteful spending (colleges) I have seen anywhere.

Colleges and universities are the next bubble when students start figuring out their ROI (for many degrees) just doesn't make sense.

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#63

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 9:40 AM

Colleges being the next bubble to burst is already happening.

But easy money and cheap money or two flip different things. But education it is going down the path of the housing market. With that being cheap money, (4.5 to 6%) as well as easy money.

The problem is, the recent classes I took, allot of the student are taking classes where due to the easy money and getting there 4 year degree at a cost of \$100,000.00 are taken class's where the ROI is approx. \$28,000.00 to (if your lucky) \$38,000.00 a year. And that is if you can get a job. Being basically in social workers.????

There was talk of subsidizing these programs with a form of a excise tax from programs such as engineering programs, where the prospect are better.

One down fall this easy and cheap money created was allot of for profit schools. (Phoenix U., ITT Technical, Globe U., Rassmessen, ect.). I my city of 100,000 people, there where 3 colleges the were established here in the last 10 years. Not including the existing colleges already here and the outlaying areas from the neighboring towns and city's.

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#100

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 8:53 AM

Eliminating the mortgage deduction will have short and medium term side-effect of making current mortgages more difficult to pay for low and middle income families since the income tax "rebate" will disappear. Eliminating that deduction at this time will result in another smaller bubble bursting in the housing market just as housing is getting its feet back under itself. Unless existing mortgages are grandfathered in, which I will believe when I see the legislation signed, this will happen. Governments (federal and all the smaller taxing bodies) needing as much money as they can take to pay for existing promises (programs and bonds), they probably can't afford to grandfather these mortgages without a sunset date.

I know that I have had a difficult time last three or four years due to the economy. Personally, I will probably wind up having to move (short sell or worse) if that happens before my finances recover if this deduction goes away.

In the abstract, specific deductions (aka loopholes) do distort prices SIGNIFICANTLY -- as has been pointed out, sellers and their agents aren't stupid, they will build that sort of thing into the selling price to get what they can. In addition, the complexity they introduce keeps as many tax attorneys and IRS investigators employed as we have. And before anyone gets worried about those unemployment numbers going up, remember that now that AHCA (aka ObamaCare) is going to kick in, they can keep all those people employed by closing individual and corporate loopholes because the Health Care laws and regulations are changing so fast and substantially.

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#17

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 6:28 AM

We don't need to print money anymore to increase the money supply. That's old hat. When those in charge of our monetary policy at the Fed or the ECB or in Beijing, London, etc., decide there is a need for more money, then they just add some zeros to the accounts in their balance. Paper currency is being printed constantly to get rid of the coke residues found on many of the bills, aside from their wearing out from being passed all around the world for all kinds of transactions both licit and ill, while also being counterfeited at extraordinary rates.

When you pay your taxes, you can now just deduct the amount online from your bank account which is then digitally wired directly to the IRS or write a check. Neither of these involve printed currency today like most transactions most normal folks undertake every day.

There is no doubt that the rich should pay more of what they have and earn except among the rich. They don't like that idea at all. It might take away from all those extra digits to the left of the decimal in their bank statement, but it won't really do them any harm.

While the rest of us, when we have to pay an exorbitant tax bill or medical bill or tuition for our children, or even in some cases, more every day, when we just try to get enough to eat etc., we often have to learn to do without since at the bank there ain't nothing but air between the decimal and the left margin.

What we often and all too easily forget is that without those taxes there wouldn't be the opportunities we all enjoy to make enough money to put some away, or invest or increase the number of digits to the left of the decimal in one manner or another if we are capable of doing so. But that automatically puts the burden of taking care of those not capable of making any serious money on our shoulders. The top must assist the bottom or the bottom cannot hold up the top.

Today, paper money is just about as meaningful as those digits, except that you have it materially until you put it into a bank account, unless you buy gold, diamonds, art or land, but then you can't buy groceries with a piece of gold today unless you live in some pretty out of the way place.

In our normal world politicians are those we have hired to do nothing but divvy up what we collectively put together to cover the stuff that would be too expensive to cover as individuals, such as supporting those in our society who can't support themselves, or building roads, bridges, schools, etc. The best ones do it as a service and don't steal too much. The worst should be hanged by their ears on Capitol Hill but instead they usually get promoted or retire to a quiet life of teaching young politicians to steal with impunity. Occasionally they go to jail and do not pass go. But that's as rare as a three dollar bill these days.

All politicians try to convince us that they know best. Only a few of them are qualified to do the preparation necessary to truly give straight answers and those few know well that they are just guessing. Successful politicians are like successful investors, or football quarterbacks, baseball pitchers, or surgeons: they're good at studying the field and looking closely at the problems quickly and then making sound decisions (guesses) about how their actions will affect outcomes. Otherwise, they are all there to make themselves or some others wealthier than yesterday - just add some more digits to the left of the decimal and it makes its own sauce.

Does wealth make a man better than his poor neighbour? Does a wealthy man have more life than a guy who works every day to eat and keep a roof over his and his family's heads, or a person who can't even do that? I do not believe so. Wealth just offers more choices. The wisdom to choose properly belongs to those who work hard at preparing themselves for those choices (guesses), whether they are rich or poor or in between.

Paying taxes is a privilege that enables us to do what we do and be what we are freely. The system isn't perfect and it has to be adjusted constantly, which is why we elect politicians. If it were easy, more engineers would be in politics. But human institutions are not machines or scientifically quantifiable systems. These human systems need other humans to work and compromise and innovate in order for them to succeed. Otherwise Marxist and Leninist programmes would not just be fond memories of some old-time communist sympathisers.

Europe is in the muck it's in because the European countries won't waive sovereignty in the name of better and fairer administration of the immense wealth contained there. The wealthy there won't allow principled and honest administrators to get a look at what they really have so that it can be taxed properly. The euro without a coherent political framework to uphold it will either destroy Europe through another set of civil wars or it will cause it to become a united and strong force for freedom and liberty, which was the original intention.

The US and other great nations like Brazil, India, and China, etc. have done this and are working on it actively. Europe is holding the rest of the world back because of its stubborn attachment to provincial, narrow minded causes. The far right will come back to power if they're not careful there. Then the circle will start over. But a great deal of loss and tragedy will be the interim result.

Unfortunately, most politicians in Europe and the bankers who rule over them don't listen to the people or care about their needs any longer. Democracy works when it is applied faithfully - but today all those digits to the left of the decimal get in the way, not because money is intrinsically bad, but because people are intrinsically self corrupting and the ease with which money is waved about as an incentive is too difficult for them to resist.

Folks in the US need to be thankful for the great privileges they enjoy, whether rich or poor. Levelling the playing field by creating compromises to give health care to more people is not a bad thing if it is managed properly, just like anything else. It's all a question of management, not lying too much, and not getting too greedy.

Yeah, I know... It's just a dream, but I though it was worth sharing.

"A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is still putting on its shoes." Mark Twain

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#38

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 8:23 PM

You are exactly right about the expansion of money supply being incompletely descibed by 'printing of currency'. While there has been a troublesome, very rapid increase in the amount of cash and checkable deposits (M1), it is dwarfed by the increase in other noncheckable accounts (M2). I should have been more rigorous in wording my statement, as my concern is not simply about the number of pieces of paper out there.

.

It would be better to view (or perhaps if I a had done a better job wording) my statement about 'running printing presses as fast a they can' as an analogy for increasing the money supply exponentially, while lacking any similar exponential increase in (non-derivative based) collateral.

.

I am curious what you state are the reasons currency is being printed constantly.....

.

-Cocaine? Why? Is it being collected and sold to generate revenue? .....or is someone concerned about the bills accumulating some non-negligible inherent material value?

I realize traces of cocaine can be detected on a considerable portion of bills that have been in circulation a while. Are you saying that this goes far beyond minimum detetable levels of contamination? Is the cocaine supply outpacing demand so significantly that cocaine users are spending powdery bills?

.

- Counterfeiting? Printing doesn't reduce counterfeiting. Eventually new improved design can have an effect. Saying that timelines to remove most of previous design would be a cause for high printing rates, but this is not the same as counterfeiting rates driving printing rates.

.

We can agree that printing functions to replace worn out bills and bills of outdated design.

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#211

### Re: Taxation

01/09/2013 5:12 PM

"While there has been a troublesome, very rapid increase in the amount of cash and checkable deposits (M1), it is dwarfed by the increase in other noncheckable accounts (M2). "

The FED has been purchasing treasuries and mortgage backed securites at a rate of about 85 billion dollars ------- per month. The organisation now holds well over 2 Trillion dollars in those financial instruments; soon to hit 3 trillion.

Where does the money come from for the purchases?

Whose holdings are they?

What effect does this have on currency value?

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#83

### Re: Taxation

11/19/2012 12:52 AM

maybe the "poor ones" and the " victims " were given "free" land every where west of the Mississippi not so long ago.

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#7

### Re: Taxation

11/16/2012 6:49 AM

GA Ace. I'm not going to entertain any equations that don't include completely out of control government spending. The rich can't fix that.

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#87

### Re: Taxation

11/19/2012 8:48 AM

The rich can't fix that.
Nor do they want to.

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#113

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 3:29 PM

"completely out of control government spending" goes back to the vast amount of land that was given to the railroads and real estate, then taxed and foreclosed on. The corporate structure of the industrial revolution is based on this carpetbagger mentality.

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#114

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 4:20 PM

That's pure hogwash; no wonder kept anonymous.

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#9

### Re: Taxation

11/16/2012 4:09 PM

#5 is clear and to the point. Now if we could only draw a useful conclusion from these facts.

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#10

### Re: Taxation

11/16/2012 4:53 PM

Wow, GAs for bumper stickers, for talking points and dog whistles.

"America is capitalist and greedy - yet half of the population is subsidized."

To which subsidies do you refer? charitable deductions? mortgage deductions? lower taxes on unearned income, dividends and capital gains?

"They think they are victims - yet their representatives run the government." "Their representatives run the government - yet the poor keep getting poorer"

That sounds more like the billionaires than the poor. Many billionaires think they are victimized. The poor get to vote for candidates preselected by the money men.

"The poor keep getting poorer - yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.

- They have things that people in other countries only dream about - yet they want America to be more like those other countries."

Understanding these two points is problematical. The poor would like things that are part of most other developed economies, affordable health care, protection from predatory banks, etc. but, they have nothing that those other developed countries want. You appear to be mixing rich and poor countries.

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#11

### Re: Taxation

11/16/2012 5:32 PM

excellent comment Passingtongreen.

Most of the points are close to what I was saying in comment #6, but you have done a far better job and convey your points in a clear concise way.

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#14

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 3:01 AM

I can't take it any more - "affordable health care" There is no such thing ANYWHERE in the world! Good health care is expensive! What you are referring to, is health care paid for by some other SAP, other than the one receiving it! The rest of the socialist world is literally burning itself/(themselves?) to the ground in civil disobedience, because they can NO LONGER AFFORD to dole out the freebies to the their native population, AND the influx of Muslim "immigrants". Lady Thatcher was never so right, as when she said:

"Socialism works until you run out of other people's money!"

Well, THAT is exactly what is happening and the whole world is falling apart because leftest dumasses cant get that statement into their thick heads!

Johnny Dep recently decided to move from France, because he was unwilling to pay their exorbitant taxes. My immediate response to that was But... but... they have such excellent health care! Get a clue will ya!

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#15

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 3:35 AM

Great comment.

So many comments related to this subject venture no further than parroting a derisive politial slogan, showing no evidence of individual analysis nor really any original thought.

.

Another aspect of the reality dissonance related to 'affordable health care' is the wildly popular (even among those typically given to careful consideration) fantasy: insurance reduces the cost of healthcare.

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Insurance is generally for-profit, but even considering not-for-profit, or realistic possibilities of a money losing insurance company; adding the service of insurance inevitably increases the cost of the whole.

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It is pure magical thinking that brings otherwise rational thinkers to the flawed conclusion that a net reduction in costs will be the reliable regular result of a third party introducing a new financial service into transactions.

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One actual avenue to reduced medical costs in the US: ask your doctor or dentist if they provide a discount for paying cash upfront instead of utilizing insurance. Many doctors and dentists will reduce the charge by half for cash upfront. It means budgeting and setting aside the money like an adult rather than being mommied by an insurance company.

.

By the way, catastrophic insurance can play an important role in risk reduction. It is generally a good idea to have some level of catastrophic insurance even though it adds net cost, the service is a good value.....

...but beyond that, more general insurance that covers visits and common procedures, the cost is far in excess of the benefit.

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#18

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 9:19 AM

"One actual avenue to reduced medical costs in the US: ask your doctor or dentist if they provide for paying cash upfront instead of utilizing insurance."

If that option even still exist; if so, it will be short lived. That very thing is literally 'outlawed' in Obamacare. A doctor who takes cash under this system will be fined, or even go to jail, because that evil thing called 'capitalism' must be stamped out! You can have your doctor kill your baby (in, or out of the womb), on the public dole, but don't dare ask him to take a nickle for it, because 'that is evil'! Not that I am the type to even think that abortion should be couched under the term 'women's health care'. I was just presenting the facts, to serve as a contrast of ideas, for those who have eyes to see it.

In the original post, the word 'moral' was brought up in the disscusion on extracting my tax dollars from me in the first place. In a court of law, that would open up the line-of-questioning/discussion to the 'moral' use of those funds. That would then lead to a discussion of what defines the 'Morality Scale' to be applied, and that would lead to a wholesale discussion of Religion. But, this isn't a court of law, and people in general don't even want to know how their hotdog is made, let alone where it came from!

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#31

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 7:18 PM

I have personal knowledge of several doctors offices and couple dentist offices that have long had this practice and as of a very recent conversation with one physician, this has not changed.

.

My personal experience is limited in number and geographical area (only two cities in the same state albiet several hours apart). My belief that this is likely more pervasive than you suggest is that EVERY private dentist or doctor office I have asked has had this discount for cash up front... and with one exception, the discount every office is the same 50%.

.

You can choose to believe the sky is falling, or that the sample size of my experience is not meaningfully large, or you might choose to think I am crazy......and it still costs you nothing to simply inquire next time you are in a private doctors office.

.

No reason to fly off the rail. I am, after all, not offering you a discount.

This is merely another opportunity to learn from, and possibly benefit financially from something other than experience in first person perspective. I am told that skill is not a universal trait of humans. As such, the value of this comment is unlikely to be consistent from reader to reader.

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#34

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 7:31 PM

Having family in the healthcare field and having seen my own bills, it's common practice that doctors put on paper like \$4k for an MRI if you have insurance, but the insurance company pays significantly less. I don't know why they do that, but it seems to be done all the time. Yeah, it is deceiving that paying cash allows you to pay less but the insurance company pays less as well. The cash discount also has to do with doing less paperwork and being paid instantly instead of waiting for a check from the insurance company.

But Obamacare is quite capitalistic in some ways as well: it forces walls between states down so that capitalism will allow the private health insurance market to be an even more free market. Doesn't sound like socialism to me.

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#59

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 5:44 AM

'....the word 'moral' was brought up .......

....... In a court of law, that would open up the line-of-questioning/discussion to the 'moral' use .....

....a discussion of what defines the 'Morality Scale' ...

....and ... a wholesale discussion of Religion.....

....But, this isn't a court of law, and people in general don't even want to know how their hotdog is made, let alone where it came from!....'

.

Seems pretty clear you haven't logged many hours 'in a court of law', and that the 'experience' you draw upon to conjure your assertions is probably something akin to watching Judge Judy or Nightcourt reruns.

.

.

Lets move on to a subject you seem more passionate about;

a discussion that historically isn't so critical about claims devoid of proof;

centered on pervasive groups advocating assigning a quality of absolute truth to ideas for which admittedly there is no proof. You guessed it.

...religion or Faith.! yea!

.

I don't really want to get into a discussion about invisible voyeurs in the sky. I just want to extricate those innocent bystanders, 'Moral' and 'Morality Scale', from the character smear of being made of, or coming from, religion.

.

Sure, there are discussions about morality in religion, but there almost certainly have been discussions about religion in the minds of people suffeering psychotic episodes, but I doubt you aren't ready to admit religion was created by the dillusional, right?

.

Sure, a number of religious thinkers have put a lot into the likes of 'morality' and 'moral scale' but this does not mean Morality comes from religion.... A number of Catholic Priests have put a lot into boys under their care, yet I doubt the parents would agree that those boys are created from or owned by the priests.

.

.

Just for the record, inside a court of law or out, I know not only from where my moral hot dog comes, but also of what it is made.

Just to be clear, this knowledge is the kind for which evidence is a prerequisite, as I reject as fantasy anything masquerading as knowledge yet devoid of support.

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#33

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 7:20 PM

Oh and I'm sure that giving more money and tax breaks to the richest people in the world would solve the problem of having the greatest wealth disparity between rich/poor since the great depression. After having lived in Germany/Austria for 3.5 years and signing up for 5 more years in Sweden, I have to say it's not as terrible as you say it is in the "socialist world." There are leftist morons everywhere, but there is an equal if not greater number of closed minded right wingnuts out there as well, especially in the US. Luckily, I think the typical American is closer to the middle.

The PIGS (portugal, italy, greece and spain) are very corrupt and often lazy as a culture. They are not at all like the Germans, French, Brits etc....

In Spain and Greece I know form experience it seems like it's a competition to see who can take the most from the government and pay the fewest taxes. In Germany, Switzerland and the other countries which I would call "well managed" have quite good healthcare systems that the US should really try to strive for. They spend a considerably smaller percent of their GDP on healthcare than we do and cover all of their citizens.

I guess you wouldn't agree with this, but I don't mind paying higher taxes in the countries I've lived in because I know I'm paying for a more just and safer country. Did you know you're TEN times more likely to be murdered in the US compared to Austria? I feel safer in any city in Europe compared to many suburbs in the US.

I'd suggest that you "get a clue" because there is clearly a trend to the more liberal left societies and a higher quality of living, lower crime, higher life expectancy and higher education attainment rates. Do a correlation study of US voting statistics to: obesity rates, higher education attainment rates and state deficits. The more liberal states are less obese, have higher education rates and lower state deficits. Also, Scandinavia is one of the most liberal regions in the world. Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark have quite stable economies and are very liberal. I'd suggest you look at the success stories of Germany and Sweden for example and figure out why certain aspects of their societies work so well and why countries like Greece have failed instead of blanketing all Europeans as "socialists" (which by the way is completely false by definition).

Did you know that if you factor in a minimal cost of healthcare into equivalent pay in the US, my taxes in Sweden are the same? My income isn't taxed any more than in the US once you add up all the separate taxes on your paycheck. You cannot deny the high quality of life in the quite liberal countries like Sweden. It's pretty awesome here lol.

You can't disprove the effectiveness of liberal ideas based on the very corrupt and often lazy countries in europe. The strong economies of europe (Germany, UK, France, Norway, Sweden for example) would be doing well if it weren't for the fact they have to get billions in loans to the "PIGS" which will likely never be paid back.

I'm American and I love my country. But you need to be a bit more fair when you talk about Europe (and I'm assuming you're talking about the EU when you say "the socialist world").

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#37

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 8:18 PM

The success of Germany?

Excuse me. 60 years ago we came very close to wiping Germany off the face of the earth. Do you remember why?

Then we financed the rebuilding of their decimated country.

Please don't sit here and hold Germany up as something we should all aspire to.

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#57

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 4:20 AM

Ha. Typical response. Calling Nazi Germany a Socialist party. YOU should read YOUR history. The "National Socialist Party of Germany" name was a misnomer to help fool the people: it wasn't "Socialist." It was VERY CONSERVATIVE. Nazis were Fascists like Mussolini. They were fearful and intolerant of all people who were unlike themselves (I wonder why Romney had only white folk voting for him?). Fascists believed big industry and corporate wealth would bring up the nation instead of personal wealth distributed throughout the ENTIRE population (not just the rich). So note the difference there: Conservatism breeds exactly what Fascism did (massive corporate wealth) while typical Liberalism does not. Fascism does not use resources in the same way Socialism does: it uses resources for financial gain instead of giving to the people as in Socialism. But still, Germany is far from Socialist. And even if we are talking about extremes (which we are not) just by proper definition alone I'd take a Socialist to a Fascist any day hahaha.

But hey, if we're judging a nation based on what happened 70 years ago, maybe we should judge the USA based on what happened 60-70 years ago as well when the economy was booming. The highest tax rate was up to 92% and the economy soared after the war. I believe the maximum tax bracket from 1940 to the mid 1960's was above 70% and the highest was in the 1950's. You can't deny the economic booms that occurred in the time period after the war. Giving money to the middle class makes for a stronger economy and a stronger country.

I'd suggest that you reevaluate your knowledge of history because you apparently don't understand why we beat up Germany.

It was not because they were liberal socialists, it was because they were conservative fascists. Then the USA rebuilt Germany and Austria and had a pivotal role in installing a new government. And you can't tell me that the US had nothing to do with setting up the new government. But despite the massive setbacks, they still ended up with an economic powerhouse with a stable economy and a safe and just society.

But Germany does have some things that we should aspire to (well, the Autobahn for one lol). Austria as well. I lived in Austria for two years after living in Germany and their healthcare costs are quite low. As a percent of their GDP, it is a bit more than half of what the USA spends. They don't have death panels and the wait times are reasonable. I was able to go to any family doctor with no appointment and expect to see him in less than 20 minutes. Even with an appointment in the USA I often waited for at least an hour. The difference is they don't allow waste so they can keep costs lower. They have LOTS of checks and balances to make sure the system is lean and efficient without sacrificing the quality of care.

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#62

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 9:23 AM

I don't need to read up on anything.

You are on a US forum and saying that the US should be looking at Germany as an example.

You are implying that the Nazis were like todays conservatives in the US.

You say we spend too much on our military, and yet the US taxpayer is paying the bill for us to protect most of the civilized world. That frees up a lot of money for countries that don't have to maintain their own large military's.

And finally, you are receiving GA votes for your opinions. Pretty much explains everything. I'm done here.

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#64

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 10:31 AM

I don't need to read up on anything.

There it is, the root of fallacy, herd mentality and dangerous political folly. This is the very essence of having a closed mind.

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#67

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 11:01 AM

I'm not going to argue with you red. The election proved that the majority of Americans are happy with our current path. I can only hope that it works.

I'll be the first in line to tip my hat when we see a full recovery 4 years from now. I want what's best for the country. Just because I don't see it happening on our current trajectory, doesn't mean that I'm not hoping that I'm wrong. I will be overjoyed to find that I was completely wrong.

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#71

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 11:37 AM

'....The election proved that the majority of Americans are happy with our current path....'

.

Do you really believe that line? Are you really convinced that the election results PROVE most Americans are happy with the current path?

.

How can you be so oblivious to the reality that there is no correlation between choosing not to accept a new course and being happy with the current course?

That an alternative course is deemed inferior to the current course, does not mean the current course is acceptable by default.

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#72

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 11:54 AM

It doesn't matter. Even if the current path was chosen as the lesser of two evils, it's still the path we have chosen. And I would love to see it work, even though I can't understand how it can.

I'm not one to cut off my nose to spite my face.

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#78

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 6:50 PM

"The election proved that the majority of Americans are happy with our current path..."

I do believe you are ignoring roughly 40% of "eligible voters" who voted "none of the above" (whether that was their intention or not). With voter turnout at only about 60% (numbers subject to manipulation by political pundits/analysts, but roughly correct). Seems like Mr. Obama received something on the order of 52% of the votes cast, or approval from something on the order of 31-32%- hardly what I would consider a "majority of Americans".

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#124

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 6:49 PM

The majority of Americans who voted...

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#92

### Re: Taxation

11/19/2012 1:54 PM

How can you say you don't need to read up on anything? I'm sorry, but if you think that modern day liberals are closer to Nazis you are completely wrong. You were implying that we are headed towards what Nazi Germany was like by asking me why we nearly wiped Germany off the face of the earth. Nazis were ultra conservative. Obama by definition cannot be both socialist and radical conservative. Just not possible. Those are opposites in so many ways lol.

I'm American. That's why I'm on a US forum lol. It just so happens that I found some good opportunities in Europe for my Master's (just finished it) and my PhD (just starting it in Sweden). Don't get me wrong, lots of things make me angry in Europe. They ALSO have a lot to learn from what the US does right. But we can also learn a lot about what is done in the EU.

Yeah, there are many many good and bad aspects to the military. I'm just saying though that we spend a massive amount of money blowing crap up compared to rebuilding our own country. Our country has a multitude of problems that either don't exist or exist at a MUCH smaller scale in EU countries. We need to reevaluate what we spend our money on.

Just because people like my opinions means that it explains what about everything? I try to use well thought out opinions with easily backed up information. The whole country isn't out to get you.

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#94

### Re: Taxation

11/19/2012 4:13 PM

Re: #93 (and#89).

It is vexing, when people flaunt opinions based on present day sensibilities embraced by some, about events of well a century in the past. Especially, when it is evident, that they did not read upon it.

I am referring to Woodrow Wilson, the (most?) progressive president. Even, when you read the mild Wikipedia, he comes across arrogant, intolerant, vastly expanding his office's power. Throwing opponents into the iail for opinion, not action, etc. He was even a segregationist, in accordance with his time. Most present day followers would dearly love forget those, and ascribe them to their opposition.

The Sage said: "You are entitled to your opinions, but not to your separate facts."

I spoke repeatedly about the "leading" fair haired boys not being any smarter, than we here on this thread. For details, look at my previous notes. Before somebody gets some notions, I am simply noting recent events, as they come. Nor do I take any delight in the events.

European dissolution in progress, not stopped by Brussel's fair haired boys.

http://www.france24.com/en/20121118-eu-fresh-trouble-budget-summit-faces-collapse

Our own fair haired boys are not any better. On Bloomberg, Al Hunt program, our fair haired Treasury Secretary said: simply lift the Congress's debt ceiling to infinity! What? Giving to this bunch an open credit card for money we do not have?!? Because they are too lazy to start with to do some heavy lifting?

I go back to the original many times repeated ground rule: When the outgo is larger that the income, something got to give. It is equally true for you, for a company, or for an organization of any size. If you dream of carving out a few cents from a dollar, remember, smart people before you did already carve out 101 cents from all dollars they could grab. You are merely a latecomer.

If you care to argue with this, you do not know, what you are talking about. Or are on gov't payroll, where economy's rules do not quite apply.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

By now you may have noticed, that I do not give a fig about your beliefs, nor give mines. They are not germane to the discussion.

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#96

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 4:11 AM

I was not the one who started the comparison of current events to Nazi Germany. And you are absolutely right that using some past events isn't a good measure to today's issues but it can clearly be used as an example. If someone starts a conversation like that I'll play their game especially if they are clearly wrong.

Yes, the majority of the EU's problems are derived from the fact that many of the nations are not equally equipped culturally or systemically. Comparing Greece to Germany is really stupid. Using the bad examples of Europe to explain why the EU is failing is pretty obvious but why don't we look at the excellent examples of a better managed society: Sweden, Norway, Germany, France if you'd like. No country is perfect but each one does certain things really well. For example, the Swiss healthcare system is probably one of the best in the world yet they spend only a fraction of what we do per person. Greece is a good example of poorly managed conservative states like Mississippi which spends \$2 for ever \$1 that it makes. Actually of the 32 states which receive more than they contribute in the federal budget, 84% are republican. Of the 18 states which contribute more than they receive, 78% are democratic. Plain and simple, modern day conservatives are not the fiscally responsible spenders they claim to be. Both sides are often equally as guilty though.

And when did I say we should lift the debt ceiling? Why would I argue against that? Don't put words and opinions in my mouth. I never said that. You don't need to teach grade school economics to us. Historically, Democrats were the smaller spenders (in terms of percent increase of federal spending) than republicans. And here is some interesting information:
I think that politifact is a reputable source. I'm not sure if it was your intention to state that the current administration is spending more than it makes, sure that's true. But once Bush started his massive budgets it's difficult to just take that away without the possibility of devastating consequences to the economy.

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#103

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 10:40 AM

Nick,

I have found no mention of nazi or hitler in this thread prior to your post #57.

I could be wrong, I look forward to having you straighten me out on this.

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#106

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 11:15 AM

Please see #106 as I tried to explain that. Someone gave a response to my claim that there are good things in Germany with a seemingly rhetorical question stating along the lines of "Excuse me. 60 years ago we came very close to wiping Germany off the face of the earth. Do you remember why?" in #37
I had no prior mention of that. I generally try to avoid making nazi comparisons because it's pretty much pointless.

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#125

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 6:53 PM

Definitely implied...in 37

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#128

### Re: Taxation

11/22/2012 12:55 AM

Here my friend is the information you ignored.

1. Nazi Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You +1'd this publicly. UndoNazi Germany, also known as the Third Reich, is the common name for Germany when it was a totalitarian state ruled by Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist party........

Socialism has screwed up every nation that has tried it. Capitalism works to make opportunity for everyone. The great Winston Churchill said it best. You cannot tax yourself into prosperity. By the way, you cannot borrow yourself into prosperity either; and that is what Obama is trying to do. Raising the taxes on the people who make the country work will kill the country slowly but surely. Clinton tried, in a small way to stick it to the rich when he put an excise tax on yachts. It killed the American yacht industry and made the Italian yacht industry flourish. So there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#129

### Re: Taxation

11/22/2012 2:04 AM

Byron, I did not publicly support hitler lol. You're putting words in my mouth and I don't like that. The political party was called "Socialist" as it was just a name. It does not mean they were entirely socialist. They are more fascist than anything. Read that section:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Germany#State_ideology

Every textbook will state that the purpose of his political party was to create a fascist dictatorship which is by definition alone NOT socialist. At the same time I DO NOT SUPPORT SOCIALISM but some things are "socialist" by definition like schools, police, the highway system etc. If you hate socialism so much, maybe you should stop relying on government subsidized things like your public umm... everything. Clean water supplies, police and don't even think about using your car. All those government regulations made cars safer and cleaner than they were 50 years ago. And don't tell me you honestly think the free market would have made those decisions in the same time period. Every company is in the business of making a profit. That's not the purpose of the government. The car companies have fought tooth and nail to lobby against stronger emissions and safety standards. These points were only to make the point that some things are inherently "socialist" whether you like it or not and capitalism doesn't necessarily make the right decisions.

Oh, so there! One example of some boats that may or may not be true with no evidence to support it. See my post #106. Here is a partial summary below with some important links. Obama has not spent any more money than your republican friends and politifact showed that's true!!! So there! All while giving tax breaks to the middle class which is PROVEN to help the economy.

Obama has the lowest spending increase in 60 years:

Debt per capita by president:
http://www.skymachines.com/US-National-Debt-Per-Capita-Percent-of-GDP-and-by-Presidental-Term.htm

Clearly both parties are guilty but the republicans are CLEARLY more guilty. And as someone elegantly pointed out "my poop smells less bad than your poop."

Don't tell me you're still on about tax breaks for the job creators because no credible evidence shows that's true:
http://www.ctmirror.org/story/17498/nonpartisan-congressional-study-tax-breaks-rich-dont-grow-jobs

Ok, now I have to go to work lol. This took away part of my breakfast time. And this is a RIDICULOUS argument. I can't believe how many people still compare socialists to hitler.

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#131

### Re: Taxation

11/22/2012 8:13 AM

Kudos to you!!!!!

There are leftist morons everywhere, but there is an equal if not greater number of closed minded right wingnuts out there as well, especially in the US.

I'd suggest that you "get a clue" because there is clearly a trend to the more liberal left societies and a higher quality of living, lower crime, higher life expectancy and higher education attainment rates.

You can't disprove the effectiveness of liberal ideas based on the very corrupt and often lazy countries in europe.

Ha. Typical response. Calling Nazi Germany a Socialist party. YOU should read YOUR history. The "National Socialist Party of Germany" name was a misnomer to help fool the people: it wasn't "Socialist." It was VERY CONSERVATIVE. Nazis were Fascists like Mussolini. They were fearful and intolerant of all people who were unlike themselves (I wonder why Romney had only white folk voting for him?). Fascists believed big industry and corporate wealth would bring up the nation instead of personal wealth distributed throughout the ENTIRE population (not just the rich). So note the difference there: Conservatism breeds exactly what Fascism did (massive corporate wealth) while typical Liberalism does not. Fascism does not use resources in the same way Socialism does: it uses resources for financial gain instead of giving to the people as in Socialism. But still, Germany is far from Socialist. And even if we are talking about extremes (which we are not) just by proper definition alone I'd take a Socialist to a Fascist any day hahaha.

Thank you! Yes, the typical conservative mantra seems to have something to do with getting rid of everything that they don't understand, agree with or believe in even if it's beneficial to other people.

Nazis were ultra conservative. Obama by definition cannot be both socialist and radical conservative. Just not possible. Those are opposites in so many ways lol.

Greece is a good example of poorly managed conservative states like Mississippi which spends \$2 for ever \$1 that it makes. Actually of the 32 states which receive more than they contribute in the federal budget, 84% are republican. Of the 18 states which contribute more than they receive, 78% are democratic. Plain and simple, modern day conservatives are not the fiscally responsible spenders they claim to be.

It's just that the "we hate everything liberal/european" thing often spewed out on Fox News is getting old.

Historically, Democrats were the smaller spenders (in terms of percent increase of federal spending) than republicans.

I'd like to find a more up to date image as that one is fairly old now. But there are lots of correlations that you can find: Obama supporters seemed to be much better educated.

And expanding role and scope of the government? Republicans are experts at that. Look at the republican increases in the national debt. Clearly BOTH SIDES are guilty. But republicans are MORE guilty.

My thought is that the republican party tries to claim they are the party of fiscal responsibility and small government lol. It's such a farce and so not true. At least the democrats don't have to lie about their fundamentals.

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#132

### Re: Taxation

11/22/2012 8:34 AM

I think one noteable problem is there is substantial recurring breakdown in your communication.

There are things that your write, that seem very clear and straight forward, but only later do I realize the meaning you intended must not be the common straight forward interpretation.....

...a few examples from several of your different posts in this blog.

.

'I'm outta here''

.

'Ive lingered too long in this blog'

.

'That's it I'm removing myself from this blog' (or words to that effect).

.

'I'm not going down that path'

.

And yet here you are.... down the path.....

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#133

### Re: Taxation

11/22/2012 10:39 AM

I suspect that he does intend to exit when he writes those things. I also suspect that the same emotional political bias that colors his data selection, drives him back.

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#134

### Re: Taxation

11/22/2012 6:34 PM

Wish I could be outta here! but someone might, maybe, perhaps, eventually answer the question I originally asked.

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#135

### Re: Taxation

11/22/2012 8:09 PM

Despite the fun of all of the tangential topics you've spawned here (and they have been fun), you are correct that nobody here has really attempted to answer your question. I'll make a layman's attempt to answering your question.

Your original dual question, "But what is the income at which moral and physical income is the same--where does an actual dollar equal a dollar of worth?" I suspect these questions cannot be answered. The first part should be obvious why because these two merits must be weighted by an impossible to define transformation identity. Finding this transformation identity is precisely your first question. As Daniel Bernoulli pointed out though this identity will change from individual to individual and likely from time to time with the same individual. This is not a constant fixed in time, perspective or any other dimension like millimeters to an inch. Additionally the values on either side of the operator have completely different metrics. Physical income is a counted quantity while moral income is more of an uncountable heuristic feeling. Never the less, as Bernoulli pointed out, people constantly balance this equation in their risk/reward decision making.

Your second question follows a similar path of fuzziness. So I will not belabor my point.

I suspect this fluid relationship is precisely the point of your question.

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#139

### Re: Taxation

11/23/2012 6:48 PM

Thanks for your comments, and thanks for digging out that Daniel Bernoulli paper. (Your link went to paragraph 6, which is all I needed, but the paper goes on to paragraph 19 I think it was.) Yes, the number I was asking for is quite fuzzy and varies all over the place, but I'll have to pick something and run with it to evaluate the constants. Guess I really ought to do it 2 or 3 times to see how that guesstimate affects the results.

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#137

### Re: Taxation

11/23/2012 8:32 AM

As an American, I'll admit that my feathers get ruffled, when someone suggests that we look to any European model to solve our fiscal irresponsibility. LOL

Yes. I'm not willing to go down the road of blaming Muslims.

My last post was just an attempt to help out and consolidate Nick's message into one post. Saves a lot of reading. LOL

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#138

### Re: Taxation

11/23/2012 10:28 AM

Thanks! hehe

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#140

### Re: Taxation

11/24/2012 12:22 AM

Any time brother. No one can argue with success. LOL

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#164

### Re: Taxation

11/26/2012 4:30 AM

'...As an American, I'll admit that my feathers get ruffled, when someone suggests that we look to any European model to solve our ....'

.

Kramarat, I am also an American, and I'll admit that when a sentence begins:

'...As an American ...',

purporting to herald something (trait, or experience, or viewpoint) common to most Americans, I wince momentarily, before reading the rest to see what exactly has been attributed (rightly or wrongly) to me via my American-ness .

(OK, I know that last sentence is grammatically and aesthetically depraved. Sorry about that, I've got some sort of super flu right now and that the best it is going to be. The sentence is comprehensible, correct?)

.

Many times my wince is needless as what follows describes some true commonality among (at least) a majority of Americans....

'know the pledge of allegiance',

'can name several people who signed the Declaration of Independence',

'enjoy a fairly unrestricted freedom of verbal speech'

'whose main steam choices in toilette-paper, comprises many more competitors (with far greater differences in qualities and attributes between any two), than their available main stream choices for President of the Unit... .......'.

.

More often what follows is the other type, to which your comment belongs.

.

Being too noble, or to good, or too proud, or too smart, or in any other way to self righteous to any model regardless of origin to solve a problem ...

has never been an accepted common American value. It is not part of our national identity, not part of our heritage, nor part of our traditions.

In fact, valuing an idea based on where it is believed to have originated instead of its actual merits is exactly antithetical to key aspects of our national identity, heritage and traditions.

.

We have have used ideas from all over the world becoming arguably among the very most ingenuitive and entrepreneurial cultures that exist. Since the time this country was founded to even the present day, we have done a far better job of ignoring origin to understand and leverage true strengths, with Ideas than with People.

.

.

So, I am a bit vicariously ashamed, but more personally offended, by your 'as an American' remark, claiming to take offense at looking to a European model to solve a problem.

I find your remark highly Un-American.

.

.

.

also, I think the value implied in your last few words ('...Saves a lot of reading. ...') makes understanding how you possibly arrived at your point less of an enigma.

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#130

### Re: Taxation

11/22/2012 7:25 AM

'....Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist party........

Socialism has screwed up every nation that has tried it ......'

.

? Wait.... Seriously? That passes for substanciation, in your head? You consider the chosen name sufficient to determine the ultimate de facto operations?

.

You must think we get some really helpful bills through congress too, based soley on the titles.

.

you probably don't think democracy or democratic republics work all that well...considering what goes on in the DEMOCRATIC PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF NORTH KOREA.

....That has to be a democracy by your logic... it says so right in the name.

Do you support democracy?

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#88

### Re: Taxation

11/19/2012 1:15 PM

Post 57 another example of Godwin's Law. And with such conviction!

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#89

### Re: Taxation

11/19/2012 1:35 PM

Godwins Law, huh? interesting.

No one seems to have mention on the reasoning of the rise of Germany by the NAZI's was due to the environment,.

And that Post WWII, it was decided not make that mistake again to created that type of environment.

The U.S. was just fortunate that WWII did not effect our production capabilities and resources as it did in Europe.

The reason why the U.S. was the biggest player as well as the country with the most economic boom in post WWII, was that we had most of the gold. (That is the very simplified version)

'Godwins Law', yes that is an interesting quip.

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#97

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 4:25 AM

Instead of actually coming up with some kind of valid argument you insult me and call me stupid. That's quite immature and very insulting. And I was not the one who asked why we invaded Germany 60 years ago (well, more like 70 years but he said 60 lol) as if it is relevant as to why we can't look at modern day Germany. If someone wants to play that game I'll answer if they are wrong, especially if it is already so common that uninformed people keep insinuating entirely false claims by definition alone (i.e. the liberals are socialist or fascist or nazi thing). I hate that and they need to be corrected.

All you do is give bumper sticker talking points and don't even try to give arguments with facts and figures. I could say the same thing about your "conviction" as well.

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#101

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 9:00 AM

Let's get a few things straight...........

No one on this thread compared US liberals to Nazis. You pulled that out of thin air.

You are an American that is taking advantage of another country's low cost, socialized education system. Maybe we should send all US students to Austria.

You said that the US should look to Germany's success as a model. That is pure folly. As long as Germany is part of the EU, and uses the Euro as currency, they are a small part of a larger picture, much like the US states.

http://mises.org/daily/3754

You are correct. Germany has done fairly well, but we cannot pretend that they live in an isolated bubble.

http://www.aei.org/papers/economics/international-economy/lessons-from-the-euro-crisis-for-the-united-states/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9484284/Germany-may-be-the-country-that-brings-the-euro-crashing-down.html

Nor can we pretend that they don't have their own problems looming on the horizon.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/9186111/Germany-to-impose-tax-on-the-young-to-help-the-old.html

Finally, lets take a look at who pays the taxes in the US. I cannot possibly imagine how increasing taxes on the top earners, expanding the role and scope of government, and boosting taxpayer funded social programs, will dig us out of our fiscal hole. Can you?

http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html

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#105

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 11:07 AM

Ok, I have to retype everything I just wrote because chrome crashed for some reason.... But you were the one who seemed to insinuate that there was a valid comparison there. In response to my clearly liberal stance defending aspects of Europe you wrote: "Excuse me. 60 years ago we came very close to wiping Germany off the face of the earth. Do you remember why?" as if it was the reason for invading Germany.
You asked that question as if it was a rhetorical response to my claim that what Germans do in PRESENT day is good. And you can't blame the current generation based on what their grandparents did *70-80* years ago.

The Austrian government makes it favorable for international students to go there. They look at education as something which is more of a right instead of a privilege. Granted, their universities are often not as good as in the US but it gives opportunities to people who would otherwise not have them. I like that principle. The government does this because if there's a chance someone will stay in the country and work, they pay taxes. I paid a lot of taxes living there but I didn't mind because I was getting a very inexpensive education.
In Sweden, my paycheck comes from a large corporation. They pay for my education. It's like in the US (and Swedish schools are VERY good). If you have issues with these systems, I really wouldn't understand why.

Of course every country has their own problems. I never said they are perfect. It's just that the "we hate everything liberal/european" thing often spewed out on Fox News is getting old. It seems like you have a similar opinion because you seem to have a dislike of the notion that something could be good over there. There are SOME things that they do well. Just because it's something European people do doesn't make it bad. For example: to receive welfare money in Germany, you are required to have a job. If you don't have a job, you have to do a so called "one euro job" in order to continue getting welfare checks. This way people can still get assistance if they need it and the government gets jobs done that no one else wants to do (like cleaning public bathrooms or picking up trash etc). It's just an example. But just because I'm saying that they do some things well doesn't mean that I'm saying we have to be exactly like them!!!

I believe we can learn from other countries in the same way we could learn from them.

The whole idea is to make the top earners pay for their fair share in tax. Why should income derived from investments be treated as anything different from normal income? The tax rates should be the same. Loopholes should be closed so people like Romney can't avoid paying taxes!!!. So the loophole was closed, but he can apparently continue using it. There are probably other things as well. Giving the same amount of money in tax breaks to the middle class will immediately give some kind of economic growth.

If tax breaks for the rich gave a stronger economy, we'd be seeing the results of quite a few years of Bush's tax cuts. But instead, we see a bigger divide between rich and poor like we've never seen. Some of that is due to other factors, but still it is definitely a strong point to make.
If you give the same amount of money to a large number of middle class people compared to a small number of very wealthy people, a MUCH larger percentage of that money will be used to invest in a new car or fixing up their home thus spurring the economy more.

Giving tax breaks to the richest rich does not work.

And expanding role and scope of the government? Republicans are experts at that. Look at the republican increases in the national debt. Clearly BOTH SIDES are guilty. But republicans are MORE guilty. And Obama has actually had the lowest spending increase in a long long time.
I like numbers. And going by those numbers, I think it says a lot.

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#109

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 12:40 PM

I'm outta here.

You apparently are allowed to ramble on and have your posts stand, or become GAs. My responses go to 5 OTs by default. Have fun, you've got the mods on your side.

I'll mark this one OT myself.

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#110

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 12:52 PM

So predictable. Facts can only be refuted by denial and conspiracy. We can again clearly see whose eyes are blind.

I give 50/50 odds that this post gets a snarky comment from kramarat or others.

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#111

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 1:01 PM

The whole idea is to make the top earners pay for their fair share in tax. Why should income derived from investments be treated as anything different from normal income? The tax rates should be the same.

This is what I have felt to be the best. A flat tax. I do not know what to do with all the accountants and financial tax attorney's that are put out of work, But then, I could care less about them. I believe it will diffidently increase our efficiency.

And expanding role and scope of the government? Republicans are experts at that. Look at the republican increases in the national debt. Clearly BOTH SIDES are guilty. But republicans are MORE guilty.

Thats like saying your poop smells better. Christ, Guilty is guilty, be done with that.

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#112

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 1:35 PM

Hahaha, yes :D The "your poop smells better" statement is pretty much true. I see it as the case of a lesser of two evils. My thought is that the republican party tries to claim they are the party of fiscal responsibility and small government lol. It's such a farce and so not true. At least the democrats don't have to lie about their fundamentals.

And sorry to everyone for being so off topic.

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#170

### Re: Taxation

12/09/2012 2:42 PM

Why would the disproportionatly largest share of income not be the largest source of revenue?

Here is what it looks like from the perspective of the tax tables.

My health care plan costs over \$14,000 a year and is common plan.

The median household income in the US is about \$50,233.00. For a self employed small business owner earning the median income such a health care plan would represent about 28 percent of total income. The tax rate for this person is 25% for Federal Income and about 15% Social Security making the total earned income tax load about 40%; considerably higher than any one making more that \$106,800. Add the cost of a common health insurance policy and this person pays about 68 percent of total income in Federal, Social Security, and Health Insurance.

The highest income rate in the US is 35 %. To minimize tax burden the best income is long term capital gains taxed at 15%. (AND -No SS tax on that.)

The next best is interest and other unearned income which also avoids both tiers of the Social Security tax.

The highest earned income tax bracket when including Social Security is the self employed single person making between \$82,251 and \$106,800 dollars which brings the total tax burden to about 43 percent.

 Marginal Tax Rate[1] Single Married Filing Jointly or Qualified Widow(er) Married Filing Separately Head of Household 10% \$0 - \$8,350 \$0 - \$16,700 \$0 - \$8,350 \$0 - \$11,950 15% \$8,351- \$33,950 \$16,701 - \$67,900 \$8,351 - \$33,950 \$11,951 - \$45,500 25% \$33,951 - \$82,250 \$67,901 - \$137,050 \$33,951 - \$68,525 \$45,501 - \$117,450 28% \$82,251 - \$171,550 \$137,051 - \$208,850 \$68,525 - \$104,425 \$117,451 - \$190,200 33% \$171,551 - \$372,950 \$208,851 - \$372,950 \$104,426 - \$186,475 \$190,201 - \$372,950 35% \$372,951+ \$372,951+ \$186,476+ \$372,951+
 Calendar year Tax rates as a percent of taxable earnings Rate for employees and employers, each Rate for self-employed persons OASDI HI Total OASDI HI Total
 1990 and later 6.2 1.45 7.65 12.4 2.9 15.3

I believe that if matching contributions paid by employers and the self employed were eliminated, and the tier one and two taxes were applied to all US income, it would generate more than 20 Billion dollars additional Social Security revenue while generating free capital for the self employed and those employers who employ workers who make less than \$106,800 equal to about 1/2 of current Social Security revenue. Perhaps this free capital could be used for re-investment or used to offset the cost of health insurance. That is an example of how much income escapes Social Security Taxes.

The numbers are what they are. "Arithmetic is not opinion."

In order to maintain current levels of health care cost growth while maintaining the current profitability of the corporate health care system; some method of generating additional revenue needed to be invented. I believe this to be the actual agenda of the lobbyists who run our country. Our rulers may be in denial; but they will continue to serve those who insure their position of power. Sometimes it appears that our government is an extension of big business, regardless of the colors of the pompoms being shaken. If this is indeed the case, until that changes, we can expect the continued trend in health care costs to continue; as well as the gross inequity of the tax system.

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#171

### Re: Taxation

12/10/2012 5:18 PM

Great post.

Eliminating the employer portion of the payroll tax would be of huge benefit.

Taxes act as a disincentive to the thing to which they are attached. This country desperately needs more people on payrolls, so removing disincentives to hiring and paying employees makes perfect sense.

In fact shifting our tax base away from income would be a good idea. This country is a consumer society, China desperately needs the US to buy all that crap, just as much as we apparently must have all that crap to buy.

You work with your strengths, and the US has the most voracious consumer population in the world. Companies everywhere rely on that consumption, and yet pay nothing to assist with the costs of maintaining the infrastructure, health costs, or social security. If the tax base were to be shifted from Income to revenue, then every company that benefits from access to this goldmine of consumption, would also help to support it.

.

Large organizations of government and corporations have developed strong rewarding symbiotic relationships, rewarding to the corporations and government but not to the people.

Citizens United was a huge setback for this country, effectively making corporation 1st class citizens and real people a subjugated class.

It isn't the only problem, but it is a big one about which something can be done..

check out Move to Amend.org

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#172

### Re: Taxation

12/10/2012 7:15 PM

Citizens United was a huge setback for this country, effectively making corporation 1st class citizens and real people a subjugated class. ************************************************************************ I must disagree with this. If Citizens United was so damaging then why didn't the most well funded candidates win? All CU did was allow a counterbalance to the large labor unions but the individual voter still wins out.

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#173

### Re: Taxation

12/10/2012 7:52 PM

'.....If Citizens United was so damaging then why didn't the most well funded candidates win?.....'

'....Eating lead is bad for you? I have to disagree. If eating lead is bad for you, why hasn't anything bad happened to me yet. I've been eating lead daily for almost a year now.....'

.

Compare it to this. Do you believe it is a good idea for a country to set up two different legal classes, one with restricted rights, one with expanded rights, to which people are assigned based on some arbitrary condition of their birth or ancestry?

.

If your answer to the preceding is yes, then I probably can't help you. Would it make a difference if you and your family were to be assigned to the slave class?

.

If your answer is no, then you shouldn't see Citizens United as benign.

.

In fact since you were born a natural person, you are a second class citizen. The first class citizens have freedoms you do not have. And the courts show remarkable bias and leniency towards the first class citizens.

First class citizens (corporations) have limited liability. Second class citizens do not.

First class citizens can make unlimited political contributions. Second class citizens do not.

First class citizens have many more options available concerning taxes.

No first class citizen has ever been sentenced to be terminated or remain inactive for the remainder of their existence, for any crime. Second class citizens have.

First class citizens already enjoy longevity granted by the state far in excess of the average second class citizen.

.

Large organizations have individual characteristics, some that are not actively decided by those at the helm. Large organization compete for resources and typically the most aggressive and effective organizations squeeze out the weaker organizations. This is in large part an evolutionary process not necessarily as purposefully decided as it might first appear.

Before you dismiss this as the rant of a lunatic, read about optimization programs that use genetic algorithms. That such a program is isomorphic to an ecology of large organizations is blatantly apparent.

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#175

### Re: Taxation

12/11/2012 9:52 AM

Sounds like someone has first class envy...

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#176

### Re: Taxation

12/11/2012 1:39 PM

An astute observation.

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#174

### Re: Taxation

12/10/2012 8:11 PM

'....If Citizens United was so damaging then why didn't the most well funded candidates win?...'

Upon further consideration, the question is faulty, flawed premise.

Corporations don't bet on one candidate, all the candidates are bought.

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#177

### Re: Taxation

12/11/2012 6:35 PM

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#178

### Re: Taxation

12/11/2012 11:50 PM

Starting #171 Gavilan and on, this thread degenerated into private theories of economics. Now, I am a big supporter of my fellows thinking, and expressing it. That's good. What is not so good is the rewriting of the basic laws of economics on an ad-hoc basis, as it happens most frequently. Some hard markers need to be highlighted.

1,. Economically, treasures under the ground are simply unrealized in any shape or form, until economically meaningful activity takes place.

2,. You may try, but you cannot squeeze blood out of of a rock. It ain't there, even if you raise the particular taxrate 1000%.

3,. Economically meaningful activity occurs only by you and me.

4,. Inbetween lays a very simple Laffer Curve. It is a fairly simple, but correct depiction of economic activities vs. taxes possible and impossible.

4.1,. It basically shows, that at low taxation everything is naturally stable. At 5-15% everybody pays, and goes, and does, whatever.

4.2,. At the 20-25% effective rate things turn hairy. No matter, how hard they try, there is no more to squeeze. All kind of shenanigans start to try one's advantage.

4.3,. Above is a land of mass instability. When the rates are increased, the intake drops. Every control works in reverse. Usually time lag effects exacerbate.

4.4,. Why do the politicians like to operate in this region? That is a smart question you have to answer for yourself.

5,. You mentioned corporations, matching contributions, etc. Fellows, corporations are structures, as many others. They, in themselves do not produce anything. They are a funnel, period. They collect taxes from you, and forward them up.

5.1,. Your "matching contribution" is built into your pay structure at the order of congress. But you pay both half. More exactly, you never see one half, at the order of these viseguys. So, when you speak about eliminating this, you have fallen for the 3 card monte game of the shysters.

Sorry friends. And that is not the only idea falling into the same trap.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

It is time to put engineering sanity into what goes for "economic" talk nowadays.

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#179

### Re: Taxation

12/12/2012 12:16 AM

I like the first half of your post. It contains things that everyone should be reminded of periodically.

The second half of your post stray a bit. You seem to be both advocating low tax rates AND denigrating the suggestion of eliminating taxes. I;m probably misunderstanding what you wrote.

.

When you write about tax rates, are you including all taxes or just some?

.

Do you believe taxes usually act as a disincentive to further similar transactions?

.

Are you open to considering alternatives to the income tax?

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#180

### Re: Taxation

12/12/2012 12:37 AM

Anything, that is extracted from the economy is a tax, by any other name. Economic transactions are done voluntarily (if it is work, finding a mate, etc), extraction is involuntary from you. Its necessity might be acknowledged, but not its economics(for you).

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#192

### Re: Taxation

12/14/2012 9:11 PM

With 'tax' defined as 'anything extracted from the economy', I find your estimate of effective tax levels at which 'things turn hairy', of 20-25% to be exceedingly low.

.

Just totaling obvious things that are actually labeled as taxes, the taxes paid in the US (and most other 1st world countries) per tax filer have been well in excess of 20-25% for as long as anyone reading this has been alive.

Considering just Federal income tax, FICA, Payroll taxes, State Taxes, Sales Tax, and Gasoline Tax, it has likely been double that number for several decades.

Realizing that certain taxes (like Gasoline tax, and Sales tax) are paid with after-taxed (taxed already by FICA, Federal Income tax, etc) money, 20-25% could be reached with only FICA, Sales tax and Gas tax for most tax filers.

.

So i looked up this Laffer curve to which you make reference. I find that most figures for optimal tax revenue average around an effective rate of 65-70%. The lowest published calculation of maximum revenue effective rate was just under 40%.

What information have you based your numbers on?

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#181

### Re: Taxation

12/12/2012 9:48 AM

I'm mildly surprised that it took this long in this rambling debate for the mythical Laffer curve to be brought up. If one carefully reads the Wikipedia article on the Laffer curve you'll see early in the article this sentence:

The actual existence and shape of the curve is uncertain and disputed.[1]

So any claim for a numeric percentage to give a peak revenue return or to cripple the economy is just posturing and unproven propaganda. Now as the Wikipedia article also states, the concept that taxing a higher percentage can (not will) lead to less revenue is an old concept that has been reiterated by David Hume and Adam Smith in the 18th century.

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#182

### Re: Taxation

12/12/2012 1:26 PM

Re: #180-182

I am not here to engage in content-free polemics, about the existence of a curve I can draw and substantiate. The "old ideas are somehow invalid" polemics would globally invalidate Newton and Euclid too. Or is it only the author's selective dislike of some? Similarly, one's dependence on taxes might, iust might color one's view. Never mind, that I support taxes for national R&D, and always did.

1,. You can set up a simple conceptual model of the economics on the tabletop. It will do.

1.1,. Put in a simple serially wound AC/DC motor. Measure its voltage and current. Connect it to a bigger motor as a load. Load that with a resistor big enough to be able to stall it. Measure that too. That's it.

1.2,. When you crank up the driving voltage, first everything is approximately linear. At 0 input = 0 output, then mostly linear up to 20-25% energy taken out the system, and burned up in the load. It might get a bit more in %, but it is not relevant.

1.3,. At some point the max. load bearing capacity is reached. You fiddle with the controls, and no more can be taken out.

1.4,. Then you force the issue. You really crank it up, and the motor stalls.

1.5,. Stalled motor. 100% input, (or so), 0% output.

In economic terms:

Re 1.1,. Economic measurements are set up.

Re 1.2,. Everything is humming along, fine in the 0 - 15 (20%) total taxation rate. This area is unconditionally stable. Now, if some external force - as expansion - forces the total flow to double, the amount of taxes will double too. Similarly, it it is a contraction by half, taxes will shrink by the same amount (maintaining the same share).

Re 1.3,. At some point maximum extraction is reached. You do not believe in unlimited extraction in any system, do you now?!? I peg it at 25%. No matter. When the system is perturbed by anything at all, It will fall off the peak, on the stable side or on the unstable side. Equal chance, no chance to influence it. If the load exceeds the input, this falloff will occur.

Re 1,4,. The area over the attempted, say 25% is the area of chaos. When in the beginning (1.2,.) you raise input, output is increased, more or less proportionately. When you are in the last segment (1.4,.), all controls are reversed, all results are reversed. You really crank it up, and the economy stalls.

Re 1.5,. Stalled economy: 100% rates, 0% output. Your share of 0% is 0%, even if your share is nominally 100%.

Anybody, who made it in electrical and control systems of any kind at any level is familiar with the concepts of linear, maximum, and stalling motor conditions. I learned, and experimented with them, when I was 15 or 16. They did not change since then. Nor do the same conditions for other systems, including economics.

The curve I described IS called the Laffer Curve in economics, like or loathe it.

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#183

### Re: Taxation

12/12/2012 1:49 PM

Ok, I get it. The verbose, chaotic, devoid of reference explanation that tries to draw a parallel between economics and poorly understood motion control should trump a concise, referenced source on economic theory.

Later.

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#184

### Re: Taxation

12/12/2012 7:13 PM

I agree that the Laffler backward bending supply curve applies to this case. But just to put it in simpler terms; Both republicans and democrats agree that the lower 98% of taxpayers cannot afford a tax increase therefore we must logically conclude that 98% of the taxpayers cannot afford the size and scope of the government as it is now. This means that spending must be cut. They may want all the stuff they get from the government now but they cannot afford it. They must learn to live in the house they can afford, not the one they want.

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#185

### Re: Taxation

12/12/2012 8:50 PM

When the intake and outgo do not agree, something got to give.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

The so-called Laffer Curve is not bending anywhere. It is showing the relationship between the economic function and extraction possible from it. It also not dependent on anybodies voting preferences. It is.

Many times people like or dislike that, and try to bend it. Well, temperature will not change by the amount of effort put into bending it. Nor does economics.

Be careful not to mix apples with oranges, unless you are willing to end up with an awful mess. Present day debate typifies the latter, IMHO.

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#186

### Re: Taxation

12/12/2012 10:41 PM

The Laffler backwards bending supply curve is the actual proper name for the plot of the curve which continues to increase until a maximum point is reached and then the curve turns backwards and each incremental increase along the Y axis produces a lower value along the X axis. In other words it is S-shaped ( without the top of the S). Taxes definitly follow that curve. At low rates the revenue increases as the rates increase but then the max point is reached and increases in the rates produce less and less revenue.

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#104

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 10:49 AM

Nick,

You are correct that I have made no argument in this thread whatsoever, only observations. Feel free to differ, they are my observations and I would never demand that you must agree with me.

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#107

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 11:20 AM

Ace, of course you are entitled to your opinions. I don't mind people stating their case but I just don't like being insulted especially if you don't try to contribute to what is going on. It makes me think of the uninvolved guy standing on the sidelines throwing a half full bottle of beer at a football player. I appreciate your reasonable comment though.

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#115

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 7:20 PM

But hey, if we're judging a nation based on what happened 70 years ago, maybe we should judge the USA based on what happened 60-70 years ago as well when the economy was booming. The highest tax rate was up to 92% and the economy soared after the war. I believe the maximum tax bracket from 1940 to the mid 1960's was above 70% and the highest was in the 1950's. You can't deny the economic booms that occurred in the time *************************************************************** Just to keep things in proper persective, During FDR's term the top tax bracket was indeed 79% but the equivalent annual income for that bracket was \$76,000,000. and there was only one man in that bracket-John Rockefeller. Now the dimwits are talking about taxing everyone above \$250,000 at the top rate.

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#116

### Re: Taxation

11/20/2012 10:03 PM

Yeah the good old days of a progressive tax. When there were so many small tax brackets the percentage increase to the next bracket didn't seem so painful. Now we have two brackets but so many complicated possible deductions and exceptions that few are sure if they filed correctly but their certain others are cheating. I miss the days that a tax return could be completed by reading the booklet provided.

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#117

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 8:14 AM

It's interesting what a high tax bracket can do.

My girlfriend is a Monty Python fan. And was saying that some of their work were financed from other high profile and successful performers such as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin. I believe John Lennon also had something to do with it.

They did this not only because they were fans, but mostly to do with the high tax rate in England.

So if enormous and outrageous taxes are done correctly, it can be beneficial..... Thats the best spin I can put on it.

Just as long as it doesn't turn into this fable. And this is what the feeling of apprehension and trepidation is about.

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#118

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 9:39 AM

Your fable rings very true. The only way extreme socialism does work is when the social group is an altruistic elite group that can choose their base. This is why the pure socialism of most monasteries does work but politically imposed socialism (like your fabled teacher) often fails.

As for the Beatles involvement with Monty Python, George Harrison was the main contributer. This lead to MP recordings on the Apple label.

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#119

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 9:47 AM

This is why the pure socialism of most monasteries does work but politically imposed socialism (like your fabled teacher) often fails.

Even thought the bases of socialism is solid, and where it works in monasteries.

Because of the human nature of things, coruption soon follows.

I do like that story of the professor, and it is a good story, I wish it would have happened at one of our most liberal colleges..

Harrison, yes, that was the one. I should have checked with Sheila first, she'd would have corrected me.

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#121

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 12:12 PM

'....Because of the human nature of things, coruption soon follows.....'

.

Actually, because of the human nature of things, corruption doesn't follow...it is sure to be already there; always at least a couple steps ahead. It is only the public discovery of such which gives the appearance of lagging behind.

.

I think capitalism when coupled with a few important regulations but overall minimal intervention, and a bare minimum of social safety nets; is a model that has been and probably continues to be among the best system for wealth creation and distribution.

.

I do wonder when that will change.

Assuming well established trends continue, capitalism should eventually change from the among the best of options to a very bad option.....

.

That assertion isn't based on anything complicated or even anything uncertain. It is enough to consider:

- technological improvements in productivity per worker;

- finite limit on the usably satisfiable needs of an individual in their lifetime, coupled with environmental and resource constraints on production and services;

- the relationship between maximum possible demand, productivity per worker, and total emploment hours available.

.

Eventually there comes a point when technology allows sufficiently high production per worker that all demand can be met with significantly less than full employment. The resulting underemployment and unemployment further reduces demand ....even the asset owners , the owners of the technology, eat each other's faces in that end game.

.

.

This is not a call to arms for the ludites. I am curious what others think, any suggestions, and any well conceived and well articulated disagreements (I'm sure there will be plenty of the latter).

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#122

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 12:16 PM

As far as corruption, it doesn't matter what type of government really, this happens at varing extend.

I think capitalism when coupled with a few important regulations but overall minimal intervention, and a bare minimum of social safety nets; is a model that has been and probably continues to be among the best system for wealth creation and distribution.

This I agree with

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#123

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 12:24 PM

You and I are in agreement with the first sentence in your comment as well... That was exactly my point....no form of government holds a monopoly on corruption...

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#127

### Re: Taxation

11/21/2012 7:34 PM

Are you implying that the tax system should be easy to understand and comply with!!!? The devil you say! Now you listen to me. This kind of rampant logical thinking just won't do around here. just imagine what would happen if everyone started thinking that way! I tell you we just can't tolerate that sort of subversiveness.

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#39

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 8:25 PM

Well said but I suspect mostly onto deaf ears. (blind eyes?)

I still find it baffling the way many in this thread loudly proclaim the wasting of tax dollars without any reference, citation, definition, explanation or iota of data identifying the specific wasted taxes. Taxes spent on something you disagree with or that does not immediately benefit you is not necessarily wasteful. Taxes spent to obtain something never realized for a foreseeable reason can be considered wasteful. It really seems that the "tax waste" complainers believe that if enough people loudly say "tax waste" then it must be true.

They also seem to forget that any system (fiscal, mechanical, electronic, political, etc.) with multiple checks and balances (feedback) will always be inefficient. The inefficiency will be exaggerated when the feedbacks and measurement systems have chaotic and/or long time constants.

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#49

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 10:33 PM

It isn't difficult to find documented areas of outright waste in every single bureaucracy. There are whole bureaucracy departments that we could do without quite nicely! Are we to lie down, and submit to EVERY single tax, that the government foists upon us? Are we to lie down and turn over like a dog expecting a belly rub even when it destroys our personal, as well as national economy? Are we to say there is nothing that can be done, and just tolerate every level of inefficiency, because all taxation is sacred to those who want to lord over us? Is there NO unjust tax? The revolutionary war was fought over less provocation, than we are forced to swallow as business as usual!

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#50

### Re: Taxation

11/17/2012 10:40 PM

So far, we seem to be tolerating taxation rather well.

Is there waste? Of course. Is it fair? Ask Exxon Mobile and the rest of the oil producers. They will tell you they would have to raise prices if we take them off the dole. Do you believe that?

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#58

### Re: Taxation

11/18/2012 4:46 AM

Thank you! Yes, the typical conservative mantra seems to have something to do with getting rid of everything that they don't understand, agree with or believe in even if it's beneficial to other people. The USA is the most diverse country in the world and because of that it has diverse needs. Isn't the US spending twice as much as the next FIVE biggest militaries combined? In my opinion, isn't that kind of wasteful? Even swapping over a few billion for schools or healthcare would make a big difference :)

Obama has the smallest increase in government spending since Eisenhower. It's actually less than inflation, so there was technically a reduction in government spending.

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