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  #101  
Old 08-29-2019, 02:40 PM
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New drinking game.

Watch a Bernie Sanders speech. Every time he mentions something "free", chug the other persons beer.
  #102  
Old 08-29-2019, 02:48 PM
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New drinking game.

Watch a Bernie Sanders speech. Every time he mentions something "free", chug the other persons beer.
Fair warning - I am stealing this line without attribution at the first opportunity.

Regards,
Shodan
  #103  
Old 08-29-2019, 03:07 PM
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Sorry my liver is out of commission after doing the "chug every time Trump lies or says something insane" challenge. I lasted about 20 minutes of his first day of office.
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  #104  
Old 08-29-2019, 03:21 PM
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There is not a direct correlation between house prices and income. In my neighborhood hardly any of us could afford our houses today. Many states have property tax breaks for seniors which recognize this. The correlation does tail off when you get to really expensive houses, but it is much weaker.
Never said there was; I was just saying that a person with a low income and an inexpensive house has more to lose in a practical sense than a high income person with an expensive house does. Not in absolute dollar amounts but in terms of what that house represents in terms of effort, saving, assets, etc...

And what I was trying to get at with the other stuff is that if the general refrain is that progressive taxation is good, because the tax burden is graduated according to the amount that is sustainable, you can't then go and claim that rich people draw greater benefits from things like public safety, the school system, etc...

The same logic applies as with progressive taxation- losing a cheap house is a much bigger deal to a poor person than losing an expensive one is to a rich person, for the exact same reason that $1 in taxation is proportionately more valuable to the poor person than the rich person.
  #105  
Old 08-29-2019, 05:29 PM
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New drinking game.

Watch a Bernie Sanders speech. Every time he mentions something "free", chug the other persons beer.
Except for those of us in countries with "free" stuff we put the drinks on the table to be taken as needed.
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  #106  
Old 08-29-2019, 08:56 PM
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New drinking game.

Watch a Bernie Sanders speech. Every time he mentions something "free", chug the other persons beer.
Yeah, you’d get pretty drunk, since he has to spend a lot of time explaining that he’s not talking about free stuff, but instead talking about spending the people’s money more wisely by prioritizing those things that do the greatest good for the greatest number, such as tuition free (there’s that word again!) education or universal healthcare.
  #107  
Old 08-29-2019, 10:09 PM
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Never said there was; I was just saying that a person with a low income and an inexpensive house has more to lose in a practical sense than a high income person with an expensive house does. Not in absolute dollar amounts but in terms of what that house represents in terms of effort, saving, assets, etc...

And what I was trying to get at with the other stuff is that if the general refrain is that progressive taxation is good, because the tax burden is graduated according to the amount that is sustainable, you can't then go and claim that rich people draw greater benefits from things like public safety, the school system, etc...

The same logic applies as with progressive taxation- losing a cheap house is a much bigger deal to a poor person than losing an expensive one is to a rich person, for the exact same reason that $1 in taxation is proportionately more valuable to the poor person than the rich person.
Housing isn't really a good example. First, lots of poor people in cities don't own houses, but rent. Losing belongings in a fire is bad, but if it happens they do not have to deal with rebuilding.
Also, I was assuming that everyone had insurance. Probably a bad assumption, especially for renters. Also, the richer can afford full replacement insurance. So they do suffer less, but not because of utility.
If we take house value (or loss after insurance) as a percentage of wealth as a metric, I'd say equal percentages have equal amounts of pain. If the rich person can write off the loss without thinking about it, versus the poorer person, then the rich person suffers less, but that is not from utility. As I said, there will be some impact of utility, but since most of the loss is recovered, it would be small.
  #108  
Old 08-30-2019, 11:48 AM
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Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlrWhx8Spp8

The passage in question starts at about 48:00. I think the text makes it clear enough, but his mannerisms and the audience's response make it even clearer -- it's using self-deprecation about his own wealth to make a larger point that when you're wealthy, you have plenty of money left over even after spending it on a very nice lifestyle, and thus progressive taxation is nothing to fear.

And in the sentence immediately preceding, he says the following (bolding mine):


I don't see any possible interpretation of the full context of these quotes that's other than the equivalent of "the rich have nothing to worry about with more progressive taxation -- and I should know because I'm rich and I have plenty of money left over after doing all the things I want to do".

Those inclined to see Obama as evil or a commie or whatever probably see things differently, similar to the way that the guy I pass on my way to work who thinks he's Jesus seems to see things differently.
The way I see it, he characterizes folks who are rich as being either greedy and buying big houses, taking exotic trips and trying not to pay taxes or as generous and giving money away to have an impact. If he is only talking about progressive taxes, it seems odd for the hypothetical good rich person to ask "How can I give more and more and more?" Unless he is advocating for paying significantly more taxes than owed. Perhaps he is paying millions more in taxes than he owes and is not a hypocrite.
  #109  
Old 08-30-2019, 11:54 AM
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The way I see it, he characterizes folks who are rich as being either greedy and buying big houses, taking exotic trips and trying not to pay taxes or as generous and giving money away to have an impact. If he is only talking about progressive taxes, it seems odd for the hypothetical good rich person to ask "How can I give more and more and more?" Unless he is advocating for paying significantly more taxes than owed. Perhaps he is paying millions more in taxes than he owes and is not a hypocrite.
He's very clearly talking about more than just taxes -- he's talking about giving back in general. He makes reference to charitable causes (directly and indirectly) numerous times in the speech. In my understanding of the Obamas' finances, they have indeed contributed several millions of dollars to charity:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalex.../#30319614459e

https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/h...dation-chicago

And he's also talking about raising taxes on the rich, and analogizing that to the idea of contributing to the welfare of others and the improvement of society in general. Overall, he's saying "the rich have nothing to fear -- your lifestyle will still be very, very good even with higher taxes... and also I think the more you contribute to others, the happier you will be".

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 08-30-2019 at 11:56 AM.
  #110  
Old 08-31-2019, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
New drinking game.

Watch a Bernie Sanders speech. Every time he mentions something "free", chug the other persons beer.
You're against free stuff?

Wow. Never thought you'd be in favor of a 100% inheritance tax.
  #111  
Old 08-31-2019, 10:44 AM
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The typical conservative isn't so much against "free stuff" generally as they are against the government taking money from some citizens to give oodles of "free stuff" to other citizens (and non-citizens). There are probably plenty of caveats to that view that I'm leaving out, but you can probably see how a 100% death tax would look from that perspective.
  #112  
Old 08-31-2019, 12:04 PM
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It's called the Inheritance Tax and it exists because you shouldn't get vast amounts of income tax free for doing nothing. Why are you against the heirs of wealthy people paying their fair share? Why shouldn't they have skin in the game the way your side insists poor people should?

Calling it "Death Tax" is asinine. Nobody is being taxed for dying. Their heirs are having to pay their fair share of their income to America just like all of us do. Why should they get off scott free when everyone else has to pay?
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  #113  
Old 08-31-2019, 12:19 PM
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You're demonstrating the point. You believe the government should get vast amounts of income so they can give it to other people tax free for doing nothing. The people I love and care about should get nothing, and all the time and effort I put into providing for my wife and children should not be allowed to happen - let them look to the government as their provider.

Fuck that noise.

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  #114  
Old 08-31-2019, 12:24 PM
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No you're demonstrating hypocrisy. Poor people need skin in the game. The kids of rich people should get a free ride.

Fuck THAT noise.

We all need services that are provided by the Government whether you want to deny it or not. Why should rich kids not contribute towards the military? Why should their income be 100% tax free but the rest of us have to pay? And what is all of this nothing talk? Who is talking about taking everything from anyone. You are listening to liars. Liars that tell you the things you want to hear. Those that claim to love America but then will do anything to hamstring it are reprehensible.
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  #115  
Old 08-31-2019, 12:46 PM
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... And what is all of this nothing talk? Who is talking about taking everything from anyone. You are listening to liars. ...
Derleth is the one that brought up the prospect of "a 100% inheritance tax" in post #110.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 08-31-2019 at 12:47 PM.
  #116  
Old 08-31-2019, 01:06 PM
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Redistribution is a compensating mechanism for the imposition of property rights on the natural world.

Property rights are beneficial to society and unjust at the same time. Think about any of the games we play. Chess, Monopoly, football. Unless the game is a historical simulation, a common feature is that everyone starts out even.

Real life is not like that, when societies have property rights. You can be born into the world with much property at your disposal, or with none at all, and all of the good property allocated to other people. That's worse for that person than starting off on a level playing field. They are essentially taxed by society because they have to pay more to get the same property that the inheritors start out with.

If your attitude is that your property belongs to you and your relatives and you can take it off my cold, dead hands, that is not a moral position. Practical, perhaps, but not moral. Other organisms may have different ideas, but why are theirs any worse than yours? If a bear comes around the corner, looking for a meal, and you shoot the bear, that may make you smarter, stronger than the bear, but it doesn't make you morally superior. The bear has the same right to try and survive as you do.

So redistribution is a necessary component to a property rights based society. Property rights societies without redistribution are just property at the point of a gun, and have no particular moral component.
  #117  
Old 08-31-2019, 01:25 PM
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"Redistribution" is "at the point of a gun" too. Is it also "not a moral position"?
  #118  
Old 08-31-2019, 01:37 PM
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"Redistribution" is "at the point of a gun" too. Is it also "not a moral position"?
So is the collection of taxes for national defense. So is the collection of taxes to pay Trump and his minions.
  #119  
Old 08-31-2019, 01:40 PM
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Pretty much all the "free" Democratic proposals come with the ways of funding them, which the right of course does not like.
The only real proposals for free stuff I know of are conservative tax cuts which are supposed to be paid for by the massive increase in the economy they generate - which seems to never happen. Not enough to pay for the tax cuts for sure.
  #120  
Old 08-31-2019, 01:48 PM
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I haven’t heard the answer to, what is “fair share” ? Who is to determine that? What is the amount? I think I have paid my “far share” whose to say I haven’t.?
  #121  
Old 08-31-2019, 03:29 PM
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I haven’t heard the answer to, what is “fair share” ? Who is to determine that? What is the amount? I think I have paid my “far share” whose to say I haven’t.?
Based on your 2nd and 4th questions, there appears to be a lot not understood. Things like: "what form of government does the United States have?" and "how does the United States government work?"

ETA: May be even including "what is government?"

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 08-31-2019 at 03:30 PM.
  #122  
Old 08-31-2019, 03:34 PM
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It's called the Inheritance Tax and it exists because you shouldn't get vast amounts of income tax free for doing nothing. Why are you against the heirs of wealthy people paying their fair share? Why shouldn't they have skin in the game the way your side insists poor people should?

Calling it "Death Tax" is asinine. Nobody is being taxed for dying. Their heirs are having to pay their fair share of their income to America just like all of us do. Why should they get off scott free when everyone else has to pay?
It is a death tax and why should wealth that has been taxed as income be taxed again when transferred to an heir?
  #123  
Old 08-31-2019, 03:35 PM
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I haven’t heard the answer to, what is “fair share” ? Who is to determine that? What is the amount? I think I have paid my “far share” whose to say I haven’t.?
The poor mob who are pandered to with promises of other people’s time and wealth.
  #124  
Old 08-31-2019, 04:18 PM
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The typical conservative isn't so much against "free stuff" generally as they are against the government taking money from some citizens to give oodles of "free stuff" to other citizens (and non-citizens). There are probably plenty of caveats to that view that I'm leaving out, but you can probably see how a 100% death tax would look from that perspective.
The only reason you have wealth at all is because of the government, because otherwise some warlord would have taken it at gunpoint and you'd be a slave on that warlord's land. Paying to prevent that from happening is hardly giving out free stuff, it's creating a system where the majority doesn't see your stuff as free for the taking because they outnumber your bodyguards.

If you insist on living in a society without paying for its upkeep, you have to expect others to call you a freeloader.
  #125  
Old 08-31-2019, 04:41 PM
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It is a death tax and why should wealth that has been taxed as income be taxed again when transferred to an heir?
Why shouldn't it? If I use some of my income to hire someone else to clean my house, they still have to pay taxes on the money I pay them -- the fact that I already paid income tax before I transferred it to them is irrelevant. If I use it to buy something at a store, I don't get to say "hey, I already paid income tax on this, so you can't charge me sales tax because that would be taxing it twice." Nor is the owner of the store excused from paying tax because I already did. Why should inheritances be any different?

Personally, I find it utterly ass-backwards that the only income I've had in my life that I didn't have to pay taxes on is money that I did nothing to earn other than being born to the right grandparents.
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  #126  
Old 08-31-2019, 08:07 PM
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The only reason you have wealth at all is because of the government, because otherwise some warlord would have taken it at gunpoint and you'd be a slave on that warlord's land. Paying to prevent that from happening is hardly giving out free stuff, it's creating a system where the majority doesn't see your stuff as free for the taking because they outnumber your bodyguards.

If you insist on living in a society without paying for its upkeep, you have to expect others to call you a freeloader.
Sounds like the government is a fancy name for the Mafia.

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Why shouldn't it? If I use some of my income to hire someone else to clean my house, they still have to pay taxes on the money I pay them -- the fact that I already paid income tax before I transferred it to them is irrelevant. If I use it to buy something at a store, I don't get to say "hey, I already paid income tax on this, so you can't charge me sales tax because that would be taxing it twice." Nor is the owner of the store excused from paying tax because I already did. Why should inheritances be any different?

Personally, I find it utterly ass-backwards that the only income I've had in my life that I didn't have to pay taxes on is money that I did nothing to earn other than being born to the right grandparents.
Because inheritance isn’t considered income. Thankfully. Should my kids have to declare a trip to Europe that we paid for as income? How about private school tuition? How about adult children still getting family insurance benefits?
  #127  
Old 08-31-2019, 08:19 PM
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Sounds like the government is a fancy name for the Mafia.
When the Mafia lets you vote and allows peaceful protests, let me know.

If you build a house of cards in a house in a thunderstorm, what's keeping the house of cards up: Your skill with stacking or the real house's walls and ceiling? Could you build the house of cards outside in good weather? What would happen to that house of cards the moment it began to hail outside?

Conservatives always go on about how reality doesn't care about your feelings. Well, I can guarantee that roving gangs and would-be warlords don't care about your inalienable rights, and everyone is equal in a mass grave. We have an institution which keeps those nutballs from destroying everything, and you think you have a right to not pay for it? Sure. Go out to Bir Tawil and see how much you get when you refuse to pay. See how much you can earn when there's nobody to provide you the infrastructure to earn anything.
  #128  
Old 08-31-2019, 11:54 PM
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When the Mafia lets you vote and allows peaceful protests, let me know.

If you build a house of cards in a house in a thunderstorm, what's keeping the house of cards up: Your skill with stacking or the real house's walls and ceiling? Could you build the house of cards outside in good weather? What would happen to that house of cards the moment it began to hail outside?

Conservatives always go on about how reality doesn't care about your feelings. Well, I can guarantee that roving gangs and would-be warlords don't care about your inalienable rights, and everyone is equal in a mass grave. We have an institution which keeps those nutballs from destroying everything, and you think you have a right to not pay for it? Sure. Go out to Bir Tawil and see how much you get when you refuse to pay. See how much you can earn when there's nobody to provide you the infrastructure to earn anything.
Funny thing is that governments have been the ones responsible for the largest mass graves. So yes, a government can be mafia like. Or much worse. Now our government is not so bad. One reason is that it has constraints such as can’t take all your stuff.

Last edited by octopus; 08-31-2019 at 11:54 PM.
  #129  
Old 09-01-2019, 12:43 AM
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It is a death tax and why should wealth that has been taxed as income be taxed again when transferred to an heir?
Because it's income to that heir.

Why should they not have to pay tax on their income to help pay for the military just like you and I do? Why should they get a free ride? Aren't freeloaders bad?
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  #130  
Old 09-01-2019, 01:28 AM
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Funny thing is that governments have been the ones responsible for the largest mass graves.
That's because a Mafia big enough to make a really big mass grave is called a government. Legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder.

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Now our government is not so bad. One reason is that it has constraints such as can’t take all your stuff.
OK, I agree with this. I do. I would expand it, though: It can only be effective at doing what it does if the people who live under it support it, as opposed to trying to saw down the supports.

I also notice you didn't respond to my points about how government enables people to earn what they earn.
  #131  
Old 09-01-2019, 07:50 AM
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The only reason you have wealth at all is because of the government, because otherwise some warlord would have taken it at gunpoint and you'd be a slave on that warlord's land.
That's not true, of course. If the only reason I have wealth to leave to my wife and children is the government, then why aren't the people the government wants to give my money to just as rich as me? They have the same government.
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If you insist on living in a society without paying for its upkeep, you have to expect others to call you a freeloader.
So you are calling the people who the government wants to give my money to, freeloaders. Got it.

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  #132  
Old 09-01-2019, 08:46 AM
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It is a death tax and why should wealth that has been taxed as income be taxed again when transferred to an heir?
Because it is income to that heir?
  #133  
Old 09-01-2019, 01:03 PM
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Yeah a lot of misconceptions on wealth in general but also in this thread, including I think the OP.

Basically the liberal position is just that:

1. Corporations should pay taxes, particularly successful companies like Amazon
2. Society needs a certain amount of taxation to function, and it makes sense to take proportionally more of that from the rich; they can afford to contribute more without it affecting their lifestyle significantly.

The above two concepts are extremely popular among the general public, so that's why the liberal position has to be misrepresented as an attack on success or whatever.

(As an aside, it was surreal to me when a news story was made of the fact that Bernie Sanders is a dollar millionaire...and of course many on the right tried to charge him with hypocrisy. But firstly, I would have been shocked if a public figure as well known as him, at his age, would not have accrued $1 million in assets. But secondly, importantly, he's never said people should not be rich or successful. He just wants them to contribute more and/or not dodge their obligations).
  #134  
Old 09-01-2019, 10:31 PM
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The question in the thread title is, "Do conservatives genuinely not understand the liberal position on wealth?"

The answer is that they do not understand and they put quite a lot of effort into not understanding.
  #135  
Old 09-01-2019, 10:42 PM
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Yeah a lot of misconceptions on wealth in general but also in this thread, including I think the OP.

Basically the liberal position is just that:

1. Corporations should pay taxes, particularly successful companies like Amazon
Is the liberal position that companies should pay taxes based on something other than net income? Or put another way, are liberals against the concept of business deductions?

It's certainly true in CA, where rather than tax a company's income, the CA legislature wants to tax gross income pre-deductions.
  #136  
Old 09-01-2019, 11:12 PM
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Is the liberal position that companies should pay taxes based on something other than net income? Or put another way, are liberals against the concept of business deductions?

It's certainly true in CA, where rather than tax a company's income, the CA legislature wants to tax gross income pre-deductions.
The liberal position, or that of progressive Democrats, is that corporations should pay more taxes. This could involve simplifying the tax code and improved policing; it's too easy for corporations to dodge their obligations now.
And, yeah, it could involve gross income deductions, because otherwise "Hollywood accounting" allows huge corporations like, again, Amazon to claim that all their money is being reinvested and continue to pay little to no taxes.

There are differences of opinion on whether measures like this are necessary, and exactly how to implement them.
  #137  
Old 09-01-2019, 11:20 PM
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The person with the million dollar house the fire department saved is seeing twice the benefit as the person with the $500 K house.
The emotional investment might be quite different, however, depending on how the house was gained. Unless you are just defining the benefits as purely money based.
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  #138  
Old 09-02-2019, 02:22 AM
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The emotional investment might be quite different, however, depending on how the house was gained. Unless you are just defining the benefits as purely money based.
Pretty much money based here. Too hard to judge otherwise. The destruction of one room containing valued mementos might be more painful than the destruction of an entire house without.
  #139  
Old 09-02-2019, 07:55 AM
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Bloody hell people. Half the posts here are "why should?" JAQs. That's not debating. If your post ends in a question mark, you're just asking someone else to make your argument for you.

The OP, of course, hasn't been back since post #8, and confused income and wealth right off the bat. So I don't think we've even determined what he or she even thinks the "liberal position on wealth" is. There are certainly Dopers who think the wealth "pie" is fixed, and that one person gaining more wealth means that someone else must have less: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=869816
They're wrong, of course.

Regarding income, I don't know that I'd even call progressive taxation a "liberal" position. Sure there are some fringe flat-taxers out there but I don't see them being taken seriously. There are some who see those with high income as some sort of personal affront (this comes up with silly CEO vs janitor comparisons). But I don't know that it's The Liberal Position.
  #140  
Old 09-02-2019, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Yeah a lot of misconceptions on wealth in general but also in this thread, including I think the OP.

Basically the liberal position is just that:

1. Corporations should pay taxes, particularly successful companies like Amazon
2. Society needs a certain amount of taxation to function, and it makes sense to take proportionally more of that from the rich; they can afford to contribute more without it affecting their lifestyle significantly.

The above two concepts are extremely popular among the general public, so that's why the liberal position has to be misrepresented as an attack on success or whatever.
Just to make a quick note, income is money that I earned this year. Wealth is the accumulation of money that I earned in the past that I haven’t spent, or that I’ve spent on assets such as shares or property.

Since you’re defining the liberal position, do you agree with the following statements?
• People should be allowed to keep the majority of the income they earn.
• Wealth, which is different than income as noted above, should not be taxed.
• Unrealised gains should not be taxed.
• Some people are good at, and enjoy, making money. Absent other information about wrongdoing, there is nothing inherently wrong with these people.
• The creation of new wealth is chiefly through innovation and not exploitation.
• Corporations should be taxed on their domestic income* and not on revenue.

I define myself as a conservative, or at least centre-right, and I believe in the principles behind each of those statements.

Also, while this is not a principle, I think that a lot of liberals think that taxing the ultra-high income earners a few percentage points more will reap a huge tax bonanza. Any meaningful income tax increase is going to have to hit the upper middle class.

*For global corporations, it probably is necessary for governments to take a restrictive definition of domestic income. For example, licensing software or intellectual property from Barbados in order to avoid taxes should be restricted.
  #141  
Old 09-02-2019, 09:50 AM
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Speaking for myself:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrenching Spanners View Post
• People should be allowed to keep the majority of the income they earn.
There's nothing special about a majority. However, somewhere between 70% and 90% there will be impacts to economic productivity, but studies don't show that lower tax rates will cause people to work any less hard and thus drag down the economy.
Quote:
• Wealth, which is different than income as noted above, should not be taxed.
• Unrealised gains should not be taxed.
We already have a wealth tax. I don't see anything special about liquid assets as opposed to real estate. Unless we can eliminate the real estate tax which disproportionately hits the upper middle and lower upper classes, I don't see a moral issue with doing the same for the ultrawealthy's equities.
Quote:
• Some people are good at, and enjoy, making money. Absent other information about wrongdoing, there is nothing inherently wrong with these people.
I think this is a double barrelled question, because financial success is a mixture of talent and opportunity. I don't think that asking the ultrawealthy to pay their fair share of tax requires proving that they are worse people than the rest of us.
Quote:
• The creation of new wealth is chiefly through innovation and not exploitation.
I agree. I think that the theoretical underpinnings of both capitalism and socialism are incorrect in these days of innovation.

Quote:
Also, while this is not a principle, I think that a lot of liberals think that taxing the ultra-high income earners a few percentage points more will reap a huge tax bonanza. Any meaningful income tax increase is going to have to hit the upper middle class.
Depends on what you mean by "meaningful". A tax increase on the ultrawealthy will not cure the deficit, but it would meaningfully reduce it. I agree that to solve American budget issues you do need to expand the tax increases beyond the ultrawealthy.

Last edited by Ludovic; 09-02-2019 at 09:50 AM.
  #142  
Old 09-02-2019, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
"Pass the For the 99.8 Percent Act to establish a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaire and billionaire inheritances."
Unless we're going to consider inheritance gained through murder as "earned", this is about as clear a distinction between the OP's two categories as one can imagine.
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  #143  
Old 09-02-2019, 11:30 AM
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New drinking game.

Watch a Bernie Sanders speech. Every time he mentions something "free", chug the other persons beer.
New drinking game.

Watch a Trump speech. Every time he lies, take a shot of everclear 190 proof. By the end of the speech, either what he's saying will make sense or the person playing the game will be far beyond the point of caring about worldly affairs.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 09-02-2019 at 11:30 AM.
  #144  
Old 09-02-2019, 11:47 AM
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One little-mentioned aspect is that many conservatives view personal wealth as.....personal, whereas many liberals view it as a public utility. Which is not to say that conservatives don't believe the rich need to pay taxes, but many liberals view a billionaire's wealth as "going to waste" if it's sitting in his investment portfolio or bank accounts as opposed to being used to build highways, schools, hospitals, etc.

They see someone's wealth and think, "Imagine all the good we could do with that."
  #145  
Old 09-02-2019, 11:51 AM
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One little-mentioned aspect is that many conservatives view personal wealth as.....personal, whereas many liberals view it as a public utility. Which is not to say that conservatives don't believe the rich need to pay taxes, but many liberals view a billionaire's wealth as "going to waste" if it's sitting in his investment portfolio or bank accounts as opposed to being used to build highways, schools, hospitals, etc.

They see someone's wealth and think, "Imagine all the good we could do with that."
Well... yes.

Imagine that you could personally end world hunger without taking even the slightest hit to your standard of living. Even if you're a totally amoral sociopath, surely just going down in history as "the guy who ended world hunger" should be enough of a carrot dangled in front of you, considering that your net worth is so obscene that even such an act would not significantly diminish your fortunes, right?

Now imagine not doing that.

Then you can sort of get into the headspace people like me get into when we see people like Jeff Bezos say things like this:
“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it.”
Frankly, I think it's obscene, but that's just me. I think that if someone is in a position to do a great amount of good at very little personal cost and insists on not doing it, they're a shitty human being.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 09-02-2019 at 11:52 AM.
  #146  
Old 09-02-2019, 01:05 PM
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Speaking for myself:

There's nothing special about a majority.
The majority is the point where I'm retaining more of my income than the government is taking. I don't believe I should be paying miniscule taxes, but I think that every person, regardless of their level of income, is entitled to a greater share of their income than the government.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
We already have a wealth tax. I don't see anything special about liquid assets as opposed to real estate. Unless we can eliminate the real estate tax which disproportionately hits the upper middle and lower upper classes, I don't see a moral issue with doing the same for the ultrawealthy's equities.
While I recognise it's not a mainstream view, I'm personally opposed to property taxes. For one reason, the asset value of the property isn't a measure of the wealth of the owner. If person A buys a property with cash, and person B takes out a 90% mortgage, person A has much more property wealth than person B, but they pay the same property tax. Person C buys shares instead of a property, and person D buys a Bugatti. Neither pay property tax. You can try and level the field by taxing equities and creating a luxury tax, but you're ultimately going to be punishing savers and investors rather than spenders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
Depends on what you mean by "meaningful". A tax increase on the ultrawealthy will not cure the deficit, but it would meaningfully reduce it. I agree that to solve American budget issues you do need to expand the tax increases beyond the ultrawealthy.
I don't feel like doing the math at the moment (maybe later), but suppose we define the rich as the top 1% of income earners, and set an income tax threshold at the level where the 99% top out. Suppose we raise the tax rate of this threshold by 5% over the next lower tax band. We're getting an increase of 10's of billions of government revenue, which I'm sure would be helpful. However, against a 4.75 trillion budget, we're only paying for 1%-2% of that budget. And this is working at the highest margins of income above threshold. Expanding the definition of the rich to the top 2% is not going to double those 10's of billions of government revenue. It would probably be a 10-20% rise. Each time we increase your percentage of what qualifies as rich, we're getting a lower margin of income above threshold. At a guess, to achieve a tax revenue increase of 5% of that 4.75 trillion budget, we'd have to increase taxes on the top 10% of income earners. At that point, we're hitting far more than the ultra-wealthy and we're hitting the upper middle class earners. That might be a reasonable fiscal decision, but we're not going to get huge government tax revenue increases by only going after the super-rich.
  #147  
Old 09-02-2019, 01:26 PM
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I calculated that we could get a similar amount just from the multibillionaires that are a small fraction of the 1%. The list of American billionaires is almost 1000 long so it wouldn't surprise me if they had $2 trillion total net worth, and by assuming they earn around 5% on that money (probably more for stocks, less for other categories) they have an income of $100 billion which would yield taxes of $10 billion, since right now they're paying less on this money than everyone else, so we could easily alter it so they are paying only slightly more.
  #148  
Old 09-02-2019, 02:48 PM
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How do you think the multibillionaires, with their armies of tax attorneys and accountants, might react to your plan to extract more of their money from them?
  #149  
Old 09-02-2019, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
How do you think the multibillionaires, with their armies of tax attorneys and accountants, might react to your plan to extract more of their money from them?
Of course I do know that some will fund more Trumps in the future, but there are multibilionares that are aware that not paying enough is leading to the end of what we understand as what America is actually great about and becoming more so.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/billi...b07ae90da25162
Quote:
Please Tax Us More, 19 U.S. Billionaires Plead In Letter To Presidential Candidates
We “enjoy uncommon fortunes, but each of us wants to live in an America that solves the biggest challenges of our common future,” notes the plea.

Quote:
“Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic .... The next dollar of new tax revenue should come from the most financially fortunate, not from middle-income and lower-income Americans.”

Signers included liberal philanthropist and financier George Soros and his son Alexander Soros, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, heiress Abigail Disney and “Anonymous.”

They argue that the money raised — about $3 trillion over 10 years — could “substantially fund” investment in programs including clean energy, universal child care, infrastructure overhauls and tax relief for low-income families.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 09-02-2019 at 02:55 PM.
  #150  
Old 09-02-2019, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
How do you think the multibillionaires, with their armies of tax attorneys and accountants, might react to your plan to extract more of their money from them?
Why should we, or you, be concerned with the welfare of those who can afford armies of tax attorneys and accountants?
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