What’s your fair share?

For as many times as I’ve heard the ‘fair share’ discussion it is always from the prospective of the wealthy being morally responsible for relinquishing more of their money for the good of the less wealthy.  I never hear it asked what those defending this “redistribution” consider what the recipient’s fair share is. That is, as a recipient of government services, how much is your fair share that you should you receive from the government that you didn’t earn? How much are you entitled to?

Comments

  1. John,
    I’d be shocked of you ever get a simple straightforward answer to “What percentage of ones income constitutes a fair share.”. I’ve asked numerous times with no luck. I hope you can get one.

    I also suspect that you’ll not get much of a specific answer to the question you’ve asked either. It is an interesting perspective. I look forward to the responses.

  2. Instead of asking what a recipient’s feeling of a fair share may be, why don’t we address the bigger picture?

    Compare corporate welfare vs. social welfare – just plug that into your favorite search engine.

    As for overall wealth inequality, take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

    It’s only a matter of time before our current system collapses and those who have nothing else left to lose resort to anarchy and violence. Our “middle class” is steadily disappearing and we’re becoming a country of “haves” and “have nots”.

  3. By your response it’s clear that you didn’t even spend the 6 minutes it takes to actually look at the video or do a simple search to understand the point.

  4. I hear folks like you who bemoan the social welfare programs paid to those who won’t get off their ass and work a bit harder, but ignore the fact that our government doles out almost twice as much in subsidies to corporations – the same corporations whose CEO’s take home millions in compensation. Does that seem right to you?

    • There’s a couple distinctions to make. First, corporations produce. They provide jobs, products, and services to their communities and the country. Those on social welfare take only. They produce nothing. Second, the subsidies corporations get is their own money to begin with. In essense they get to keep more of their own money. Social welfare recipients dont put much/any tax into the system and as a result take out of the system a lot more than they put in.

  5. So all hail the might corporations and give them tax breaks and even taxes collected from everyone else. Far too many companies don’t make enough profit from the goods and services they sell. After all, they allow us to work for them and provide us the things we need to live – and more power to them because we would collapse without them.

    Social welfare recipients who just leech off the system and take more than they contribute should just be ground up and made into fertilizer or something.

    That’s quite a Christ-like attitude you’ve got there.
    So what’s your solution?

    • I guess its a good thing I didnt say any of the things you just put in my mouth.

      So what percentage of an individual’s or corporation’s income should be paid In taxes? What is the number? How much should people be allowed to draw from the system? Whats the number? How long should they be able to?

      Once these are answered we could work on solutions. But I can all but guarantee you will not answer.

  6. It’s convenient that your specific numbers are required in order to work on a solution.

    Ok, I’ll bite – zero. People and companies should pay zero in taxes. We don’t need a federal budget at all. No defense – every man for themselves. No infrastructure – you’re on your own. No programs – the weak should get what they deserve. No regulations – we don’t need them. Is that what you want to hear?

    If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.

    Like I’ve said before, this country has been bought and corrupted by special interests and the outlook doesn’t look good. The first step is removing that, and that’s easier said than done.

  7. I was being a bit facetious. That’s a caricature of the libertarian mindset.

    It’s ironic that you’re so emotionally detached from the survival characteristics found throughout nature that was supposedly created by your deity.

    As for numbers, let’s start by doing away with corporate subsidies to companies that already make a profit. If financial institutions, healthcare, oil companies and wall street are already pulling record profits, they certainly don’t need government handouts.

  8. Why are you so hung up on numbers?

    • Becausr people like you are so hung up on fairness and whether the wealthy and successful individuals and corporations are paying their fair share. The problem with the vagueness is it can alwayd be claimed that its not fair. If you put a number on it then we’ll know if it’s fair. I want to know how much is fair, what is the percentage of income that they should pay in taxes?

  9. I suppose it’s not unlike your constant avoidance of my question regarding the precise age when an “innocent” human being becomes “sinful” and bound for eternal damnation in hell.

    I guess we’ll never know.

    • Riiiight. A petson is no longer innocent when they sin. There is no age.

      Ive never avoided it you just think I need to defend views that I dont hold.

      Now you’ll still avoid giving the numbers wont you. And you’ll still say it’s not fair until the wealthy pay more so it’s fair.

  10. So I guess every baby is bound for hell for none are without sin – good to know.
    I suppose that does away with the notion that babies and toddlers are innocent according to what you just said.

    Anyway, good luck with your requirements.

    By the way, my point was about doing away with federal handouts to corporations. Even if I had the power to declare a flat 10 percent tax across the board, loopholes would be lobbied for and created by those who would stand to gain from it.

    • So your opinion is that 10% of a person’s or corporation’s income is fair to take for taxes? Ill agree with that, I might even be willing to go to 12 or 15. But corporations and the wealthy pay an average above that even when you include the “corporate welfare”. So I guess you’ll reassess your complaint then.

  11. So John, you make it sound like you’re content with the system being the way it is.

    In your opinion, do you think you pay just the right amount of tax? Too much? Too little?

    How about everyone else? How about corporations?

    • Living in Connecticut I pay an insane amount of taxes. Between the state income tax, property tax, sales tax, gas tax, and others im pretty taxed. I dont think everyone is though. Some dont have the property and state income taxes that I do.

      I think businesses should pay less. Even if they didnt use higher revenues to hire more people, they pass on their tax increases to consumers. We pay corporate and business taxes not the businesses. Thats probably the biggest reason I oppose taxing businesses and producers because they dont pay it. But people are too stupid or narrow to realize that.

  12. If you don’t like the tax structure or cost of living in your state, you are always free to move to another state. I think the only difference between your taxes in CT and mine in FL is the state income tax. I still pay sales tax, gas tax, property tax and federal income tax. I’ve even seen differences in what goods get taxed from state to state.

    I think you’re kidding yourself if you really think that lower corporate tax would mean a dramatic decrease in consumer costs. Most companies would just add the windfall to their bottom line and pay their officers and shareholders.

    • For my 1200 sq ft house I pay more than 3500 a year. My car is 800 or so a year. Sales tax is 6.35% and the income tax is 9 or so % I think.

      But evenbif the costs didnt come down its the principle of the consumer paying the business’ taxes but politicians tell people the businesses arent paying enough. Itd the deception of it. Evety time some pol raises business tax for fairness we get screwed.

      At least if it wasnt there supply and demand eould control product prices.

  13. John,

    Do you think you can hold your public services with a 10% or even a 15% tax?
    What would you renounce to? Transport intraestructures, army, courts, police, firemen, education? Post office?

    “Even if they didnt use higher revenues to hire more people, they pass on their tax increases to consumers.”

    By the same rule, if taxes are lowered you are paying more corporation profits.
    And I prefer pay taxes for public use than huge personal gains which are less likely to be productively reinvested.

    • Public give aways and public needs are different all together.

      I would start with the wasteful handouts that go unchecked and unchallenged. The states take care of roads and public safety and the feds should get out. Same with education.

  14. John,
    It seems like if you could actually get some specific numbers, then it might be possible to work towards a compromise. I say 10%, you say 15%, Someone else says 75%, that would be a simple logical way to start. As you have pointed out “fair” is in the eye of the beholder. It is certainly advantageous to those of the “fair share” side to refuse to commit to a specific number. To do so completely undermines their entire position. Because once you quantify “fair”, then they need a new excuse as to why the “fair share” isn’t enough to do what they want.

    Just to play along here’s some numbers off the top of my head.

    1st tier corporate tax rate 10% (Up to 500 million in profits)
    2nd tier corporate tax rate 15-18% (Above 500 million)
    Re think subsidies for businesses based on % of profits that are reinvested in the company.
    Remove the tax rates that encourage companies to hold profits in overseas subsidiaries.

    1st tier personal tax rate 10% (0-$150,000) Maintain home interest,charitable, and some child care deductions.

    2nd tier personal tax rate ($151-$500,000) 18-20% With limited deductions as above.

    3rd tier personal tax rate ($500,000-$5,000,000) 20-25% with limited deductions

    4th tier personal tax rate ($5,000,001 +) 25-28% with limited deductions.

    As far as what can be taken out, it’s a little harder.

    I don’t see how Soc. Sec. can be significantly changed for those who are already in the system.

    I do think that you could see some sort of privatized system phased in over time which would allow the individual the choice as to how much and where they invest which would allow them the freedom to take out at a level they choose.

    Unemployment, should be treated like insurance again and limited by either time or a % of the “premiums”.

    Medicare/Medicaid should be pro rated and as people incomes rise they should have to pay a % of the cost in proportion to their income. This seems to make much more sense than a hard cap.

    I don’t see how it is possible to base other welfare programs on how much money is taken out v. how much tax has been paid in. It would probably make more sense to have it pro-rate down over time.

    Just a few actual ideas with actual numbers to move the discussion more where I think you wanted it.

    Also, when you are trying to evaluate “corporate welfare”, in addition to the direct taxes paid by the corporation, you should probably factor in the taxes paid by the employees. Simply because, if you don’t have the company employing the employees, you trade tax revenue for benefit payments to some degree or another.

  15. John,

    Taxes are still needed to take care of roads, public safety and schools, so it doesn’t reduce the necessary tax rate.
    Moreover, a central administration reduces the cost of multiple same function administrations.

  16. John,

    Then your will be paying for the pork projects of your own states. On overall it makes no difference.

  17. John,

    “There’s more control by the citizen in local matters. you are again showing your ignorance of the American system”

    Please relieve me of my ignorance.
    Who do they control statal projects?

  18. Sorry.
    How do they control statal projects?

  19. John,

    In which sense statal politicians are more accountable to their constituants than federal ones?

    Money being wasted locally or nationally is still money that has to be paid. This is consistent with my objection: “your will be paying for the pork projects of your own states. On overall it makes no difference.”

    • It’s more close to home and local politicians are directly accountable. A senator or congressman from nevada has the ability to spend my money on the national level and I cant vote him out. My governor and state house and senate members are voted on by me.

  20. John,

    I don’t see how closeness to home alters accountability and you directly vote for federeal politicians.

    At federal level you can’t vote a senator of different state (such as Nevada) and at state level you can’t vote a senator of a different district. In scale it is the same.

  21. You neither vote for other district representatives and they have control over your statal taxes. Am I wrong?
    I repeat: in scale it is the same.

  22. John,
    I also live in a high tax state, and it just got higher. Our wonderful DFL controlled statal govt. just increased beer and cigarette taxes significantly as well as beginning the process of taxing things that are currently not taxed. It is especially interesting as the beer and smoke taxes are pretty much universally considered to be some of the most regressive taxes levied.

    One aspect of the US system that I don’t think that Isu quite gets is the fact that there are a number of things (roads and education to name two) that are taxed and administered at multiple levels of government. I believe that your point is that the citizens of an individual state should have more direct control over things like these since both needs and solutions can differ from state to state, rather than to be taxed twice for these thinsg and to have a one size fits all solution imposed from DC.

    I conjunction with your post from today, it also seems like people are much more likely to turn over statal government than the federal government. In the course of a couple of years we’ve gone from all three statal branches being Republican, to all three being DFL. Where you don’t see that much change that quickly at the DC level.

  23. paynehollow says:

    re: John’s question and Craig’s comment…

    I’d be shocked of you ever get a simple straightforward answer to “What percentage of ones income constitutes a fair share.”

    You don’t/won’t get one single simple number because it’s not a simple-minded equation. Budgets are complex things, even at the household level, even moreso at the local and state level, even moreso at the federal level.

    If, in my home, my wife makes 60% of the income and I make 40% and we have to pay for the kid’s college, for instance, we need to pay as much as it takes. If that means it’s 25% of what I make and 30% of what she makes, with my child contributing what they can to the costs, if that’s what it takes to cover the expense, that’s what it takes. We’re in this together and we have to figure it out together and we have to pay for our expenses together.

    If, in a gov’t, we are spending $1 billion and it covers all our expenses and no more, but then, a natural disaster strikes and bridges and buildings collapse and there is no more money to pay for it, then the gov’t has to raise that money somehow.

    To simplify things, consider: If they’ve been taxing the poorest half at 10% and the richest half at 20%, then the money has to come from somewhere. Why? Because the bills have to be paid, just as in a family budget.

    If we collectively decide, “You know, the poorest half really has nothing left over to pay into these costs, especially with the costs of the disaster added to their lives…” then naturally, it would fall to the richest half. And, I’d wager, the bulk of the richest half would be glad to pay for it – even if it increases their percentage of the tax bill to 22% of their income – if they’re being reasonable. Why? Because it is a cost of living in a common society. Bills have to be paid and someone has to pay them.

    So, the “right” percentage is not a specific amount, rather, it’s what it takes to pay our bills that we must pay. We can’t opt out of not having roads or bridges or police or fire or teachers, not if we want to have a society. Those are fixed costs and they must be paid.

    Now, we can speak of practicalities: If a poor person makes $10,000/year and they spend all of it just to survive (and even then, they aren’t able to pay all their bills), then speaking of increasing the tax rate of those making less than $10,000 is rather silly. They can’t pay it.

    Contrariwise, if a rich person makes $1,000,000 a year and they spend $100,000 on basic needs (and of course, those are way beyond basic needs, but we’ll call this their basic needs), then they still have 90% of their budget that they don’t require for survival.

    In a disaster – say an evil alien invasion that threatens the planet – lacking anyone else to pay for the needs, I have to imagine most rational folk would agree that the rich person COULD be taxed up to 90% without costing them life and limb (whereas taxing the poor man 90% would tax him out of existence). In an ultimate, devastating disaster, one could see that this would be extremely rational and moral choice to make.

    Of course, life is not generally that level of disaster and it would seem draconian to tax a rich person at 90%, but is 50% reasonable? 30%? There simply is no single right answer. It depends upon the circumstances and even then, there just is no rubric to provide us one single “right” tax rate. It does not exist.

    I think we CAN say reasonably that a tax rate that costs more than a person (rich or poor) can pay and still survive is wrong and irrational, but even that is not a single number.

    Do you disagree? Can we turn the table and ask you if you think there is one single tax rate that is moral and rational for rich people to pay?

    ~Dan Trabue

  24. John,
    I know it’s shocking that you still haven’t gotten anything that really answers the question. However, the following is telling.

    “So, the “right” percentage is not a specific amount, rather, it’s what it takes to pay our bills that we must pay.”

    Let’s start with this undeniable fact. If we taxed at a 100% tax rate we still couldn’t pay for the money that has been already spent for “bills we must pay”. Given that how can we in good conscience continue to accumulate “bills we must pay”, that cannot be paid? How do we decide what bills “must” be paid? Obviously, we “must” pay for things that have already happened. But if we can’t tax enough to pay for existing obligations (deficits), then how can we continue to spend more than we can take in. Wouldn’t it make more sense (just as most of us do with our household) to determine HOW MUCH we have available to spend, then to prioritize what it should be spent on, rather than continuing to borrow money that can’t ever be paid back? To use Dan’s college example. If one of Dan’s kids was able to afford (through whatever means, scholarships, loans etc.) to spend $30,000/year for a college education, the first thing that would happen is that Dan and his family would automatically reject any schools which would cost more than $30,000. To do otherwise would be the height of stupidity. It wouldn’t make sense to discuss who should pay what percentage of the bill if the total is more than can be afforded. Again with Dans analogy. If Dan and his family chose to send their child to a school that cost $40,000/year when they could only afford $30,000/ year, it doesn’t matter of Dan pays $12,000 while his wife pays $18,000, they are still $10,000 a year short. Yet, we have a federal government that operates in that very way.

    “We can’t opt out of not having roads or bridges or police or fire or teachers, not if we want to have a society. Those are fixed costs and they must be paid.”

    Ah, the red herring. Of course we need these things, and should pay for them. If we were only talking about the services and infrastructure that we NEED we wouldn’t be having the conversation. First note that what Dan has used for his examples are all things that are and should primarily be supported at the local or state level. These are not primarily federal responsibilities. Second, note that whenever budgets get tight we hear about how we’ll have to cut these type of necessary basic services so Ted Turner will still get his farm subsidy, or whatever.

    If we would adopt a zero based budget, with NEEDS fully funded before anything else, we would not be having this discussion. We would NOT be in this increasing spiral of unfundable deficit spending, and we’d be able to actually have a rational discussion of what and how discretionary money should be spent.

  25. paynehollow says:

    John…

    So then the takers decide how much they want and thats whatvwe give them. Kind of like now.

    I don’t know what you mean by that, John. Who are “the takers?”

    Right now, the current system is that the people elect representatives and have supported those representatives in creating a progressive tax system, as being the most fair and reasonable one around. We, the people, support spending on the programs that our officials have enacted. Do 100% of us support 100% of the programs? No, of course not. But I don’t see that we both/all support a tax system and most of us supporting a progressive tax system involves any “takers,” whatever that means.

    You want to explain, or is that even on topic? Also, would you like to answer your own question?

    1. Do you believe there is One Right Tax Rate?
    2. If so, what is it?
    3. On what basis is your one “right” tax rate rationally and morally correct?

    On the other hand, do you agree with me that there is no magic rate that is “right…”?

    Craig, same thing to you: You have twice now remarked rather condescendingly, “How surprising, no one has provided an answer with a specific rate.”

    But I HAVE given a very direct and quite specific answer: That answer, in case you missed it: there is no “one right rate.” It does not exist. How could it? On what basis would we reach such a conclusion?

    I assume by your mock-surprise, you have One Right Answer? If so, please provide it along with some rational and moral support as to why your one rate is the “right” one.

    Or, is it the case that you agree with me, that there IS no one right rate? If so, was your mock surprise a way of mocking John for asking the question or what was the point?

    As to your comments about “let’s not spend more than we have…”, well, of course, that is a given. Is there anyone out there advocating spending more than we have?

    As to this…

    the first thing that would happen is that Dan and his family would automatically reject any schools which would cost more than $30,000. To do otherwise would be the height of stupidity.

    Well, no, it wouldn’t necessarily be. It would depend on the circumstances. IF by spending more than we have this year and going to the $30,000 school, our child could make $100,000 the next year, well then it could be considered foolish not to spend that (from a purely rational economic point of view, assuming it was a field of interest for the child). Am I mistaken? Where specifically? Or let it go, if you want, as it’s sort of off topic.

    ~Dan Trabue

  26. “Is there anyone out there advocating spending more than we have?”

    Maybe you’ve missed the last 6 years of staggering increases in the deficit and national debt. They may not be advocating it, they’re just doing it.

    “I assume by your mock-surprise, you have One Right Answer? If so, please provide it along with some rational and moral support as to why your one rate is the “right” one.”

    Had you read my earlier comment where I went through my opinions of what I thought the tax rates should be, you probably could have saved yourself the trouble of asking this question.

    Why, yes Dan, If you could spend $30,000 for a one year college education/degree that would guarantee an income of $100,000 that might make sense. However, my actual point remains that one generally (almost exclusively) rejects things that significantly exceed the amount budgeted for said item. The fact that you have managed to craft an unrealistic scenario that shows that there could theoretically be a reasonable exception to that general rule, doesn’t invalidate the general rule.

  27. Actually, you can assume by my mock surprise, that I was pretty confident that no one on the left would actually propose an actual rate or series of rates which they believe represent someones “fair share”. The fact that you and others have chosen not to share any specific percentages simply bears out the point that “fair share” means whatever the left wants it to mean at any given point.

    Thanks.

  28. “Let’s start with this undeniable fact. If we taxed at a 100% tax rate we still couldn’t pay for the money that has been already spent for “bills we must pay”. Given that how can we in good conscience continue to accumulate “bills we must pay”, that cannot be paid? How do we decide what bills “must” be paid? Obviously, we “must” pay for things that have already happened. But if we can’t tax enough to pay for existing obligations (deficits), then how can we continue to spend more than we can take in. Wouldn’t it make more sense (just as most of us do with our household) to determine HOW MUCH we have available to spend, then to prioritize what it should be spent on, rather than continuing to borrow money that can’t ever be paid back?”

    Perhaps you could find the time to address this portion of my comment.

  29. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    The fact that you have managed to craft an unrealistic scenario that shows that there could theoretically be a reasonable exception to that general rule

    Unrealistic?

    IF we spend $1 million in prisoner education, we can save $2 million. We ought to spend that money.

    IF we spend X amount on keeping roads and bridges maintained, we can save X + over letting them degrade and dealing with them after they’re in shambles.

    IF we spend X amount on regulating water, medicine, food, air, etc, we can certainly save X + over NOT regulating them.

    I could go on, but hopefully you get the point. Gov’t investment in our commonwealth is very realistic, seems to me. The rule, not the exception.

    Perhaps I could find the time to deal with the rest of your comment? You’re not saying anything exceptional, what is there to address?

    Given that how can we in good conscience continue to accumulate “bills we must pay”, that cannot be paid?

    We can’t tax folk at 100%, no one is advocating that. We can pay our bills that we’ve spent already. We have to. What’s your point? That we shouldn’t spend so much money that we can’t afford it? Of course, no one is disagreeing. So?

    Perhaps we could agree that IF congress passes expenditures of, say, $3 trillion, that they also MUST pass a plan to pay for that. I’m okay with that. You?

    Wouldn’t it make more sense (just as most of us do with our household) to determine HOW MUCH we have available to spend, then to prioritize what it should be spent on

    Okay. But of course, it is more complicated at the federal gov’t level, with a lot of moving parts of a great national machine. I’m supportive of trying to do this, though. So?

  30. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    The fact that you and others have chosen not to share any specific percentages simply bears out the point that “fair share” means whatever the left wants it to mean at any given point.

    No, that is not what it means. Not “Whatever ‘the left’ wants it to mean…” No one is advocating that. Do you really think that’s what we think? What do you base that on, since no one is saying that?

    Craig…

    Had you read my earlier comment where I went through my opinions of what I thought the tax rates should be

    Read it. You said…

    4th tier personal tax rate ($5,000,001 +) 25-28%

    So, 25-28% is “the one right amount” that people in that tax bracket “should” rationally and morally pay? Okay. Based on what? What makes 28% right and 30% wrong?

    Or is that entirely arbitrary on your part and not really an answer to what it rationally and morally “ought” to be, which was my question?

  31. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Obviously, we “must” pay for things that have already happened. But if we can’t tax enough to pay for existing obligations (deficits), then how can we continue to spend more than we can take in.

    Just one quick example of what I am actually speaking about, referencing the prisoner rehab issue:

    If we do nothing different, in Kentucky say, with prisoner rehab questions, we WILL be spending an amount. Let’s say $100 million is what it costs KY to house and deal with prisoners right now.

    Now, IF we invest in prisoner rehab, study after study shows that recidivism will decrease and, as a result, money will be saved. So, if we invested, say, $10 million in rehab programs, then the state will save, say, $20 million in decreased recidivism.

    It’s not as if we can say, “Let’s not spend $10 million and save that money from going out and that will be $10 million that can stay in taxpayers hands and out of the treacherous gov’t’s greedy hands, giving to the ‘takers…'”

    The money WILL be going out, there WILL be no savings of $10 to KY taxpayers, in fact, we will spend $10 million MORE. At least on many of these points, we are speaking of investments, not blind expenditures. And so, it’s not a question of “Do we want to spend $10 million to ‘give’ to takers or do we want to save $10 million?” It’s a question of “Do we spend $10 million now or $20 million later?”

    I say it again, we MUST pay for those things that we must pay for, the costs we have as a society.

    Now, are there things we can do to not spend as much money? Programs/policies we can change that don’t have additional expenses associated with ending them? I’m quite sure. Our “war on drugs,” for instance, almost certainly costs us a great deal more than we save. We could safely and effectively end that, save money and invest in policies that are more effective ways of dealing with drug problems other than the failed “war on drugs.”

    For example. I – and everyone else – are all in favor of reducing waste and not spending unnecessary moneys. We just won’t always agree on which programs are worth it and which aren’t. But that we disagree on how best to save money and run society is not an indication that there is one group that wants to save money and one group that wants to spend money blindly.

    That would be a silly conclusion.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, the numbers you cite are the equivalent of $0.01 out of $100. How about you be intellectually honest and deal with the tens of billions spent on programs designed to ensure a voting base.

  32. paynehollow says:

    You mean military spending? Yes, that could probably quite safely have huge reductions…

  33. paynehollow says:

    Are you not going to answer your own question that I have put back to you, John? What IS the right rate to tax people and from where do you get that “right” rate? OR, do you agree with me that there is not one single “right” rate, that it’s not that simple?

    ~Dan

  34. “Unrealistic?”

    yes a $30,000 one year college education that leads to a guaranteed $100,000 per year salary is unrealistic.

    “That we shouldn’t spend so much money that we can’t afford it? Of course, no one is disagreeing. So?”

    So, the guys you voted for are currently in control of 2 of the three branches of the federal government and they are continuing to spend more money than can ever be paid back.

    “We can’t tax folk at 100%, no one is advocating that.”

    I’m not saying anyone is. What I am saying is that the ability to tax at the level needed to pay for what has already been spent (this does not include ongoing spending) does not exist. We as a country CANNOT tax enough to pay for our past spending. So we borrow to “pay” for both money already spent, plus the ever increasing sums that is being spent going forward. I agree we should pay our bills, the problem is there is absolutely no way to do that by increasing taxes.

    “Do you really think that’s what we think?”

    When you say things like, “So, the “right” percentage is not a specific amount, rather, it’s what it takes to pay our bills that we must pay.”, it is a logical to conclude that that’s pretty much what you think.

    “Or is that entirely arbitrary on your part and not really an answer to what it rationally and morally “ought” to be, which was my question?”

    First, it is my opinion of what a reasonable tax rate should be.
    Second, I have never made a claim that taxes are “moral”. So why you would imply that I have is strange. I see no reason that tax rates have anything to do with morality.
    Third, in a normal conversation I would say “I think 25-28% is a reasonable federal income tax rate.” and you might respond, “I disagree, I think that 75-80% makes more sense.”. Then we might be able to come to some sort of compromise on a rate we both could accept. Instead you offer. “So, the “right” percentage is not a specific amount, rather, it’s what it takes to pay our bills that we must pay.”, Which is practically meaningless, since there is no tax rate that would actually pay the bills you think we “have” to pay.

    In the abstract, I would agree that spending money for prisoner rehab instead of incarceration might make fiscal sense. The problem is that you’ve again managed to find one example that makes your point and attempt to extrapolate it to make a larger point.

    You say cut defense, I say there are areas where defense could be cut. However, a blanket cut to the DOD would result is how many job losses? 1,000,000? 10,000,000? How do you propose to absorb those workers into an Obama era unemployment rate which has averaged over 8%, and is probably much higher since large numbers of long term unemployed are simply dropped from the roles after they give up and stop looking.

    The indisputable fact remains that we, as a nation, have and are continuing to spend more money than we can ever repay. Unfortunately for those on the left a significant part of that out of control spending rests on the Dems.

  35. Craig and John have given their opinion as to what actual tax rate is appropriate.

    Dan, Isu, and Z haven’t been able to muster up anything approaching a specific number. Why? Is is really to hard to come up with a percentage?

  36. paynehollow says:

    Why? Because there IS no specific number. If you are honest, you can admit, “No, I have no reason why I chose my numbers where I did. God has not descended and told me that 28% is the right and moral answer. It is entirely subjective and my own opinion based on nothing more than how it seems to me.”

    Am I mistaken or does that sum up your and John’s hunches as to what is “fair…”?

    IF we can all agree that, no, there is no one “right” number, then we can proceed from there and say, “…but 30% seems like a good starting point to me for someone who makes more, whereas 10% seems maybe too much for those making the least…” but really, aren’t they all entirely subjective? Is there ANY solid reason why 15% or 28% is okay, but 35% is not?

    On the bottom end of things, I HAVE given a line and a solid rationale as to why I support the bottom rate. That is, I have made the entirely reasonable claim: We ought not tax someone to the point where they can’t afford to live, eat, breathe.

    Can we agree on that much, or do we think that even the poorest saps ought to pay 10%, which is what John appears to be saying (since he said with “no exceptions or exemptions…”)?

    Craig, if you’re suggesting that it’s the Dems who only spend and don’t want to live within a budget and the GOP who only try to live within a budget, you are exposing yourself as a partisan flak. Both parties created these budgets and deficits. You can’t single out one party as “at fault” and still be considered reasonable. Who started these unnecessary wars that cost hundreds of billions of dollars? Who votes to spend all the money we do on motorists subsidies? On gas and oil subsidies? The budget belongs to all parties and all of us who voted for these people.

    As any reasonable person would do (Dem, GOP or other), of course we should not vote to spend more than we are taking in, but IF we have expenses that OUR Left and Right representatives are creating, THEN they/we have a responsibility to pay for them.

    ~Dan

  37. paynehollow says:

    Unfortunately for those on the left a significant part of that out of control spending rests on the Dems.

    Says the defender of the Party that created trillions of dollars in war debt. Along with weak-kneed Democrat appeasing. Be serious. The budget belongs to both parties and all of us.

    As you can see on the first chart on this page, the deficit has gone up in GOP years and down in Dem years, with the exception (so far) of the Obama administration, and even there, it has gone down under Obama from what he received. Or look at the list by president (table 3). Again, each Dem administration with the exception of the present one has presided over significant deficit cuts.

    So, again, the deficit belongs to all of us, but historically, it has been the Dems who have tended to bring it down. Which is off topic, but just to adjust the faulty implication Craig has made.

    ~Dan

  38. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    However, a blanket cut to the DOD would result is how many job losses? 1,000,000? 10,000,000?

    Again, off topic, but I’ll just note that it has been pointed out that not all gov’t programs are created equal, as it relates to creating jobs. $1 million in military spending might result in 10,000 jobs, but in another area, might create 12,000 jobs.

    Just sayin…

    Some info from an admittedly biased source, but I’ve read it elsewhere…

    ~Dan

  39. paynehollow says:

    Tell you what fellas, if you want a number from me, how about this: 45-49% would be about as much as we should take from someone who is wealthy.

    Of course, I have no reason for that number, it’s just a number (under 50%, so they/we’re still keeping most of the money) and not any more right or moral or rational than 15% or 28%, but if you want a number, there you go. Pulled it from the same space you all did: Right out of thin air.

    The difference is, I recognize it as an arbitrary number and so far, you all have given no indication that you recognize your numbers as completely arbitrary.

    Under $10,000, a federal tax rate of 0%.

    Over $1,000,000, somewhere south of 50%.

    Does that make it better?

    ~Dan

  40. paynehollow says:

    Reasonable people of good faith can agree that a family in modern US making under $10,000 is likely scraping by with very little to spare. Reasonable people of good faith should be able to agree that anyone making over $1 million a year is not scraping by.

    We can’t really put an exact number on Bare Necessities – how much one can make and, without that income, can not survive. There are many variables (are they able to raise their own food? are they able to get by without an automobile? Without any major medications? etc), but I find it hard to believe that most of us couldn’t agree that $10,000/year is pretty barebones whereas $1 million isn’t superfluous to survival.

    I’d put the “bare necessities” as easily under $100,000/year, but being generous, let’s say $1 million. If you need $1 million to pay all your bills, you are paying for stuff way beyond bare necessities.

    Do you disagree?

    • Why do you get to determine what a necessity is? And why dont you apply that to the 50 inch flatscreen ac xbox cigarette smoking >10k person? Do they have to live on bare necessities or can they continue to buy junk food, alcohol, strip club and casino runs with their welfare money?

  41. “Craig, if you’re suggesting that it’s the Dems who only spend and don’t want to live within a budget and the GOP who only try to live within a budget, you are exposing yourself as a partisan flak.”

    Not at all, I have been openly critical of GOP spending. However, you can’t ignore the fact that for the last 6 years P-BO and the Dems haven’t even made a pretense of trying to curtail the rampant overspending.

  42. Dan,

    Thanks for finally committing to a number, it wasn’t that hard was it. You still dodge the fact that we simply cannot tax at a high enough rate to pay our past and current obligations. Given that how can you justify the runaway spending of borrowed money over the past 6 years.

    I do find it interesting that God mandated 10% for support of the “church/temple” and I believe He mandates an additional 10% for the kingdom. I’d guess that if we wanted a moral percentage, that is God approved, maybe 10% would be it.

  43. paynehollow says:

    While I’m not an economist enough to know if I agree or disagree, this administration was trying to stop us from going into a Depression after the Bush years. And we haven’t, so maybe the spending worked.

    Look at the Dem track record, reduction in deficit, reduction in deficit, reduction in deficit. The rule has been for the Dems to reduce the deficit (and not the GOP administrations – quite the opposite). Obama has been straddled with an economic disaster from the previous GOP administration and their expansive spending and militarization/warmongering. Would another president have done better? I don’t know the answer to that.

    The point is, this was an unusual set of circumstances, Bush had left the nation in worse economic condition than at any time since the Depression.

    Again, if you’re trying to lay this at the feet of the Dems, you’re being rather hard to take seriously. Do you blame Bush for leading us INTO this mess?

    Reasonably answer that and we can know if you’re serious or not about your concern for overspending.

    As to the number, the point I’ve made is quite clear: It’s almost ENTIRELY arbitrary. There is no rhyme or reason that makes your rate any better than mine or vice versa.

    If you can say Yes, that’s true, then I can take you seriously. If you think there is some magic logicberry bush that makes your made up numbers legitimate, then not so much.

    ~Dan

  44. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Why do you get to determine what a necessity is? And why dont you apply that to the 50 inch flatscreen ac xbox cigarette smoking >10k person?

    I don’t determine, I’m just suggesting reasonable and fair-minded people can agree that under $10k is pretty barebones.

    DO YOU AGREE? (or are you not a reasonable and fair-minded person?)

    I’m suggesting that if you make OVER $1 million, you’re spending money on things beyond necessities.

    Do you agree (or are you not a reasonable and fair-minded person)?

    ~Dan

  45. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    However, you can’t ignore the fact that for the last 6 years P-BO and the Dems haven’t even made a pretense of trying to curtail the rampant overspending.

    Of course I can, there have been cuts (or attempted cuts) made by the Dems in many areas. Many of those areas were FOUGHT by the GOP. But again, this was an administration that was trying to stop the spiral into a Depression from the previous GOP administration. Where was the concern for the overspending then? Did the GOP not “even make a pretense of spending…”? Given the evidence, one might say that, but that would not be fair, of course, they tried to cut things, too.

    I’m pointing out that blanket blaming of one party is unreasonable, especially when the GOP is the one party that ALWAYS (for many administrations now) have led us into huge deficits.

    Are you prepared to blame Reagan/Bush/Bush/Nixon for their administrations huge deficits and spending? If you want to say, “Yes, for the last seven administrations, they ALL have spent too much except for Carter and Clinton, two of the Dems who oversaw great cuts in the deficits…,” then, again, it might be easier to take you seriously.

    ~Dan

  46. paynehollow says:

    John…

    So by default people under 10k arent mismanaging their money on non-necessities and those over 1m have extra money so we can take it? Sounds corrupt to me.

    You have a real problem of reading stuff into my words that I didn’t say. OF COURSE people under $10k sometimes mismanage their money. Did I say that they didn’t?

    No, what I said was to state the rather spectacularly obvious that as a rule, living under $10,000 a year is living with a bare bones budget.

    Can you or can you not agree with that?

    And I did NOT say that if you have $1 million, we can “take it.”

    Do you understand that this was not my point at all, John? You seem to be on an obtuse trajectory here.

    I. DID. NOT. SAY. THAT.

    I stated the rather spectacularly obvious point that if you have $1million/year, you are not living on a bare bones budget.

    Can you or can you not agree with that?

    Just step up and answer a simple couple of questions, man. What is your problem with that?

    ~Dan

    • A person making under 10k actually has plenty of money. Between food stamps, free cell phone, ebt, other cash benefits, section 8 and utility assistance their “income” is almost the equivalent of 40k.

      Your words said that if they make 1m then they have enough income to justify a near 50% tax rate. Essentially, they have plenty and we can take it.

  47. paynehollow says:

    You DO know, don’t you, that not everyone who makes less than $10k receives any or all of those benefits, right? I was just making a simple and clear and hard to argue point (those under $10k tend to be on a bare bones budget), and you seem intent on arguing against points I have not made and do not believe, so thanks for the memories…

    You could probably learn to make your points without being a jerk, John, and do a better job at this.

    ~Dan

  48. paynehollow says:

    I will ask this last question. You said…

    Your words said that if they make 1m then they have enough income to justify a near 50% tax rate. Essentially, they have plenty and we can take it.

    And you said that if they make money, we can justify a 10-15% tax rate. Essentially, they have money and we can take it. By your standard, are you not criticizing your own “taking” of money, only you are doing it for everyone, including the poor, not just the rich, right?

    Why is it “taking” when it’s 49% and 28%, but not “taking” when it’s 15%? What makes your rate the “right” rate? Or, can you agree that it is entirely whimsical on your part and not based on any thing at all?

    Mine, on the other hand, is based on what people can afford, which seems more reasonable than “just take it, whether they can afford it or not” of your position, with no rationalization for it.

    ~Dan

  49. I don’t know that Dan has as good of a grasp of the deficit story as he’d like to believe. It should also be kept in mind which party controlled Congress during a given president’s term(s). Reagan had to deal with Dems in the House for his entire administration and in the Senate for his final two. GHW Bush, then, had Dems throughout his term. Clinton had Republicans controlling Congress for most of his administration. GW Bush had GOP control during the middle years of his administration, with the final two years being of Dem control leading into Obama’s time.

    The idea that Obama had to “fix” what Bush left him is a load. It’s a cheap excuse and doesn’t fit the facts to explain why things are so much worse economically under Obama. The notion that Obama prevented a depression is crap.

    As to the “right” tax rate, I would agree that one cannot pick such a number without trial and error. However, the real issue is not merely one of paying the nation’s current obligations. It is also refusing to collect more. At some point, we’re just going to have to realize that it’s to much. Someone will have to be denied. And if “we’re all in this together”, as Barry likes to remind us, then we’re all obligated to put some skin in the game. The only “fair share” is an equal percentage paid by all, regardless of income level, with absolutely no deductions of any kind. I can’t believe that we wouldn’t save big bucks just eliminating the need for an IRS that has to keep track of all the bullshit codes to which we are to adhere. It would be far easier to calculate how much revenues from income the nation would receive every year. And from this total, we then deal with our debt as best we can. There is so much the federal gov’t does that it has no Constitutional authority to do and the savings would be tremendous by simply halting such expenditures. The states and local municipalities would have to take care of their own and those like Dan, who live simply and refuse to expend effort to earn more can lobby the wealthy to donate directly to charities that will help those Dan’s meager income cannot.

    Taking care of our nation’s debt is best accomplished by stimulating economic growth.

  50. Dan,

    If you are honest, you will recall that I have been consistent in being against federal overspending by both parties for as long as you and I have been commenting. For you to suggest otherwise is flat out BS.

    I find it interesting that you accuse me of being some sort of partisan hack, while regurgitating the “It’s all Bush’s fault” DNC talking points pablum. At some point, you all on the left are going to have to admit that either P-BO bears some responsibility for our current and future deficits (given that he’s been POTUS for 6 years, and voted for at least some of the spending you all want to blame Bush for exclusively), or that P-BO has been a miserable failure at fixing the problems he assured us he’d fix.

    Clearly P-BO is not alone in the overspending. There is plenty of responsibility to go around. But to totally try to absolve P-BO of any responsibility is partisan blindness.

    For example, P-BO care. We were promised it would cost less than a trillion dollars, nope not so much.
    Student loan interest just doubled today, even though P-BO campaigned of preventing the increase (the legislation that caused this was written and passed by dems). NOw it sounds like some of the money will go towards offsetting the cost of P-BO care.

    Come on. Stop the partisan drivel and get serious.

  51. paynehollow says:

    Are you prepared to blame Reagan/Bush/Bush/Nixon for their administrations huge deficits and spending? If you want to say, “Yes, for the last seven administrations, they ALL have spent too much except for Carter and Clinton, two of the Dems who oversaw great cuts in the deficits…,” then, again, it might be easier to take you seriously.

    I have not said that the Dems or Obama are perfect and have plenty of criticisms for them. So I’m certainly not being partisan. I’m saying that I don’t know that if McCain had been elected and enacted whatever policies he wanted to, if we’d be better off. I don’t think “fixing the economy” is as magical as simply saying, “Enact this, this and this, and the economy will be better.” I don’t know that reducing taxes and spending at a time when we were teetering on a Depression, so I’m not willing to say the Obama approach is wrong. You are welcome to your opinions, I don’t think you can prove them, they are simply opinions, but you are welcome to them.

    But if you try to (as you keep doing) lay it PRIMARILY at the feet of the Dems, I call that partisan BS.

    So, how about it? Were Reagan, Bush, Bush and Nixon all sucky at reducing deficits and Carter, Clinton the only administrations to do this well? And the current problems are NOT primarily a Dem problem, but a problem from/by all of us? If you believe it, say so.

    You say clearly Obama is not ALONE in overspending, but your words suggest you think it is primarily the Dems. That is why you sound partisan.

  52. Dan seems to have missed the link I offered in my last. He also forgets some other important points, such as the fact that Barry O took office in the middle of, by far, the biggest-deficit year in history, dealing with two wars and the most severe recession since the 1930’s; it would have been remarkable if the deficit hadn’t decreased during his term. There always seems to be something to explain the disparities that Dan believes indicates better economic policies by Dems.

    It is also helpful to remember that conservative voters were very unhappy with the level of spending during the Bush 43 years and as a result, the mid-terms of ’06 resulted in Dem control of Congress, where spending sped up.

    Conservative voters and pundits do not ignore spending by our own. It pisses us off much more than when Dems do it, because it’s expected by Dems.

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