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#107918 - 04/16/09 09:40 PM Re: Wealth [Re: numan]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15421
 Originally Posted By: numan
 Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
I am generally opposed to the concept of using the tax code for social engineering - that is, influencing decision-making.
Why are you opposed?
I should clarify that I am talking about the individual income tax, but my opposition is that the purpose of taxation is to fund the government, so it is revenue generation that should drive the policy decisions of the taxing authority, not social engineering. Now, I feel differently about other forms of taxation, for example "sin" taxes or corporate taxes, etc.
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A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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#108094 - 04/17/09 07:57 PM Re: Wealth [Re: ]
issodhos Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 12581
 Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
I don't think that most Americans really believe in "redistribution" in the grandest sense, but they do aspire to a sense of "fairness."



I am in disagreement with both the over all message of your posting as well as specifics within it, NWP. To begin, “a sense of fairness” rarely has anything to do with actual fairness (i.e., moral or philosophical). In the case of government redistribution, “a sense of fairness” is often nothing more than what politicians are able to get for their special interest constituencies or what a majority mob decides it can vote itself. So, injecting “sense of fairness” into governmental redistribution seems to me to be either naïve or distractive, and certainly unhelpful.

To get to the gist of the matter, when those in thrall of it raise a call for “redistribution” the argument of choice seems to be one based on ambiguity. In this case “redistribution” is conflated with the act of taxation for the funding of the federal government. This is not at all what redistribution is. Redistribution is not the taking of private property for post offices and post road construction, operating the federal legal system or national defense. Redistribution is the taking of one person’s property by government and giving it to another person. The argument that “Taxation, no matter how it is accomplished, is redistributive” is false.

I am also in disagreement with your assumptions that “wealth accumulation” is a “zero sum game”, and that “there is only so much to go around”.

There are four basic ways to accumulate wealth. One can produce something that others are willing to buy by using ones skills, knowledge (including investment and speculative knowledge), capital assets, borrowed funds, etc; one can receive it as a voluntary gift from another who produced it; one can receive it as an involuntary gift taken from another by the government; and one can steal it.

The first way consists of voluntary exchanges in which parties “A” and “B” value what the other has more than each value what it has. The second way, voluntary gift, is just that – a gift from which the giver attains his own satisfaction, as does the beneficiary (e.g., inheritance). Neither of these ways of accumulating wealth is “zero sum”, as both are in receipt of something.

The third, receiving an involuntary gift, and the fourth, theft, are indeed “zero sum” in that one party does receive something at the expense of another. However, it is the first, and to a more modest extent, the second that are not "zero sum" and that are used by individuals to accumulate wealth or even “vast wealth”.

As to, “there is only so much to go around”, for this to be true, then for every up-tick in population we would find ourselves more and more impoverished (the single pie of fixed size scenario). Taking it to its logical extreme, surely when a baby is born we are not finding our world bereft of pajamas for the newborn tyke.

I also question the notion advanced in your question “can society put this accumulation of wealth to better use?” It is not the property of ‘society’ and thus not within the authority of ‘society’ (in reality, politicians and special interests) to determine its “better use”.

As to your willingness to put a significant percentage of your income into the pot, you already can do so – and can do so voluntarily.

Your statement, “A "fair" tax system, in my opinion, is one that does the least damage to individuals' ability to take care of themselves and their needs, and the most good for the general society.” I think highlights the over all collectivist position you are taking on this issue. You seem to be declaring that the wealth of an individual is really the wealth of the state, which, in its wisdom, should decide how much of an individual’s wealth he can keep for his “needs” (obviously to be determined by others of a more enlightened nature;-)), and how much of it will be returned to the state. Somehow, I think this is a worldview that has been practiced happily by political masters of one sort or another for millennia. Not for me, thanks.
Yours,
Issodhos
_________________________
"When all has been said that can be said, and all has been done that can be done, there will be poetry";-) -- Issodhos

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#108101 - 04/17/09 08:26 PM Re: Wealth [Re: issodhos]
numan Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 10853
Loc: What! Me Worry?
-

Wealth has always been the property of those who can take it, and can prevent others from taking it from them.

End of story.

-
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The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools -- Herbert Spencer

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#108105 - 04/17/09 08:34 PM Re: Wealth [Re: issodhos]
loganrbt Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 5850
Loc: Massaphuggintwoshirts
It is so reassuring in this complicated world to find a person who hires private contractors for fire protection, police services, has his own well and septic system, uses only FedEx/DHL/Etc. for sending and receiving paper mail, cares not a whit whether the borders of his nation, state, county, or town is invaded by "foreigners", has always and will continue to home school any and all offspring of all generations downstream from his loins, and walks every where along an easement purchased from the landowners whose property must be crossed so as not to rely on any public sidewalk, street, road, highway, or airport.

Oh, and do send us a postcard when you choose and move to the island of your choice. http://www.privateislandsonline.com/
Sure a good thing there are commercial satellites up there for you to use reconnect back to CHB once you're settled in.


Edited by loganrbt (04/17/09 08:36 PM)
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"The white men were as thick and numerous and aimless as grasshoppers, moving always in a hurry but never seeming to get to whatever place it was they were going to." Dee Brown

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#108108 - 04/17/09 08:42 PM Re: Wealth [Re: issodhos]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 13794
Loc: Florida
Atlas shrugged.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."— Oscar Wilde

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#108114 - 04/17/09 10:43 PM Re: Wealth [Re: loganrbt]
issodhos Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 12581
 Originally Posted By: loganrbt
It is so reassuring in this complicated world to find a person who hires private contractors for fire protection, police services, has his own well and septic system, uses only FedEx/DHL/Etc. for sending and receiving paper mail, cares not a whit whether the borders of his nation, state, county, or town is invaded by "foreigners", has always and will continue to home school any and all offspring of all generations downstream from his loins, and walks every where along an easement purchased from the landowners whose property must be crossed so as not to rely on any public sidewalk, street, road, highway, or airport.


Piffle. NWP's post was quite specifically dealing at the federal level, loganrbt (perhaps a re-read would help). You do know that policing, fire protection, and such are primarily local issues, do you not? And there was no mention of or reference made to anarcho-capitalism. That is what you were attempting to ascribe to me in case you were unaware of it. Not a problem. One is not expected to be conversant on all matters -- large or small.;-)
Yours in patience,
Issodhos
_________________________
"When all has been said that can be said, and all has been done that can be done, there will be poetry";-) -- Issodhos

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#108115 - 04/17/09 10:45 PM Re: Wealth [Re: numan]
issodhos Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 12581
 Originally Posted By: numan
-

Wealth has always been the property of those who can take it, and can prevent others from taking it from them.

End of story.-


No, numan, that would pertain more to power.;-)
Yours,
Issodhos
_________________________
"When all has been said that can be said, and all has been done that can be done, there will be poetry";-) -- Issodhos

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#108119 - 04/17/09 10:41 PM Re: Wealth [Re: issodhos]
Ardy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 12005
Loc: San Jose, Ca USA
 Originally Posted By: issodhos
 Originally Posted By: numan
-

Wealth has always been the property of those who can take it, and can prevent others from taking it from them.

End of story.-


No, numan, that would pertain more to power.;-)
Yours,
Issodhos


Are there any useful distinctions between how the economy works in Russia and how it works in the USA? Perhaps the question (if interesting) is better discussed on a separate thread.
_________________________
"It's not a lie if you believe it." -- George Costanza
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves. --Bertrand Russel

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#108121 - 04/17/09 11:06 PM Re: Wealth [Re: issodhos]
loganrbt Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 5850
Loc: Massaphuggintwoshirts
 Originally Posted By: issodhos
 Originally Posted By: loganrbt
It is so reassuring in this complicated world to find a person who hires private contractors for fire protection, police services, has his own well and septic system, uses only FedEx/DHL/Etc. for sending and receiving paper mail, cares not a whit whether the borders of his nation, state, county, or town is invaded by "foreigners", has always and will continue to home school any and all offspring of all generations downstream from his loins, and walks every where along an easement purchased from the landowners whose property must be crossed so as not to rely on any public sidewalk, street, road, highway, or airport.


Piffle. NWP's post was quite specifically dealing at the federal level, loganrbt (perhaps a re-read would help). You do know that policing, fire protection, and such are primarily local issues, do you not? And there was no mention of or reference made to anarcho-capitalism. That is what you were attempting to ascribe to me in case you were unaware of it. Not a problem. One is not expected to be conversant on all matters -- large or small.;-)
Yours in patience,
Issodhos


_________________________
"The white men were as thick and numerous and aimless as grasshoppers, moving always in a hurry but never seeming to get to whatever place it was they were going to." Dee Brown

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#108122 - 04/17/09 11:06 PM Re: Wealth [Re: issodhos]
loganrbt Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 5850
Loc: Massaphuggintwoshirts
 Originally Posted By: issodhos
 Originally Posted By: numan
-

Wealth has always been the property of those who can take it, and can prevent others from taking it from them.

End of story.-


No, numan, that would pertain more to power.;-)
Yours,
Issodhos


Idealism! How wonderful!
_________________________
"The white men were as thick and numerous and aimless as grasshoppers, moving always in a hurry but never seeming to get to whatever place it was they were going to." Dee Brown

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