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#303633 - 11/01/17 12:05 PM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: jgw]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16098
Tax policy is a very effective tool for social engineering. Tax credits are very effective for shifting tax burdens. I agree that many particular exemptions should go, but the problem is geese - one person's goose is another's gander, and someone's going to get cooked. I've made this proposal several times: don't distinguish income - e.g., capital gains, inheritance, etc. - tax it all the same.

Also, jgw, military service is a far cry from being a mercenary. Don't confuse the tool with its user. A hammer is not the right tool for every job, and it's the poor craftsman that blames his tools. Both apply to the military.
_________________________
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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#303635 - 11/01/17 12:15 PM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: NW Ponderer]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8845
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
There are lots of tools in Congress...
_________________________
"You can't fix a problem until you understand what the problem is." Logtroll

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#303640 - 11/01/17 03:45 PM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: Greger]
chunkstyle Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 914
Originally Posted By: Greger
Quote:
Right now we have, for all practical purposes, a national army of mercenaries - NOT citizen soldiers.

Uh...how do you figure that? We have a military made up of patriots who have all volunteered to serve their country. Far better, in my opinion, than one made up of conscripts who mostly don't want to be there.


It relieves the citizens of the enormity and burden of the decision making to engage in military adventurism. There is no political check on the war department as their is no 'skin in the game' of the average voters family.

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#303642 - 11/01/17 05:36 PM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: Greger]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 13222
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: Greger
Quote:
Right now we have, for all practical purposes, a national army of mercenaries - NOT citizen soldiers.

Uh...how do you figure that? We have a military made up of patriots who have all volunteered to serve their country. Far better, in my opinion, than one made up of conscripts who mostly don't want to be there.


We have now undergone a shift in class perception, in that too many in the military now seem to see themselves as a separate "warrior class" and too many now believe that we the people serve them, instead of the other way around.
It's approximately a 50/50 split right now I'd estimate.
It's a natural form of elitism and isolationism.
Mandatory conscription tends to even the load and force the people to be aware of the decisions made by the particularly "warrior class" set of top brass in Washington.
Men like General John Kelly, who think nothing of calling General Robert E. Lee an "honorable man", for instance.

Warrior class militaries tend to insulate the people from the consequences of military adventurism, as was already stated above.
I add that the defense industry seeks an established warrior class as a natural grass roots lobby, so mandatory conscription also evens out the privateering tendencies.
_________________________
"He wakes up in the morning, ****s all over Twitter, ****s all over us, ****s all over his staff, then hits golf balls."
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#303644 - 11/01/17 06:22 PM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: jgw]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2053
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
Couple of things. First taxes. Using taxes for ANYTHING, other than paying the bills, is a terrible mistake and is, exactly, how we got to a 20,000 page tax code. It is, again, pretty simple. One side wants to 'tweak' the tax system, then the other side wants to 'tweak' the tax system and it just keeps on going. The bush tax reduction, for instance, added no fewer than 200 pages to the code. If you want to do social engineering, etc. do it outside of the tax system. Decide on the tax plan, pass it (normal order), and just let it be. Then EVERYBODY will know, exactly, how it works and what its for. Right now NOBODY knows, exactly, how it works and what its really for. If we are to be a nation of laws then just let it be.

The second needs a little history. I can remember when we did a blanket pay raise for our military. At the time there was a big argument over whether we were creating a mercenary force. I can also remember when, in 1971 they sent tanks into Washington DC to keep the peace. They traveled there not with their guns up but down and ready to go (that one got a lot of attention at the time). They had just returned from Viet Nam and would have opened up on anybody if they got the order. Then there is the ongoing dependence on independent mercenaries as well (https://www.theatlantic.com/internationa...n-obama/495731/). You may think of our army as a citizen army - it is not. The only part that qualifies for that is our national guard, the rest get paid fairly well and do as they are told and are controlled by the generals (now more than ever given that Trump has given the military free reign to do, pretty much, whatever they want). Anyway, if you are under the impression that our military would never act against American citizens is a nice thought but has little to do with our reality.

You can also look up the "bonus army" when, after WWI, they sent in tanks which actually attacked other veterans. Oh, here is one for the 1971 thing: https://longreads.com/2017/01/20/in-1971...y-shut-it-down/

Basically, OUR military WILL fire on civilians if so ordered!

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#303647 - 11/01/17 07:56 PM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: jgw]
chunkstyle Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 914
It goes without saying that the advocacy for an all volunteer army was largely a result of the gates commission. Some of the leading advocated that gave testimony to congress on the benefits of it were Milton Friedman and Allen Greenspan.
Within a decade of the Vietnam war concluding and the country having to do some collective soul searching the military was tanned, rested and ready to have another little adventure with it's new volunteer force in a little country called Grenada.
Today most americans can't tell you how many Iraqis, Afghani's or Syrians have been killed in all this volunteer military adventurism. I can only tell you that the death tolls keep growing with each new one. It has been argued that we have made a mockery of the Nuremberg War crimes trials. The major pretext for the criminality was military aggression of one country towards another country.
We seem to not remember nor care as long as the flat screens are on sale and gas is cheap. Our military has been given a green light go.
Hell, its starting to morph into some kind of judeo-christian fighting force to be revered.

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#303648 - 11/01/17 08:05 PM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7753
Loc: North San Diego County
As Einstein said repeatedly, in many different ways, a solution should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. What you are proposing falls into that mistake. Tax code is complicated because economic activities are complicated. If you get rid of all that code, lots of economic activities just don't work any more. In other words, it would tear the hell out of our economy and send us into a deep depression. We would have a fundamentally different system, and lots of very good things would no longer be possible. For example, home ownership.

On the other hand, this is just the kind of thing Trump likes: Some overly simplistic solution and damn the consequences. So we may suffer something like it, God help us.

99% of those rules are there for the purpose of equity, not for special interests. Get rid of them and equity flies out the window.

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#303650 - 11/01/17 08:50 PM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: jgw]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 2053
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
Interesting. If, for instance, you are in business, and you make a profit then that profit gets taxed X amount. The question is, basically, how is the profit arrived at and that is, basically, where the problems come in. This gets overcome if you have a national sales tax (hides under a number of different titles <G>) Anyway, if you buy something you pay a tax on it. The trick is to make sure one pays a tax on EVERYTHING that is bought, irregardless of where it was bought. The reason this has a lot of appeal is simply because the profit thing no longer is even pertinent. Its been said that if such a tax existed then you could fund gov with a tax between 7% and 28% If you google "national sales tax percentage" will get a lot of hits which goes in this stuff in detail. The trick is consistency. The people who hate this one are those that think this tax is hard on poor people (I don't buy it). There are ways to help the poor without changing a basic sales tax system. The trick is to come up with a basic tax which EVERYBODY pays! If one want to help the poor they can do that with some kind of payment system but not by adjusting the tax law itself which would remain constant and understood.

I am not sure what home ownership has to do with any of this. Right now, when you buy a house, you get taxed. You get taxed on what you buy in any number of ways (fed, county, state, fed - they ALL get a taste). I remember, when in college, a long time ago, being told that the price of a loaf of bread is something like 75% tax charged on production each step of the way.

I just think that a genuine, fair tax system exists and the problem is in the details but, no matter what system is in place, is should be held sacrosanct and any 'fixes', "equity adjustments", "social engineering", and "kindness" should be handled outside of the tax system itself and specific to whatever so everybody knows what is going on. Right now we have a system which makes any set of religious tomes, moral commandments, and the like pale in comparison to our own overly complicated and incredibly corrupt system (currently supported by the accounting priestly class and ruled by holy congress).

Oh, the current solutions of the right are none of the above. Instead it is, basically, a system to increase the number of poor whilst getting rid of any tax supported healthcare (thereby killing off the non-productive, elderly, ill educated poor (I suspect many Trump supporters fall into this category)). Given the disparity of wealth in this nation I suspect that we will probably move onto revolution in the next 50 years or so unless something changes. Its unfortunate when that happens but I won't be here to see it so it's out of my pervue (I know, that's harsh, but true).

If history teaches anything it shows that a gross disparity in wealth always ends poorly and there is absolutely no reason why we will not experience the same disaster as other nations and cultures with huge disparities have experienced in the past. It would seem that, historically, the poor and disenfranchised tend to eventually upset apple carts on a grand scale.

I just came across this so I thought I would add it:
http://reason.com/reasontv/2017/11/01/trump-tax-plan-business-as-usual?utm_medium=email


Edited by jgw (11/01/17 09:55 PM)

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#303653 - 11/02/17 04:55 AM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: jgw]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7753
Loc: North San Diego County
So, he wants to get rid of state and local tax deductions? Then you would be taxed double on the taxes you pay to the state and local government: You would have to pay taxes on your total income and then pay taxes again on the money you sent to the state, etc.

That's one of the reasons this is so unpopular.

He wants to get rid of the home mortgage interest deduction? But if you buy property to rent out, you get to deduct the mortgage interest as part of your business expenses. Buying a house is probably the single biggest investment people make. Why not let them deduct the investment expense (the mortgage interest). If you outlaw that then people just pair up and buy rental property and rent the houses to each other so they get the deduction. If you decide to not let people deduct mortgage interest on rentals as a business expense, then are you going to deny every business expense? Do that and you destroy the American economy.

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#303655 - 11/02/17 10:46 AM Re: The Common Sense Party [Re: pondering_it_all]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16098
What we have here, in my view, is the classic distinction between "simple" and "simplistic". jgw argues for a simple tax system, while p-i-a points to complexities that argue the solution is simplistic.

Life is complex, and economic activity is blindingly complex. As a result, the tax system is correspondingly complex. It contains both the general case and a myriad of special cases. What is "fair" in a general sense can be exceedingly unfair in particular cases, as pondering points out. The tax system has been developed to balance out the joints between general principles and specific cases and, in some instances, manipulated to benefit particular groups. Moreover, as he also points out, people modify their behavior to take advantage of certain rules through "tax avoidance schemes". Two glaring examples are embodied in the last two Republican candidates' fortunes.

Mitt Romney made millions and avoided taxes by structuring business deals to take advantage of lower "capital gains" rates - as do most investors, but on a much smaller scale. Hedge fund managers and other financiers are the worst abusers. Donald Trump took advantage of "carry over" rules that were inserted into the code by real estate speculators (like himself) to avoid taxes for a decade.

The problem, of course, is reaching "fair". Simple, I agree, is good. (Hence my argument for treating all "gain" as "income".) But the devil is in the details - e.g., what is appropriately deductible to offset various kinds of expenses and losses. Should, for example, State taxes be deductible? Should religious institutions get exemptions? Should interest expenses count? In what circumstances? What about children? Child care? Health care expenses? Start up costs? Capital investment?

What about relative "burden"? Should the tax code take into account that a 20% rate on a poverty-level income has a much greater impact than a 20% rate on a millionaire's "quality of life"? How much "inheritance" is reasonable? Should the tax code be "progressive"?

On another front, should taxes be compartmentalized or earmarked? For example, FICA and Medicare are taxed separately from ordinary income taxes. Should they be?

Moreover, the tax code needs to be flexible as circumstances change or as behavior changes to adapt to it - market distortions and loopholes. One man's lifeline is another man's noose and becomes another's loophole. If the code favors screwdrivers over hammers, screwdrivers become fashionable, and hammers get dropped.

Be careful that simple solutions don't become simplistic.
_________________________
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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