Why are Republicans Wrong about Everything?

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 32521 - 32540 of total 52587 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
monolith

climber
albany,ca
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:06am PT
Yes, you have to make assumptions. It's all in the details. But to pay a total of 33% as an employee, not just have a marginal rate of 33%, means you are quite well off.

BTW, I'm self-employed, so I pay self-employment taxes. But, I'm speaking for most people and they are not self-employed.

marginal rates:

10% on taxable income from $0 to $8,700, plus
15% on taxable income over $8,700 to $35,350, plus
25% on taxable income over $35,350 to $85,650, plus
28% on taxable income over $85,650 to $178,650, plus
33% on taxable income over $178,650 to $388,350, plus
35% on taxable income over $388,350.

Given the level of understanding tax rates in the US, when someone says they pay 33% tax, it's most likely they mean their marginal rate is 33%.
CrackAddict

Trad climber
Canoga Park, CA
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:07am PT
Incidentally, I'm not completely enamored with eliminating all personal deductions, either, particularly the deduction for mortgage interest. There's a maxim in tax policy that "old taxes are good taxes." When a tax or deduction has been in effect for decades, the economy has adjusted for it. Eliminating the tax or deduction will lead to economic distortions that may take decades to work through the economy.

I agree to some extent, but lets face it: many tax deductions apply only to specific, well connected sectors of the population. And why should homeowners be helped instead of renters? The tax code should not be longer than the Bible.

Also, my reasoning for taxing even the lowest rungs 5-10% is not about raising revenue, it is about everyone having skin in the game. If we go out to eat, and I offer to buy dinner if you pay the parking attendant, what is to keep you from ordering lobster?
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev. and land o da SLEDS!
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:10am PT
Actually John,, nothing like that had ever happened before- a concentrated effort by USFWS, HS and the Customs service in a "sting" against a law-abiding taxidermist. And to make it even worse, just in the last three months, there have been changes in importation laws, and moratoriums issued the re-canted due to things such as avaian flues. They change faster that you can keep up with unless you have a full office staff to track it.

edit: but YES John those damm politicians!;-)
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:13am PT
I can't let the "any fees collected by the government is a tax' argument go without some comments.

Bankruptcy law has long differentiated between taxes and fees. A fee is something paid to the government to receive a particular good or service, and changes in proportion to your use of that good or service. A tax is something you pay regardless of your use of a good or service.

The clearest distinctions comes in utility charges by governments. If the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power sends you a bill for electricity, that's not a tax, even though the DWP is a city entity. The reason is that you pay based on how much electricity you use.

In contrast, for years, the City of Fresno sent water bills based on the size of the buildings on a lot, not based on how much water the lot consumed. That was a tax. When the City changed to water meters, that was no longer a tax, but a fee.

A license fee can represent both a tax and a fee. In California, for example, automobile registration fees vary with the value of the vehicle. That's a personal property tax. There is also a basic fee that is the same for each car. The more cars you register, the more you proportionally pay. That's a fee.

Ultimately, the test comes down to the proportionality of the amount collected to the actual pecuniary cost to the collecting agency. If what the government collects corresponds proportionally to what the government gives you, it's a fee. If the correspondence isn't always there, it's a tax.

John
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:15am PT
Incidentally, I'm not completely enamored with eliminating all personal deductions, either, particularly the deduction for mortgage interest. There's a maxim in tax policy that "old taxes are good taxes." When a tax or deduction has been in effect for decades, the economy has adjusted for it. Eliminating the tax or deduction will lead to economic distortions that may take decades to work through the economy.


Getting rid of the mortgage tax deduction would devalue residential real estate in the entire country by 10-20% overnight.
froodish

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:21am PT
Getting rid of the mortgage tax deduction would devalue residential real estate in the entire country by 10-20% overnight.

Yes, it would have to be phased in over several years. I have mixed feelings about the mortgage tax deduction, but feel like it should be reined in a bit. I'd start by slowly phasing it out for homes that aren't primary residences (2nd & up residences)

On the flat tax thing: the progressive tables in the current system are not complicated. They are probably the most simple element. Anyone who tries to sell flat taxes as simplifying I know really has another agenda.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:24am PT
Yes, it would have to be phased in over several years. I have mixed feelings about the mortgage tax deduction, but feel like it should be reined in a bit. I'd start by slowly phasing it out for homes that aren't primary residences (2nd & up residences)

The deduction for second homes and mortgages over 400k or 500k is ridiculous.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:25am PT
BASE104,

If we had a flat tax, there would be much less reason for the capital gains tax rate. One of the big problems with taxing capital gains fairly is that most people don't realize them every year, but only a few times in their lifetime. If they were taxed as ordinary income, the progressive marginal rates would tax them too highly, because they were really "earned" over the life of the investment, but realized just once.

I realize this cuts both ways, though, because, at flat tax rates, I will earn more paying tax only at the time I sell an investment than paying taxes yearly as the value of the investment increases.

When we had the confiscatorily high marginal rates, we had several remedies for this, most notably the exclusion of a portion of capital gains from income and the ability to income average. As the difference in marginal rates diminished, the need for these remedies lessened. Now all capital gains are recognized, although they have a preferential tax rate, and there is no income averaging available.

Also, there used to be much less ability to trasmute ordinary income into capital gains, because of the Corn Products doctrine. That case held that if one's business was to sell something that would ordinarily be treated as a capital asset (for example, buying lots and selling houses), the sale of those assets would be treated as ordinary income. I'm not sure what the current status of Corn Products is, although I know several tax lawyers that claimed it gave them indigestion.

Anyway, as long as we have significant differences in marginal rates, treating capital gains as ordinary income has two bad effects. First, it largely over-taxes them, and second it discourages investment. Investment is one of the biggest drivers of future employment, so as a matter of economic policy, both parties are reluctant to treat capital gains as ordinary income.

John
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:28am PT
Permits and fees are not taxes.

I always thought that permits and fees were not tax deductible, and that's why they were not labeled as taxes.


Small businesses have to have a number of business licenses and permits in order to operate and most are tax-deductible expenses. In the simplest case, a business may just have to have a basic license to operate. In the most complicated case, a business may have to have some sort of complex permit, such as an environmental permit, to operate.


I stand corrected--if you can deduct the costs, then there ya go, they are essentially taxes. I suppose the difference is in the way that are instated, and where the proceeds go.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:34am PT
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/a-phone-away-from-home-some-nyc-students-pay-private-valets-a-dollar-a-day/2012/10/04/9b95334a-0dec-11e2-ba6c-07bd866eb71a_story.html?wpisrc=nl_most

God damn the world is different than when I was in high school.
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:35am PT
I have owned my own small, incorporated business for 20 years now.

The third quarter just ended:

I paid my employees Federal, SS, Medicare, and State income taxes.

I paid my employees SUTA, FUTA, and Workman Comp taxes and the Gross Receipt Taxes on my business's total gross income to my State.

I pay "lots" of different licenses, registrations, taxes, and fees.

And when everyone has been paid, what is left over is mine, and then I have to pay my own Federal and State income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes.

I also have to pay Estimated Taxes on my own income.

I DON't COMPLAIN because there are huge advantages to owning my own business:

I have gobs of free time, I don't punch a time clock and I LIKE being self employed.

All of the above taxes, fees, and reports take me maybe five hours a MONTH in my computer, it ain't no big deal to deal with government regulations.

If I pay a lot of personal income taxes, it means I made a lot of money for myself.

I have "served" the United States when I was young man, and every year in addition to paying all my legal income taxes, I also send the US Treasury a check for several thousand dollars and earmark it go into the General Fund, it is the least I can do to say thank you to this government for creating the infrastructure of regulated capitalism, and educating my employees through high school and college.

I don't have anything to bitch or complain about, I love my country as a patriotic American and I want my "government" to be the very best it can be, both in terms of not spending my money stupidly and also to provide a reasonable safety net for those tens of millions of other Americans who through no fault of their own, are not able to "make it" successfully on their own, including the elderly, the disabled, children of stupid parents, and adults who want badly to have a job but just cannot "find" one.

If all that makes me a Communist or Marxist or Socialist, then ok call me that.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev. and land o da SLEDS!
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:37am PT
HD,,on THAT we agree 100%...


edit: Good points Norton. And i fully admit, being an artist DOES NOT help me in the day to day drudge of record keeping and the books. I HATE it actually.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:47am PT
The Backfire Effect: why Obama didn't call out Romney.





"But why would people so woefully lacking in the basic facts of an issue think they were the best informed? Social scientists call the effect, 'pseudo-certainty.' I call it, 'being a f*#king moron.'" -- Al Franken

The use of cognitive bias against the public can probably be traced back to the United States' foundation. Consider, for example, the rapier-like tact Americans used in the Declaration of Independence, directing all of their ire against Great Britain's slowly maddening King instead of the Parliament that they knew had wronged them. I think it is a classic example of misdirection, in the same family of dishonesty as mentioning Osama bin Laden in the same paragraph every time one mentions Saddam Hussein.

Last night, Mitt Romney made the most of a particular cognitive bias which we all need to know about. It is called the Backfire Effect. Here is a link to the paper.

People have a bad habit of clinging to disinformation, particularly if they are fed the disinformation first. If the disinformation is refuted, many of us simply give up trying to figure the problem out and default to the first thing we learned, and if the first thing we learned is crap, we believe the crap.

We are all vulnerable to some degree to the Backfire Effect, but there is a critical difference in the way the Backfire Effect works between conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans.

The shortest version I can give is this: when a conservative lies and a liberal refutes the lie, conservative observers become more likely to believe the lie. This effect does not work in reverse--because liberals have better thinking skills, I say, but I'm biased. This is part of the reason why an alarming number of American doofuses are still shambling about thinking that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, and why the vast majority of them are Republicans.

Up to now, Mitt Romney's biggest problem has been that he hasn't won over the right-wing authoritarians who make up the most important voting bloc in the Republican Party, and maybe in all of American politics. They are diligent voters and can be easily programmed with lies, fear, and racism, of which they are fed a steady diet by Fox News and AM radio. Almost one in four Americans fits the profile of a right-wing authoritarian.

Despite every effort, right down to nominating arch-conservative darling Paul Ryan, Romney just hasn't been able to convince them that he's their guy.

And why should they think so, when Romney gamed the nomination process, knocked off the conservative authorities they trust one by one, and silenced all dissent at the convention? He had to steal it from them before he can steal it from us, and they haven't easily forgotten.

Last night was Romney's last big chance. He's got the press and the pollsters pulling for him to make it a closer race, because it is to their personal, professional, and financial advantage. He has finally assembled the captive audience of right-wing authoritarians he needs to win over. All he needed to do was to finally, permanently, establish himself as a conservative authority, someone the conservatives can trust.

He needed President Obama to help him, by doing what every Democrat, including myself, wanted him to do: call Mitt a liar.

So Mitt Romney went out and did what he's best at. He lied his ass off. He changed a central plank of his platform at the debate in an attempt to draw out President Obama, to encourage the President to raise his voice and express outrage at such malicious dishonesty.

But President Obama wouldn't bite.

Instead, the President stuck to his own policy, his own platform, and pointed out only the most basic and agreed-upon flaws in whatever Romney's so-called plan is today (or rather, last night, because I'm sure he's walking back half of what he said right now). He tried not to show flashes of anger or disgust, as Al Gore so tragically did in 2000.

It was probably disappointing to all of us here to see the President steer away from direct confrontation, but it probably also sealed the election for him.

Consider what would have happened had the debate swung a different way.

Gov. Romney: "I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That's not my plan...."

President Obama: "That's bullsh#t. You've run on that all year."

Millions of Democrats would have stood up and cheered at that moment, to be sure, but it wouldn't have done a damned thing to change the political landscape because we're all already going to go out and vote for President Obama, and every other Democrat on the ballot. We're all registered now, right?

Just as certainly, a giant mob of tea-partiers would have been on their feet and whooping. That would have been the signal they needed, the sign from baby Jesus that Mitt Romney was the anointed one. They would have dusted off their IDs and registrations, and they would have come out and voted--at a higher frequency, unfortunately, than we do. Millions of our votes would have been canceled out.

We need to realize that right now an unusually high number of right-wing voters are far closer to reality than they usually are. They don't trust Mitt Romney, and they shouldn't, and it is to their credit that they do not in spite of the enormous psyops being run on them.

But we also need to acknowledge that these voters unfortunately tend strongly toward racism, and are highly motivated to vote against President Obama simply because he is a person of color. President Obama will never win their vote--but he might win their non-vote.

So that is why President Obama didn't "win" last night's debate. Because this debate wasn't about us. But do you know who is going to refute Mitt Romney's bullsh#t? We are. In the voting booth. e
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Temecula
Oct 4, 2012 - 11:49am PT
Given the level of understanding tax rates in the US, when someone says they pay 33% tax, it's most likely they mean their marginal rate is 33%.

Yup.

I've learned that it is not very productive to debate tax policy with folks who do not even understand the concept of marginal.

And, unfortunately, there are a lot of people in that camp.
froodish

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Oct 4, 2012 - 12:56pm PT
Also, my reasoning for taxing even the lowest rungs 5-10% is not about raising revenue, it is about everyone having skin in the game. If we go out to eat, and I offer to buy dinner if you pay the parking attendant, what is to keep you from ordering lobster?

I think it's important to note here that many of the tax credits for low income earners are there to make working a minimum wage job more attractive. Which is to say: they are there not just for employees, but also benefit employers. Indeed, these policies have bi-partisan support among our congress critters.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Oct 4, 2012 - 01:01pm PT
John, interesting look at flat tax vs. capital gains taxes.

Tax law is sticky business, and thousands of folks make a business our of interpreting the U.S Tax Code (which contains more than 3.4 million words; printed 60 lines to the page, it would fill more than 7500 letter-size pages). Trying to simplify this into a Flat Tax would be nothing short of monumental task. It seems that decoding the human genome would be trivial in comparison!

The proceeds from a capital gain should be held against the number of years the asset was held before realizing the gains. So, suppose you made $10k on an investment you had for 4 years. That equates to $2,500k/year, and so you should pay that amount of taxes on the gain, over the next four years. Of course, there would be formula for payback schedules and such, but it wouldn't be hard to level the tax rate of a capital gain. Seems pretty simple, actually.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Oct 4, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
I don't have anything to bitch or complain about, I love my country as a patriotic American and I want my "government" to be the very best it can be, both in terms of not spending my money stupidly and also to provide a reasonable safety net for those tens of millions of other Americans who through no fault of their own, are not able to "make it" successfully on their own, including the elderly, the disabled, children of stupid parents, and adults who want badly to have a job but just cannot "find" one.

If all that makes me a Communist or Marxist or Socialist, then ok call me that.

good job comrade norton!


lol, just kidding...good on you, can i ask what your business is?

but seriously, you send MORE money than you legally have to send? Really?

Ricky

climber
Sometimes LA
Oct 4, 2012 - 01:12pm PT
I've learned that it is not very productive to debate tax policy with folks who do not even understand the concept of marginal.

Ron, if using Merriam-Webster the second entry is the one you're looking for.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev. and land o da SLEDS!
Oct 4, 2012 - 01:14pm PT
perhaps its "payola" Hawkeye! I hear him and DocF have some illegitimate cactus squeezin biz, located deep in the woods.





















(JK Norton,, Doc...)
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Oct 4, 2012 - 01:17pm PT
One example I know of is a family friends oil well clean out business. It use to be highly profitable and still is, but part of that was because they just dumped their chemical waste into holes in the ground, which ended up polluting the local ground water.

John, do you mind telling me which state this happened in?

Disposal wells are very tightly regulated.

All of the onshore regulations are state regulations, and oil savvy states have pretty damn fierce enforcement rules. You have to realize that the company doesn't own the surface rights, the farmer does. It has been illegal to dump any sort of "chemicals" or saltwater for around 75 years.

The federal government has nigh zero say on what goes on regarding onshore drilling. The only attempt to regulate it on a federal level is the recent debate about fracs. There is so much baloney about that. One of the most famous EPA studies was a total lie (The Pavillion Gas Field in Wyoming).

The EPA recently tried to regulate frac jobs, and we all thought that Obama would go with the propaganda, which isn't the sole property of the conservatives. He didn't. The EPA backed off big time. So Obama has stayed out of the way, let states deal with it. We are in the middle of a boom right now. The last real boom was in the late seventies/early eighties. Drilling and production is way up because oil prices are through the roof and we can afford to spend 4 million bucks on a horizontal stage frac'd well. It is fueled by economics.

Romney implies that he can wave a wand, but if oil prices collapse, you are going to see the drilling rigs being stacked to rust just like what happened in the early eighties when oil prices collapsed.

I need to offer a free one week Supertopo course. I would give geology lessons and then drive around showing how things work.

When I work up a prospect, the geology has to be correct, but it also has to be economic. I know how much a well costs, have a good idea of the production rate and reserves. I run it through a program and see if it makes economic sense. Will it make a profit, basically.

What we are seeing is high oil prices have suddenly made all of these previously uneconomic plays economic. If oil falls to fifty bucks, you are going to see the big independent domestic companies go under.

Major oil companies fled the onshore U.S. back in the eighties. They are coming back to get in on the shale plays. It is still a tiny portion of their exploration budgets. Exxon bought a company called XTO and they are drilling their asses off right now. Seeing Exxon come back onshore was pretty wild. Onshore is owned by the independants.
Messages 32521 - 32540 of total 52587 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews