Posted in the Junction City Forum
What really happens when we achieve Income Equality? Perhaps looking at the places where it already exists might help.
The most Income Equal place in the world to live is:
Central African Republic
Go check out life there. Tickets are available at your local travel agent. Don't forget to get your shots prior to travel!
Since: Oct 10
Junction City KS
Logicsal error of post hoc ergo propter hoc. Just because incomes are relatively equal doesn't make them necessarily better - other factors take precedence. Of course South Africa, Bolivia, Botswana, and Lesotho have many positive aspects, in the first two since peaceful revolutions occurred. What do "riches" really constitute, anyhow? Boats, Caddillacs, and big screen TVs? In many respects the lives of the oppressed of the earth are better than those of affluent Americans who find material goods uplifiting. There are no pockets in a shrod, as Robert W. Service noted wisely.
FWIW if the U.S. ever elects another Rethuglican President I wouldn't mind relocating to Botswana and being surrounded by steatopygic Hottentot women.
Since: Oct 10
Junction City KS
And you left out Paraguay, Namibia, and Brazil? All three vastly superior to a state ruled by an oaf like Sam Brownback.
They are making money but not returning it into the system which gave them the opportunity to make that money.
In 2010, CEOs at the nation's largest companies earned an average of $11.4 million in total pay -- 343 times more than a typical American worker,
In 1965, U.S. CEOs in major companies earned 24 times more than an average worker.
Those dollars are being earned but not taxed. too much of it is being hidden in offshore accounts and there are too many loopholes for the rich to push their income through.
Take one of our local residents for example, instead of paying what he owed in property tax, he had his front yard rezoned to agriculture so that he didn't have to pay the same rate as everyone else.
I don't blame him for that. I would probably do the same thing given the opportunity - but I believe the opportunity shouldn't exist.
If the rich were paying the taxes they owed our tax situation wouldn't be what it is today and we wouldn't have as many people on welfare.
This whole idea that if we let the rich keep more of their money they will reinvest it in their businesses and hire more people -- and then what, they make more money, but pay even less taxes.
This term keeps getting kicked around by different groups, yet no one can decide what anyones "Fair Share" really is.
The problem seems to be that everyone has their own idea of what is "Fair".
An excellent source for looking at definitions of "Fair" is the Minnesota Taxation Debates.
"Fairness when it comes to tax policy gets argued in terms of progressive taxes (a greater percentage of taxes from those who make more money) or regressive (a lower percentage of tax money as earnings increase).
The Minnesota Department of Revenue said in its "Tax Incidence Study" that "as a whole, the state and local systemn of taxation in Minnesota remains regressive."
Gov. Mark Dayton defended his plan for tax increases on Minnesota's top earners, by saying the wealthiest need to pay their fair share.
Later on in the report, the Revenue Department explains that the state's income tax is progressive, while the three remaining taxes (property taxes, sales taxes and other taxes-fees) are regressive.
Thus begins the political divide on fairness.
If Dayton truly wanted to be fair, he'd focus on the income tax and make it a flat tax, argues says the fiscally conservative Taxpayers League of Minnesota.
An editorial by the University of Minnesota's - Minnesota Daily, argues that it isn't fair to look at property taxes because it's a tax on the worth of a house, therefore, if a person with little means buys a house with high property taxes, that's their choice."
What's fair? What's not?
Certainly those that have riches thrust upon them have little claim to any benefit of taxation. For the course of this conversation that is a given.
Let's take a look at a couple of examples:
First - The "Thrifty Saver"
There is a class of people within the US that have saved their money to provide for themselves in their old age. Most of these are children of parents raised in the Depression Era. Many of these people were taught to save and scrimp and put money away for their old age OR in case of another economic collapse.
5%- 10% of the minimum wage income over the past 4 decades placed into any modest compound interest savings account over the course of a 40 year worklife would give these people savings of well over $1 million dollars in savings.
Now the income was taxed when it was earned and the interest is taxed upon withdrawl.
In that era they were also heavily investing in US Savings Bonds. Upon their maturity they payed great dividends.
Many of these people are called "rich" and are classified as part of the 1%.
Should these people be taxed at a greater level than anyone else?
If so, is that not a punishment for saving your money to provide for yourself in the future?
Doesn't that seem to be a punishment for doing without in the long term so you can be financially stable in your golden years?
With respect to the Savings Bonds, couldn't the additional taxation be viewed as a punishment for supporting your country as requested by your government?
Second - The "Immortal"
There is a class of citizens withint the US that never save a penny for whatever reason. They seem to have plenty for necessities and some luxuries but never put aside any money for the future.
They live in the here and now.
Since they have no savings, they are not considered "rich" but they enjoy all of the fun lifestyle and none of the responsibility. Many rent or lease so they have no real estate upon which to assess property taxes.
Should these people be taxed at a lower level than anyone else?
Wouldn't that be considered a reward for being a spendthrift?
I would say that "fair" depends on what is being paid for - what services are the tax dollars going to.
Right now, the tax dollars all essentially get thrown into a pot and then spent by our elected officials - whether that is state income taxes or local property taxes or whatever.
That makes it impossible to have an intelligent discussion about fairness, in my mind.
To me, the conversation starts with the question "What services are necessary to create a basic functioning structure for society?"
One answer to that is some level of basic health care (i.e. everyone gets a voucher for a "basic" health insurance plan that covers some basic preventive, some limited # of emergency room visits per year, some limited number of general doctor, dentist, etc... visits per year, whatever else).
That could be seen as a society-wide service that everyone receives and everyone pitches into. To me, that should be funded with a progressive tax - we all pay some flat percentage of our income.
Then we look at services/infrastructure that have a more localized benefit. Take the following simple example:
My neighbor lives on a 50 ft wide lot and I live on a 200 ft wide lot.
So I "use" 4x as much roadway, sewer line, water line as my neighbor.
But he builds a nicer house on his property so he has a property valued at $500,000 and my property is valued at $250,000.
Is it fair that he pays twice as much as me in taxes even though I'm using 4x as much infrastructure as he is?
Sure, local property taxes would go up for me if we switched how we do this, but maybe I can sell off three more lots along my part of the road, or I can sell my property and move to a 50 ft lot.
Progressive taxes vs. regressive taxes is too blunt of a way to discuss this.
We need a more nuanced discussion of which services should be funded with progressive taxes and which should be funded based on who receives the benefits of the service.
to lol - not ignoring you! just got home after a very long day at work - had a little time to have fun on topix but wanted to screw with 'realitycheck' on another thread!
You make some good points - and when I have time I'll try to explain my point a little more, but it's almost 11 p.m. and I'm exhausted and can really use a drink (since the weed is still outlawed :))
but I think the one thing we can both agree on is that the system is in need of a complete overhaul.
These "spendthrifts" drive the economy, Jerry. They see life as something to be celebrated from cradle to grave. Renting or leasing keeps the slumlords in dough. Home ownership isn`t compulsory, so it`s the individual`s choice. When the mil levee goes up, I`m glad to know you`re getting shafted, LOL!!
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