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I am not opposed to income caps to a certain extent, though the effect you described is likely to occur. People would simply stop trying to earn over and above the allotted amount.
This has two outcomes simultaneously:
I agree that you would probably find a rise in small and medium-sized businesses, that would be a good thing in my opinion.
Secondly, though, if noone is earning above the cap where do the taxes come from? How will the government be funded?
What I would favor is a pyramid-like squeeze; little to no tax at the bottom with an ever-increasing gradation so that, at a certain point, a person is taxed to a de facto cap.
That way we end up with an income-capping system with its benefits AND plenty of taxes to support government services.
"It clearly answers all the issues raised. In fact they want to hear points that they haven't answered, and if the existing proposal needs to be modified, it will be, but so far they say that they haven't gotten any that can't be addressed."
If it clearly answers all of the questions I have raised you could at least post some of its excerpts in the debate. This isn't a book club, why don't you contribute to the debate itself?
"I believe that the country must get behind this project or we will become a second rate nation."
This is some first-rate gobble-dee-goop. What on earth is that supposed to mean? What nation on earth has a flat tax rate? Which of the greatest nations on earth actually follow your plan? How on earth are we going to go "second-rate" by not going to a sales-tax regime?
Is this website just filled to the brim with paid Republican operatives? Did Karl Rove send you here?
"About two-thirds of corporations operating in the United States did not pay taxes annually from 1998 to 2005, according to a new report scheduled to be made public today from the U.S. Government Accountability Office."
The problem with that study is that you don't apparently know what a corporation is. Yes, the biggest private enterprises on Earth are corporations, that's true; but by far most corporations are very small and don't have much, if any, income due to their status as start-ups.
In other words; we don't know how much of that 2/3 is just small businesses that didn't actually make enough money to have to pay taxes.
Anyways; a Federal Sales tax would hurt the smaller, poorer businesses just like it would hurt the poor: Big companies won't have much of a problem paying more for the stuff they need, small businesses will struggle.
"Under our current 'progressive' system, the rich pay no taxes on social security after about 110k. Anyone earning under that is taxed fully. Yeah, our tax code is real 'progressive'"
It's called "reform"; it is called electing liberals and leftists to fix the tax system so that doesn't happen anymore. I said this already.
"Also, with a federal sales tax, even foreigners and immigrants (who add nothing to the tax base) would begin contributing to our tax base."
In other words; foreigners and immigrants will be paying the same amount as people who actually receive benefits (or the most) from the taxes they pay. That sounds really fair, sweetheart.
"So when you have the rich AND corporations unable to avoid taxes, both groups pay more than they already do. How does America go broke under that situation?"
Again; they wouldn't need to avoid taxes anymore because you're never going to be able to come up with a sales tax that won't starve the poor and middle class and tax them enough to pay for all of the government services we need and want.
"To say the Federal Income tax has worked 'wonderfully' for years is a pretty bold statement. Nobody, not even accountants and certified tax professionals, know all the ins and outs of our tax code."
That doesn't make any sense; just because it isn't perfect, just because it is complicated doesn't make it a failure. We have accomplished some amazing feats due to the Federal Income tax. We fought off the Nazis; we landed on the moon; we built a national highway system unrivaled in the world; we have some of the best universities on earth, millions of people are able to attend those universities who wouldn't otherwise be able to; the list goes on and on.
We still collect a huge amount of money; an amount of money impossible to collect with just a sales tax. Do the math; go find me some numbers and see if you can come up with enough money to maintain all of the government services in place; even half.
You'd have to tax sales pretty high in order to match it; and you can't be giving almost all of it back either.
"The tax code itself, is about nine million words long. Talk about complicated. "
Life is complicated; get over it. The tax system is complicated because we live in an era of extreme complexity. We have a society, economy, and government that only becomes more complex by the day. We should, of course, work to simplify the tax code as much as possible and close as many loopholes as we can. However, making the tax code simple just for the sake of it being simple is; forgive my redundancy, simplistic and simple-minded.
"When you take a look at other nations that have implemented flat taxes (like a sales tax), you'll see that shortly after they implemented it, their economies began to grow by leaps and bounds. Poverty level declined as well."
Name them; show me some links that back up this claim; I dare you.
"As far as schools, they get their money via property taxes, not the federal government. Yes, the Fed's do spend some on education, but the vast majority of any schools money comes from the state. So this wouldn't affect them."
Still; 47 billion dollars does go the public school system annually. Also; are you telling me you only want the sales tax at the Federal level? If that's the case it doesn't matter, there is still a huge list of things that need the Federal Income Tax to survive.
"You see what makes the fed sales tax a better alternative is because it encourages savings, not spending."
This is a recipe for disaster. Our economy is already skirting a recession because of contractions in consumer spending. Our economy runs on a dearth of savings; without people spending all they have, or more then they have, we would see thousands of jobs disappear at least.
Also; you are, again, telling me that we will be severely short on money. If people save more and more of their money that means less and less money is taxable; further contracting the government.
"Incandescent bulb = current tax system
flourescent bulb = federal sales tax system with prebates."
This analogy would only work if anything you said about a Federal Sales Tax system were true. I'm waiting for you to give evidence of how well this plan has worked in other places, in the past...anything backing up your statements.
"Every rich person i know spends lavishly. Either to buy a new home, car, airplane, boat, flgiht to europe, etc...
Some rich people may get taxed less. But then again, these are savers not spenders. If the whole US could become a nation of savers, we'd see a much more vibrant economy than we do today... or ever have seen."
They may spend lavishly, but they don't spend enough to make up for the sudden elimination of the income tax.
Secondly; if the U.S. became a nation of savers we'd go through another great depression. How do you think an economy grows and operates?
Here's a hint: it isn't saving.
People spend money on goods and services; that money goes into the pockets of the business owners and workers. If more people spend more money then demand for goods and services rises; meaning that the need for workers to make those goods and services rises. That means more jobs and possibly higher wages.
Now, what happens if people spend less money? The exact opposite of course!
Silly, silly, silly; this whole thing is just so silly.
Let's take this point by point:
1. What you are saying is that the current tax system isn't working properly. You actually agree that a system of progressive taxation would be best.
2. However, because this system isn't working as it should due to government mismanagement and corruption you've decided to scrap the entire system and put one in place that is ten times worse.
The rich may buy more expensive goods, but by far their money is not spent on luxury items. You would be leaving billions upon billions of dollars from corporate incomes, stocks, bonds, inheritance, property, completely out of the reach of the tax code. What probably amounts to a majority of the wealth in this country (not liquid resources such as money). In other words, instead of the wealthy manipulating a system to their advantage you are giving them a system perfectly suited their needs; in other words, to their need to not be taxed at all.
"You see, a sales tax makes it much harder to evade the tax."
It makes it completely unnecessary, why try to evade a tax you barely have to pay?
The Federal Income tax is actually a very good design, it is complicated but it has worked wonderfully for years. Without it we wouldn't have the schools, highways, universities, space programs, and war machines we do today. Our economy would drop by a third or more without the tax revenues gotten by this system.
It needs to be fixed, of course, to keep it from deteriorating to an unacceptable or dangerous level. However, the only way to do that is to become politically active and make sure good people are elected to high, medium, and local office.
If you vote in good people they will do everything in their power to keep the corporations, the wealthy, and all other tax dodgers in line.
"Also, just check my earlier comment about the sales tax prebate. It pretty much takes care of the concern that lower income people would get hit hard by the tax. In fact, they would pay no taxes at all and receive a lump sum at the beginning of the tax year."
In other words; you are planning on completely destroying the Federal Government (well, and every single state, city, and county if you plan on taking that plan to them as well). You do realize that you can't not tax people and still have a government, right? Do you really think we sell enough mansions and yachts to fund even 1/1,000,000 of the schools? I doubt we'd be able to pay for a single tank, much less a missile defense system.
Your plan amounts to this:
Step 1: Get rid of all taxes.
Step 2: Levy a tax on consumable goods.
Step 3: Give back 99% of that tax.
Result: Government collapses, country hit by depression, depression spreads to the rest of the world. Anarchy ensues.
This is what always gets me; people see a flickering light bulb. Instead of tightening the bulb or fixing the wiring they decide to smash the bulb to the ground and put a much worse bulb in its place.
The solution to these problems is not scrapping a disfunctional system and replacing it with a simpler, worse one. All you have to do is elect the right people.
I don't know why some people seem to think that the government is this giant monster that isn't directly answerable to us. We have complete control over what goes on in the government; the problem is people are too easily deceived, too easily distracted, too dumb, too apathetic, or a horrid combination of all of those things.
Umm, sweetheart; those figures come from the CIA (you know, the Communist-Sympathizing United States government's spy agency which is headed by Fidel Castro himself). Cuba's healthcare achievements are independently verified; I am not trusting the government's own accounting alone.
It's obvious that you didn't actually look at the links I gave. If you aren't going to actually take the time to read arguments and look at the facts do me, others, and yourself a favor and stay out of debates until you have the integrity to participate.
The Federal Income Tax, when used progressively, is much more fair than a sales tax.
The system is designed to negate the wealth-concentrating phenomena of the free enterprise system. The unfairness of the capitalist system needs to be balanced through taxation if the people are to be even remotely prosperous and if the government is to be able to gather the funds necessary to operate.
Here is an issue by issue explanation for why this is, in fact, fair:
First off, the wealthy may make up a disproportional amount of the income tax given to the government; however, they also make a grossly disproportional amount of income to the rest of the population. Therefor, while they make up a disproportional amount of the income tax paid; they themselves pay an amount usually less than proportional with regard to their own income.
A wealthy man or woman, for example, may pay 30% of their income (amounting to several million dollars), while a middle class person may pay a couple thousand dollars; which ends up amounting to 40-50% of their income. Sure, the wealthy individual pays more in total; but they do not pay more in proportion to their own income.
Also; someone with an income of 100 billion dollars a year could pay 90% of that income and still be filthy rich; never having to want for anything, getting anything they want (save for large islands and small countries).
However, someone with an income of 50 dollars a year and paying only 10% of that would find themselves having even less. They do not have much discretionary spending, if any.
If sales tax would be the only means of taxation the burden would fall almost exclusively on the poor and middle classes. Most of the rich have too much money to spend; most of it would go into banks, the stock market, and investments (generating them even more untaxed income).
The poor and middle classes, however, do not have large sums of money to invest; the only things they can or must use their money on are consumer goods; taxed goods. As far as percentage of income goes; the wealthy would pay only a minuscule amount of their income to the government while the poor and middle classes would bear the brunt of government funding.
This is actually a recipe for disaster, nations that have relied on such taxation found themselves in terrible positions if war or economic crisis set in. If there was a great depression and sales dropped severely the government revenues would drop both in amount and in proportion; the great reserves of wealth that the rich have wouldn't be able to be touched. The government, and the lower classes, would starve.
Finally; you may say that it is only fair that everyone be taxed equally. That the rich don't deserve to be taxed simply for being successful. However; they didn't succeed on their own. The wealthy have gotten the most out of the collective efforts of our entire nation, is it not fair to ask for more from a group of people who were given so much? The Federal Income Tax, even at its most progressive, never made a wealthy person poor. All it did was force them to buy 17 luxury mansions instead of 25, 10 new cars instead of 18, five new yachts instead of 12.
Our society couldn't possibly have developed the roads, highways, schools, universities, parks, preserves, military, NASA, NOAA, and thousands of other functions and millions of jobs without a system of taxation that utilizes the inheritance, stocks, incomes, and property of the wealthy to add to the pool of public funds.
There is plenty to "bitch" about. There has been continuous and historic discrimination and racism, the near extermination of an entire race of people, the invasion and annexation of land amounting to several U.S. states, and a history of violence perpetrated against overseas innocents and adversaries.
Does this make the United States the worst nation on earth, no. Do things need to improve? Yes, of course. The only way we'll improve our nation and our society is through vocalization of our concerns, ideas, and problems and the active pursuit of solutions.
This is what you said:
"lets say all of the people decided to ban the right to vote, decided to ban the right to free speech, do you still think it's okay because the majority of people decided it is? do you just live with it?"
I was responding to that specifically. The issue isn't that I would just let it happen, there is nothing I could do in the case of unanimous or virtually unanimous decision. The only course of action would be to try and convince people that it is or was a bad idea and then do something.
If a simple majority votes away voting rights for itself and the rest of a population we are still in rather simple territory: as I said before, if a democracy ends democracy then it is no longer anti-democratic to fight against that society or government.
Equality is one of the most important values I hold; of course a tyranny of the majority is still a tyranny and it should be fought. Even if a democracy in place; democracy is only right in so far as it is an equal democracy, a democracy in which everyone has the same rights.
An oppressed minority has the following options: secede, passively fight for equal rights, or aggressively/violently fight for equal rights.
"and i chose to walk into wal-mart... wal-mart didn't force me to do shit."
Ya know what; if you don't like the policies of this government you are free to move to another one. That kind of logic goes both ways. Noone is forcing you to stay in this country; if you don't like our policies you can leave.
Is that right? No. What you are saying is just as silly.
"1. if one man rules all and tells everyone what to do, it doesn't matter how he got the power, it matters what he's doing now. we're restricted from any freedom, and it's more natural to revolt. you have to stop seeing things as black and white."
"you have to stop seeing things as black and white."
Let me repeat this:
"you have to stop seeing things as black and white."
"it's either this or we give the government control over everything"
"the true question is, which is do you find more unfair? Authoritarian power or Corporate growth?"
You're killing me here, Pyg, you really are. I could copy-paste every argument you've made as a testament to your sudden turn-around in ideological philosophy.
Anyways, the point of what I was trying to say is that your system always leads to that revolution. It usually isn't one man taking all of the power through property; it is usually a small group of men (maybe women, in this day and age) taking power; a class of people; the wealthy.
When you walk into a Target, or a Wal-Mart, or a Best Buy, or the factory where you work who makes the rules? Especially if there is no Federal Government, no state government, no city government with rules regarding private property, business practices..etc. They become kings of what they own automatically; your say goes from a single vote to literally no say at all.
"2. it's not just ban drugs, it's all of those things. it's complete control over the lives of individuals. really, the turning point would have to be the banning of guns (as the NRA believes) because that is really our only chance of revolting. the people ban things and then unban them left and right, but that doesn't make it right for them to do so. but that is why wars are fought, for conflicting ideals (revolutionary war would be best example). lets say all of the people decided to ban the right to vote, decided to ban the right to free speech, do you still think it's okay because the majority of people decided it is? do you just live with it?
maybe it's just because "freedom" itself means more to me than it does to others."
When a majority votes away Democracy the system is no longer Democratic; therefor it is no longer a matter of competing versions of freedom. If that actually happened I would sort of be at a loss; if all of the people actually gave up their right to vote willingly I wouldn't have any basis to rise up (neither would you); noone would stand with either of us in the defense of the vote.
That's akin to a unanimous decision to commit suicide; I wouldn't be for it but using violence to stop it would be kind of pointless.
My job is to convince, not to kill; there is no point in killing in a democracy. Outside of one we must fight for democracy and representation (violently in defense, not in offense); if noone else on earth (or a small minority) is for it; then we can either try to convince people, secede, or take a snooze I suppose.
"maybe it's just because "freedom" itself means more to me than it does to others."
I think you don't know what freedom means, you've proven that. You have a version of freedom, your belief, and you don't believe there is any other valid version of freedom otherwise. You are willing to kill people because they ban: guns, drugs, alcohol, and other pointless things even if, say, they provided free healthcare, a democratic system of government, roads, bridges, good jobs, press freedom.....but if they ban weaponry and mental poisons you are willing to blast the crap out of men and women who aren't actually being violent towards you.
I think you need to broaden your scope of freedom, and you need to cease being a hypocrite and see things in shades of grey, not black and white.