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Author: Subject: Spread around the wealth

Maximum Peach





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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 09:44 AM
Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I 've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient needed money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.


 
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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 09:51 AM
Funny, but irrelevant.

All Obama wants to do is restore the tax code to the pre-Bush tax cut days. John McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts at the time, calling them irresponsible -- tha was back when "maverick" wasn't just some silly branding tool he waved around. McCain has only been converted to them to shore up his base while running for President. How Maverick of him to kiss the base's booty!

BTW, it was a little mean-spirited of you to punish the waiter just because he was wearing an Obama tie, which is the subtext of your story.





 

A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:09 AM
Funny story, Jim, that says a lot about human nature. Supposedly, a Conservative is a Liberal who just got mugged (or shown the effects of Obamanomics). Thanks for taking the initiative -- I envy you in having the opportunity .

You reminded me of the anecdote (urban legend?) about the idealistic college student who came home brimming with enthusiasm about spreading wealth to make matters more fair, more even. His dad listened patiently, then suggested that his straight-A son distribute some of his test score points among his lesser grade-advantaged friends. He'd sacrifice some of his GPA points to bring up the GPAs of the less fortunate.

He got the point and dropped the subject (no puns intended -- maybe ).

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Note the words "will not", which don't mean "can not". The first relates to choice, the second relates to ability. I bet a lot of people willl choose not to work in an income-redistributational society such as Obama proposes. Look at the way welfare has gone over the last few decades.....

If there are people who authentically can't work, they need support, whether from government, charity, churches, individuals -- whatever. But the ones looking for a free lunch ought to be earning that lunch instead.

"Give a man a fish and you'll feed himself today. Teach him to fish and he'll feed himself forever."

Billastro

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:21 AM
Jim and Bill: Where under Obama's plan do you see the spectre of people who just want a free lunch? Can you answer that with specifics?

Also: Are you guys doing so well that you think the middle class hasn't been shafted?

I mean, seriously. You're just falling in line behind the talking points here. Obama's far from a socialist, his tax plan simply want to return the tax code to pre-Bush tax cut status. Not really radical. And McCain was against the Bush cuts too -- called them reckless and said they wouldn't help the economy. Looks to me like he was right back then.


 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:24 AM
It won't be so irrelevant when more investment and business development monies flee the country because of higher taxes. It won't be irrelevant when a portion of producers on the cusp between being contributors or beneficiaries of handouts choose the latter because the former isn't worth the effort any longer.

The narrowness of this view that BO's programs will "only" be returning to pre-Bush tax rates is quite selective. What about higher corporate and business taxes, which will raise overall cost of living for the same folks BO professes to want to help? What about taking the cap off Social Security deductions, which mean a huge increase, especially for self-employed small business owners? Someone in that capacity who's income is $175,000/yr will see an $8,800 tax increase for SS deductions alone.

And in this whole discussion about government taking more money, how about the debate of whether they will do any good with it. Following the abysmal results of last 40 years of politicians promising to help the lower classes with more and more of our money, why does anyone want to continue throwing money down that rat hole? How can someone possibly believe that these programs can be run effectively by the Feds after decades of incompetance? If anyone is kissing anyone's base, it's BO and his endless pandering to the lower classes through class warfare and playing the "shame card" on economic issues.

I like Jim's little scenario. It's the kind of stark reality that people need to experience to understand how it feels to be powerless over do-gooders who plan to steal our money because they say they have a superior view of what to do with it. What arrogance!

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:30 AM
Well I should have stated its a joke, or at least I think it is. Although, it certainly makes for an interesting real world application.

Pete, I have to be honest with you, I am not voting for either candidate. However, Obama's plan would not be good for my family, and I can't really stand McCain at this point. We make above Obama's threshold of $250,000, but we do not live over the top by any means. I have a 1700 square foot 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house, which I actually put 20% down on and have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. I have two children for whom I pay into 529 college plans (a third is on the way). I also save enough to put into my 401k and also put some into a taxable brokerage account. In addition, I pay my mortgage on time, and we only have one car. I still feel like we are struggling every month.

When I hear any elected official say they are going to spread the wealth around, it irks me to no end. Its also disturbing to think about wealth without considering geographic location. For example, $250K doesn't go as far in the New York tri-state area as it does in Bismark, North Dakota.

Here is an interesting take on Obama's 95% number.

One of Barack Obama's most potent campaign claims is that he'll cut taxes for no less than 95% of "working families." He's even promising to cut taxes enough that the government's tax share of GDP will be no more than 18.2% -- which is lower than it is today.

AP
It's a clever pitch, because it lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that he's also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%. But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of "tax cut."

For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals:


- A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make work pay" that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple.

- A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.

- A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).

- A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.

- An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.

- A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.

- A "clean car" tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.

Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.

The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.

The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is.

The political left defends "refundability" on grounds that these payments help to offset the payroll tax. And that was at least plausible when the only major refundable credit was the earned-income tax credit. Taken together, however, these tax credit payments would exceed payroll levies for most low-income workers.

It is also true that John McCain proposes a refundable tax credit -- his $5,000 to help individuals buy health insurance. We've written before that we prefer a tax deduction for individual health care, rather than a credit. But the big difference with Mr. Obama is that Mr. McCain's proposal replaces the tax subsidy for employer-sponsored health insurance that individuals don't now receive if they buy on their own. It merely changes the nature of the tax subsidy; it doesn't create a new one.

There's another catch: Because Mr. Obama's tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge "marginal" tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. As the nearby chart illustrates, the marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.

Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job. As public policy, this is contradictory. The tax credits are sold in the name of "making work pay," but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you're a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year. One mystery -- among many -- of the McCain campaign is why it has allowed Mr. Obama's 95% illusion to go unanswered.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:32 AM
quote:
Also: Are you guys doing so well that you think the middle class hasn't been shafted?

If they've been shafted, it's by the same politicians who profess to know now how to help them. The same folks who want open borders and a flood of illegal immigration. The same people who voted for the bailout of the fatcats. The same people who created our current economic mess by permitting the GSE's to get completely out of hand by lowering standards to the point where they were non-existent. The same people who voted for NAFTA. The same people who will raise the cost of living and reduce job creation by increased taxes on business and corporations.

Why do you want to give these people more power by handing over more money to them? Whether it's your money, or someone else's, how foolish do we need to be to continue to believe these same old promises. Change my ass.

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:40 AM
quote:


I like Jim's little scenario. It's the kind of stark reality that people need to experience to understand how it feels to be powerless over do-gooders who plan to steal our money because they say they have a superior view of what to do with it. What arrogance!


Which do-gooders are we referring to? Who is arrogant? I know Obama's plan has been "framed" by the RNC and the McCain campaign as being arrogant and socialist. But is Obama's plan really ARROGANT? I don't think so. Have you read it, or do you just parrot the talking points? Honestly.

Hello: we're close to a Depression. We're in a meltdown. After 8 years of Bush tax cuts, after 6 of the last 8 years the Republicans controlling the entire govt. This lower tide will strand all boats eventually. Banks, corporations, rich and poor. What evidence do you need that the Bush/RNC approach to taxes and to regulation have been bad for this country? Have been terrible economics? Have NOT produced the jobs and the growth that was promised?

LOOK AROUND YOU!!! Seriously, man, what evidence do you need that this ideological approach has not worked for anyone but the CEO class?

 

A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:42 AM
quote:
Jim and Bill: Where under Obama's plan do you see the spectre of people who just want a free lunch? Can you answer that with specifics?
General human nature. It goes back through history a very long time.
quote:
Also: Are you guys doing so well that you think the middle class hasn't been shafted?
Not really. My wife and I have to be a two-income household. She's been unemployed since around April, and while we've got some savings, we've had to scale back on necessary expenses, etc.
quote:
I mean, seriously. You're just falling in line behind the talking points here. Obama's far from a socialist, his tax plan simply want to return the tax code to pre-Bush tax cut status. Not really radical. And McCain was against the Bush cuts too -- called them reckless and said they wouldn't help the economy. Looks to me like he was right back then.
I've heard (and can't easily verify) that generally, tax cuts actually lead to greater government intake; conversely, tax increases reduce gov't revenues. Given how many variables and interpretations there are, I strongly suspect that I could statistically prove my point and you could statistically prove yours. (BTW, I hate statistics.)

I don't object to change per se, but with a country, government, economy, etc. as large as ours, with the historical "momentum" they have, and the precarious state of the economy now, I'm really leery of anything but small, gradual changes.

Weird analogy (from Billastro's caffeine-free brain): before a star goes supernova (one of the most spectacular ends of a star that we know of) it goes through stages of increasing instability, fluctuating in brightness and amounts of matter it ejects before going out in a mammoth blaze of glory.



This image hit me as I've continued to hear the wild fluctuations in the daily WS closings -- up hundreds, down hundreds, day after day. I don't see the economy imploding or going econova (if it wasn't a word before, it is now ), but I hope that whoever's setting policies after the next inauguration is really careful

(No, I'm not fearmongering. A coworker with a PhD in history told me recently that WS showed similar patterns shortly before the Great Depression, that's all.)

Billastro

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:44 AM
quote:
Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

Good stuff....
How can anyone not get this Jokers game plan.CHANGE....CHANGE.. the only change you will have is what's left in your pocket.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I 've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient needed money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.



 

Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:55 AM
quote:
quote:
Also: Are you guys doing so well that you think the middle class hasn't been shafted?

If they've been shafted, it's by the same politicians who profess to know now how to help them. The same folks who want open borders and a flood of illegal immigration. The same people who voted for the bailout of the fatcats. The same people who created our current economic mess by permitting the GSE's to get completely out of hand by lowering standards to the point where they were non-existent. The same people who voted for NAFTA. The same people who will raise the cost of living and reduce job creation by increased taxes on business and corporations.

Why do you want to give these people more power by handing over more money to them? Whether it's your money, or someone else's, how foolish do we need to be to continue to believe these same old promises. Change my ass.


These are the questions you have to ask yourself: Do you want to live in civilization or anarchy?
DO YOU LIKE HAVING HIGHWAYS?
HOSPITALS?
SCHOOLS?
BRIDGES?
FLU SHOTS?
LIBRARIES?
A STRONG ARMY/NATIONAL DEFENSE?
INSPECTORS MAKING SURE YOUR FOOD ISN'T CONTAMINATED?
AN AGENCY THAT MIGHT TRY TO HELP CLEAN UP AFTER A DISASTER?
PROTECTIONS AGAINST CHILD LABOR, OR UNSAFE WORKING CONDITIONS?

If you said yes to any of the above then you need taxes to accomplish it. You want the benefits of govt. without paying for it. In short, CIVILIZATION COSTS MONEY.

Unless you're personally gonna get out there and take up a collection to run the nation's infrastructure, then I would suggest to you that taxes exist as a way of maintaining civilization. We can argue aout the rate, who gets taxed, and what the money goes to, sure -- that is actually what this argument is about. But you have swallowed the Grover Norquist Ani-Govt. crap hook, line, and sinker. There is no tax that's OK for you and your ilk.

Is Govt. the answer? Depends on the question. But you act like you'd like an anarchist situation where there's no govt. at all. You think the US was a fun place to live for most people before the early 1900s? You like the 5-day work week, the 8-hour day, the ban on child labor? Get a clue. Your tax-free version of the USA in the 21st century bears a striking resemblance to the world where he National Guard and the Pinkertons got caled in to shoot people if they protested 16-hour work days, 6-day and 7-day work weeks, child labor, unregulated working conditions that put workers in harm's way, etc. etc.

Tell you what, you can have that world -- just move to any Third World country. ovts there have no money either. ENJOY! I'll continue to live in America.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 10:57 AM
quote:
quote:


I like Jim's little scenario. It's the kind of stark reality that people need to experience to understand how it feels to be powerless over do-gooders who plan to steal our money because they say they have a superior view of what to do with it. What arrogance!


Which do-gooders are we referring to? Who is arrogant? I know Obama's plan has been "framed" by the RNC and the McCain campaign as being arrogant and socialist. But is Obama's plan really ARROGANT? I don't think so. Have you read it, or do you just parrot the talking points? Honestly.

Hello: we're close to a Depression. We're in a meltdown. After 8 years of Bush tax cuts, after 6 of the last 8 years the Republicans controlling the entire govt. This lower tide will strand all boats eventually. Banks, corporations, rich and poor. What evidence do you need that the Bush/RNC approach to taxes and to regulation have been bad for this country? Have been terrible economics? Have NOT produced the jobs and the growth that was promised?

LOOK AROUND YOU!!! Seriously, man, what evidence do you need that this ideological approach has not worked for anyone but the CEO class?

The do-gooders reference is to BO and the whole Democrat image of helping the little guy. Bull! They help the fatcats first, themselves second, and maybe some trickles down to the lower classes after that. Just enough to keep those desparate saps voting for the Dems over and over again, even though their lives never improve.

I agree on your points about the economy, but it's the last 40-50 years that has caused this, not just the last 8. And for the record, I blame the Republicans with equal vigor. But at least they're not insuring they will raise taxes at a time when that would be disasterous.

BO and that whole crew is arrogant in the extreme if they think they can provide government help to the lower classes that the economy in general can not provide. And do it by stealing more money from the rich. Government is the most inefficient economic engine possible. The only hope is to lower business and capital gains taxes, lower tax rates overall, decrease the size of government, and hope this spurs growth where those who want to work can find it. The real arrogance is Washington thinking they can somehow change the nature of economics.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 11:02 AM
quote:
Are you guys doing so well that you think the middle class hasn't been shafted?



Pete, I by no means think this country is in fine condition, but I also hear this argument all the time that the middle class has been shafted and I don't entirely buy it. At some point, everyone in this country needs to look in the mirror and take some responsibility for this mess we are in. There is such a sense of entitlement in this country, its disgusting to me. There are also far too many people dependent on the government. Not everyone deserves to own a home, not everyone is entitled to go to college, etc. There is always an excuse to not succeed in this country lately. Its always someone else's fault. Just listen to McCain, its a driveby shooting from Washington and Wall Street on the innocent homeowner. I have never heard a bigger pile of garbage in my life. All of a sudden, the individual who made a horrendous decision is absolved from this mess? Look around, the shafted middle class is living relatively well in this country despite the horrendous state of things. They have been made to believe that they cannot survive without a second car, a cell phone, a computer, 2-3 flat screen tvs, cable tv with all the sports packages, iPods, blackberrys, xBox's, bottled water, etc. I saw proof of this not too long ago when the newest xBox came out and there was literally a line around the corner of people waiting to buy it. The people I saw on line in NYC that day, were the middle class, and they did not look like they had $600 of disposable income. But, what the hell, they'll put it on a credit card and then not pay it and rack up oodles of revolving debt. And then what, they were shafted......At this point they ought to just blast the Hell in a Bucket chorus on a loop on every street corner....May be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I'm enjoyin the ride!!

 

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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 11:37 AM
Jim, I agree with you about personal responsibility. We're cutting off cable and switching to only cell phones. I have never and will never allow video game consoles into my house. And we have one car -- a 1991 Volvo wagon we bought used for $3,000. It runs great and only needs about 300 a year in upkeep, knock wood. I grew up in the era when materialism and commerciality were suspect -- now it's all about the bling. Sad.

Bill, our situations don't sound too different, except you may be both making a wee bit more than me but also a little deeper in, so it's a wash. I have nightmares about losing everything.

My beef is with the idea that we should starve the govt. of funds till it's the size that we can drown it in a bathtub, Grover Norquist's notion. To me, that's just selfishness elevated to some sort of half-baked political philosophy.

Taxes are by definition a redistribution of wealth, no question. I think what's crucial is asking ourselves WHAT we want our tax dollars to buy. I wish there were more personal choice and room to redistribute our wealth as we see fit. Various sectors of the economy would be much more subject to market discipline if we "voted" on what we want to pay for, and that would make the govt. much more an agent of the people's will than it is now. And various functions would have to compete to earn our tax dollars, because we would have the choice not to send any money to the NIH, say, or the Pentagon, or the NEA or the EPA or FEMA. They would all have to show us, their shareholders, in effect, why we should fund them. And the federal govt. could act as a Board of Directors, refereeing between the will of the shareholders and the ideas and actions of executive management. If the military budget were run this way, poof, no more 1,000 dollar hammers!

 

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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 11:39 AM
quote:
These are the questions you have to ask yourself: Do you want to live in civilization or anarchy?
DO YOU LIKE HAVING HIGHWAYS?
HOSPITALS?
SCHOOLS?
BRIDGES?
FLU SHOTS?
LIBRARIES?
A STRONG ARMY/NATIONAL DEFENSE?
INSPECTORS MAKING SURE YOUR FOOD ISN'T CONTAMINATED?
AN AGENCY THAT MIGHT TRY TO HELP CLEAN UP AFTER A DISASTER?
PROTECTIONS AGAINST CHILD LABOR, OR UNSAFE WORKING CONDITIONS?

If you said yes to any of the above then you need taxes to accomplish it. You want the benefits of govt. without paying for it. In short, CIVILIZATION COSTS MONEY.

Unless you're personally gonna get out there and take up a collection to run the nation's infrastructure, then I would suggest to you that taxes exist as a way of maintaining civilization. We can argue aout the rate, who gets taxed, and what the money goes to, sure -- that is actually what this argument is about. But you have swallowed the Grover Norquist Ani-Govt. crap hook, line, and sinker. There is no tax that's OK for you and your ilk.

Is Govt. the answer? Depends on the question. But you act like you'd like an anarchist situation where there's no govt. at all. You think the US was a fun place to live for most people before the early 1900s? You like the 5-day work week, the 8-hour day, the ban on child labor? Get a clue. Your tax-free version of the USA in the 21st century bears a striking resemblance to the world where he National Guard and the Pinkertons got caled in to shoot people if they protested 16-hour work days, 6-day and 7-day work weeks, child labor, unregulated working conditions that put workers in harm's way, etc. etc.

Tell you what, you can have that world -- just move to any Third World country. ovts there have no money either. ENJOY! I'll continue to live in America.


Pete; good reply, but as you'd expect, I have a difference of opinion.

There's three main levels of government in our country, federal, state, and local (county/city). I do not profess anarchy. I simply ask if the move to concentrate all power and decisions at the federal level has been a good thing or not. Obviously, I say a resounding "no" on that question. I believe there more than adequate observable facts to back that up.

The main functions of the federal system should be a very few things. Protect the citizens from force. That entails military security and border control. Protect them from fraud. That means a legal system that gives them recourse to take action against those who might harm them. That might also be extended to a degree of regulation on products and services. The final thing the federal structure needs to do is ensure that no freedoms are infringed upon that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. That's all. That's the way the country was set up to run by people far smarter than the ones in office today, so I'll happily stick with their vision.

Let's look at your list of functions -

DO YOU LIKE HAVING HIGHWAYS? - mostly a state and local function. I'd be happy to see all inter-state roads be toll-based instead of having taxes go into the federal coffes for this.

HOSPITALS? - huh?, most hospitals are private, not government run. God help us if that changes.

SCHOOLS? - better off when they were locally directed. The Federal Department of Education should be shuttered. They grow-ever larger and our kids grow ever-dumber. National influence over education has been a disaster, more designed to help the teacher's union than the students. Schools are paid for by local taxes anyway.

BRIDGES? - overwhelmingly paid for by state and local taxes

FLU SHOTS? - why do we need the Feds to do this? If the individual isn't responsible enough to seek this out for themselves, why do we need the nanny state taking care of it?

LIBRARIES? - state and locally funded

A STRONG ARMY/NATIONAL DEFENSE? - a core central government responsibility, as I stated.

INSPECTORS MAKING SURE YOUR FOOD ISN'T CONTAMINATED? - might fall under the protection from fraud idea, but tell me: how good a job are they doing today? If more money is the answer, tell me when more money to Washington ever fixes anything efficiently?

AN AGENCY THAT MIGHT TRY TO HELP CLEAN UP AFTER A DISASTER? - do you mean FEMA? What good do they really do? Help direct tax money so that people living in flood or storm zones can rebuild in the same place with our money? There's government idiocy in action.

PROTECTIONS AGAINST CHILD LABOR, OR UNSAFE WORKING CONDITIONS? - can't disagree here, but that's where the legal system comes in.


I have no desire for anarchy. On the contrary; I want to apply an efficient structure to society while maximizing freedom and promoting responsibility of the individual. There is nothing about the growing monster in Washington that is in sync with that. Why keep feeding it?



[Edited on 10/23/2008 by Fujirich]

 

____________________
Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 11:44 AM
Looks like McCain's plan is working. Lots of successful, affluent Americans can now blame Obama, and the socialists, and the poor people, for having the audacity to want a little piece of the pie. This whole thread is a whine-fest, beginning with a story that I pray is not true.

What is wrong with spreading the wealth around? Why does it have to accumulate in the pockets of a few "wealthy" people? The resources of this country should be owned and shared equally by everyone here. I find it pretty sickening to read all about how some people don't deserve to have a house, or a good job, or an education? Who made that decision?

Before anyone starts jumping to conclusions about me, I'll give you a little background. I'm a journeyman carpenter with 35 years experience. I also have a bachelors degree I received after going to night classes for five years. I work alone, doing hard physical work. I receive a good price for my work, and although things are very slow right now, I have no complaints.

I say all that to let you know I am one person who can work, and does. I"m not a paper-pusher, or a "middle manager." I do actual work for what I get paid. I produce something you can see somewhere besides a number on a piece of paper. I feel very fortunate to enjoy the blessings I have, and I don't mind "spreading the wealth around." I tip everyone well, because I know they are working just as hard as I do, and getting paid much less. I wish there were more programs for people to learn skills they can sell in the marketplace. I wish there were more opportunities for people who don't have much hope. I don't care if they come from the government or not.

They should come from the church. If the so-called "followers of Jesus" were doing what Jesus instructed them to do, there would be no need for social programs. We've even got one poster quoting Jesus in this thread, totally ignoring the true meaning of His message, to love and help each other.

I hope all you whiners know how to do something besides talk for a living, or tell other people what to do. Times are getting tougher, and some of you might find yourselves in the same position as some of the ones you are ridiculing now. I hope you know how to really "work," since you might find yourself having to do it.


 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 12:03 PM
Hey SCB,

Whoa, I don't feel like I was whining. And I think that what started as another potentially mean-spirited thread actually took a couple turns toward mutual engagement and respect there... I think rather than typical squatch vs. derek in a sealed steel cage stuff, we sort of were respectfully hearing each other out. I mean, I happen to totally disagree with Jim and Bill and Fuji at heart, but it seemed like we were communicating.

Just trying to swim the fine line of political disagreement without crapping in the swimming pool... Some come to the WP to use it as an echo chamber, but I thought I'd see if I could actually have a conversation...



Regarding your life and your politics, I admire what you do for a living, respect your points, and certainly share much of your perspective politically.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 12:08 PM
SCB, you have nothing to worry about in being compaired to someone looking for a handout. You're a responsible guy with good values. As analyzed, BO's plan will give money to people who already don't pay taxes. And there lies the issue.

Have you ever known someone who paid no taxes because of their low income, but filed a return anyway and was able to take advantag of things like "earned income" credits? They effectively get back more than they paid in because of these type programs. That's redistribution in the most obvious sense.

That should be objectionable on a couple of different levels. First is the obvious: what right does some government official have to take money from one and give to another? Beyond that; does it really help the individuals benefitting from this? How does this warp their values about work and what they deserve?

I look at these kinds of programs and think that all the do-good theories fail to take into account human nature. Those in true need should get help. But there will always be a portion of the population that will gladly accept freebees instead of working to improve themselves.

 

____________________
Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 12:18 PM
Fuji, I absolutely have known people who have gotten a check from the government because of the earned income credit. They were people who made about $15,000 a year, struggling like crazy to keep a flimsy roof over their head, working their asses off at jobs that don't pay very well, and who needed any help they could get. So they do their taxes at the end of the year, and find out they don't even make enough to have to pay any taxes, and are even getting a small check from the government.

Now, I'd be fine with saying if the amount you owe is less than zero, you don't get a check. That would be OK. But if they do get a small check, I have no problem with that, either. I'd rather think my tax money went directly to helping a poor family, rather than painting 6 square inches of one of the bombs that will be dropped in Iraq.

But I have a bigger problem with the basic financial structure of a society, that allows millions to work at jobs that don't pay sh*t, while others sit on their asses and watch their "capital gains" finance a lifestlye of leisure and opulence.

That little deal about some poor people getting a check is nothing to me. All of them are working, and filing a return. Let's get them making more money, and let's stop taxing a person's labor to start with. Taxes should only be imposed on property, and goods bought and sold.

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 12:23 PM
quote:
SCB, you have nothing to worry about in being compaired to someone looking for a handout. You're a responsible guy with good values. As analyzed, BO's plan will give money to people who already don't pay taxes. And there lies the issue.

Have you ever known someone who paid no taxes because of their low income, but filed a return anyway and was able to take advantag of things like "earned income" credits? They effectively get back more than they paid in because of these type programs. That's redistribution in the most obvious sense.

That should be objectionable on a couple of different levels. First is the obvious: what right does some government official have to take money from one and give to another? Beyond that; does it really help the individuals benefitting from this? How does this warp their values about work and what they deserve?

I look at these kinds of programs and think that all the do-good theories fail to take into account human nature. Those in true need should get help. But there will always be a portion of the population that will gladly accept freebees instead of working to improve themselves.


Fuji, I certainly would be sympathetic to this line of criticism of tax credits for the poor, if we absolutely closed all the loopholes and rationalized the system for the wealthy and corporations.

I liken the problem to that of the Republicans' obsession with tort reform.

For years the Republican Party has advocated tort reform, making it difficult for people who have been wronged by corporate mismanagement and such to get a settlement in court. They have used extreme cases to malign the very notion of legal recourse for consumers and other citizens with legitimate claims.

At the same time, they have also dismantled regulatory structures that sought to limit corporate malfeasance and protect those same consumers via that avenue.

I have always felt, you can't have it both ways. There needs to be some avenue by which we as a society police the tendency (see the earlier posts about human nature) by corporations to cut corners and in so doing endanger people's health, safety, etc.

To me, selectively looking at how poor people might get a few hundred bucks out of the system at the end of what was many times a tough year, while turning a blind eye to corporate welfare on a grand scale and the wholesale export of our job and tax base ... well, it's not consistent, and it strikes me as mean-spirited at its core.

I'm not advocating a return to the liberal decadence of the 1960s, when we were 30 years into the New Deal coalition's supremacy. I don't think Obama is advocating anything like that either.

I would just argue that we are at a point in our political history that is roughly analagous to that moment -- just as the conservative movement was a reaction to and sought to cure some of the ills of rampant, over the top, out of control liberalism -- which was not working -- so now do we have a party in the GOP that has outlived its core values and its effectiveness and its social utility. We're more than 30 years into the death of the New Deal. Time for the GOP to clean its house, figure out how to rebalance the church-state stuff and how to speak to someone other than the CEOs without resorting to meanness and divisiveness. reagan, though I didn't personally like him or his policies, did inspire people, much as FDR and JFK did on the Democrats' side. When was the last time a Republican leader spoke to the nation's better angels?

 

Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 12:27 PM
quote:
Fuji, I absolutely have known people who have gotten a check from the government because of the earned income credit. They were people who made about $15,000 a year, struggling like crazy to keep a flimsy roof over their head, working their asses off at jobs that don't pay very well, and who needed any help they could get. So they do their taxes at the end of the year, and find out they don't even make enough to have to pay any taxes, and are even getting a small check from the government.

Now, I'd be fine with saying if the amount you owe is less than zero, you don't get a check. That would be OK. But if they do get a small check, I have no problem with that, either. I'd rather think my tax money went directly to helping a poor family, rather than painting 6 square inches of one of the bombs that will be dropped in Iraq.

But I have a bigger problem with the basic financial structure of a society, that allows millions to work at jobs that don't pay sh*t, while others sit on their asses and watch their "capital gains" finance a lifestlye of leisure and opulence.

That little deal about some poor people getting a check is nothing to me. All of them are working, and filing a return. Let's get them making more money, and let's stop taxing a person's labor to start with. Taxes should only be imposed on property, and goods bought and sold.


I agree with this 100 percent. It's about what kind of society you want to be part of, a mean one that turns its back on the poor and pretends that all poor people are that way through a failure of responsibility, or a society that says, we're all in this together. I've always felt that those who scream "Class War!" every time a Democrat wants to help the poor are the REAL class warriors.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 12:42 PM
quote:
What is wrong with spreading the wealth around? Why does it have to accumulate in the pockets of a few "wealthy" people? The resources of this country should be owned and shared equally by everyone here. I find it pretty sickening to read all about how some people don't deserve to have a house, or a good job, or an education? Who made that decision?


SCB, why does everyone need to OWN a house? Is renting all of a sudden a crime? Who says you can't have a good job? And education, while I think everyone should strive for a liberal education, the truth is that ablilities vary and everybody's capacity is different. What we have tried to do in this country and to abominal results, is to level the playing field. Look what happened in the housing market because everyone DESERVED to own a house. Look at the schools in NYC, or any other place. We have rewarded bad behavior, poor decision making and failure. Worked out real well for us, didn't it?

There is a misconception is this country that is being promoted by our elected officials and others that the American Dream (whatever that means to each person) is dead. I find that to be **** . You can be or do, within the law, anything you want. Who is stopping anyone? You bust your ass to live the way you want to live, and I am sure if you weren't happy with the way you are living, there is no one out there that is going to stop you from obtaining your goal, assuming you do it legally of course. ;-)

Incidentally, there are plenty of charitable organizations that are far better suited to handle helping those in need, as opposed to the government taking care of that task, seeing as how they are totally irresonsible with our tax money anyway.

At the end of the day, there is a fine line to walked with taxes. See the Laffer Curve, I always liked that theory.


[Edited on 10/23/2008 by jim]

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 12:45 PM
Perhaps another way to look at things...bar stool economics....

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day
and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

'Since you are all such good customers, he said,
I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.

Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we
pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would
still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How
could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair
share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they
subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth
man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner
suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same
amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay!

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20 'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, 'but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is
how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the
most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for
being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might
start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 01:13 PM
quote:
Jim and Bill: Where under Obama's plan do you see the spectre of people who just want a free lunch? Can you answer that with specifics?

Also: Are you guys doing so well that you think the middle class hasn't been shafted?

I mean, seriously. You're just falling in line behind the talking points here. Obama's far from a socialist, his tax plan simply want to return the tax code to pre-Bush tax cut status. Not really radical. And McCain was against the Bush cuts too -- called them reckless and said they wouldn't help the economy. Looks to me like he was right back then.




Come on Pete, don't try and attach this current financial meltdown to the tax cuts. There have been more than enough threads about who is responsible for this mess.

 

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  posted on 10/23/2008 at 01:15 PM
quote:
Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I 've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient needed money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.




I have to laugh at this not because you screwed the server out of a tip they earned (I used to be a waiter and know how hard that job is), but because you are apparently so vastly ignorant as to the actual proposals that Obama is for that its hilarious to watch conservatives and wannabe-conservatives twist and manipulate his ideas into something it never was, such as what was highlighted in your story. Ill say again for the millionth time..unless you are earning $250K or more a year, you stand to see a reduction in taxes under Obama. You getting to keep more of your money isnt wealth redistrubution..or at least it wasnt when the tax cuts were for the wealthy.

 

____________________
Missing- 245 spines. If found, please send one to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and the rest to the Capitol building care of the Democratic Party.

 
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