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Monday, September 19, 2005


"I think it's very important that Americans understand... tax cuts are always popular, but about half of these tax cuts since 2001 have gone to people in my income group, the top 1 percent. I've gotten four tax cuts. They're responsible for this big structural deficit, and they're not going away, the deficits aren't." - Bill Clinton

How many times must a man say the same shit before something gets done.

It seems to me that Bill fixed the economy, and got rid of the biggest deficit in our nation's history up to that point. He inheirited it from a Republican named Bush. Before we could reap any real benefit, along comes Bush JR, and not only are we back to square one, it's even worse. We are in the hole so bad, and the only folks in Washington who want to do something about are are out-voted by a majority of near-sighted jackasses who have been bought and paid for by Big Business, GW's constituancy. The one's who have benefitted from the tax cuts.

I think I just heard Laura Bush say 'Let them eat cake'.

What's wrong with cake?
I don't know, I thought their records were a bit pretentious actually, very one dimentional.
I like Cake's cover of "I will survive" fitting...

I will choose my words carefully, just in case Harley is reading...

The NeoCons love to say "Tax and Spend Democrats"

But I like that better than Bush's "Borrow and spend" frame of thought.
I'm far from being anywhere near Bill's tax bracket, yet I got a tax break, and don't own a successful giant corporation either. Gee, I wonder if you might not have all the facts here?

I'm not a fan of offering any more tax breaks to ANYONE, but will never be behind a plan to raise them either until the real problem (the broken system) is addressed.

I'm not a big fan of Cake either. My wife love'em and it drives me nuts. They're up there with Star Jones on the Jackson Hate-o-Meter.
No one is saying you didn't get or deserve a tax break, we're saying MOST of the tax cuts favor the rich. It's time they pay thier share, that's all. Just a small, tiny, sliver, of a fraction of what they have saved over the past few years would help infinately with addressing issues like disaster relief and the enormo deficit.
I think former President Bill Clinton probably understands the tax codes a bit better than any of us do.

Tony's been talking about the "broken system" a fair amount - can you explain and be a bit more specific? I think we all know there's a lot wrong, but how about some concrete suggestions, ideas, etc?

A good start would be to stop spending money over in Iraq, bring home the tropps, tax the extremely rich proportionately, and eat more tacos.

Fair question. Not only do I contend that the system is broken, but both parties are equally exploiting it. Until there is a realization from all people of this fact we will continue to be distracted by meaningless partisan debate which hasn't been this ugly since the Civil War. So, with that I offer you this response:

Taxes and spending are a good place to start.

I don't pretend know everything there is about how it all works, but everything I've read about either a flat tax on income, or a flat sales tax, or combination of the two sounds like a fair way to do it to me. I do NOT believe in going after wealthy people for the mere fact that they are successful and make/save money. That is what everybody should aspire to do and it should be encouraged by our government. Let’s just make taxes fair and compulsory for everybody and make it simple to account for. There are so many levels of bullshit that would be eliminated by doing this, I just simply don’t know why we haven’t pursued it more vigorously on the nat’l front. My guess is because one of the things that make both parties take issue with this plan is that it eliminates what is a fiscal free for all for both of them. I don't know a more simply and fair way to do it that eliminates the high crime of what the current state of things are. You know you’re onto something when an idea like this is discouraged by BOTH sides of the isle.

As for spending money, three words: line item veto. Not just for the prez, but at all levels of government. Institute it now, and be done with it. It's not the end all be all answer, but it's a damn good place to start. Would expose the high level politics, pork grabs, and elicit wheeling and dealing for everybody to see. We'd then be able to sort out whose looking out for whose best interest when appropriations are voted on. My contention is that there's so much bipartisan misappropriation and pork allocation that simply getting to a point where a citizen can figure out what his/her candidate actually voted for would be huge positive change. That's how bad I think it is right now.

You know my thoughts on foreign policy so I won't dig all that up, but domestically, these are my top two big ideas to address a broken system. At this point, I have no idea where these positions put me on the blue/ red continuum, nor do I care, but I think they are solid solutions no mater what party champions them.
I agree, and in as much as it looks like I'm 'going ofter the rich', I'm actually, like you, just looking to level the playing feild. That's why the flat-tax isn't popular in congress, because it would tax the rich proportionately, which is NOT the case right now. And remeber, I have a close relation that is in Bill's bracket, and he feels the same as Bill.
People who argue for a flat tax do so because it's "simple" and "fair."

The Brookings Institution released a paper on the subject that you might want to read.

In short, they stated that "under the flat tax, low income households would lose, because they now pay no income tax and are eligible for an EITC of up to $3,370... a flat tax would provide huge gains for high-income households, both because their marginal tax rate would fall and because they consume relatively less of their income than do low income households.

As a result, if a flat tax were to raise as much revenue as the current one, the tax burden for the middle class would have to rise.

Perceptions of fairness may also be difficult to retain when, under the flat tax, some wealthy corporations and individuals remit no taxes to the government while middle-class workers pay a combined marginal tax rate above 30 percent on the flat tax, state income tax, and payroll tax." Remember, the payroll tax is not the same as income tax!

Is was estimated that, under a flat tax, Intel's tax burden would drop by 75%. Makes sense.

As far as simplicity goes, no one knows how much "simpler" the system would REALLY be in the long run. From the same paper:

"...for many, the tax system is not that complicated. And fundamental tax reform would not end the demands for special treatment that have so tangled the income tax... some simplification is likely with tax reform, but it is by no means a certain or lasting outcome."

By the way, while the debate over the flat tax may not follow party lines, it's a fact that the flat tax is overwhelmingly supported by the rich far more than the poor. I wonder why? Because it's so fair?

What we forget is that money is relative. Percentages fail to take into account the fact that the rich still pay the same amount for gas as the poor do, that prescriptions still cost the same, and that taking the same percentage from the rich and the poor has VASTLY different effects on the two groups. It could make the difference between life and death for a poor elderly person who has to decide between medication and food, while it will simply adjust the net worth of the rich.

The problem is, as soon as you ask the people who are in the position to pay more (and not be hurt in the least by it), people say you're "going after the rich." We're not going after the rich. The rich got their money by working within a system we ALL support, and they should give back. None of them will be ruined.

Do you really think tax reform will clean up the system? Do you know how complicated and expensive it would be to completely throw out the old system rather than tweak the current one?

So - any other ideas?
How about no tax, and the govt does a telethon every year to raise money?

Or we could all sell pot. Not currently a taxable income.
I think what you've offered scope creeps the discussion. I think flat tax on income and consumption is fair. I think of it as how the government raises revenue. I also think the studies you quote don't account for the gains a flat tax would provide on the consumption side of the plan i.e. rich people buy more shit and more expensive shit which generate more revenue.

I would certainly disagree wholeheartedly with the quote regarding our existing tax code complexity. It is EXTREMLEY complicated and full of loopholes, ones that get exploited constantly not just by "Big Business", but by a large portion of individuals.

The issues you bring up are very real but I see it as more of a question of how we SPEND the money to help the lesser off. I think the LIV is one way to keep money from being wasted and being spent where it's needed the most.

As for complexity and expense of tax reform and it's ability to clean up the system goes... It's a START. I'm the one who usually offers you guys the level of expense/effort/complexity retort (funny how that is). Yes, it would be tough change to make, but no big change isn't and it's no reason not to do something. As I said, I don't pretend to know a sliver of all the details of it all. I could also spend ten minutes digging up reports that support a flat tax approach that sound equally convincing of it success. What I do know is the system as it stands is broken for sure. I think the flat tax would work, but am open to real suggestions that don't involve falling into European style socialism.

What are your answers?
i barely pay taxes these days

i bet i paid less than Tony last year

i think i paid a total of $30 or $40k in taxes in 2004

that ain't fair, but its the way it is under GW Bush

makes me shake my head when guys like Tony vote for him

the Republicans have used the war on terror, a strong defense, and family values as a message to get the middle class of the south, midwest, and west to keep them in power while the rape and pillage the same people who voted for them

some day, these poor sops will figure it out

but not until our country is bankrupt and economically hostage to the asian tigers

as Napoleon Dynamite says "friggin idiots!"
I like that rightbackatyou is forthcoming about his feelings on this issue. It's rare to see someone who's benefitting from a broken system actually come out and say that the system is broken.

If he can do it, why can't the rest of them?
The real question, I guess, is why should they. Rightbacktoyou has little to gain by restructuring the tax system, but he has much to gain as a human being. When Americans stop thinking 'what's in it for me' and 'gotta get what's coming to me' and start thinking about the human race and where we're headed, MAYBE, we'll all get along a bit better.
I think it would be cool to have a line item veto on tax returns. Let the hawks pay for the war (let's see if they can generate 900 million trillion gazillion dollars) and me and my leftist-pinko-commie friends can pay for Headstart.
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