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Old 06-25-2010, 09:47 AM   #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furcal View Post
I'm sure Paris Hilton is a tax genius.
She did my taxes last year, my refund was hot.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:26 AM   #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furcal View Post
That 20-30% would help his quality of life way more than it would for you.
this is a good point - when we talk about who has what at stake in this system. There's the absolute "stake" in the sense that those who make more, lose/pay more so they have more at stake in this system.

However, the 20-30% cut can hurt the person who makes much less because it can have a bigger impact, relatively speaking on his/her life. So there could be more at stake for the lower/middle classes even though what they're paying into the system is quantitatively less.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:29 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by RazorOye View Post
this is a good point - when we talk about who has what at stake in this system. There's the absolute "stake" in the sense that those who make more, lose/pay more so they have more at stake in this system.

However, the 20-30% cut can hurt the person who makes much less because it can have a bigger impact, relatively speaking on his/her life. So there could be more at stake for the lower/middle classes even though what they're paying into the system is quantitatively less.
Exactly. Quality of life absolutely has diminishing returns. Once you get to a certain point, it's all just gravy after that.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:58 PM   #186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furcal View Post
Exactly. Quality of life absolutely has diminishing returns. Once you get to a certain point, it's all just gravy after that.
But I really, really like gravy.

As I've said multiple times, there is no such thing as a "fair" tax policy. Life isn't "fair"... focus should be on what works.

There is some level of things government should do -- figure out what kind of world you want to live in -- and then figure out how to get there.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:21 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by RazorOye View Post
not really "dying" to make the argument... just hoping for the guy to provide some substance to the argument where that hasn't really been any. And you don't really offer anything more than "well, this is how it is and it's pretty obvious and if you don't think so, well, then you're naive"

how does how much someone pays in taxes relate to their "credibility" regarding "governmental inefficiency"?

I don't get that as a criteria.

Someone who pays large sums of taxes might know little or nothing about how efficient/inefficient the political system is. Meanwhile, some guy or gal making 1/10 of that 350,000 could be working in, say, the field of social work or finance and know more about how the government's financial systems work or know, firsthand, how inefficient the spending is.

I'll offer myself as an example. I have a relative back home who makes a fair amount more money than I do and is completely clueless about most anything politically or government related. And has no interest in it. While I might only be able to speak to "governmental inefficiency" regarding education as I've seen it, that's still one more topic than she could.

But she should be able to speak about govt inefficiencies more expertly than everyone she pays more in taxes then?

What if the college student was someone who was a returning student who had to go back to classes because his small business closed down as a result of the economic downturn which was a result of "government inefficiencies"? What if it's a political science major working on an advanced degree? What if it's like one of my co-workers at LSU working on a degree in Macroeconomics? What if it's someone who is justifiably and understandably on some sort of govt assistance - welfare, healthcare - and has had to fight red tape and inefficiency and bureaucracy every step of the way for some of the most basic things for him/her or the children?

What happened to judging a person's credibility on the content of their character than the dollar figure on their tax return?

As far as having a different perspective - that's sort of a "duh!" statement. That goes for most anyone.

I hear arguments all the time - among family, friends, here on the boards - where people's perspective differ on spending. Even from people from within the same tax bracket.

Consider what UTJ wrote in response to wcklink above, as an example:



Not everyone in the same tax bracket will have the same "perspective" much less those in different tax brackets - I think your argument is awfully presumptive.

It seems that wcklink believes he differs ideologically from Warren Buffett - Buffett makes more money, so his opinion is more credible. Does that mean wcklink is wrong, then, and Buffett's opinion is more credible?

If the statement was merely - different people will have different perspectives, I'm cool with that.

But it wasn't.

It was put like this:

If you made as much as I do and paid as much in taxes as I do, you would see things as I do. And because you don't - on all counts - you have no credibility and you're wrong.

You think my perspective is naive... I think it takes a certain amount of naivete to believe that someone's credibility to comment on something as broad as "governmental inefficiency" comes down to one, single, qualifying factor: their tax return. That people's opinions can be summarily dismissed or endorsed based on how much they make from/pay into the system.

And my counter would be pretty simple: someone's credibility to speak on government efficiency/inefficiency would probably result from a number of factors and their experiences with/within the system and we can't rely on a single criterion of salary/taxes paid to establish or dismiss someone's credibility on the issue of govt inefficiency.

Personally, I think one of those approaches is more naive than the other.

Apparently, we differ on which one of those that is.
This is sort of all over the place, so I'll address what I can I guess.

First, regarding the super wealthy like Buffet - they have so much money that they don't care. It's like the Chris Rock bit about giving half your money away during divorce. If you make $50 million, and your wife wants $25 million, okay. But if you make $30,000, and your wife wants $15,000, you might have to kill her. I ain't moving back in with my momma cause you ain't in love.

And of course we're speaking in generalities. It won't apply to every individual the same way. But there's nothing wrong with speaking generally sometimes. It is done from time to time. Nobody disputes it when people claim (correctly) that liberals are generally more educated than conservatives. That's a generality that's based on facts.


It's also a fact that the middle class, who bear a significant tax burden relative to their income, are generally more fiscally conservative. The reasoning behind this is that when you're paying for government, you view it more cynically.

It's quite common for people to be liberal in college then become more conservative (at least fiscally) as they start to earn real money and fork chunks over to the government. It happened to me. It happened to a bunch of my friends. I dunno; I thought this was common knowledge.

So when we're talking about a "credible" opinion, we aren't (or at least I'm not) talking about who's more informed on the issues necessarily. "Credible" can also be used to describe someone who has more at stake with the outcome of decisions.

Taken to an extreme, when you're paying lots of money into the system, it's quite difficult to acknowledge the credibility of a person who isn't putting money in but will stand to benefit from the money others have contributed. Resentment occurs. It's human nature and it's the simple truth.

This shouldn't be something we are loathe to talk about; it's simply the way people work. Some people. Most people, I venture to say. Maybe not UncleTravelingJim, but most.

Crude analogy: If we're planning a couples trip to the beach with 6 couples, but only two couples are paying for the trip, how much should the two paying couples (who want to go to Florida) weigh the opinion of the other 4 (who want to go to Fiji)?

Nobody is saying that those who don't pay significant taxes shouldn't be allowed to breathe, or to vote, or to have access to trash pickup. All I'm saying is that when discussing politics on message boards or whatever, the opinion of those who don't have as much skin in the game lacks perspective, so regardless of how informed it is, it's credibility can be questioned.

So I'm not trying to be argumentative, but when somebody who gets a rebate back from the government argues with me on a message board in favor of health care, I typically wonder if he would feel the same way if he wrote the same checks to the government that I do. I don't discount the opinion completely, but that's always in the back of my mind.

Does that make me a monster? I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!!!!!!

Quote:
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I think you're simplifying too much and you need a better accountant.
This is possibly true on both accounts.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:26 PM   #188
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It doesn't make you a monster, it just makes you myopic. Don't worry, though, you have plenty of company on that boat.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:10 PM   #189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
So I'm not trying to be argumentative, but when somebody who gets a rebate back from the government argues with me on a message board in favor of health care, I typically wonder if he would feel the same way if he wrote the same checks to the government that I do. I don't discount the opinion completely, but that's always in the back of my mind.

Does that make me a monster? I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!!!!!!
If you're not an animal, then wtheck is a Mongoose?

Seriously, you're about right on every account. You pay more to the government than others so you're likely to resent it. But someone before you paid more so that you could have the opportunity you have now. And someone after you will pay more so that you don't starve when you're old or if some trick of fate renders you incapable.

I sure as heck don't like paying taxes any more than anyone else, but in the spirit of whose opinion matters more, I can take solace in the knowledge that my opinion is more valid than my $40k/yr "conservative" fellows who whine about paying too much in taxes and support Republican policies.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:27 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by peresich View Post


I'll take this guy's word as gospel on all things that have to do with taxation. After all, he pays way more than I do in taxes every year.
What do two men getting intimate have to do with taxes?

And yes I know it's a mirror...
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:31 PM   #191
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lol. Is every aspect of your life this pedantic?

You and that other dude started with the word credible, not me. I didn't introduce it to the conversation. I probably would have picked a different word. But you got all frisky with your e-bullying of wcklink that I waded in to your established conversation, using the words that you guys had been using.

(While we're on the subject, what's up with that posting style? It's fairly repugnant. Dude was just having a conversation; he didn't deserve your arrogance or belittling. It doesn't make you seem more correct. It turns good discussions ugly for no reason. Why not just cordially make your position clear? I mean, do what you want of course. But it makes you look bad. The internetz aren't that serious of business, no matter how much you relish the colluding snide remarks of your cohorts.)

Regardless, using the meaning "worthy of belief," I'll stand by my post. Someone who pays nothing can make the case for increased government spending (for example) all he wants, and it won't be worthy of my belief. Once his money goes out the door rather than coming in the door, his opinion becomes more meaningful. More credible.

And while I'm sure you had so much fun ridiculing my crude analogy, you never addressed how perspective changes when you start having to pay for stuff, regardless of any amount of esoteric knowledge one may possess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by razoroye
but you just dismissed Buffett from your scenario. because he makes too much money. So, he's not credible because he makes too much. Poor people aren't credible because they don't make enough.
You almost got it. Close enough that I'll give you credit. I'm saying precisely that the middle class has a different perspective than the uber rich and the poor because they pay an onerous share of their income as taxes compared to the other two groups (it's not specifically about the income, but the taxes as a result of the income, but whatever). It's not convenient for me that I'm in this group; the whole point is that I think the way I do because I'm in this group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by razoroye
But, for this, to say that this one criteria establishes someone as "credible" over another is ignorant, selective, and totally off base. And I'm not the only one in this thread who thinks that.
Of course you're not. That's why I bothered discussing it. I'm not the only one in this thread that feels the way I do, either.

We're talking about opinions here. And for an opinion to be worthy of belief, lots of things come into play, one of which is how invested someone is in what they're talking about.

We're all invested in the decisions our government makes of course. But when two people are arguing on a message board, one of whom will float the bill for a political choice while the other will simply reap the benefit, than I'm going to be more inclined to disregard the opinion of the guy who isn't paying for it.

I really don't want to argue anymore with a guy with an Omar avatar. I love Omar. Feel free to ridicule and snicker away. Feel free to consider yourself morally superior, more enlightened or whatever. I'm just relaying how I feel. There are numerous positions people take on this board that make me wonder if they would feel the same way if they were paying significant taxes. I don't think that will change. Certainly, your posting arrogance and attempted snark isn't enough to make me change my mind, and given your posting history in this thread, it doesn't look like we're going to get a good-natured, genuine discussion about the topic where I could possibly learn something.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:57 PM   #192
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Originally Posted by IntenseSaint View Post
What do two men getting intimate have to do with taxes?

And yes I know it's a mirror...
That's A-Rod
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:14 PM   #193
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Good post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
(While we're on the subject, what's up with that posting style? It's fairly repugnant. Dude was just having a conversation; he didn't deserve your arrogance or belittling. It doesn't make you seem more correct. It turns good discussions ugly for no reason. Why not just cordially make your position clear? I mean, do what you want of course. But it makes you look bad. The internetz aren't that serious of business, no matter how much you relish the colluding snide remarks of your cohorts.)
This is a very good point. It's one of the reasons we started the politics board, and why some people will not be allowed to post on the board. We have a propensity to start becoming condescending or mean or belittling or belligerent when we discuss politics. One of Andrus' maxims here, and one that has created the best Saints board on the planet is "Seek a higher level", this should apply to all our boards here.

It wasn't just RazorOye here in this case either.... part of the nature of this was that his opinion was less valid b/c he didn't pay a certain amount, or when it turned out that he did, it switched to being about his wife. That is also unproductive. It isn't a single poster, it's a culture that we've let grow more than is healthy.

Now on to me tearing apart your beliefs with ruthless abandon...


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
Regardless, using the meaning "worthy of belief," I'll stand by my post. Someone who pays nothing can make the case for increased government spending (for example) all he wants, and it won't be worthy of my belief. Once his money goes out the door rather than coming in the door, his opinion becomes more meaningful. More credible.

And while I'm sure you had so much fun ridiculing my crude analogy, you never addressed how perspective changes when you start having to pay for stuff, regardless of any amount of esoteric knowledge one may possess.
That's because people are self-interested. As I said, paying more money just makes it more personal to you, not more knowledgeable. And I would argue, that becoming too personal about subjects actually makes you less able to think about it in clear terms.


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
You almost got it. Close enough that I'll give you credit. I'm saying precisely that the middle class has a different perspective than the uber rich and the poor because they pay an onerous share of their income as taxes compared to the other two groups (it's not specifically about the income, but the taxes as a result of the income, but whatever). It's not convenient for me that I'm in this group; the whole point is that I think the way I do because I'm in this group.
No argument here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
We're all invested in the decisions our government makes of course. But when two people are arguing on a message board, one of whom will float the bill for a political choice while the other will simply reap the benefit, than I'm going to be more inclined to disregard the opinion of the guy who isn't paying for it.
This is part of the problem and a difference I'm not sure we're going to resolve.

First, someone making $100K who holds a masters in economics and works in a field doing econometric modeling, might have a very well reasoned and informed opinion why the economy as a whole functions better under a certain tax scheme. Dismissing it in favor of an opinion of a divorce lawyer who makes $350K per year, seems just odd. It's basically a form of the ad hominem argument -- you're debating the messanger, not the message.

Second, and more significant is the idea that one party isn't paying into the system and the other party isn't reaping the benefits. I don't believe either to be true. Both parties have quite a bit at stake, and I would argue that the one making more money is clearly benefiting more from the current system than the one making less. People don't operate in a vacuum, and I firmly believe the idea of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is nearly a myth... I say nearly, b/c there are very rare examples of it happening, but most people who "make it" rely on a combination of hard work, connections, and luck.

As I've said, as I've moved up, I've become less enamored with the so called "best and brightest". Most of them don't work harder than the middle levels, and they aren't smarter... note I'm not saying they aren't smart or they don't work hard -- just not quantifiably more so than so many people below them. A lot of times, they we were just there when a position opened up and they were more vocal than others. Also, in my particular field, some of the higher paying positions don't really add value in the same proportion as their salary. Pay scales seem to escalate logarithmically, not linearly.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:27 PM   #194
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what started my frustrations here - and I mean "here" generally - is this pervasive victimization. The hypocrisy of the "it's okay when I do it" posts. That's what I initially - and admittedly sarcastically - responded to.

Then, as UTJ pointed out:

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleTrvlingJim View Post
It wasn't just RazorOye here in this case either.... part of the nature of this was that his opinion was less valid b/c he didn't pay a certain amount, or when it turned out that he did, it switched to being about his wife. That is also unproductive.
After that, I just didn't see much point in engaging wck sincerely. I didn't see a willingness to participate in a "good discussion." So I didn't bother seeking a higher level. Probably could've/should've just let it drop.

But I'm more than willing - and capable - of having a good discussion. Contrary to what you might think, I'm not on the prowl looking to snipe people.

Thus...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
You and that other dude started with the word credible, not me. I didn't introduce it to the conversation. I probably would have picked a different word.
see, this is my point.

Much of my objection comes from establishing credibility based on income. For him to dismiss me - wrongly - and judge me (or anyone else) as without credibility simply because of salary or tax return is ridiculous and narrow-minded.

I didn't start that part of the discussion of credibility = tax bracket. It's what I objected to.

And it sounds like we're in agreement that what we're talking about here is not, actually, "credibility".

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
And while I'm sure you had so much fun ridiculing my crude analogy, you never addressed how perspective changes
I thought I did. I thought I made it clear that I agreed with it. Obviously perspective changes and opinions will differ, for a number of reasons, including salary/paid taxes - I didn't deny that.

I just don't think it automatically makes someone's opinion more or less credible, all other things notwithstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
I'm saying precisely that the middle class has a different perspective than the uber rich and the poor because they pay an onerous share of their income as taxes compared to the other two groups (it's not specifically about the income, but the taxes as a result of the income, but whatever). It's not convenient for me that I'm in this group; the whole point is that I think the way I do because I'm in this group.
I can understand this, generally. But the line was drawn specifically - 40k. If you don't pay 40k into the system - or more, I guess - then your opinion is invalid/less valid. There are a lot of middle class people that I would include in your group - the "middle class" - who pay less than 40k. Do you believe that there are people who pay less than 40k in taxes per year and are also considered "middle class"?

I do. And I don't think that people who pay more than 40k necessarily feel the pinch worse than a family that pays half that, for example.

I just don't.

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I love Omar.
Same. No spoilers, though. I only just watched the finale of Season 3 just prior to logging on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
Feel free to ridicule and snicker away.
I haven't. Certainly not intentionally.

Like I said above, I'm not here just to be some smart ***. If someone wants to have a discussion, I'm happy to take part. Not all of my posts are snickers, you know. I've got a few posts on the boards here that have been the product of a lot of time, effort, and work. And I've got posts that have been meant to help people out.

I just lack the patience in responding to the same tired, whining, self-seeking martyrs who persevere in posting the same hypocrisies.

And I lack the will power, sometimes, to resist the urge ridicule and snicker.

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Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
given your posting history in this thread, it doesn't look like we're going to get a good-natured, genuine discussion about the topic where I could possibly learn something
hopefully, by now, you'll see that this isn't the case
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:57 PM   #195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post
I'm saying precisely that the middle class has a different perspective than the uber rich and the poor because they pay an onerous share of their income as taxes compared to the other two groups
Well then getting back to the statement that started this part of the discussion: if you or anyone paid more than I did in taxes, that person is definitely in no way, shape, or form "middle class." I didn't come close to 40K in federal contributions and I'm easily in the top 10% of household income -- closer to top 5%. If someone's household is putting in $40K a year to the feds, they're definitely not anywhere near the middle class and IMO it's a bit condescending to imply that if others moved up to the top 5% or higher they would change their tune or be bestowed with great knowledge about taxation and federal efficiency.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:42 PM   #196
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To help frame the debate a little better, I did some quick back of the envelope cypherin' based on the 2009 federal tax brackets (the difference between 2009 and 2010 is probably minimal) and I estimated that the income needed to be paying 40K to the feds is between 165,000-185,000, depending on filing status.

http://taxes.about.com/od/2009taxes/..._tax_rates.htm

Of course, that's assuming that the entirety of that income is such that would be taxed at standard rates (like a paycheck) and doesn't take into account any of the myriad credits and deductions. Realistically, you could be making 250,000+ before you have to honest to goodness cough up 40K+ to Uncle Sam.

Assuming you took the super easy route and didn't claim anything, that income puts you in the top 5% of income.

Of course, if you live in San Francisco, you'll need every dime of it and you can still claim to being "middle class" but being "middle class" doesn't necessarily make you an "average" earner.
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