Taxes: "Fair Share?" / Paying for our Government (1 Viewer)

V Chip

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Regarding taxes, I've seen many people here and elsewhere talk about paying their "fair share" -- but obviously everyone's version of "Fair" is different. So I wanted to start a discussion about taxes, and what people consider a "fair" way to pay for our government. For example, if you like a national sales tax, or a flat income tax, or progressive sales taxes, or everyone pays the same exact amount (not percent) -- why do you think that is a fair way to split the cost?

I'd prefer if the amount of money our government spends was left out of the conversation and it concentrated more on the idea of how to pay for the government we have, not on if our government is too big or too small or too fiscally irresponsible or not. This is more "assuming we all agreed on what our government costs, how do we divvy up that cost?"
 

You

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it's been discussed a lot around here.
I am on record as supporting consumption taxation over production taxation.
I don't like income taxation whatsoever.
I would tax folks on what they consume.

That's it in a nutshell.
 

mr.t

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We pay too much now. When govt. starts to cut their spending drastically for two years in a row, I may give into a small increase.
 
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V Chip

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I am on record as supporting consumption taxation over production taxation.
I don't like income taxation whatsoever.
I would tax folks on what they consume.
That's a start.

But why? Why do you consider that more "fair" than an income tax?
 

Shawn

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That's a start.

But why? Why do you consider that more "fair" than an income tax?
I don't see any possible way this could be implemented, except as a supplement or partial replacement of current taxes. Once again, define "consumption"; and define "cost of goods sold." It's not as easy as it sounds.

And it could be very, very bad for the economy in my opinion. You're talking about adding a tax to many levels of production that aren't currently taxed; and you're talking about piling on taxes where there are already existing taxes.
 

Taurus

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I think that questions of how much or what percentage or too big or too small greatly hinge on the value received.

It seems in Louisiana y'all get jack **** for your tax dollar. Might as well throw it down a crawfish hole for all the good it does you.

Yet in other parts of the country, government actually does give value. Maybe not enough, maybe focused in places you'd rather not have it, but the cops come when you call, wildfires get put out, the roads are maintained and the schools turn out literate adults. So people who live there will have different concepts of what's fair than someone from a place where government is utterly dysfunctional.
 

dtc

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it's been discussed a lot around here.
I am on record as supporting consumption taxation over production taxation.
I don't like income taxation whatsoever.
I would tax folks on what they consume.

That's it in a nutshell.
I used to completely agree and then I realized we'd have to tax consumption at about 40% so it won't work and would be extremely regressive.

I support a simplified version of exactly what we have now. Progressive income tax with a far simpler code.

When the subject of fair comes up, I like to think that fair would manage to balance the wealth accumulation rates of different income groups.
 

Shawn

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I used to completely agree and then I realized we'd have to tax consumption at about 40% so it won't work and would be extremely regressive.

I support a simplified version of exactly what we have now. Progressive income tax with a far simpler code.

When the subject of fair comes up, I like to think that fair would manage to balance the wealth accumulation rates of different income groups.
I agree. There's a reason why the basic tax structure that we have now exists--it works better than the other ideas. I know a lot of people will disagree, but there are a lot of flaws with the other systems when you try to apply them practically.

That said, our current system is far too complicated and mired in idiotic tinkering that has come about for political reasons.
 

Shawn

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Please forgive me. I am not as intelligent as some around here. I will try not to do it again.
It's not about intelligence, it's about reading:

I'd prefer if the amount of money our government spends was left out of the conversation and it concentrated more on the idea of how to pay for the government we have, not on if our government is too big or too small or too fiscally irresponsible or not.
 

TulsaSaint

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someone explain to me how a flat tax is unfair
Because taking away 20% of the income of someone who makes $20,000 has a lot bigger impact on them than taking away 20% has on someone who makes $400,000.

I think everyone should pay taxes. I firmly believe that people who pay into something have a bigger stake in making sure that it works. But I support people who are able to pay more paying more. Not sure how much that should be, but I do believe in that basic principle.

That's one reason I could support some sort of consumption tax, as long as stuff like food and clothes and other basics were exempted. Let the rich pay a consumption tax for their yachts, and let the poor pay a consumption tax when they choose to spend their money on rims, 50-inch TVs, and surround sound.
 
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Hmmm... I know that discussions on a forum are going to meander and there's not much one can do about it, but... I'm still hoping this gets more into the idea of what constitutes the fair splitting of the government bill.

To put it another way: what makes a progressive rate "fairer" than a flat rate? Why should it be based on income, and not wealth, or consumption, or spending, or potential, or a complete fee-based pay-as-you-use-it system?

This is partly done because not too long ago there started a good discussion on this that fizzled out (wish I could find it via search) and IMO it was a good, intelligent discussion without partisan griping from which I learned some things, and I really enjoy discussions where I can take part and learn things based on other people's input and opinions. I'd like to start a semi-philosophical discussion based on how we as a people should split the bill for our government.
 

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I agree. There's a reason why the basic tax structure that we have now exists--it works better than the other ideas. I know a lot of people will disagree, but there are a lot of flaws with the other systems when you try to apply them practically.

That said, our current system is far too complicated and mired in idiotic tinkering that has come about for political reasons.
I'm not sure I follow. you mention "basic tax structure" but what does that mean?
If you mean the current basic income tax structure then I point out that we didn't always have an income tax. Only when prohibition came about did we institutute an income tax to offset the loss of tax revenue from liquor sales.

And why do you say "It works better than the other ideas"? How do you know that?

The current income tax situation is a political football. Obama ran on the grounds that he was going to tax ONLY those making over 250k. Now why would he say that?
Perhaps he wanted to play the game of pitting rich vs poor to get some votes because everyone was feeling poor? As Palin would say "You betcha!" And the Republicans play it too so I don't see it as a system that will be going away anytime soon. Its in place not because it "Works the best" though. I ain't buyin that.

I don't have all of the mechanics in place on how my consumption tax structure would work. It would mean that we tax food etc. I'd also propose a very stiff taxation on liquor and tobacco. These are called "Elastic" items and its been shown that people will continue to pay for them even at very high tax levels.
I'd support a luxury tax as well under a consumption tax. At least it's worth exploring.
Toll roads, wastage fees, etc are all a part of my plan.

Now I know all of the arguments about "Black Markets" etc but I'd rather risk that then have the disgusting income taxation structure we have now. It's counter productive.

One thing that needs to be cleared up in any event is what the word "FAIR" means?

If you're going to sit there and tell me that it's "Fair" to hit a rich guy harder than a middle class guy then we're not going to see eye to eye.
That's just class warfare pure and simple.
 

Shawn

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I'm not sure I follow. you mention "basic tax structure" but what does that mean?
If you mean the current basic income tax structure then I point out that we didn't always have an income tax. Only when prohibition came about did we institutute an income tax to offset the loss of tax revenue from liquor sales.

And why do you say "It works better than the other ideas"? How do you know that?

The current income tax situation is a political football. Obama ran on the grounds that he was going to tax ONLY those making over 250k. Now why would he say that?
Perhaps he wanted to play the game of pitting rich vs poor to get some votes because everyone was feeling poor? As Palin would say "You betcha!" And the Republicans play it too so I don't see it as a system that will be going away anytime soon. Its in place not because it "Works the best" though. I ain't buyin that.

I don't have all of the mechanics in place on how my consumption tax structure would work. It would mean that we tax food etc. I'd also propose a very stiff taxation on liquor and tobacco. These are called "Elastic" items and its been shown that people will continue to pay for them even at very high tax levels.
I'd support a luxury tax as well under a consumption tax. At least it's worth exploring.
Toll roads, wastage fees, etc are all a part of my plan.

Now I know all of the arguments about "Black Markets" etc but I'd rather risk that then have the disgusting income taxation structure we have now. It's counter productive.

One thing that needs to be cleared up in any event is what the word "FAIR" means?

If you're going to sit there and tell me that it's "Fair" to hit a rich guy harder than a middle class guy then we're not going to see eye to eye.
That's just class warfare pure and simple.

I'll try to come back and address more of this later, but much like earlier in the discussion, you're kind of all over the place raising a lot of issues that aren't necessarily related.

To clarify, what I meant by "basic tax structure" is one that is based on income, rather than a consumption tax; and one that is progressive rather than some kind of "flat tax." And yes, one that isn't a "simple" tax where we (in fantasyland) calculate 10% of our earnings and pay that amount. You don't solve any problems with this model--you still need a formula to calculate your income, and that puts us pretty much right back at square one.

It's not feasible. I seem to remember that you know a good amount about taxation so I feel like I'm sounding insulting (it's not meant to be) but you should know that within the business structure and the in any business models ( corporate, sole proprietorship, whatever) there is a lot of room for deciding how you calculate profit...and likewise how that profit passes on to the owners or shareholders as "income."

A consumption tax might not be a bad idea as a supplementary form of taxation, but in such a case it's only going to be an extra tax--something nobody wants. How do you determine what is subject to the consumption tax? These are models that work in a world where everyone is an employee, all of their income is calculated as wages on their W-4, and where goods are purchased at retail prices in their final form. What happens to the manufacturer who has to buy goods from multiple sources in order to create his product? Is he subject to the consumption tax for each of those purchases? What if he in turn sells that product to another manufacturer (a radio for a car) as part of a larger product? All of the middle men would get killed, and they get punished for each layer of outsourcing along the way. Are services subject to the tax? Who's going to do all of this accounting? It would require another layer of govnernment, another layer of accounting and accountability. It's not without a cost, and that cost would be spread like a cancer throughout every step of the economy.

As for your issue of fairness, I'm not even sure what you mean. It seems to me your entire issue is with the progressive tax rates. Everyone in this country is subject to the same tax rates, so I don't know what isn't fair about it. Your issue seems to be that all income at all levels should be taxed at the same rate (i.e., percentage rate). That's all good and well too, as long as everyone was getting a W-4 at the end of the year.

They aren't. Tax structures get more complicated precisely because people with higher incomes have much more complicated income streams and asset pools.

i don't know what Obama has to do with anything, and Sarah Palin is a stupid *******, so who cares what she has to say. IMO, of course.
 

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