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Are you part of the 53% of Americans who pay federal income taxes.




VotesAnswer
16Yes
10I am not American.
6I am American but I don't pay federal income taxes.
1Other


UserComment
Kristal_Rose
posted 27-Oct-2011 9:21pm  
No. I used to be, and hope to be again some day.
LJD Survey Qualifier
posted 27-Oct-2011 9:43pm  
Yes. I think Federal Income Taxes are are one of the biggest scams on the American people.
jen Survey Central Gold Subscriber
posted 27-Oct-2011 9:51pm  
I pay out the wazoo
they Survey Central Subscriber
posted 27-Oct-2011 10:38pm  
No. At least, not in previous years. I'm a single mother who has never made enough to actually pay out. Tax time is a big fat pay day for me.

This year, I may be in a new tax bracket.
Kristal_Rose
(reply to LJD) posted 27-Oct-2011 10:51pm  
Without them the rich would be even richer than the poor than they are now; we wouldn't have highways, libraries, police, and such; lots of people would be unemployed and turn to crime; the environment would be destroyed; you'd have a hard time finding food which didn't kill you by the age of 40; medical technology would be 60 years behind what it is now; in fact a lot of technolgy would.

The government runs all sorts of medical/scientific research centers, then hands it's findings to corporations.

Government has made possible the advance of society without us having to be direct slaves of corporations to do so. Without our taxes and the manner in which they were spent, we would have been a third world country ourselves this last half century or more. It was the first major federal spending on things like hydroelectric dams, home-lighting, and interstate freeways which allowed us to jump so far ahead of the rest of the world in the first place. This we managed to do even though we had a recession and people were jobless. We put everyone to work building bridges and such, and let the rich pay the farmers to feed us.

Half the country has been complaining ever since, and yet this is what created modern america. Not even people living in ghettos live as poorly as the majority did back in the 1930's. The standard of living went up for everyone, by assuring that everyone who could produce something had the chance to produce something, and everyone could be consumers to perpetuate the growth of american industry.

My only complaint is that we spend too much on the military, and not enough on infrastructure anymore.

Check out a comparison of taxes around the world http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_around_the_...
Mexico is what life looks like in countries which don't tax. The sorted list doesn't even bother to list places in Africa and such. You wouldn't want to live in a country with low taxes.

Now check out those countries which tax mostly to support a welfare state http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_state
Surprise, they are the only countries you would consider civilized, mostly Europe.

If you don't like taxes, go move to Angola, Lebanon, Croatia, or Korea. The higher the taxes spent on welfare, the more pleasant a country is to live in. It doesn't matter if the gov't taxes even 95% of your income, if the result is your having 20 times the standard of living as those in Kazakhstan.

Money is kind of relative and imaginary to begin with. If we didn't have taxes, you wouldn't have nearly so much money to begin with. The reason we have so much money is that it originates as loans to pay everyones salaries and new corporate enterprises, and then we pay that back later as taxes.
America works because we put faith in our economic future via credit and taxes. In other nations without a welfare state, people can't take that chance, and thus no one has consumerism, and thus no one has jobs to begin with. Taxes perpetuate consumerism and prosperity on a national level, which likewise benefits everyone, whether they are the taxed or on welfare. A welfare state assures that everyone can be customers, which is good for anyone providing goods or services. You couldn't make a living in Angola as a small business person, because no one else can afford to be your customers. In America we assure that everyone can afford to be customers, and thus everyone who wants to can work, in hopes of working their way up the pyramid.

The only people who should have no interest in taxes are those who live off the land and don't trade goods and services. In our sliding scale tax sytem, those people don't have an income to tax anyhow, so it's a moot point. (though they might live in a property tax state)
LJD Survey Qualifier
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 28-Oct-2011 12:02am  
We have taxes for about everything. Our income taxes do not go to support an infrastructure....it is only to pay interest on fiat money. There is a list of taxes we now endure, which weren't around the beginning of 1900..and we were the most prosperous of countries. They are stealing from us, redistributing our wealth.

http://www.devvy.com/notax.html


God warned us of man's government, now I can see why. We are not a free people.

Galomorro Survey Qualifier
posted 28-Oct-2011 12:17am  
No. I have to file still but since I started getting Social Sec. don't make enough apparently.
Kristal_Rose
(reply to LJD) posted 28-Oct-2011 4:30am  
Taxes to pay interest are hardly of consequence. That's mostly the mechanism which defines what money is worth in the first place.
What does matter is where proportions of the remaining money go towards other purposes like welfare, military, infrastructure, and such, and CEO salaries.

I know it's crazy the number of taxes which exist, but the more 'kinds' of taxes there are, the more likely it is to average out to something fair for everyone. If we just quadrupled property taxes instead, only certain types of people would be taxed. If we just taxed groceries (which thankfully we don't), the wealthy would pay almost no tax at all as a portion of their wealth.

Capitalism is this nation's unsustainable problem, and that's what should be taxed. To a large degree that is what's taxed. Working for an honest wage is not capitalism, and blue collar wages are barely taxed. Profit on products produced is taxed. Profit on income property. If your salary is huge, that's only because the company you work for is capitalist, and drains lots of money from the public, and thus your wage is taxable.

Basically, the way good fair taxes work, to any extent that you make a living by siphoning off money from others, to some lesser extent that money is returned to the people so they don't hit rock bottom and drop out of the system entirely.

Here is a gross simplification of how our taxes ideally work:

Worker produces $20 worth of cable service. Worker is paid $10. Worker is not taxed.
Cable company sells $20 worth of cable service for $1000 ($50 per customer). Company profits $990.
Company keeps half, $495, and other $495 is taxed as profit.
Only $20 of that $1000 was real worth, so new profit money is only worth 20/1000, so $495 is only really worth $9.90.
Thus $485.10 is destroyed, paying back interest on the debt, and only $9.90 is kept by gov't to support actual services.
Corporations have similar debts to pay back to the banks.
The end result is that a typical worker who produces $20 of product gets $10 pay, and $9.90 in gov't services.
The company after taxes is getting $25 per customer, worth $0.50 after they pay their own dobts, and thus we have a bit of inflation. - $20 of new product = $10 labor + $9.90 public services + $0.50 company profit.
Maybe that doesn't sound extreme, except that this happens with every transaction we have with a company. Also much of the the tax money goes to poor consumers who also go right back to the company to buy products.

Perhaps that was a bit much to follow. The bottom line is that taxes exist so that the working class can get more back from their labor, and not just hand it all over to the corporations.

Corporations and profitable companies charge whatever they can for products and services. If they weren't taxed, there's still no reason they would pass their savings on to consumers, nor pay more for labor.
If there were no tax, you'd still be earning $10, still paying $50 for cable. The only difference is that you would also be paying for toll roads, fire department insurance, library cards, and such, and would either have to donate hugely to church and charities, or also pay more for private police and private prisons to protect you from the unemployed.

Maybe you think I'm kidding, but this is exactly how people have to live in 3rd world countries. The difference here is that we make profiteers partially responsible for raising the standard of living. Move to Mexico and the corporations pay workers less, charge just as much for products, and if you want police protection, you'll have to buy it yourself, even though having a tax-free government hasn't increased your pocket-book one dime.

So long as there is capitalism, taxes are needed to create some balance between the rich and the poor. The only places that could get by without taxes and still have a decent standard of living were communist countries like the USSR which didn't have capitalism draining everyone's pocket book.

You don't strike me as being in a high tax bracket. Do you have any idea how much a bridge or a foot of freeway costs? How much your aqueducts cost. How much your fire and police cost? How much a private education for your children would have cost? I am guessing that if you had had no taxes at all, you still would have had to double your income to pay for your share of the services you used.

It's the folks making good money from your cable and gasoline bills, who put their own kids though private school, people in the 50% tax bracket, who are footing most of the bill for your public services. I don't understand why you're standing up for them.

Perhaps you have some notion that honest business persons would charge little, or donate to charities and make taxes obsolete, but almost no one does that. Most charity comes from the poor, not the wealthy. You have a rich person's ideology, but from the way you complain about your neighborhood, you clearly are not rich. It kind of sounds like you were raised by upper middle class ancestors, but have found yourself somewhere between lower and middle class now, where their values would not be of any benefit to you.
Lysannus Survey Qualifier
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 28-Oct-2011 5:10am  
Hey I am not opposed to paying taxes if say 75% went to building infrastructure. BUT when I see the report of the highest average income in the US, and it is Washing DC which tops San Jose, Ca (which used to be the top) it tells me that the fat in the government needs to be trimmed quite a bit.
Companies all across the US have had to cut back on overhead, it's time to start laying off useless aids that just siphon money off and don't really do anything in the government.

Warren Buffett, "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC.
"You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP,
all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th
amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months
& 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in
1971...before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to
the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the
land...all because of public pressure.

*Proposed Congressional Reform Act of 2011*

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office
and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All
funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security
system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system,
and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for
any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans
do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay
will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the
same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American
people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen
made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor,
not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours
should serve their term's), then go home and back to work.

Kristal_Rose
(reply to Lysannus) posted 28-Oct-2011 7:30am  
A 1000 guys making $174k is not our problem. That's like 58Ę/person. Perhaps it's high, but these are not the guys costing us 100's of dollars per year, at least not via their salaries.

I've see that email passing around. Here was my response to it:

Something like the Congressional Reform Act is the first step. Even congress salaries and benefits are not so much the problem. That's just incentive to be a congressperson, and hardly a dent in the economy.

The real problem is any motive congress has to nurture corporate business above interests of the public.

The only way to get rid of that is conflict of interest laws. Within seven years (preferably 14) on both ends of their term, it should be illegal for congresspersons and their immediate families to own stock in any industry their vote has affected. It would be much easier to simply outlaw them owning stock in anything. Their campaigns should be solely the result of public funding, &/or limited individual campaign contributions. Corporations should be limited to indirect lobbying, nothing involving payment directly to representatives.

Of course congress would still be motivated to vote for local state corporations to win defense contracts and such, just to please their local constituents. I don't think anything can be done about that, nor, to any degree we desire representation of local competitive public interests, should be done about that.

*

Ultimately though the world will become one single giant corporation, producing all commercial goods, managing all services, and employing all citizens. The only way working society can be self sustaining in that circumstance is if the profits of corporations are owned by the public, or are otherwise used to improve public utility infrastructure.

Corporations need to have the profit motive replaced with one of public service. There are several ways of achieving this.

1) Nationalize all large corporation profits.

2) Salary caps on all corporate management.

3) Cash out all private stock investments and replace the stock market with the treasury. Democratize the treasury and it's use of public funding to support publically beneficial corporations (as corporations initially were a century ago).

4) Democratize board rooms from within to serve public interest. This can be achieved either by a consortium of broadly representative non-profit agencies, or a civil service agency of college trained management which reports to congress, represents public service virtues like labor, sustainability, ecology, and operates like jury duty. These positions too would have salary caps (both the civil service, and any NPs/NGOs involved in management or public opinion).

Essentially, if you have more than 200 employees, serve more than 20,000 customers, or earn more than 8 million annually, you have to some degree become a public institution. There is no question that cable, pharmaceutical, agro-giants, cell-phone providers, utilities, and gasoline monopolies have become public institutions. Instead of them advertising to compete, let them merge, become even cheaper, and have public think-tanks to improve based on public interest. If they downsize, it's not a problem for the working class because any profits they made feed the social safety net anyhow or provide inexpensive non-profit public services.

Some brain drain might appear in large corporations, which would just become business as usual, regulated by apparent public need; but this would be supplemented by a new growth in small private entrepreneurialship, where salary caps and regulation do not exist, possibly even fostered by federal small business loans to nurture new creative competition.

With an unbiased congress regulating public corporations, we could shift national resources to projects like wind energy, employ people where they serve public need, and get them out of desperate telemarketing jobs. Corporations would have no motive to compete against newcomers, who could receive public funding, so we would have a wealth of new innovation. Products and customer service would have direct public accountability. Jobs in shifting public opinion would be replaced by jobs in gathering and implementing public opinion.

*

Socialists would support this immediately. The libertarian-capitalist-mainstream does not consider mega-corporations to be the free market they desire either. The small business capitalism they desire would become possible by making the mega-corporations non-competitive public institutions.

The means to achieve this would be gradual, starting one corporation at a time from the top, liquidating them into national service, working down to smaller corporations until a balance has been achieved between neutral public agencies and smaller competitive enterprises. Democracy, unfettered by lobbyists and conflict of interest, would find that balance.

One other important step, only corporations abiding by this system could do business or financial trading within or with the US, otherwise our billionaire CEOs would simply jump ship and move abroad.

*

Through the ages, one of the most catastrophic forces collapsing empires has been that power comes to those who seek power, rather than to the responsible virtuous who have no personal interest in such power. Rallying public support around power has failed us time after time. Power can not exist without public support. Power only co-opts virtue for the sake of power. The time has come to rally public support directly around virtue itself, and cut off power for power's sake off at the roots. This we accomplish by separating power from public industry and governance. Let he who desires to be king be last into the public corporate empire.

K. McKinstry
Oct. 2011


cloudhugger Survey Central Gold Subscriber
posted 28-Oct-2011 10:41am  
Yes. I pay. My guy that does my taxes actually laughs at what I make. He says I don't make enough to file. But we do it and I pay him. A small fistfull of money is a far better alternative to having to look over my shoulder every day.
Enheduanna Survey Central Subscriber
posted 28-Oct-2011 10:57am  
Yes.
bill Survey Central Gold Subscriber Silver Star Survey Creator
posted 28-Oct-2011 1:28pm  
This survey was inspired by: http://the53.tumblr.com/
JessicaWoman99 Double Gold Star Survey Creator Survey Qualifier
posted 28-Oct-2011 4:37pm  
I am American and don't pay taxes I am retired cannot work and live on disability
JessicaWoman99 Double Gold Star Survey Creator Survey Qualifier
(reply to Galomorro) posted 28-Oct-2011 4:39pm  
> No. I have to file still but since I started getting Social Sec. don't
> make enough apparently.

Never heard this before on Social Security you don't pay taxes in Colorado not here at least but are you employed for pay?
Kristal_Rose
(reply to bill) posted 28-Oct-2011 5:09pm  
I can't say I agree with what seems to be the message of that site.

I do think everyone should at least 'try' to pull their own weight, but I don't think our post-industrial corporate-owned economy makes that a sustainable answer anymore. To exaggerate my view, I think one day there will be one corporation automatically producing everything everyone needs, and if we don't tax that one CEO, the rest of us will have no income source to buy the products from him.

I did the math a decade ago and came to the conclusion that a middle class person would fare better giving some taxes to feed a poor person than they would splitting their income with them on the job market and competing against their consumer dollars. It certainly appears that the correlation between average standard of living and taxes spent on welfare by nations backs up my conclusion.

I also think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the 50% tax bracket who would prefer the living conditions of welfare, even with all the free time. Most of those people don't even have free time. Bureaucracy surrounding job searching and such keeps them busy. Being on welfare 'is' their job.

What got to me most on that site was the entitlements aspect. It seems to me that anyone who pays into a retirement insurance fund, 'is entitled' to some comparable return. People didn't have in mind paying their life savings into some voluntary lottery which might not pan out.

I think the system is fair. I have yet to knowingly meet anyone who pays more in taxes, yet lives worse off than someone paying less or on welfare.

Anyone producing less than they consume, yet making a profit, is doing so at the expense of someone else. Seen from that perspective, 100% of all profit should be taxed for welfare purposes. Otherwise a nation could only decay. I'm not sure that isn't happening here already.
gigi
posted 28-Oct-2011 5:42pm  
I am 79 yrs old next week. I still pay federal income taxes. I sold my business in 1997 and paid more taxes than both President Clinton & Al Gorereportedly paid that year. I am still employed as my children and grandchildren are and we all are 53% 'ers. We don't expecta handout!
Galomorro Survey Qualifier
(reply to JessicaWoman99) posted 28-Oct-2011 8:18pm  
No. Not employed. Had to take early retirement several years ago because I couldn't live on temp work after being downsized due to a merger between two large companies.
bill Survey Central Gold Subscriber Silver Star Survey Creator
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 28-Oct-2011 8:44pm  
I neither agree nor disagree with that site. I thought it was interesting. In some respects, it seemed similar to the 99% movement in that the people who are part of it have a variety of points of view that only roughly correlate into something cohesive.

I have to admit that hearing that roughly only half of American's pay income tax is a bit shocking to me. Though, I suspect if it was explained in more details it would make more sense (e.g. children must account for a decent percentage of Americans that no one would expect to pay income tax. Also, it's possible that some very rich people don't pay income tax but only capital gains tax.).

I've heard recent tax reform suggestions (coming from the Right) that we should "broaden the base", which I believe means that we should tax lower incomes more. At first, this seems like a bad, regressive thing to do. But, perhaps it could be a good thing, assuming the rate is low. If people who make under $20k/year pay 1% income tax ($200, right?) that likely wouldn't impact them greatly yet would perhaps give them some feeling of being a productive part of the system. I don't know.

Overall, the thought that I keep coming back to is that I don't really know what is the best way to look at things. I find myself empathizing with various groups and points of view. I dislike when any group points their finger at another, blaming it for our problems. It also bothers me when anyone speaks like they know what the answer is. It is my firmest belief that none of us really know. We have ideas and beliefs, but no real proof. I think this apparent over-confidence makes it harder for us as a culture to together try to find best solutions because most of us already think we know what the best solution is. I'd prefer something more like an experimental, scientific approach.
Biggles Survey Qualifier
posted 28-Oct-2011 9:01pm  
No I'm British and not working. I pay VAT, but otherwise I won't be paying tax until I start working again (hopefully in August, assuming I get a job).
dab Survey Qualifier
(reply to bill) posted 29-Oct-2011 12:18am  
The statement that only about half of americans pay federal income taxes is true but misleading; I'm sure it's carefully selected for the shock effect. There are a lot of other taxes besides just federal income taxes. Charts I've seen show that people pay about 20% of their income in taxes no matter what their income. It's a little less for the low end (say 18%) and a little more for the high end (maybe 25%) except for the top 1% who drop down a little again (to about 23%). Those numbers are all from memory so they're probably a bit off.
CarlHalling
posted 29-Oct-2011 4:14am  
I'm not American, but...going off-topic for a sec...I'm proud to have American relatives on both sides of my family. My mother's family is Canadian of Scottish and Scots-Irish extraction, with American branches, while a great uncle was an immigrant to the States; I'm privileged to have met his descendants.
Kristal_Rose
(reply to bill) posted 29-Oct-2011 6:07am  
There are probably more poor people than you imagine, and perhaps capital gains wasn't included as income tax.

How to scientifically work out taxes probably isn't much of a problem. The problem is that there are different philosphies to support in the first place. There are those who want a good society, and those who believe it's every man for themself, and even those who believe every man for themself would be good for society at large. Most people aren't even looking at the big picture and macroecenemics at all, so their views and theories may only accidentally be of any value towards a solution.

My own solutions are based on private philosophy, that we share the world equally and deserve equal opportunity, and yet should all thrive to contribute via what we do best, thus my conception of liberal-democratized-communism. I believe in good works as their own reward. I also keep an eye out that things aren't as bad as they seem. For the most part our lowest standard of living isn't bad in historical context, and the private lives of billionaires causes more conceptual damage than physical damage to the rest of us. Warren Buffet is not personally eating 28% of america's breakfast cereal, otherwise we would have to shoot him.

It does seem clear to me though that what should theoretically occur in non-welfare capitalist cauntries that don't tax the wealthy, does in fact happen in such countries, and that no one should wish to live in such conditions. I don't know if the wealthy supporting non-taxation don't think, or just don't care. I don't yak with them at dinner parties. I have yakked non-specifically with people who buy million dollar homes and attend operas, who are all for the welfare state. They seem to realize that even with taxes, it works to allow them relative comfortable privelege. They prefer to live in a nation with libraries, fire trucks, and mental health programs.

You don't have to know the names of the players to point the finger at the person in a Monopoly game who owns Boardwalk and Park Place. However, macroeconomics is harder to see than that. For instance Bill Gates does us a favor by not spending his money, just like sending it back to the FR to be destroyed. He makes the money in circulation at the lower tiers worth more.

People making $20k probably do pay some tax. It's $10k, just above social-security checks, where the tax table starts. Between $10 & $40k there are probably a dozen 401k like things to shelter from taxes too. Once you can afford a healthy life, and have some retirement set away, then the taxes start kicking in (I think).

*

All that said though, what people are really missing is that taxes aren't the real taxes. Your income pays for food, heating, gasoline, cable, phone, clothes, and such things. Those aren't sold on a non-profit basis. You are paying taxes directly to CEOs of any mega-corporations your consumer life relies upon, a lot more taxes than you pay to the government, and to institutions which hardly have the welfare of society foremost in their agenda. I think Wall St. was a wake-up call to the public that this was occurring, the moment they got so freaking lazy that they bypassed consumer channels entirely, and went directly for our taxes to pay their enormous salaries.

I had been thinking about my home business alternatives a couple months ago, and I came to realize that the secret of succees in modern business, was simply to engineer products or services to take up the greatest share of the living experience of the most lives (cable, gasoline, whatever), and have a revenue stream intercepting that. In other words, the rich are those who find ways to tax public life. Libertarian values go out the door in my book when it's realized to be a game of who gets to be the 1% tax lords who rule over the 99%. I guess I need to add demacratized-facism to my list of ideologies. I say nationalize anyone who gets a share of every citizen's pocket-book, and make more room for smaller private enterprises to emerge.
bill Survey Central Gold Subscriber Silver Star Survey Creator
(reply to dab) posted 29-Oct-2011 8:11am  
It seems obvious that someone who is wealthy and living off investment could easily pay only capital gains tax (which I think isn't considered income tax). I think that's 18% if it's all long term (over a year invested). Warren Buffet has mentioned some trick rich people do where they put their money in a trust of some kind as well. I'm sure I'd do that if I was them as well.

I was thinking about doing a survey asking which percent people identify with... 99%, 53%, etc (but, I think I need to wait until more percent meme happen). Personally, I don't really feel like any of them yet, but I guess the 53% fits best so far. I was thinking maybe the the 25% of introverts, but I haven't seen introverts on the streets with signs yet.  * smile *
bill Survey Central Gold Subscriber Silver Star Survey Creator
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 29-Oct-2011 9:00am  
I don't think it's fair to blame just Wall St. for the economic crisis. I guess that's what the Left is doing. The Right is more prone to blame the government for pushing more home ownership on people who couldn't really afford it. And, shouldn't the people who got the mortgages they couldn't afford have some responsibility? Also, government deregulation of the financial industry and failure to regulate derivatives is part of the problem. Along with lenders using tricky mortgage packages (zero down, low interest until later, that sort of thing -- even downright fraud). Also, consumers who have built up credit card debt and lived beyond their means for years.

This is what I mean about blaming. Yeah, we can blame CEOs (seems like an easy minority target to pick on) and rich people in general. Also, "Wall St." But, it's unfair and fails to spread some of the blame to other parties that seem equally to blame for the problems. I realize the 53% is a political move by the Right to counter the 99% protests. But, they touch upon some points that I think we can't just brush aside.

I like to watch the PBS news and they've been doing a lot of reports on income inequality. And, I do tend to feel like it's something to be concerned about. But, they also recently put a rebuttal interview on with a Libertarian economics profressor from an Ivy League school. http://video.pbs.org/video/2160792049, it's about 9 minutes. I thought he made a pretty interesting case for income inequality not being as bad as it seems. Also, I think it's clear that he's not heartless and doesn't really believe "every man for himself". He wants to help people who are struggling. He just thinks forced sharing of wealth doesn't work.

Is he right? I don't know. I wish our culture could be more experimental and allow for theories like his to be tested. And, on the other side of the spectrum, lets test Marxist ideas as well. Lets drop our preconceived beliefs and do some experiments to see which works, then follow-up and refine as we go. Work both sides at once, maybe have a race or let people pick which kind of society to live in. There's no reason to fight each other. Let try to be open-minded and find ways to coexist if both sides turn out to be viable.
dab Survey Qualifier
posted 29-Oct-2011 9:10am  
Ah, here's the chart I was talking about. The top rates are higher than I remembered so it's a bit more progressive than I wrote. Notice that the top 20% are broken into 5 bars on the chart, so it's a bit biased in its presentation in order to make the point that the chart maker wanted. Some people look at this chart and say it shows that the rich don't pay enough. I see it and see that everyone pays far too much.

image
bill Survey Central Gold Subscriber Silver Star Survey Creator
(reply to dab) posted 29-Oct-2011 9:49am  
I think that chart is counting all taxes (not just income, but sales tax and other stuff) as well. It reminds me of the concept of how some taxes are more regressive than others.

Taxes are a tough problem. There are many ways to do taxation, each with different side-effects. That point you made in the past about how "fair" doesn't really have any meaning when talking about taxes remains true.

That video I linked in my reply to KR was remarkable in its (Libertarian) point of view (so different from what everyone else is talking about). You may agree with it. I liked that he made it clear that he does care about people on the bottom, he just doesn't think transfer payments (giving money to the poor) works and that were better off focusing on giving them opportunities. But, is he right? I really don't know.
Kristal_Rose
(reply to bill) posted 29-Oct-2011 1:20pm  
No it's not fair. Wall St. is simply the epitome of what has gone wrong. They do happon to be the people with most organized power to change things though, although I'm certain they wont. Most everyone is contributing to the problem, but can't see the problem, and doesn't really have too much choice in the matter anyhow.

I have no sympathy for banks. Every year I wantched their tactics get more insidiously ruthless. Once a person gets themself into credit debt, they reach a point just short of bankruptcy where more of their income pays interest than makes new purchases. I expect that's just how the bank prefers it. Banks never explain that 10% interest can really mean half your income. A reasonable person who did well in college math can imagine they are making a safe responsible decision, and get in over their head anyhow.

For the most part we don't need to experiment. Several nations use several systems, and some clearly prosper more than others. I'd like to try out my democratized-facism and liberal-democratized-communism, as those never have been tried and sound promising to me.

Blame itself is useless, but changes can not be made unless the problem is identified and corrected. There are very few things which don't work in theory, yet work anyhow. Marx spelled out a century ago that the american system could not work in theory. I can play Monopoly and easily come to the same conclusion.

The only thing which has proved somewhat historically stable was the dark ages, and that was not prosperous. We don't even have the faintest idea of what standard of living is theoretically sustainable. The forests of Cypress were depleted 2.5 millenia ago. The whole of recorded history may actually be the history of the fall of civilization. The acid test for sustainability is meeting all your needs with your roof and yard, without digging up fossil fuel reserves. Except for some scattered tribes living off the land, I'm not sures there's evidence we've ever attained that, even on nation wide levels.

I'm all for solutions. The Carter era was full of solutions, but no one wanted to pay for them. It was clear back then, and attainable back then, that our freeways needed electrified, that we needed to return to more trains, and that we needed renewable energy. We didn't act on it till we had no other choice, and not back when it could have been done more efficiently.

I R&D on the subject all the time. Interestingly, because of all the overhead in food production, Canada has determined that electric bikes are 4 times more efficient than pedal power for use of agriculture. Trains get 4700 mpg/person, compared to solo driver cars at 25mpg, or jet planes with 100mpg/person. If I become even mildly rich, I want to establish pedal powered monorails. They cost way less than streets and cars, and can do like 57mph.

As far as a race between experimental societies, I've had something like that in mind, in which government just hands over the populace directly to corporations, and your corporation could possibly be socialist or communist. TV would have ads to join the Walmart/Time-Warner/Visa collective, or the associated-green-student-farmer-crafters collective.

I found Epstein both oblivious and offensive, quickly brushing over flaws in his own reasoning. His essential position is that there needs to be an aristocracy which is responsible for funding growth. Moreover, the guy lives in abstract economics and sees the theoretical wealth of a few as sign of national health. If his position were actually true, the wealthy should have made those electric freeways by now. I'm not sure the democratic majority would vote for our long term survival either, but I trust them more than CEOs just looking ahead to the next quarterly returns. Epstein isn't much of an out of the box thinker either. He doesn't strike me as the sort of guy who has considered what permutations the world could be if money were removed from the picture entirely. He plays the existing economics game, and he plays it like creationist scientists attempting to affirm their own beliefs.

I don't know, but I have doubts that Bill Gates, for all his wealth, was reliant on outside financiers. To most extent that he was, I think that was about buying out the competiton which was otherwise a highly creative blossoming productive market. Bill probably did more to curtail competiton than aspire the public to create. Bill was a monopoly building guy from the moment he sold DOS. Also look at his share of charity compared to if people at lower tiers who are more charitable by percentage had it. The only advantage I see to inequality is that Hearst Castle was cool looking.

The video was useful though, just to get a more exact picture of the cloud some people live on. That guy is still bugging me, with his 'The children of the rich have the more qualified values to run the country'. If you ask me, that's very close to the nature of the Wall St. problem we are having. I think anyone putting themself through college by flipping burgers has the more qualified values.
Kristal_Rose
(reply to bill) posted 29-Oct-2011 1:38pm  
The notion of 'fair' is philosphical. Some people think a flat tax would be fair. I would find it fair if everyone were paid the same wages for the amount of physical and emotional effort they exert. I'd like to some CEO actually working 470 times harder than the rest of us.

I couldn't afford a university or to launch any of my 100's of business ideas that couldn't be started on a shoe-sring budget of a few hundred dollars. I don't see that the poor are any less intelligent or moral than others. I'd like to see anyone regardless of the class they grew up in be able to live up to their potential. I think the most moral people are those who look out for how those on the bottom are doing. Unfortunately, living by those values pretty much precludes you from ever coming into power in our current system.
JessicaWoman99 Double Gold Star Survey Creator Survey Qualifier
(reply to Galomorro) posted 29-Oct-2011 2:19pm  
> No. Not employed. Had to take early retirement several years ago because
> I couldn't live on temp work after being downsized due to a merger
> between two large companies.

Oh I see, no not easy living on temporary work very hard on anybody and in this economy today but me? I just do not work at all only do volunteer work here and there
gambler
posted 29-Oct-2011 3:02pm  
I am not American.
jen Survey Central Gold Subscriber
posted 29-Oct-2011 5:02pm  
I'm a small business owner, so I pay taxes twice on my income. yay.
Galomorro Survey Qualifier
(reply to JessicaWoman99) posted 29-Oct-2011 5:10pm  
What kind of work do you do as a volunteer?
Kristal_Rose
(reply to jen) posted 29-Oct-2011 8:17pm  
Oh? Somehow I thought it was either total profit if you're a sole proprietor, or just your salary if you're a corporation. Where does the twice come in?
jen Survey Central Gold Subscriber
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 29-Oct-2011 8:20pm  
Enterprise tax, and profits tax for everything over a certain amount.
dab Survey Qualifier
(reply to bill) posted 29-Oct-2011 9:14pm  
Yes, that chart is all taxes and that's its point. The bit about 47% of the population paying no federal income tax ignores all those other taxes they do pay and those taxes are significant. The drain on the economy is substantial.
judgescratch
posted 31-Oct-2011 10:32am  
Yes.
llamamama
posted 31-Oct-2011 11:44am  
I personally do not pay them. But my parents do.

Is this 53% every American? Otherwise, how can you not pay income tax..Unless you're homeless or a child...?

Wow, learn something new everyday. Never mind.
cerealkiller Bronze Star Survey Creator Survey Qualifier
posted 1-Nov-2011 6:48pm  
Yeah, over $20k a year.
kirst
posted 1-Nov-2011 8:34pm  
Yes. I really hate taxes on worldwide income. I believe the US is the only country which does this.
Kristal_Rose
(reply to kirst) posted 2-Nov-2011 7:26am  
Even after the foreign earned income exclusion? It seems your tax liability should be at worst, the highest of local and US taxes, with one being deducted form the other. Also, I would think your local income goes further elsewhere in most places, such that even after taxes your spending power is still more than in the states
JessicaWoman99 Double Gold Star Survey Creator Survey Qualifier
(reply to Galomorro) posted 2-Nov-2011 2:22pm  
Well I do volunteer work at this Thrift Store plus I also do volunteer work at an Assisted Living Center for seniors like a Nursing Home? during the week and it is fun working with seniors the Thrift Store is fun as well and on Thanksgiving I am going to help serve Thanksgiving dinners at the Assisted Living Center something I love to do for the community of Kremmling and nearly my whole Church will be there as well, and other Churches help out as well we help to prep and cook up the Thanksgiving Dinners in the kitchen
Galomorro Survey Qualifier
(reply to JessicaWoman99) posted 2-Nov-2011 6:52pm  
Good for you!  * smile *
Liss
posted 3-Nov-2011 6:12pm  
'Iím sorry your art history or sociology degree is not getting you the high paying job you want. You donít have the right to get the same as everyone else, you need to work and earn it.'
I'm sure that's just worded horrendously poorly. Or I'm angry. And 'Capitalism sucks, but it sure beats Cuba'? People can be so fudging ridiculous.
kirst
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 4-Nov-2011 9:07am  
Seriously? In Hong Kong? We're always one of the top 10 most expensive cities to live. http://www.citymayors.com/features/cost_survey.htm... Hong Kong ranks 9th this year. The only US city on the list, New York, is at #32.
Iseult
posted 21-Nov-2011 8:02pm  
I'm Canadian but... I would be paying federal income tax if I made enough money. I still get tax return. So do I still fall under that banner?
autumnlight
posted 1-Jan-2012 6:52pm  
Not american. I pay tax in the UK though.
Gomezy3k
posted 12-Aug-2012 5:44pm  
Not for a couple of years since I went on disability. My retirement income is not taxable since it is disability pay...
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