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Post 20

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 4:07pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff:

"He and those like him are not entitled to help the poor by robbing the rich, much as they may feel Robin Hoodish in doing so."

Don't forget that Robin Hood took back the taxes expropriated by the tax collector, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and restored them to those who had their earnings confiscated. He didn't rob the rich  he retaliated against the initiation of force. That's why he's a hero, not because he was a do-gooder.

Sam

 




Post 21

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 5:43pmSanction this postReply
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Dane:

Unless you can demonstrate to me that seniors won't just convert their assets to gold or silver and bury them "at the bottom of the garden" (as the English say) to be dug up later by their heirs, or why they won't leave the country, you have no credibility, unless you want to opine that they'll stay and be fleeced (in their grave).

Are you old enough to remember the mass exodus of British doctors in the '50s to Canada when socialized medicine was introduced? The socialists weren't able to prevent them from relocating to more a more welcoming country. Of course, it's the Canadian doctors that are migrating to the US now.

Canada's doctor shortage to worsen.

Sam




Post 22

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 3:16pmSanction this postReply
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Sam,
 
I am sorry about your sensitivities.  Yes, you are right.  Introducing any tax alters people's behaviour.  It all depends on the rate.  A 10 per cent tax on giving is not going to have all that much effect, is it?  What kind of amounts are you thinking in terms of heirs receiving?  How much do you think they should each receive tax free - or after tax?  Do you think that there is no limit to howo much it is good for someone to inherit?  Do you think is is good for others to inherit nothing?  Yes, the revenue might be affected on first introduction in the USA.  But bear in mind that in the UK we already have to pay 40 per cent on anything above 300,000 (say $600,000) including the value of our houses, but excluding a vast array of exempt business assets and lifetime gifts the wealthy can afford to give away during their lifetime. 
 
Moral degradation is a choice made by those who choose to evade the legal taxes of the country they love.
 
As for young people, they are going to have to scrimp and save a great deal more than 9,000 ($18,000) if they are going to buy a house.  Yes, of course some will take out a loan on the guaranteed receipt at 25 and live it up - hardly like a king on that much.  At least they will have experienced having a bit of capital rather than none, and will be the keener to build it up again if they have gone through the lot.  Others will use it better.  You are generalising rather widely on the worst assumptions.
 
The fundamentals are very unfamiliar to me.  They seem to require a mental contortion in order to explain the normal human morality of a social species.  It is odd to my mind to call unselfishness immoral.  We will have to agree to disagree on the fundamentals.  Perhaps you should steer clear of the Dissent Forum if you find dissent so upsetting.
 
I am sorry that you deserted the idea of civility and resorted to an insult at the end of your post- often a sign of a weak argument, but I can see from your second post that you have a lot on your mind.
 
 Obviously I would disagree with your idea that I do not have any handle on how real people behave and what their motivation is.  I think people are all very different.  I am very sorry about your health problem and trust that you are being pessimistic.  I am 69 and give thought to these questions also, having three children.  I have to say that I have always have had little regard for people who leave their country for tax reasons, so I hope that you would not do that.  I well remember, when working for a French bank,  meeting a British aristocrat living in Paris for tax reasons and him being a completely miserable exile.  However, if USA Universal Inheritance is introduced, which does not seem exactly an imminent event, I hope you enjoy wherever you would rush off to.  Personally I will stay in my own country and put up with the taxes that everyone else has to pay.  And I will be a great deal happier about paying taxes on transferring assets to my children if I know that the proceeds are going to give a little capital  to those who would otherwise inherit little or nothing, rather than getting swallowed up in annual govenment expenditure.
 
It puzzles me that Objectivists seem to be immune, with their philosophy and definition of what is immoral or moral,  to thoughts of how it would be to inherit nothing, when they are so keen - as am I - that their and my children should inherit something.
 
Dane




Post 23

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 4:16pmSanction this postReply
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Midnight has arrived on this side of the Atlantic.

I have to say that several of you Objectivist lions (?)  have made me laugh, with your ideas of a modest redistribution of inherited wealth being "immoral",  "naked evil" and so on.

It is said that I should be "ashamed to suggest it"!  Personally I would be ashamed to suggest that any of you should be ashamed to suggest what you do suggest.   .I would consider that rather rude.

What generalisations about the way people will behave, when we are all different!

What a lordly view of the less fortunate!

It is not my money to redistribute!  Of course it is not!  I am proposing a change in taxation and inheritance to be adopted or not in a democratic way.   I will continue to do so, reinforced in my determination to bring it about in that way by evidence of the kind of attitudes it is clear will have to be outvoted if not changed.

Similar arguments were made in the 19th Century about the disaster that would befall my country if people other than property owners were to be given the vote - let alone women in the 20th Century!  How the backwoodsmen resisted the notions!

:-)




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Post 24

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
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Dane,

You said: 
Of course it is not!  I am proposing a change in taxation and inheritance to be adopted or not in a democratic way.
Thatr is just what's wrong with democracy without the protection of private property. The idea that a majority can vote away the property, rights, and freedom of anyone is wrong. Evil can hide behind the veil of democracy, and often does.

The problem with the whole universal inheritence thing you propose lies at it's roots. Why does anyone have the right to decide what happens to the wealth I produce? Why is it good to take that wealth and give it to those who have not earned it? How does rewarding someone for doing nothing help them?


Ethan

(Edited by Ethan Dawe on 2/05, 7:06pm)




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Post 25

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 7:34pmSanction this postReply
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Ah, the pleasant smile and the gentle voice of the humanitarian.

"Sir," he cries, "such intemperate language." And "Why so harsh?" he asks, as he prepares his medieval instruments. "After all, I only want to flay a small percentage of your back to make a warm coat for your less fortunate brother."

Then he gets warmed up in the glow of his justification. "If the majority of your fellow men have decided this is the right course of action, who are you to resist? Would you deny them a vote?"

When it comes to my assets, and my inviolable right to distribute them as I see fit, yes.

And, as Dane at 69 can't fail to be aware, the socialism he so breezily espouses was indeed the ruin of his country. The once-great Great Britain began to fall the most precisely and exactly when it adopted that course after WWII. The previously mentioned Brain Drain is just one small evidence of that. It recovered somewhat when it changed course marginally.

It is disingenuous to say the least, to equate my desire to keep what I've earned over a lifetime of struggle, and then to give it to whom I see fit, and some alleged confrere with foolish men who wanted to deny the vote to women.

But again, I say, I couldn't care less who votes in favor of it, nor whether every senior in America happily turns over to the government every dime of savings earned over their lifetimes. It would still be immoral to force me to participate. Stay out of my wallet, Ellsworth!

Be as unselfish as you like with your own money. I will make no effort to stop you. Bring out your sharp knives to take mine and be prepared to witness a second American Revolution.

(Edited by Jeff Perren on 2/05, 9:01pm)




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Post 26

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 8:05pmSanction this postReply
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Said as only a professional writer can do.  Seconded and seconded again.

Sam




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Post 27

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 9:27pmSanction this postReply
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I am responsible for the Atlases.  I sanctioned a few of the Dane Stewart posts. 

1)  Has any of you ever inherited wealth?   I have. 

You know, here in America, we inherit assets, not liabilities.  There are places in the world where little kids labor all day long because their grandparents died with a debt that they inherited.  How about that?  Are you in favor of passing on BOTH sides of the ledger... or just the assets?  I think that in a truly moral objective capitalist society, people in debt would automatically have their debts probated to their heirs along with their assets.  How would you like that?  Mildred gets the Visa... and Sam gets the MasterCard... and oh!... Susie gets the GMAC on the Van, so she goes to work at the GM Plant for 10 years...
Taxation is theft.  Sometimes it is a necessary evil as in maintaining a police force, armed services and law courts. In any other connection, taxation is wretched excess.
Bob Kolker
Robert Kolker is not even an Objectivist and yet we treat him like a human being because the mockingbird mimics our calls.  I would love to provide private security services -- many firms do -- but government regulations are a barrier to trade and I have to pay taxes to the police who use their coercive power to collect taxes to pay for the police. 

2)  Myself, I'd rather have police and courts privatized and have all that money go into a negative income tax as recommended by Milton Friedman ... and Thomas Paine, apparently...
DSCC -- If the fortunes were accumulated with the intention of bequeathing them to heirs, it would indeed, rather circularly, be pointless to accumulate those fortunes if they were prevented from reaching the heirs.  However, the dynastic motive is not the only motive for accumulating fortunes.  Those without children also accumulate
Nice point.  The Protestant Ethic in play.  Work is good.  People who work do so for internal (intrinsically perceived) reasons.  The inheritance thingee is not really an issue.
Dane Stewart -- So if someone has accumulated a great fortune by fraud or theft, their heirs have every right to start off with a great fortune while others have no right to start off with anything at all?
Asimov has an extended pun -- A niche in time saves Stine. -- that underscores the point.  If you can get away with it, you can beat the system.  Suppose the Enron guys had died and passed on the loot to a bunch of heirs and maybe a Foundation just for kicks.  All the money would have been IMMUNE to government seizure.  Hmmm....  Doesn't seem right, now does it?
Sam Erica:
Don't forget that Robin Hood took back the taxes expropriated by the tax collector, the Sheriff of Nottingham ...
Richard Kluger, The Sheriff of Nottingham (Penguin 1992).  Fiction.  The Sheriff's side of the story...  Medieval society was held together by obligations up and down the line....  It is Rousseau's Fallacy that we ennoble those thieving Saxons -- ooops! those brave unregulated, unobligated, hunter-gatherers killing the king's deer and not working their fields...  You call them taxes with your industrial era prejudice against the land, but in mine owne daye wee called them obligations  because they tied the land-lord to us.
(I am a generation younger -- 58 -- and happy to wake up alive.  Hang in there, Sam!)

All in all, you know, it costs $29,000 a year to house a prisoner and the other costs double that.  Here in Michigan, we incarcerate people for $60,000 a year and educate kids for $6,000 a year.  And the only reaction to a work of political-economy art (the universal inheritance) is a bunch of knee-jerking synapse calls that don't even make the mid-brain.  What would you trade?  Myself, I have to ask, do we need a government-funded space exploration program?  If it were that important, private enterprise would be doing it, right?  But we have a looter here who wraps himself in the mantle of Objectivism and we accept that as moral.  Let someone come along and suggest a better way to divvy up the loot and we all pretend like its not us slopping at the public trough.

3) Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.




Post 28

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 1:59amSanction this postReply
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Reply to post #20.

Keep in mind that Robbin of Loxley took a commission for the service. What ever Rob in Hood was, he was no altruist.

Bob Kolker




Post 29

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 2:05amSanction this postReply
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M.E.M says:

Robert Kolker is not even an Objectivist and yet we treat him like a human being because the mockingbird mimics our calls. I would love to provide private security services -- many firms do -- but government regulations are a barrier to trade and I have to pay taxes to the police who use their coercive power to collect taxes to pay for the police.


I reply:

Treat me as a human being because I can cope with mathematics and theoretical physics, which most Objectivists can not. See Heinlein's comment on those who cannot cope with mathematics.
My definition of a surprise is running into an Objectivist who actually knows what "infinite" really means.

That fact of the matter is I am smarter than most O'ists. That is what makes me human.

Bob Kolker




Post 30

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 4:53amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Marotta wrote:
You know, here in America, we inherit assets, not liabilities.  There are places in the world where little kids labor all day long because their grandparents died with a debt that they inherited.  How about that?  Are you in favor of passing on BOTH sides of the ledger... or just the assets?
That's a good point in one way. On the other hand, younger Americans do inherit liabilities from their elders -- government debt.
I think that in a truly moral objective capitalist society, people in debt would automatically have their debts probated to their heirs along with their assets.
I disagree. That is not an individualist proposition. It is a collectivist one, whuch I dub "relativism."  :-)
(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 2/06, 5:50am)




Post 31

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 5:28amSanction this postReply
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Now aren't we all glad we have this Dissent Forum for the hunting and trapping of statists for our enjoyment?

MEM teased:
Myself, I have to ask, do we need a government-funded space exploration program?  If it were that important, private enterprise would be doing it, right?  But we have a looter here who wraps himself in the mantle of Objectivism and we accept that as moral.  Let someone come along and suggest a better way to divvy up the loot and we all pretend like its not us slopping at the public trough.

3) Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
By all means start a smear campaign to have me ostracized from the church!




Post 32

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 6:24amSanction this postReply
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debts are generally assessed against an estate before any assets are paid, so in a sense they are indeed inherited.  i.e. if your father passes and you get the house, you still have to pay off the mortgage too, you don't get to ignore that simply because it is not in your name.  The same is true of credit card debt, though the enforcement of that is more difficult, as it is in general even when no one dies (there is a lot of credit card debt written off). 



Post 33

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 6:30amSanction this postReply
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All British-born UK citizens should receive at 25 the same basic minimum after-tax inheritance of ten per cent of average wealth - a British Universal Inheritance payment of, say, 10,000 less 10 per cent tax - to be broadly financed by reforming the British exemption-ridden 40 per cent 'Inheritance' Tax into a 10 per cent flat tax on the luxury expenditure of giving and bequeathing and introducing a progressive lifetime Capital Receipts Tax on receiving, starting at 10 per cent. 
 
In your opinion, would it be better if the successful and well-to-do donated voluntarily 10% of their wealth to your scheme?




Post 34

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 6:40amSanction this postReply
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In reply to Kurt's Post 32, see Complete Guide to Asset Protection Strategies by Mark Warda to learn more about these inheritance laws and how to make the most of them.



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Post 35

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 7:58amSanction this postReply
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If the Universal Inheritance came up on a referendum, I would vote no for all the reasons cited and more besides. 

If the federal income tax came with a checklist, I'd check NASA way before I checked FBI or War in Iraq.

If I were writing a science fiction novel, I might have a Universal Inheritance.  I might have all kinds of universal giveaways...  in a science fiction novel...

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 2/06, 8:02am)




Post 36

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 12:50pmSanction this postReply
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MEM wrote:
If the federal income tax came with a checklist, I'd check NASA way before I checked FBI or War in Iraq.
I assume the "checklist" means the activities to which you would choose to send the money taxed from you federally.

Would you care to elaborate on this particular hierarchy of values?

I already know of your opposition to the War in Iraq and your reasons for it, but I find the FBI disapproval a bit puzzling.

Does it arise from their enforcement of immoral drug laws, their lack of a Constitutional foundation, or some other reason?

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 2/06, 12:51pm)




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Post 37

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 2:05pmSanction this postReply
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Luke responding to Marotta's smear:

By all means start a smear campaign to have me ostracized from the church!


Don't worry Luke. Marotta does seem obsessed with professions. And your profession according to Marotta's logic already makes you better understand complexities than he does. As he says in this post

[Kolker] being (I believe) a physicist, he is a bit smarter and more capable of handling complexities...[than you]


So Luke since I believe you're an engineer? And working for NASA and Marotta is a .....(cough)....security guard.....with an "associates" degree in "criminal justice" I think you have nothing to worry about according to the infinite wisdom of Marotta.



Post 38

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 3:27pmSanction this postReply
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I'm scratching my head here wondering why Objectivists give Dane Stewart Campbell Clouston any credence whatsoever. His position is one of a statist who believes that government has a legitimate, coercive right to expropriate  legally earned money of producers to be dispersed a la Lady Bountiful to all and sundry, merely because they exist.

I dunno if I'm more disappointed in the lack of outrage or the position of Dane Stewart Campbell Clouston.

(Is the name "Dane Clouston" adequate to uniquely identify himself, or does he also have a title?)

Sam




Post 39

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 3:51pmSanction this postReply
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Sam, I hope I did not give the impression of giving Dane's position credence.

My only intention in inviting him here to Dissent was, well, to let him dissent because I had never heard of Universal Inheritance and I have known him -- sort of -- for a while on the science forum he mentioned.  I did have a slim hope of dissuading him from his position here but that seems lost now.  I would have considered it worthwhile to "slay the dragon while it is small."

I do hope he gives the online book Capitalism by George Reisman a read.




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