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Monday, November 12 - 3:09pmSanction this postReply
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I created the poll on the fly (my computer battery was running out) and so I made sure I left a rough & ready "out" for Objectivists (0%), but my answer is actually 2-37% (option 2). Optimally, people with more money will be paying more of the user fees needed (somewhere between 0.1% to 15% of all generated wealth) in order to fund the overall administration of government.

Ed




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Tuesday, November 13 - 5:37amSanction this postReply
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... well, OK... I went with 38%.  The question did not address the proper role of government.  If government were limited, then 38% of next to nothing is very little to worry about.

Also, according to every theory I know, rich people control the government, here and now, as in every other time and place, with a few wild exceptions.  Even in the USSR, artists, athletes, and others enjoyed certain privileges as did government and party officials, making them all nominally "the rich."  So, given that the government is the rich people, it makes sense that they pay for it.

They also have the most to lose.  (Although... in reality, it is the poor who suffer, when governments fall.  Rich people just hang out a new flag.  Consider the character of Komarovsky in Doctor Zhivago.  After World War II the Allies did not hang any industrialists or financiers in Germany or Japan and of course none of them got shot defending their nations.  Poor people die to protect the property of rich people.)  Anyway, assuming that the rich are actually loyal to the nation, then having more to lose, they pay more to protect it.

Also, even when I work at a technical writer - which I did briefly this year - at $30 an hour, how many soldiers can I equip, how many planes can I fuel?  It would take millions of us paying a nominal percentage on living wages to afford a small army for defense, especially in modern times where the materiel costs billions to produce.  If you want aircraft carriers and spy satellites in orbit, then rich people have to buy them.

I agree that that question is flawed on many grounds.  Personally, I just went with it.  Do not make the common mistake of confusing discussion with credo.




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Post 2

Tuesday, November 13 - 9:33amSanction this postReply
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Well I can assure you that me paying 70k/year in taxes is not in contact with or have any control over government, if I did I would of course tell them to give me my money back!! I would also remind them most people "like to get greased before they get fucked"!

I worked about 4000 hours last year which is rather retarded, I very much resent being assraped so government can then take most of my overtime and redistribute a lot of it to a pile of welfare losers that wont stop having kids or get a job and of course vote for the parasite that will give them even more.



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Tuesday, November 13 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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Jules, according to your Profile, you are a radiography technician living in Canada.  Brother, you asked for it.  You are a rank and file employee, but within that, also, a privileged, licensed (and protected) professional.  I am happy for you that you chose to put in 4000 hours last year. I did not have that much offered to me.  You made the right career moves, going into a government regulated field in a government regulated sector of a government regulated economy.  Come to Texas.  See how you fare.




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Post 4

Tuesday, November 13 - 7:59pmSanction this postReply
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Yes michael they do not like us having guns up here but the government sees fit to regulate those driving around with RADIOACTIVE isotopes.
As far as the rest of it? Yes I do indeed inspect welds and call them to a government approved code however often our client specs meet and exceed those codes, I work for a private firm, and other than the huge red rape imposed upon us by government regulation we are private sector and do not work FOR the government, and I would do VERY well in texas, my firm is actually an AMERICAN owned rather LARGE very diversified company.(that also has offices in texas).
The government does not fix our rates we are private enterprise.

Yes sadly the amount of red tape and regulations up here in Canada are very daunting or I would have started my own firm years ago.
I provide a service that can actually save lives, it is quality control over production piping in the oil and gas sector and am a productive individual.

Now seeing as you seem fit to look down your nose at MY chosen profession um..

Aren't you a security guard in a courthouse?
For someone of such superior intellect I see you are aiming high!
Look at you're own life before deeming to shit on mine.



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Post 5

Wednesday, November 14 - 6:32amSanction this postReply
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My apologies, Steve.  I completely missed the industrial applications.  I thought that you are in healthcare. 

Like Ayn Rand, I question whether people need guns and am open to the government requiring licensing and registration of firearms owners.  But it is, as Rand noted, a complex issue, and I have no package solution for the many cases.

Unlike most people, I do not have one job and seldom have had only one.  These are tough times.  I write.  Not only do I work as a technical writer, I have published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles these past 30 years, one or two every month or two.  As I said above, I worked some this year as a technical writer on a software project.  It is what I did for many years before the Dot.Com Meltdown.  When that work got hard to find, I picked up more of the kinds of jobs I often did:  fork lift driver, sales clerk in a science museum, substitute teacher -- and then security guard.  I did well at security.  When my wife and I decdied to complete the four-year degrees we never needed before, I took "Ethics for Criminal Justice" and did well at that, as it was, after all, a class in applied philosophjy.  So, I finished a bachelor of science and then a master of arts.

Working as a security guard on a college campus gave me access to the labs after hours.  (See "Quentin Daniels" in Atlas Shrugged.)  In fact, you ought to read Atlas Shrugged.  The author suggests that if the men of hte mind refuse to work for their own enslavement, the looter regimes will collapse. 

I apologize, also, for any ambiguity in my post above.  I was not denigrating the technical demands of your career, only your choice of market application, which I misunderstood.  It remains, however, that you choose to live in Canada, so you have no right to complain about the taxes.  Taxes are much lower here and immigration to Texas is a piece of cake.  No one asks any questions.  I offer my I-9 papers and they are waved off for "later." 

But if you wish to think less of me because my income as a security guard seems not to require much intelligence, then the next time one of your industrial sites has a problem like a fire, you probably will expect that anyone could handle it and maybe the clericals and sales force could put the fire out if they are not too busy.

Here on RoR the selfishly self-centered have had a hard time grasping the following idea, but the fact is that anyone who puts on the semiotic clothing of a protective service - army, emergency medical, fire, the whole spectrum - has agreed to a social contract that may require the sacrifice of self to save others.  No one throws their life away, but I go into the places that other people leave. When an infrastructure alarm goes off, I check to make sure that it is safe for the engineers to fix it.  You're welcome.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 11/14, 6:34am)




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Post 6

Wednesday, November 14 - 7:10amSanction this postReply
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Well my profile does say Industrial Radiographer/ NDT (non destructive testing). Be that as it may, apology accepted.
Sorry I went off on you, I knowww times are tough, "cheers" here's to fruitful future ventures!

On an unrelated note is it true Texas may be leaving the union? Is it even possible? All I know is they were the last to join in 1847(ish). I saw that there are mass petitions calling for Texas to secede! Crazy times!



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Wednesday, November 14 - 9:13amSanction this postReply
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I thought that you are in healthcare.

Glad you guys made up, but still I don't see how being in healthcare would warrant such ire. 

(Sorry for the hijack, Ed.)




Post 8

Wednesday, November 14 - 3:06pmSanction this postReply
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In Canada we have wait in line till you die public "free" healthcare. Private healthcare is pretty much non existant(plastic surgery being an exeption.)
Our healthcare workers are as Michael said government employees(many hate that they are forced to have big brother their sole employer btw).

Drives me nuts when I see people defending it.





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Wednesday, November 14 - 8:34pmSanction this postReply
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If you accept that taxation is theft, 0% is the right answer. If the government is providing services that people value, charging fees in exchange for services voluntarily subscribed to should suffice to finance it.



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Post 10

Wednesday, November 14 - 8:49pmSanction this postReply
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re post #6: "On an unrelated note is it true Texas may be leaving the union? Is it even possible? All I know is they were the last to join in 1847(ish). I saw that there are mass petitions calling for Texas to secede!"

It doesn't appear that the politicians running the state are prepared to vote to secede. And the federal government settled in the mid-1800s how they felt about that. The Obama administrations' pledge to respond to petitions to secede doesn't mean he will actually honor that pledge (he's been known to lie from time to time), or to respond with a more or less polite "f**k off".

As of the time I post this, 49 out of 50 states have launched such petitions, and 6 states have already passed the 25,000 signature minimum for getting a response:

http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-secession-44-of-50-states-petition-the-president-to-secede

But, the Constitution allows secession, since nowhere in that document does it explicitly give the federal government the power to prohibit seceding. Also, the Tenth Amendment (and the Declaration of Independence) implies that such a power rests with the states (or, if state politicians are obstructing the desires of its citizens, as a right retained by those citizens of a state): "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
(Edited by Jim Henshaw on 11/14, 8:50pm)




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Post 11

Wednesday, November 14 - 9:07pmSanction this postReply
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Michael wrote (to Jules),
I was not denigrating the technical demands of your career, only your choice of market application, which I misunderstood. It remains, however, that you choose to live in Canada, so you have no right to complain about the taxes.
Oh, really?! No right to complain about the taxes if he chooses to remain in Canada? He would have a right to complain about them only if he left Canada? Are you serious?!

If what you're saying were true, it would mean that if taxes were higher in the U.S. than elsewhere, you would have no right to complain about them if you chose to remain in the U.S. This is the old "love it or leave it" argument. It assumes that a country, including the U.S., is someone's private property, who therefore has a right to take money from you as a condition of your remaining on his property. But the U.S. is not anyone's private property. The government does not own the country, and every taxpayer living here does have a right to complain about the the theft of his property by the government, even if taxes happen to be lower in some other part of the world.




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Post 12

Wednesday, November 14 - 9:09pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I would have chosen item #0 if it had concluded like this, "All involuntary taxation is, at root, immoral, if it is in excess of the minimum amount needed to maintain the structures and processes that protect individual rights."

(It would also be immoral if it could be replaced with a voluntary form of government revenue.)
--------------

I'd say that rights are the same for each person because they arise from human nature, and that stays the same no matter an individual does with their efforts and how much they end up owning. So, that makes answer #1 correct to a degree, but that answer completely ignores the moral aspect of taxation and its relationship to protecting rights.
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38% is immoral because it is in effect taxing people for the degree that they are productive. Michael says that rich people should pay for government since, according to him, they run it. The question was about what SHOULD the rich pay and in an Objectivist or Libertarian system which would NOT be "run by the rich" and should NOT be taxed for being rich. And I'm surprised that Michael is calling for the rich to pay through the nose because they should be loyal to the nation!
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Michael wrote, "Here on RoR the selfishly self-centered have had a hard time grasping the following idea, but the fact is that anyone who puts on the semiotic clothing of a protective service - army, emergency medical, fire, the whole spectrum - has agreed to a social contract that may require the sacrifice of self to save others. No one throws their life away, but I go into the places that other people leave. When an infrastructure alarm goes off, I check to make sure that it is safe for the engineers to fix it."

That is very muddled. The fact that people voluntarily choose careers that involve mortal risk is not justification of the concept of self-sacrifice. Some people may see themselves (or others) as making "noble sacrifices," but that is only descriptive of their altruistic belief system, and not a rational morality. It sounds like Michael thinks that anyone who doesn't see protective workers as making "noble sacrifices," that we should be grateful for, are just "selfishly self-centered." Wow! What happened to the "Virtue of Selfishness"?



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Thursday, November 15 - 5:13amSanction this postReply
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Thank you guys!
I chose 0 as well, I also agree with Steve's point of view about the minimum amount needed and payed voluntarily for defence,courts and police.
I would suggest one method of voluntary payment would be the purchase of war bonds to fund the military, and justice bonds for funding the police/court system. This would prevent "nation building".
(Edited by Jules Troy on 11/15, 5:15am)




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Post 14

Friday, November 16 - 5:12amSanction this postReply
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My actual number wasn't in the list, but the closest answer was 2. There is no actual ideal number, because the answer requires that you assume a distribution of income, so I assumed a perfectly uniform distribution of incomes(same number of folks earn $0/yr as earn $1/yr as earn $100/yr as earn $10000/yr as earn ... MAXINCOME/yr. A perfectly flat distribution of income across all income levels.

Is our behavior influenced by this distribution? Not in the least; there is not a single thing any of us ever do as a member of quintile or decimile or percentile. Not one.

But with my assumption, the top earning 1% should be paying 199 times more than the bottom 1%. Is that progressive enough?

With a perfectly uniform flat tax and no exemption with that distribution of incomes, the top 1% would be paying 199 times what the bottom 1% was paying in income tax. They would also be earning 199 times what the bottom 1% was earning.

The bottom 1% would be paying 0.01% of total taxes.

The top 1% would be paying 1.99% of total taxes.

The median 1% would be paying 1% of total taxes.

So my actual answer is 1.99%

We are already WAY more progressively redistributed than that...and the lefties want more.

BTW... the ratio between the extreme quintiles don't change much at all no matter what symmetric distribution you choose for the TOTALLY MEANINGLESS SHAPE of the income distribution curve. The reason is, the tyranny of magnitude.

The percentile, decimile, and quintile ratios between upper and lower are easy to calculate with the uniform distributuin.

The lowest quintile earns on average 10% of MAXINCOME, the highest quintile 90%, so their ratio is 9:1


The lowest decimile earns on average 5% of MAXINCOME, the highest quintile 95%, so their ratio is 19:1


The lowest percentile earns on average 0.5% of MAXINCOME, the highest quintile 99.5%, so their ratio is 199:1


And all of that quintile, decimile, percentile analysis is TOTALLY BOGUS because there is nothing, repeat, absolutely nothing that you or I or anybody who has ever lived that is done acting as a quintile or decimile or percentile.

We don't vite, we don't work we don't earn we don't buy, we don't meet, we don't plan, we don't do -anything- as a member of a quintile, decimile, or percentile.


So it begs the question; why is fully half of our politics devoted to adjusting the quintile distribution of ANYTHING?

The IRS 1040 says in big letters on the top: INDIVIDUAL not QUINTILE.

Hello?

regards,
Fred




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Post 15

Friday, November 16 - 5:25amSanction this postReply
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I didn't vote for '0', because it made no sense to me, even if taxes are purely voluntary and not coerced. It implies that the top 1% would volunteer exactly 0% of their income for common government.


If I apply the orthogonal issue, "Taxes are purely voluntary" to my distribution, then I'd also have to guess a distribution of 'liklihood to pony up and pay for common government.' If I don't castigate the wealthy as 'less likely to pay for what they consume', then I at least come up with the same number.


The Progressives argue that the wealthy should be forced to not only pay more(which they would under any model), but pay an ever increasing percentage.

Is X% enough? No. Why not? Because they get more, they should pay more. That is their fair share. Oh.

Is X%+More enough? No. Why not? Because they get more they should pay more. That is their fair share. Oh.

Is X%+More+More enough? No. Why not? Because they get more they should pay more. That is their fair share. Oh.


Is X%+More+More+More enough? No. Why not? Because they get more they should pay more. That is their fair share. Oh.

...

Lather, rinse, repeat? Where does that end? It doesn't end, and it is way beyond time to stop falling for it as an argument..



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Post 16

Friday, November 16 - 5:33amSanction this postReply
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Take my flat tax analysis, in which the top 1% pay 199 times what the bottom 1% pay, and add an exclusion:


Below 20% of MAXINCOME: no tax

Above 20% of MAXINCOME: a flat tax at X%


The bottom 20% then pay NOTHING.

We can politically wrangle over where the exemption is and what the flat marginal rate is, but everyone gets the same exemption, everyone pays the same marginal rate above that exemption.


Progressives: "Not Progressive Enough."

Huh? Why not? Where is the lost episode of Star Trek that explains that one given that we do NOTHING AT ALL as a member of a quintile?

regards,
Fred


(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 11/16, 5:34am)




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Post 17

Friday, November 16 - 8:24amSanction this postReply
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Fred,

I enjoyed your analysis. It really is amazing that the progressives have gotten so far with such empty arguments.

I'd add the following provision to your Income Tax Proposal: Those who earn below 20% of the chosen number, and therefore pay no taxes, would not be able to vote.

But actually, I'd rather eliminate any tax on income and if we have to have any non-voluntary tax, it should be a collection of use taxes and to make up the rest, a consumption tax. The Fair Tax has a provision that is similar to your "Below 20% of MAXICOME: no tax."



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Saturday, November 17 - 6:40amSanction this postReply
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Steve:

I think almost every flat tax proposal ever made had an exclusion level.

So under flat tax, the very poor would pay nothing, everyone would pay the same marginal rate above an exemption, but not everyone would pay the same effctive tax rate. The Middle Class would pay a lower effective tax rate than the very wealthy, because the exemption would cover a higher percentage of the middle class's income. Under flat tax, the higher your income, the higher your effective tax rate, which would approach the marginal tax rate the higher your income was.

To which the Progressives stamp their feet and claim, without basis, "Not Progressive Enough."

Huh? Progressive enough for what? "Quintile wealth redistribution," dumped onto the backs of actual living human beings who earn and are taxed, according to the IRS 1040, as INDIVIDUALS?

Relax, they say, all this force aimed by the state is for a good cause; to forcefully change the theoretical shape on some chart somewhere at Census, and scratch the itch of some academic pinheads somewhere who have never held a job, never run a business, never met a payroll. (My 24 year old son has 18 months more actual business experience than Barack Obama and Karl Marx combined.)

You see, when people are told they are going to be thrown things they didn't earn, it makes them happy enough to sell their vote--not that there is ever any delivery on that promise. They sell their vote very cheaply, purely for Schadenfreud. The politicos are skinning the rich more than they are skinning the rest of us. At least we have our union out at Hostess, sawing off the branch we are sitting on.

And when people who earn things taken from them by force, it makes them want to arrange their lives to provide more for everyone else on earth except themselves.

We are living in 20's Germany. Slightly different economic circumstances, same charismatic charlatan dynamic, pandering to the worst within the mob.

I understand your 'no tax, no vote' idea, but our tribe is sprinting in the exact opposite direction, because that is the downhill, easy path to power for panderers.


(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 11/17, 6:46am)




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Saturday, November 17 - 8:15amSanction this postReply
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Apologies and Admission

Aristotle said that a little error in the beginning can balloon into disastrous results (by otherwise intelligent creatures) if not retroactively corrected. I should have been more careful with my wording of this poll. I apologize for being too "off-the-cuff" -- but am glad it sparked some cool debate. I'll try to correct my behavior in the future, expending more time, care or patience. This whole 'communist-in-the-white-house' thing has dented my soul and has thrown me off of my game somewhat. Sometimes I feel like Austin Powers after he lost his Mo-Jo.

:-)

Good debate here, though.

Ed




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