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What should the progressive tax rate be?

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 03:56 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
It's stupid to want our country to continue to function?


No, it's stupid to insist that continuing to waste so much money is the only way to function.

Quote:
To be able to pay our bills, while still supporting our social system? Because that all relies on progressive taxation, and higher levels then we currently pay.


No it doesn't, you are begging the question. I argue that the American government can work just fine (but with the need to trim some of the fat) without raising taxes.


Okay, I'll ask you to give a serious answer to this question: how would you close our 1.3 trillion dollar deficit without raising taxes? Specifically.

I contend that lowering the bills isn't and won't ever be enough. And what more, that in an era of historically low taxation, it's foolish to say this is the only way to solve the problem.

Quote:
Instead of raising taxes I argue that we should lower the bills and you are merely not willing to cut the spending I am willing to cut but that doesn't mean we can't have a perfectly functioning government without the spending you oppose cutting.


You mischaracterize my position. I am in fact in favor of cutting spending, and not just on the military - cutting spending across the board. However, I don't pretend that this will be enough to solve the problem WITHOUT also increasing taxes. I have this opinion because I have spent long hours and evenings running the numbers on this, Robert.

For years here on A2K I have consistently maintained that only a combination of spending cuts and tax increases will restore us to fiscal sanity.

Quote:
That is something reasonable people can disagree on (and for example I'm perfectly willing to admit that your way can work too, I just think it is stupider than my way) but to insist that your way is the only way to make it work is partisan blindness.


I'm willing to hear your or anyone's explanation, with numbers and actual analysis, of how we could balance the budget without raising taxes. In fact, I'd LOVE to hear that explanation.

Quote:
The American government can function just fine without the taxation you want, it will just not function exactly how you would like it to.


Well, the real problem for your position isn't that I don't want our government changed in that way, it's the the majority of Americans don't want government changed that way. Polling on this issue is clear.

Quote:
Quote:
I don't understand the argument that says such a person is in fact not free, because it doesn't square with their real-world experience in the slightest.


I think this is a logomachy that is pointless to the main points either of us made in this thread and am not that vested in trying to get you to "understand" (you must really mean "agree", as the point was a simple one to understand) with it.
[/quote]

Why not just call them 'slaves to the government,' then? It's no less ridiculous than what you are positing.

Cycloptichorn
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 04:15 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
I just told you, I think he is a minority shareholder in his production and that this isn't true freedom.


An yet you seem to not have any emotion problem with 98 percents of the population becoming minority shareholders to the top two percent of the population how odd.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  0  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 04:31 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Okay, I'll ask you to give a serious answer to this question: how would you close our 1.3 trillion dollar deficit without raising taxes? Specifically.


More specifically that we already did on this thread when you asked me the first time? I don't have time to be much more specific than that right now so could you ask me a less open-ended question?

Quote:
I contend that lowering the bills isn't and won't ever be enough. And what more, that in an era of historically low taxation, it's foolish to say this is the only way to solve the problem.


I just said that it isn't the only way to solve the problem and that your preferred way of raising taxes can work too.

Quote:
You mischaracterize my position. I am in fact in favor of cutting spending, and not just on the military - cutting spending across the board. However, I don't pretend that this will be enough to solve the problem WITHOUT also increasing taxes. I have this opinion because I have spent long hours and evenings running the numbers on this, Robert.


The big difference between you and I is not that you have run the numbers and I haven't but that I am willing to make bigger cuts than you are.

Quote:
For years here on A2K I have consistently maintained that only a combination of spending cuts and tax increases will restore us to fiscal sanity.


I agree with this. That you have argued this that is.

Quote:
I'm willing to hear your or anyone's explanation, with numbers and actual analysis, of how we could balance the budget without raising taxes. In fact, I'd LOVE to hear that explanation.


Well my last post to you about that (on this thread) went unanswered for months. I'd rather not start from scratch again so if you love it that much read back and revive, but you already asked me that open-ended question and I already started answering you in this very thread.

Quote:
Well, the real problem for your position isn't that I don't want our government changed in that way, it's the the majority of Americans don't want government changed that way. Polling on this issue is clear.


I'm not sure what your point is, most American's believe in an invisible person in the sky too.

Quote:
Why not just call them 'slaves to the government,' then? It's no less ridiculous than what you are positing.


Freedom and slavery are not the only options. Beyond being subjective I don't think it's binary, I think there is a spectrum of more and less freedom. Furthermore, "slavery" is the opposite of only one meaning of "freedom".

In any case, I reiterate that this is a logomachy that is pointless to this argument. I don't see where you intend to go with this even if I were to agree with you.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 04:38 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I don't remember what thread that was, but I'd be happy to review the conversation there if you do.

Quote:
The big difference between you and I is not that you have run the numbers and I haven't but that I am willing to make bigger cuts than you are.


Do you contend that you have, in fact, ran the numbers? Studied this in depth?

Quote:
Freedom and slavery are not the only options. Beyond being subjective I don't think it's binary, I think there is a spectrum of more and less freedom. Furthermore, "slavery" is the opposite of only one meaning of "freedom".

In any case, I reiterate that this is a logomachy that is pointless to this argument. I don't see where you intend to go with this even if I were to agree with you.


The only point is to highlight the ridiculousness of referring to millionaires as 'economically not free.' It may be an ideological argument you could make, but at the end of the day, these people still enjoy a greater freedom then almost any person who has ever been alive. The richest 1%, when the US had marginal tax rates above 90%, were still tremendously rich and - by any objective measurement - were economically free.

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 04:46 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

I don't remember what thread that was, but I'd be happy to review the conversation there if you do.


It was this very thread.

Quote:
Do you contend that you have, in fact, ran the numbers? Studied this in depth?


Of course, just this weekend I spend hours reading and researching the Congressional Progressive Caucus' proposal.

Why do you assume that I haven't? Do you think you are the only one who ran the numbers or something? Or do you really think that is the only conclusion that anyone can draw from looking at the numbers?

Rolling Eyes

Quote:
The only point is to highlight the ridiculousness of referring to millionaires as 'economically not free.'


I don't equate riches with freedom. The degree of control over the individual is what I consider freedom. I personally don't think it's "ridiculous" but feel free to your opinion on it, either way I don't see it as very relevant.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 04:51 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:

I don't remember what thread that was, but I'd be happy to review the conversation there if you do.


It was this very thread.


Thanks. I did in fact re-read this thread. I thought you were referring to some other, more convincing argument that you had made elsewhere.
Quote:

Quote:
Do you contend that you have, in fact, ran the numbers? Studied this in depth?


Of course, just this weekend I spend hours reading and researching the Congressional Progressive Caucus' proposal.

Why do you assume that I haven't? Do you think you are the only one who ran the numbers or something? Or do you really think that is the only conclusion that anyone can draw from looking at the numbers?

Rolling Eyes


No, but it's pretty clear that I'm the only one who ever wants to talk about them or even attempts to engage in factual discussion of these issues! I literally can't find anyone to take up the other end of the argument, who isn't coming from a purely emotional perspective.

Quote:
Quote:
The only point is to highlight the ridiculousness of referring to millionaires as 'economically not free.'


I don't equate riches with freedom. The degree of control over the individual is what I consider freedom. I personally don't think it's "ridiculous" but feel free to your opinion on it, either way I don't see it as very relevant.
[/quote]

I think that for most people, the ability to do whatever you want equates with freedom. A person who pays 100% marignal taxes on income over 100 million a year still has enough income and wealth to do practically whatever they want. Therefore, most would define that person as 'free' instead of 'not free.' This is where the argument against never-ending marginal tax rates break down: the people who are actually affected by this are not meaningfully limited in their ability to continue to engage in activities they wish to. Therefore, it cannot be said to be meaningfully harming them - unless, that is, you think that it's harmful to limit people's ability to amass never-ending fortunes, for no greater purpose than the fact that they wish to.

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 05:02 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Thanks. I did in fact re-read this thread. I thought you were referring to some other, more convincing argument that you had made elsewhere.


I harbor no illusions about being able to convince you, but I think I was as specific as you have ever been on the matter (if you've gone into greater detail point me to it) and if you want to get more specific I'm fine with that but you never even responded to the last time I posted about it to you here so I'd rather you give me a specific question than the open-ended one you already asked me months ago on this thread.

Quote:
No, but it's pretty clear that I'm the only one who ever wants to talk about them or even attempts to engage in factual discussion of these issues! I literally can't find anyone to take up the other end of the argument, who isn't coming from a purely emotional perspective.


I've already said I am willing to discuss it with you "factually". Then again you've already dismissed me as being "emotional" vs your "logic" and I suspect you are rather attached to seeing things that way. I posit that this is just rose-colored self-image and that you are too quick to dismiss those who don't think like you as being uninformed or over-emotional.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 05:16 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:


I harbor no illusions about being able to convince you, but I think I was as specific as you have ever been on the matter (if you've gone into greater detail point me to it) and if you want to get more specific I'm fine with that but you never even responded to the last time I posted about it to you here so I'd rather you give me a specific question than the open-ended one you already asked me months ago on this thread.


Right. The last post you made on the topic was this one:

http://able2know.org/topic/144187-3

Which you are correct, I didn't respond to, for which I apologize. But I'll pick up the argument from here: even counting all the cuts you wanted to make, and counting GENEROUS amounts of money saved by those cuts, you still couldn't close the deficit. Let alone pay off the yearly 100 billion in interest on the debt! So when I argue that you cannot balance the budget by cutting spending alone, I don't see anything in your counter-argument that proves me wrong, because the things you listed simply wouldn't balance the budget.

There was about 25-30% of the deficit unaccounted for by your proposed cuts. To which you said, 'I'll cut other places until that amount is cut as well.' Which is fine and dandy, but it's not all that specific.

They are also political fantasies. I agree that it's possible to envision a world in which things were completely different than they are today, and that we wouldn't have any debt in that world. But we live in this one. And in this world, we're not cutting defense by 75% and axing homeland security completely. We're not going to transform into a single-payer or socialized health system and we certainly aren't going to get rid of SS (not that it would save any money off the deficit at all). These things simply will not happen, and the public doesn't WANT them to happen. So I have no idea why you would promote a plan that requires them to happen to be effective. And what more, to say that the only difference between the two of us on this is that you are 'willing to put up with deeper cuts than I am.' I think the real difference is that you aren't taking the political situation into account at all, and that's not a serious way to look at the situation.

Contrast this to my plan; one in which we have the 10-20% cut in Federal spending across the board, coupled with allowing taxes to modestly increase to Clinton levels. This actually does balance the budget within just a few years. You don't have to twist yourself in knots or go to draconian lengths to reorganize anything. Just accept a slightly higher rate of taxation then we pay today, and one that citizens paid comfortably less than 15 years ago.

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 06:23 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Which you are correct, I didn't respond to, for which I apologize. But I'll pick up the argument from here: even counting all the cuts you wanted to make, and counting GENEROUS amounts of money saved by those cuts, you still couldn't close the deficit. Let alone pay off the yearly 100 billion in interest on the debt! So when I argue that you cannot balance the budget by cutting spending alone, I don't see anything in your counter-argument that proves me wrong, because the things you listed simply wouldn't balance the budget.

There was about 25-30% of the deficit unaccounted for by your proposed cuts. To which you said, 'I'll cut other places until that amount is cut as well.' Which is fine and dandy, but it's not all that specific.


Neither is your "just cut 10% across the board" plan. Where do you get more specific than I have? You demand specificity that you don't bother with yourself and then claim you are the only one doing the research.

In any case, you are leaving out that I also said that I expect economic growth to eliminate some of the deficit through additional tax revenue. In 2009 the tax revenue was about 20% less than 2007[1] (and this is about a third of the deficit right there) but this is projected to be higher than 2007 levels in 2012. You are ignoring that a big part of this (the New York Times estimated that 37% of our 2 trillion swing is attributable to the economic downturns in 2001 and 2007[2]) can be alleviated by the economy rebounding like most agree it will.

The truth is that unless we simply never rebound that economic growth will more that make up for the 25-30% of the deficit that I have not specifically cut and I think there is at least 5% worth of cuts to be made there (note that according to your 10% plan there would be 2.5-3% from the remainder to cut, just in case you instinctively call that outlandish).

Here is a simple graph of the surplus to deficit swing based on the, it is very clear that the economic downturn is responsible a significant amount of the deficit that I did not cut and I think it is not unreasonable to assume that economic growth will replace a lot of the lost tax revenue.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a5/CBO_Forecast_Changes_for_2009-2012.png/800px-CBO_Forecast_Changes_for_2009-2012.png

I think that the big cuts I specified along with the economic growth that everyone expects, as well as remaining cuts in other government programs (I only did not even address 10) brings us pretty close. What specific qualms do you have with my projection? Where are the specific deficits you see in it?

Quote:
They are also political fantasies. I agree that it's possible to envision a world in which things were completely different than they are today, and that we wouldn't have any debt in that world. But we live in this one. And in this world, we're not cutting defense by 75% and axing homeland security completely. We're not going to transform into a single-payer or socialized health system and we certainly aren't going to get rid of SS (not that it would save any money off the deficit at all).


I am arguing for my ideal, not what is popular in the US. And we already went over this months ago so I'll just repost what I said then:

"It's not going to happen because people don't want it to. But that doesn't make it a bad idea, just an unpopular one. It's not going to happen because people like you prefer to raise taxes and because people like your political opponents prefer to cut social programs and increase military spending."

And...

"I have a pretty good idea of how much political capital what I propose would cost, but these problems should be addressed in two ways: what is the ideal? and what is viable?

I'm talking about ideal conditions (to me, of course) and in practice it would be very painful to achieve (the easiest way is the Republican strategy of "starving the beast" or bankrupting the country into smaller government but I find that too dishonest a strategy for my tastes)."

I am not an ideologue who refuses to agree that there is a way other than mine to do this, I completely agree that your program can work. Where our disagreement lies is in your insistence that yours is the only possible way. You have never substantiated that claim with any specificity.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 10:08 am
@Robert Gentel,
This is a good post and I'll respond to it more in depth tonight, when I can write up a complete thought. But let me begin by stating that - in a perfect world - I don't disagree with what you've proposed at all, and in fact specifically agree with several of your budget recommendations.

My quibbles with your earlier post revolve around the fact that I spend the vast majority of my time considering bills that could ACTUALLY pass our Congress. I enjoy blue-skying, but it's not as interesting to me as finding solutions within the actual constraints of the situation we find ourselves in.

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 03:00 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Do note that this last post is exactly the same position as the previous one, except that I substantiated the claim about economic growth this time while last time I just expected that to be understood.

As for making a workable compromise between ideal and practical I am fine with raising taxes as a short term measure while working on reducing the size of the government for the long term.
0 Replies
 
 

 
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