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WhiskeyPapa
12-18-2002, 02:37 PM

by Anonymous

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand.
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner.
The bill for all ten comes to \$100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men-the poorest-would pay nothing;
The fifth would pay \$1:
The sixth would pay \$3;
The seventh \$7;
The eighth \$12;
The ninth \$18.

The tenth man-the richest-would pay \$59.

That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement-until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by \$20."

So now dinner for the ten only cost \$80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six-the paying customers?

How could they divvy up the \$20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"

The six men realized that \$20 divided by six is \$3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being *paid* to eat their meal.

So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in \$2, the seventh paid \$5, the eighth paid \$9, the ninth paid \$12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of \$52 instead of his earlier \$59.

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the \$20," declared the sixth man.

He pointed to the tenth. "But he got \$7!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!"

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man.

"Why should he get \$7 back when I got only \$2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They were \$52 short!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works.

The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore.

-------------------
Flame on...

cheapie
12-18-2002, 02:57 PM
well, as someone that plans on being very wealthy, i think it's a pretty good example. when i think of all the taxes i pay, income, sales, gas, plates, property, city, county, etc., it pisses me off.

Apex
12-18-2002, 02:58 PM
Wow, proper understanding of economics from a radio talkshow. :)

johnnymk
12-18-2002, 03:32 PM
Somehow the liberals try to ignore these kinds of facts. They always believe that the wealthy got their money illegally or that they never pay their fair share.

InfiniteNothing
12-18-2002, 03:48 PM
Quit looking for a fight.
These so called facts are just speculation, not even calculated.
If Liberal's ignore this thread all together it's because it's slanted. And I don't think any of us think ALL rich people got their money illegally.

attgig
12-18-2002, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by cheapbast@rd
well, as someone that plans on being very wealthy, i think it's a pretty good example. when i think of all the taxes i pay, income, sales, gas, plates, property, city, county, etc., it pisses me off.

yeah, i plan on being wealthy too! :P

Dave_7
12-18-2002, 06:58 PM
Originally posted by johnnymk
...They always believe that the wealthy got their money illegally or that they never pay their fair share.

If you exchanged "illegally" with "luckily", I think it would be a more well-rounded statement.

Dave.

molecularfire
12-18-2002, 08:51 PM
While the amounts are speculation, the basic idea is the same (don't get me wrong... I'm NOT wealthy). That's why I've been a proponent of the flat tax proposal (or at least a flat percent tax). I don't see why the richer people should have to pay a higher percent tax than the poorer people.

alright... let the flaming begin. :fal:

verve247
12-18-2002, 10:24 PM

Dave_7
12-19-2002, 01:39 AM
You're tiptoeing on the edge of a slippery slope, CF.

Dave.

InfiniteNothing
12-19-2002, 02:11 AM
I think CF is on the right track. A man's gotta eat and if he's a friend of mine (an assumtion of the story) I'll pay for him to eat. Do I really need another car or better speakers. Sure I could say that I earned it and deserve it but all this talk isn't helping a hungry guy eat.
I'm a proponent of a second house tax. If you're rich enough to buy a second house I don't see why you shouldn't make a nice mandetory donation to a homeless shelter and provide housing for a couple other people.

blueindian
12-19-2002, 07:55 AM
Originally posted by chosenfool

<snip!>
To them my heart goes out (i know - i am one of them, in most ways).

well said, i agree with some of that. but...this don't look like poor man's machine.:P

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WhiskeyPapa
12-19-2002, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by InfiniteNothing
I think CF is on the right track. A man's gotta eat and if he's a friend of mine (an assumtion of the story) I'll pay for him to eat. Do I really need another car or better speakers. Sure I could say that I earned it and deserve it but all this talk isn't helping a hungry guy eat.I understand what you're saying, and I agree with everything you've said above. The "moral" of the story was not that each man paid a disproportionate amount of the bill (it says they were "quite happy with the arrangement".) The point is that when the time came to account for the reduction in price (i.e. a tax cut), everyone started whining that the rich guy got a bigger cut, when he was still paying the same proportional amount.

That's exactly what we see happening with across-the-board tax cuts.

FWIW, I don't pay any federal income taxes. In fact, I probably won't for many years. The Child Tax Credit completely eliminates any tax liability for us. So even though I am one of the first four men at the table, I would not begrudge the lions share of the price reduction to go to the tenth man.

WhiskeyPapa
12-19-2002, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by chosenfool
the rich stay rich, and the poor become poorer, and thats life as it is right now. Look at the history of the US. Can you really say the poor are getting poorer? The "poor" have satellite dishes, cell phones, cars, clothes and lots of food. People in other countries *dream* of being "poor" in the USA. One immigrant said he wanted to move to the US because even the poor people are fat here.

Poor means not knowing if you can eat tomorrow. Poor mean giving up your kids for adoption because you can't afford to feed them. Poor means DYING of starvation.

No one is dying of starvation in this country. If they are hungry, it has nothing to do with lack of assistance.

What do we think poor is?
- Having to shop at K-Mart instead of The Gap.
- Having to ride the bus instead of taking a Taxi.
- Not being able to buy each kid a television for his own room.
- Not being able to afford HBO.
- Not having a computer.

I grew up in what would have been considered a "poor" household. As I look back, I realize the only thing we didn't have was "stuff". But we ate well and never lacked anything essential.

By the world's standards, no one is poor in the USA.

The poor are most definitely not getting poorer!

Cubsfan
12-19-2002, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by InfiniteNothing
I think CF is on the right track. A man's gotta eat and if he's a friend of mine (an assumtion of the story) I'll pay for him to eat. Do I really need another car or better speakers. Sure I could say that I earned it and deserve it but all this talk isn't helping a hungry guy eat.
I'm a proponent of a second house tax. If you're rich enough to buy a second house I don't see why you shouldn't make a nice mandetory donation to a homeless shelter and provide housing for a couple other people.

I see what you're saying! Let's give everyone an equal share, regardless of how much someone should have earned or how hard they worked! That way, nobody will be rich, and nobody will be poor! Wait, hasn't that been tried before...

Aside from sarcasm, the first thing you said was fine. If you WANT to pay for him, you go ahead and do it. The difference is that taxes are forced. While I obviously don't think anyone should starve, I also don't think that you should punish anyone for doing a good job and becoming successful.

Dave_7
12-19-2002, 11:38 AM
I know you're a smart cookie, and not a radical revolutionary. I meant not to offend.

My point is that where it seemed you were going with your previous post was that it's ok to tax the wealthier ones more, because they have enough to cover it.

While that, in itself, is not necessarily a dangerous idea... what it eventually leads to... is (IMHO).

With that logic, it's easier to progress to a definition of "enough." What's enough? If you define it, you can then, in good conscience tax those with more than enough down to the level of "enough"... because enough is enough. Who really NEEDS more than that?

Really... there are only two classes in that case... impoverished, and not-impoverished. Those hungry at night, and those not hungry at night.

And you didn't suggest all this, I know... but I just suggested that from your original post, it's not a huge leap to slide down the slipery slope that I just described... hence, "...tiptoeing on the edge of a slippery slope..."

A sticky subject, I know.

Dave.

Originally posted by chosenfool

see what im saying? the poor will always NOT have enough (hence theyre poor).

their only redeeming factor is the drive of such an individual TO LIVE AND SURVIVE. Those who are less fortunate in this world HAVE A CHANCE to better themselves, if they work hard and take advantage of the opportunities that come up to them. Of course, LUCK also plays a role, being at the right place and/or the right time, but is VERY rare (thats why its called luck). Even then, it takes wisdom to take advantage of it. It can come to ANYONE, and it may be regarded as nothing until someone recognizes it for what it is (an opportunity).

molecularfire
12-19-2002, 03:19 PM
No matter what you tax the rich with, they will still have a LOT more money left. They will still be able to live affluently. They will still be able to afford the food.
Yeah, but does that make it right? Just because someone is bigger doesn't mean that he should be the one to take a beating.

But tax even a small amount of money from the poor, and they will be left with next to nil, since they have little to begin with. If what they have to start with is JUST ENOUGH to live by, take even a little from them and they will NOT have enough after. They will have less money to afford the food.

I think CF is on the right track. A man's gotta eat and if he's a friend of mine (an assumtion of the story) I'll pay for him to eat. Do I really need another car or better speakers. Sure I could say that I earned it and deserve it but all this talk isn't helping a hungry guy eat.
I'm a proponent of a second house tax. If you're rich enough to buy a second house I don't see why you shouldn't make a nice mandetory donation to a homeless shelter and provide housing for a couple other people.
If the guy was a friend of mine, I would be willing to pay for him to eat too. However, I don't think it is right of him to feel that it is my obligation to pay for him to eat. The question is this... should taxes be about people pooling resources for the common good of everybody in the community, or a way of forcing rich people to give to charity? As for the second house tax idea, I still think it is not fair. To take it one step further, why don't we have a tax on everybody in the U.S. who buy food and use it to help people in other countries who have food. How is this any different? Do these people somehow deserve to be fed less because they're not born in the U.S.?

what do you mean by that?

What i said is an observation - im simply stating what is happening now, and its not even anything radical or anything new. the rich stay ...
Nice story, but that's all it is. Yes, the poor have it tougher than the rich. Still... how does it justify forcing the rich to help out the poor? Yes it would be nice if those that had more gave to those who didn't... but I don't see what is right about forcing them to. Simply put, there are always going to be differences between people. Some are born bigger and/or stronger, some are born brighter, some are born richer. Should we force those who are brighter to spend time tutoring those who arent? Should we force those who are bigger and/or stronger to not use their strength as an advantage in a fight? If you want to beat up someone bigger/stronger, then you work out, learn how to fight better, etc... you don't tell them to not use their size/strength in a fight. If you want to beat someone who is brighter, you study harder. You don't force them to tutor you. How is money any different?

InfiniteNothing
12-19-2002, 04:13 PM
Some of these arguments are getting really stupid.

-Cubsfan

I see what you're saying! Let's give everyone an equal share, regardless of how much someone should have earned or how hard they worked! That way, nobody will be rich, and nobody will be poor! Wait, hasn't that been tried before...I also don't think that you should punish anyone for doing a good job and becoming successful.

I never said that we should be Communist, I simply said the rich should be taxed at a higher rate than the poor. "Punish"
is a loaded word and brings to the mind images of a guy getting flogged for stealing bread. It's not punishment, it's just a higher tax rate.

As for the poor complaining about tax cuts, okay alot of you have valid points, but under the vague small integer system in blue, I don't see why anyone would complain especially the first 6 who pay nothing. If the bottom 6/10ths of the wealthiest people paid no taxes, I don't think they'd complain that they didn't get a tax cut. The truth is that modern tax cuts don't divy up the savings that way. Rather than saving \$9 the rich guys save \$14 and that is unfair.

Molecularfire has false arguments leaking all over the place. We are not "beating" anyone here, this is \$ and cents. Your comment is a far too oversimplified metaphor and has no allowance for the need of the beating
The comparison of my 2nd house tax and the food tax is weak. First of all, don't we already donate a large amount of food and supplies to other countries? Second of all food is not a luxury, this is a SECOND home tax not a first home tax. Second homes are a very trivial luxury most of the time.
As for "How can we force them?" Are you asking why pay taxes at all or why have welfare programs or are you asking about the current graduated income tax system?
We pay taxes to pay for the jobs that protect us: Army, police, firedept, social workers, homeless shelters, air pollution control, you get the picture. We pay for welfare because we (America) believes a man's got a right to live (eat, sleep, drink, shelter). Why have a graduated income tax system? Because some people need the money they earn more than others. Your other (again bad) metaphors describe traits that aren't as essential as money, and in many cases there is a duty to pass on some of that skill. Do you really need Bigness to eat? And you know a man doesn't need to be smart. Your trying to equate an advantage to necessity.

- kb0wwp

What do we think poor is?
- Having to shop at K-Mart instead of The Gap.
- Having to ride the bus instead of taking a Taxi.
- Not being able to buy each kid a television for his own room.
- Not being able to afford HBO.
- Not having a computer.

I grew up in what would have been considered a "poor" household. As I look back, I realize the only thing we didn't have was "stuff". But we ate well and never lacked anything essential.

By the world's standards, no one is poor in the USA.
I think you are totally off and do not really realize how bad poverty is. Where do you live? I think there are places like San Francisco that would really change your mind. I think poverty is shoes that don't fit, daily starvation so one can pay for his medication, not getting a good warm shower once in awhile, CF's story about mothers who work day after day harder than any of us only to make ends meet, never getting promoted, etc is poverty. I think this is a good start to the definition of what is enough. But I do see your point alot of us think we are alot poorer than we really are. I think putting us on the world standard could be a mistake. Howabout we hold our definition of poverty to an American standard.

johnnymk
12-19-2002, 04:34 PM
So why should the rich pay more in taxes than the poor person? Do the highways he is riding on have smoother pavement than the poor person? Does his water and sewage system have a higher quality than the poor person in the next neighborhood? Is the police protection any different? Does the Army or Navy offer any additional services to the rich man than the poor man? I could go on and on, but I can't think of ANY reason why people with more money should be taxed excessively.

zenbooty
12-19-2002, 04:45 PM
Originally posted by johnnymk
So why should the rich pay more in taxes than the poor person? Do the highways he is riding on have smoother pavement than the poor person?
Yes, drive through the suburbs, and compare to the inner city. Its like going from the Autobahn to just outside Bali.

Does his water and sewage system have a higher quality than the poor person in the next neighborhood?
Yes. I swear sometimes the water in the ghettos and inner cities IS the sewage of the posh neighborhoods outside it.

Is the police protection any different?
Hell yeah! The rich and powerful are practically above the law. They can afford the best lawyers, buy off judges, buy off corrupt officials, etc. My Uncle was a cop. He was once demoted simply for arresting the "wrong" criminal ("Do you know who I am? I'm going to have a talk with your chief next time I see him out on the links")

Does the Army or Navy offer any additional services to the rich man than the poor man?
Yes again! Whose interests do you think they're protecting as they go off to war for oil? We maintain such a large navy worldwide for one reason, to protect the commercial interests of business. The bigger the business, The bigger their benefit. Keeps them fat cats happy.
And lets not mention the use of National Guard forces to put down protests and riots whenever the poor must endure another outrage.

I could go on and on, but I can't think of ANY reason why people with more money should be taxed excessively.
Its been right under your nose all along, I'm afraid.

johnnymk
12-19-2002, 04:51 PM
So, then, by your argument, zenbooty, the tax system is working. The more you pay in taxes, the more you gain.

InfiniteNothing
12-19-2002, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by johnnymk
So why should the rich pay more in taxes than the poor person? Do the highways he is riding on have smoother pavement than the poor person? Does his water and sewage system have a higher quality than the poor person in the next neighborhood? Is the police protection any different? Does the Army or Navy offer any additional services to the rich man than the poor man? I could go on and on, but I can't think of ANY reason why people with more money should be taxed excessively.

Why have a graduated income tax system? Because some people need the money they earn more than others.

zenbooty
12-19-2002, 05:04 PM
Originally posted by johnnymk
So, then, by your argument, zenbooty, the tax system is working. The more you pay in taxes, the more you gain.

My problem with taxation is how much money is wasted on corruption, bureacracy, pork spending, etc. We all pay too much. But I have absolutely no problem with a progressive tax structure. I'd much rather make \$1,000,000 a year and be taxed at 90% than make \$20,000 and be taxed 5%.

johnnymk
12-19-2002, 05:12 PM
Originally posted by InfiniteNothing

Why have a graduated income tax system? Because some people need the money they earn more than others.

What exactly does that mean?.. The old income redistribution argument that has gotten us in this mess that we're in?

Cubsfan
12-19-2002, 06:00 PM
Just as a note, the argument about better water/sewage system, better roads(at least in-town), and better police may not be the best one. If I'm not mistaken, most of those are based on tax systems that we will probably all agree on (sales and property). (I THINK they are anyway, I'm not totally sure on that one)

I think things like sales and property taxes are the best way to do things. You pay for what you use/buy. Take sales tax for instance. Someone who makes \$20,000 won't pay nearly as much in a year as someone who makes \$100,000, since they won't buy nearly as much.

I still disagree with essentially punishing people for making more money.

TERRIBLETOM
12-19-2002, 06:29 PM
OK, let me throw in a curve, what do you all think of gun control?

joe52985
12-19-2002, 06:32 PM
sadly, not gonna work in the long run, although its great for candidates to put on their agenda to look good

Cubsfan
12-19-2002, 06:34 PM
Originally posted by TERRIBLETOM
OK, let me throw in a curve, what do you all think of gun control?

Great question! Although you probably want to start a new thread for that instead of this one.

sbp
12-19-2002, 06:37 PM
Originally posted by TERRIBLETOM
OK, let me throw in a curve, what do you all think of gun control? When a gun is fired it should be under control.

TERRIBLETOM
12-19-2002, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by Cubsfan

Great question! Although you probably want to start a new thread for that instead of this one.

cheapie
12-20-2002, 10:01 AM
someone sent this to me the other day and it addresses the thread topic.

One time there was a young teenage girl that was about to finish her first year of college. One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to programs like welfare. He stopped her and asked her how she was doing in school. She answered that she had a 4.0 GPA but it was really tough. She had to study all the time, never had time to go out and party and often went sleepless because all of the studying. She didn't have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of all her studying. He then asked how her friend Mary, that was attending the same college, was doing. She replied that she was barely getting by. She had a 2.0 GPA, never studied, was very popular on campus and was at parties all the time. She often wouldn't show up for classes because she was hung over. He then asked his daughter why she didn't go to the Dean's office and ask why she couldn't take 1.0 off her 4.0 and give it to her friend that only had a 2.0. That way they would both have a 3.0 GPA. She fired back and said 'that wouldn't be fair, I worked really hard for mine and my friend has done nothing.' After a moment of silence, she replied, 'I guess I will never vote the same way again.'

i changed the story a bit. it was a little more political in nature than i wanted but the meaning is the same.

i live in the midwest and make pretty decent money. i know that as someone that makes more than prob. 95% of the world's population, i bear some of a responsibility to help out. i can deal with this. my wife and i give a lot of money to charities, church, foundations, etc. however, i resent the fact that a lot of my tax dollars go towards supporting lazy people that are "poor" and "deserve" to have my hard-earned money. wtf? i work my a\$\$ off for my coin and you want to have it given to you to spend on lottery tickets, wrestling pay-per-view, cell phones, and drugs and alcohol? i don't think so. i was poor also. lived in what most of my current peers would call a ghetto. had nearly a dozen people murdered within a mile of my house during a 4-5 year span. drove my parents' pos station wagon to work cuz that's all my parents could afford and ate generic peanut butter and cereal.

but i went to college, made great decisions, and am now doing quite well compared to many of my friends. now i'm being told that the people that pissed away the same exact opportunities as i did deserve my money. i don't think so. get off of your a\$\$, get educated, put the bottle and crack pipe down, and accept resposibility for your decisions and lifestyle.

now, if you need a hand up, opportunities to better yourself, or have disabilities which would prevent you from improving your situation that's another case. give me a call. i'll get in line to assist you. but if you're calling for my tax dollars so you can have more kids from different fathers and sit on your butt watching jerry springer while eating cheetos that you bought with food stamps, i'm hanging up.

(wow. sorry about the long post. i just scrolled up and realized that i was doing a bit of ranting. =)

johnnymk
12-20-2002, 11:15 AM
:stupid:

ArkiStan
12-20-2002, 11:49 AM

DaFunkyUnit
12-21-2002, 03:16 AM
the thing that irks me the most is people who are born with the affluence. most of the time (sorry, painting w/ a broad brush, i know) they end up being lazy, unmotivated, selfish & greedy, careless, and dependant on Mommmy and Daddy's checkbook. According to some of your posts, they are the ones who "deserve" to be "poor," yet they live in luxury even though they did not work for it, and they more often than not, that is where they will stay.

To me, its like playing an almost unfair game of King of the Hill, where the hill is extremely steep, and once you're camped on the hill, you can pretty much knock anyone down who actually worked hard to climb up the hill.

WhiskeyPapa
12-21-2002, 01:47 PM
Fortunately, that's a small minority of "the rich". 80% of all people with a net worth of \$1 million or more are first-generation millionaires, meaning they earned it themselves.

Dave_7
12-21-2002, 03:44 PM
Does someone really think that the goal of the wealthy is to actively keep poorer people... poor?

Dave.

molecularfire
12-21-2002, 05:08 PM
The truth is that modern tax cuts don't divy up the savings that way. Rather than saving \$9 the rich guys save \$14 and that is unfair.

Oh... I see. It's ok to make someone pay more taxes because he makes more, but not to give him more of a tax deduction. That sounds fair. :rolleyes:

Molecularfire has false arguments leaking all over the place. We are not "beating" anyone here, this is \$ and cents. Your comment is a far too oversimplified metaphor and has no allowance for the need of the beating
The comparison of my 2nd house tax and the food tax is weak. First of all, don't we already donate a large amount of food and supplies to other countries? Second of all food is not a luxury, this is a SECOND home tax not a first home tax. Second homes are a very trivial luxury most of the time.
As for "How can we force them?" Are you asking why pay taxes at all or why have welfare programs or are you asking about the current graduated income tax system?
We pay taxes to pay for the jobs that protect us: Army, police, firedept, social workers, homeless shelters, air pollution control, you get the picture. We pay for welfare because we (America) believes a man's got a right to live (eat, sleep, drink, shelter). Why have a graduated income tax system? Because some people need the money they earn more than others. Your other (again bad) metaphors describe traits that aren't as essential as money, and in many cases there is a duty to pass on some of that skill. Do you really need Bigness to eat? And you know a man doesn't need to be smart. Your trying to equate an advantage to necessity.

Several things...
1) I'm not saying that we are beating anyone (well... at least not in the physical sense). I'm simply pointing to a flaw in the argument "well... they have more money, they should pay more." I don't see how that is very fair.
2) My point exactly. There is a difference between the U.S. donating food to other countries and us being forced to give it. I don't have a problem with people giving food or money to the poor. I have a problem with them being forced to give it. Also, if you look at what some of the poorer countries have in terms of food (or lack thereof), the kinds of food that we eat are trivial luxury items. Yes, there are people in the U.S. who eat to survive. However, most of the food that we eat in the U.S. is beyond that and simply done for the enjoyment of eating. We have been raised our lives thinking of this not as extravagant, but as necessary. So have people who have second houses.
3) As for the "how can we force them" statement... I guess I'm talking about all 3. I can accept the fact that we have to pay taxes to have police, fire department, roads, schools, etc... stuff that benefits society in general. I don't see why tax money should be used to feed the homeless (who make up very little of the tax money going in) for example. Now... I wouldn't have a problem with a system where on your tax form, you can put down how much money you want to donate into a fund to feed the homeless.
4) I think we have a different opinion of what people's rights are. I do NOT think that just because something is necessary that people have an automatic right to them. Yes food is necessary. Does that mean that everybody has an automatic right to food... I don't think so. If you want food, you work for it. If you want a place to live, you work for it. If you want a BMW you work for it.

I think you are totally off and do not really realize how bad poverty is. Where do you live? I think there are places like San Francisco that would really change your mind. I think poverty is shoes that don't fit, daily starvation so one can pay for his medication, not getting a good warm shower once in awhile, CF's story about mothers who work day after day harder than any of us only to make ends meet, never getting promoted, etc is poverty. I think this is a good start to the definition of what is enough. But I do see your point alot of us think we are alot poorer than we really are. I think putting us on the world standard could be a mistake. Howabout we hold our definition of poverty to an American standard.
I can't speak for kb0wwp, but I do know what poverty is. Poverty is when you are not willing to work your rear off to make enough money to get the necessities of life. I grew up in a poor neighborhood. Do you know what the difference is between people who starved and those who did fairly well? (with the exception of those who are sick and therefore really can't work but in my experience make up a VERY small percentage of poor people) How hard you worked. My parents worked in a sweat shop and were able to raise 5 kids from it. We helped ourselves instead of wasting people's money on us. We didn't have all the toys other people did, but we always had food. Other than a serious handicap, there is NO reason why someone can't afford food in the U.S.

Why have a graduated income tax system? Because some people need the money they earn more than others.
More like because some people need the money other people earn. ;)

the thing that irks me the most is people who are born with the affluence. most of the time (sorry, painting w/ a broad brush, i know) they end up being lazy, unmotivated, selfish & greedy, careless, and dependant on Mommmy and Daddy's checkbook. According to some of your posts, they are the ones who "deserve" to be "poor," yet they live in luxury even though they did not work for it, and they more often than not, that is where they will stay.
You'd be amazed at how fast these people end up losing their money. As for people being born richer than me... as far as I'm concerned, I don't have a problem with that. I want to make a decent living because I want to be able to have something to leave to my children. to make things a little easier for them so that they won't have to go through what I went through. Why would I want to deprive a father of that? Anyways... it's their money. They made it. How is it unfair for them to give it to their children? I'd rather give my money to my own children than to a bunch of strangers who I don't know and who have done nothing to have earned my respect. :shrug:

whitak24
12-21-2002, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by cheapbast@rd
however, i resent the fact that a lot of my tax dollars go towards supporting lazy people that are "poor" and "deserve" to have my hard-earned money. wtf? i work my a\$\$ off for my coin and you want to have it given to you to spend on lottery tickets, wrestling pay-per-view, cell phones, and drugs and alcohol? i don't think so. i was poor also. lived in what most of my current peers would call a ghetto. had nearly a dozen people murdered within a mile of my house during a 4-5 year span. drove my parents' pos station wagon to work cuz that's all my parents could afford and ate generic peanut butter and cereal.
Federal: (FY 1999)
Social Security/Medicare: 35%
National Defense: 18%
Social Programs: 17%
Includes Medicaid, food stamps, temporary assistance, supplemental security income (12%) and health research, public health programs, unemployment compensation, assisted housing, and social services (5%)
Net Interest on the debt: 12%
Physical, human, and community development: 9%
Surplus to pay down the debt: 7%
Law enforcement and general government: 2%

State: (these numbers are for Michigan, FY 1998)
Education: 48%
Health: 13.5%
Transportation: 7.7%
Law Enforcement & Public Safety: 6.9%
Revenue Sharing: 5.8% (this money goes to local communities; helps pay for fire depts., police protection, etc.)
Human Services: 5.0%
General Government: 4.2%
Economic Development: 3.2%
Other: 5.7%

obviously, these aren't the newest numbers, but most of these budget percentages do not change drastically from year to year.

as you can see, support for the needy is a fairly small percentage of total government outlays. hell, the fed spends 70% of social spending just to pay interest on the debt.

also, while there certainly are some lazy bastards who use the system for all it's worth, some people do have genuine need and who aren't abusing the system. while i don't have any numbers, i think it's dangerous to paint with such a broad brush.

yippiekiyeh
12-22-2002, 10:45 PM
Originally posted by cheapbast@rd
[B]someone sent this to me the other day and it addresses the thread topic.

One time there was a young teenage girl that was about to finish her first year of college. One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to programs like welfare. He stopped her and asked her how she was doing in school. She answered that she had a 4.0 GPA but it was really tough. She had to study all the time, never had time to go out and party and often went sleepless because all of the studying. She didn't have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of all her studying. He then asked how her friend Mary, that was attending the same college, was doing. She replied that she was barely getting by. She had a 2.0 GPA, never studied, was very popular on campus and was at parties all the time. She often wouldn't show up for classes because she was hung over. He then asked his daughter why she didn't go to the Dean's office and ask why she couldn't take 1.0 off her 4.0 and give it to her friend that only had a 2.0. That way they would both have a 3.0 GPA. She fired back and said 'that wouldn't be fair, I worked really hard for mine and my friend has done nothing.' After a moment of silence, she replied, 'I guess I will never vote the same way again.'

This is an excellent example of how the rich feel, and I agree with this simile.

Another thing you must also think about, if you heavily tax the rich, what insentive is there to continue to work hard to get rich?

cheapie
12-22-2002, 10:46 PM
here's another twist to this matter. what do you consider rich? i know there are different variables such as type of work, social status, etc.

gear02
12-22-2002, 11:24 PM

What's your definition of middle class? To me, I feel like the middle class gets screwed most of the time. I mean, the wealthy are already getting taxed too high and you really can't raise taxes on the lower class without getting voted out of office, so any increase is usually aimed at the middle class.

Is this the case?

whitak24
12-23-2002, 10:31 AM
Originally posted by gear02

What's your definition of middle class? To me, I feel like the middle class gets screwed most of the time. I mean, the wealthy are already getting taxed too high and you really can't raise taxes on the lower class without getting voted out of office, so any increase is usually aimed at the middle class.

Is this the case?
well, to a certain extent, the argument could probably be made that the middle class bears a disproportionately large share of the tax burden, relative to what they earn. (when thinking about these things, you have to remember the economic principle of declining marginal utility. it basically means that each extra unit of anything that you add will be worth less to you than the unit that directly proceeded it. so for a person who makes \$50,000 per year, an extra \$5,000 in taxes is a major burden. but for someone making \$5 million, the extra \$5,000 is basically irrelevant).

so anyway, if you're making under \$20,000 or so, your tax burden is fairly marginal (or non-existant, depending on how many kids you have, etc). and if you're making \$500,000, your tax burden is relatively high, but it doesn't have nearly as much impact. so i think you can argue that the middle income people are impacted the most by changes in the tax structure. (of course, how you define middle income is entirely dependent on what political point you want to prove ;))

however, while middle-income taxpayers are most impacted by taxes, in many ways, they benefit most from government services. for example, the educational system is a huge benefit to the middle class. the wealthy typically don't benefit from it, because they send their kids to private schools and private colleges. the poor don't typically benefit from it for a variety of reasons (which we won't even get staretd on here).

law enforcement and corrections also tends to benefit the middle class. the wealthy live in private communities and hire their own security. but there is a lot more law enforcement in the surburban areas than there is in urban areas (many of which the cops basically "write off", hoping to contain the "problems" to the "ghetto").

i could go on and on, but the point is that middle class people get a lot of benefits from the government (many of which they don't recognize, particularly when they are sitting around bitching about how high taxes are). so maybe it all works out in the end. maybe not. i'm not trying to say it does.....just trying to suggest that there are mitigating factors that explain why the middle class has such a high tax burden.

johnnymk
12-23-2002, 12:05 PM
Most of the benefits that you are talking about, whitak, are from State and local government taxes. I thought that the main thrust of this discussion was Federal taxes.

whitak24
12-23-2002, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by johnnymk
Most of the benefits that you are talking about, whitak, are from State and local government taxes. I thought that the main thrust of this discussion was Federal taxes.
good point.