Redistributing wealth is communism

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Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:08 pm

Tobias wrote:Atleast with the government one has the option to (in a democracy) influence how that cash is spent. In a system with every man for itself, you have no such options. In the government case there is also the option of influencing how much money to be taxed, and again in the anarchy scenario, there are no such option. Whether taxes is stealing or not, is irrelevant. One will have to buy that protection somehow anyways and a democratic government has so far proven to be the lesser of the evils.
In democracy you only have the illusion of influencing things. It might feel like you are having an influence when you happen to be in the majority. But in reality you have as much influence over things as you influence the weather. Just because you hope for a sunny day and the sun happens to shine, it doens't mean you have any influence over weather, even if would seem like you do.

It's true, that you have to pay protection money for someone, but social democratic governments extort money from their citizen also for purposes other then protection. Instead of anarchy, it would be fairer to compare against minarchism, where you only pay for the only necessity - protection, or against anarcho-capitalism. But it's not like these forms of government will ever be tested. Any attempt to form an anarcho-capitalists "state" (without the help of nuclear weapons) would be swiftly (and bloodily) put to an end by the democrats, because democrats are not be willing to give up their extortees away. If they did, who would be left to willingly pay for all the useless stuff (except the people who can't afford to pay)?
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ACook
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Re: Redistributing wealth is communism

Post by ACook » Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:44 pm

Erssa wrote:Because taxing is stealing, and stealing is wrong.

Taxes are a protection racket. Fundamentally it's the same as protection money collected by the mafia. Government steals tax payers money using threat of violence. Back in the feudal period people paid taxes to sponsor the extravagant lifestyle of the nobles. Not paying taxes could get you killed. These days you pay taxes to support the lifestyle of plebs, refusal to pay won't get you killed, but the plebs will throw you in jail for a long time. Despite these small differences the same old principal still applies - pay taxes or pay the consequences.

I don't think anyone minds paying taxes for things they would have to pay for in a free market society. Things like road upkeep, basic education, school system, police and rescue workers, universal health care etc. But instead I also happen to sponsor talentless artists, gay animal sanctuarys, fold dance festivals and other useless projects, religious baby factories through child benefits, lazy, freeloading, career unemployed people etc...

Knowing how my tax money is spent makes it extremely hard to accept taxes.
what if you live in a selfsustained house in a forest owned by the family for years, build your own roads, teach your own children, and employ a few men with guns walking the perimiter?
But you do like to see folk dancing and are a lazy sob.

there's no such thing as universally accepted taxes. some are just less objectionable than others. Usage based taxes seem to be a decent way to handle these differences. If you don't like paying for roads, don't use them with a vehicle that damages them in some way.

edit: btw I love having a government that is able to care for you when you can't work for whatever reason, when you're sick, when you're old, when you're young. I also like there to be roads, police, public art, environmental and food standards agencies, safe waterways and dikes to protect me from the bloody sea and riversin this flat land below sea level... so Go Taxes!

this doesn't mean the current government is n't a bunch of hypocritical neoconservative religious nannies, but that's for another round..
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snutten
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Post by snutten » Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:46 pm

I seem to have attracted some of the right wing angry crowd. If you want to criticize taxes, there are better arguments than calling it stealing. Taxes definitely hampers some aspects of economic growth, for example.

To keep this discussion even remotely interesting, please refrain from the Bill O'Reilly style arguments. E.g. if we agree taxes are just simply wrong, then we must also agree we can have no functioning government no matter the consequences. And let's face it: nobody can have it their way all the time. Arguing some 5-10% of the budget being "wasted" because it caters to somebody else's wishes makes the whole government incompetent and then in the same time referring to history is not fruitful. Historically almost everything was wasted and or stolen. Or, why not, used up in a war in the Middle East?

Wouldn't it be nice if everybody focused on what system they LIKE instead of what they hate? Let me have a go at it:

I agree taxes in the Northern Countries are too high and I agree the governments have taken on too many areas of responsibility here. They need to focus more on the central tasks to keep spending from rising even higher.
But in the same time, before you dismiss Sweden as a mistake, have a look at the numbers in the study I presented above. Also, please note the Swedish budget makes a SURPLUS since many years, this in stark contrast to most western governments.


To me, it is vital that a government must always strive for equality, education, cultural cultivation and so on. You get the people you deserve. Jay-walking the streets of Stockholm, you wouldn't find many people thinking Saddam was behind 9/11 or something similar. I'd say it's because Sweden spends money on free education, social security, healthy sponsored media and so on. Here, cigarettes are taxed beyond your wildest dreams, or nightmares, depending on how you look upon it. Say what you will about it but the numbers are quite clear: swedes are healthier than most and smoking is dwindling. Strangely or not, this coincides with having a comparatively aware population even amongst those with lower education.
This line of reasoning also helps if you want to do something for the environment. We get the environment we deserve. Sweden is leaps and bounds ahead of most, if not all, countries. Forgive me if I say this is partly due to our system where even the poor can afford to care and the owners of big companies can't control as much.

Flat taxes for example benefits the rich and we all know the rich already has become so much richer all over the world (globalization effect probably) with increased social tension as a result. And of course flat taxing only changes the percentage payed in different income brackets and certainly doesn't put a damper on the tax lawyers market.

But I'm a pragmatic through and through. I'd happily sacrifice any holy ideological cow if the end result is better. And by better I mean better lives for the people. Better because people say it's better for them, not "better" as in "nobody's dying", just simply better in their own words.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:45 pm

I wrote:We are all in this world together, and we all benefit from other people's success, and we all lose when other people fail.

Government is necessary. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: good government must do what the people cannot, or cannot do well.

So, we need other people to succeed (too) in order for society as a whole to succeed; and we need government to do this -- and therefore, we must pay for the government to function.

How to do this fairly is the question. In the end, it has to happen, and the best government is the kind that adjusts things to work better as time goes on. What we call this kind of government, really doesn't matter in the end.

I love the quote from Winston Churchill: "I think democracy is the worst kind of government -- except for all the others."
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croddie
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Post by croddie » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:13 pm

snutten wrote:To me, it is vital that a government must always strive for equality, education, cultural cultivation and so on. You get the people you deserve. Jay-walking the streets of Stockholm, you wouldn't find many people thinking Saddam was behind 9/11 or something similar. I'd say it's because Sweden spends money on free education, social security, healthy sponsored media and so on.
I would rather have freedom of speech/thought than a strengthening of government control of information and attitudes - even if this results in conspiracy theories, paranormal beliefs, etc. - which I am against. Actually a comparative study of proportions of these belifs in different countries might be interesting.
Here, cigarettes are taxed beyond your wildest dreams, or nightmares, depending on how you look upon it. Say what you will about it but the numbers are quite clear: swedes are healthier than most and smoking is dwindling.
This makes sense, especially as healthiness reduces the burden on the state.
This line of reasoning also helps if you want to do something for the environment. We get the environment we deserve. Sweden is leaps and bounds ahead of most, if not all, countries.
Are you saying there is less pollution in sweeden than other countries? Or that landscape is more beautiful than other counties.
Also you are becoming very nationalistic. What other countries have you lived in?
Flat taxes for example benefits the rich and we all know the rich already has become so much richer all over the world (globalization effect probably) with increased social tension as a result. And of course flat taxing only changes the percentage payed in different income brackets and certainly doesn't put a damper on the tax lawyers market.
That's a basic mistake.
-Flat taxes, compared to progressive taxes benefit poor and rich at the expense of the middle classes. In either class of taxes, higher tax rates benefit the poor at the expense of the rich (up to the point when taxes become bad for everyone).
-A pure flat tax is extremely simple to administer. Compare that with the usual system of personal, capital, business, sales taxes where you have to spend years full-time just to understand part of them - making managing investments absurdly difficult. (You could also have a simple progressive tax system.)
And by better I mean better lives for the people. Better because people say it's better for them, not "better" as in "nobody's dying", just simply better in their own words.
That's a highly subjective measure of goodness which would suggest you don't believe in an objective good. But you like people to be educated - what if they were happy to belive that Saddam Hussein caused 9/11?

kevral
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Post by kevral » Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:28 pm

snutten wrote:Flat taxes for example benefits the rich and we all know the rich already has become so much richer all over the world (globalization effect probably) with increased social tension as a result. And of course flat taxing only changes the percentage payed in different income brackets and certainly doesn't put a damper on the tax lawyers market.
How? How does that make even remotely sense? I don't know about Sweden, but in neighboring Norway the "rich" pay 0 % tax. How do I know? The socialist government thinks it's a brilliant idea to publish searchable databases of personal taxes, that's how.
snutten wrote:But I'm a pragmatic through and through. I'd happily sacrifice any holy ideological cow if the end result is better. And by better I mean better lives for the people. Better because people say it's better for them, not "better" as in "nobody's dying", just simply better in their own words.
Ah, a man of no principles -- a true social democrat.

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Post by qviri » Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:03 pm

kevral wrote:Ah, a man of no principles -- a true social democrat.
There, there. Did that make you feel better?
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Tobias
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Post by Tobias » Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:54 am

Erssa wrote:In democracy you only have the illusion of influencing things. It might feel like you are having an influence when you happen to be in the majority. But in reality you have as much influence over things as you influence the weather. Just because you hope for a sunny day and the sun happens to shine, it doens't mean you have any influence over weather, even if would seem like you do.

It's true, that you have to pay protection money for someone, but social democratic governments extort money from their citizen also for purposes other then protection. Instead of anarchy, it would be fairer to compare against minarchism, where you only pay for the only necessity - protection, or against anarcho-capitalism. But it's not like these forms of government will ever be tested. Any attempt to form an anarcho-capitalists "state" (without the help of nuclear weapons) would be swiftly (and bloodily) put to an end by the democrats, because democrats are not be willing to give up their extortees away. If they did, who would be left to willingly pay for all the useless stuff (except the people who can't afford to pay)?
Yet you influence things all day long. Even writing here you influence those of us that reads this topic. The reason why you do not think you can influence anything is because so many needs to be inlfuenced that it is hard to see the result. Still, you influence everyone around you.

But is minarchism really relevant to compare to? I find the concept a bit flawed, as I can not find any combination of incentives and principles which would lead to minarchism as the logical outcome. Besides, if protection is the commodity in minarchism, what is the difference compared to anarchy? (Besides, what do you mean by protection. Protection from what exactly? It is fully possible to argue that todays governments are minarchistic, as all they really do is protect us from different dangers...)

Something that scares me, though, is that Anarcho-Capitalism isn't so hard to imagine. The concept has been utilized by several science-fiction writers who projects that multinational will achieve such an economic powerbase that they will eventually transcend national borders and jurisdiction. But I have a feeling that this (most probable scenario) is to your vision of anarcho-capitalism what Soviet was to communism. As close the reality ever got to theory, although still not what we hope for...

blackworx
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Post by blackworx » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:57 am

The impression I get from a lot of the recent responses decrying taxation is one of: "it's my money, I worked hard for it, and I just hate to see it being stolen from me and spent on other people" with the further implication: "if this money wasn't being stolen from me by my government and given to all these workshy hippies, who don't even appreciate the value of what they're being given, I would put the money to much better use". In short: "me, me, me, me, me".

Without your government and all its stupid, irritating, hypocritical, human habits, what exactly would you be doing with all this money that is no longer being stolen from you? Regardless of how shit the current system can be, without it you wouldn't be in a heated, lighted house in the middle of winter, going on the internet discussing and buying up nice PC bits for your latest build to show off to people around the world whom you've never even met.

I know that's a fairly simplistic observation, but come on people. We are sitting at the pinnacle of human endeavour and this system of representative government and industry has put us here. To say you are not represented is just *rant deleted*
kevral wrote:Ah, a man of no principles -- a true social democrat.
Or perhaps just none with which you yourself can identify.

snutten
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Post by snutten » Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:52 am

croddie wrote:I would rather have freedom of speech/thought than a strengthening of government control of information and attitudes - even if this results in conspiracy theories, paranormal beliefs, etc.
So would I.
croddie wrote:Are you saying there is less pollution in sweeden than other countries? Or that landscape is more beautiful than other counties.
Also you are becoming very nationalistic. What other countries have you lived in?
Sorry for being a bit unclear. I was referring to pollution. And yes, Sweden is cleaner than thou. Please check the numbers. (I travelled a lot, but admittedly only lived and worked for one year abroad, namely in Taiwan. Taiwan btw has horrible environmental issues and by that time -10 years ago - also close to no social security so perhaps it was a close runners-up to Hongkong as far as night watch states go.)

croddie wrote:-Flat taxes, compared to progressive taxes benefit poor and rich at the expense of the middle classes. In either class of taxes, higher tax rates benefit the poor at the expense of the rich (up to the point when taxes become bad for everyone).
Could you please explain this? If everybody pays, say 40%, how can the poor benefit from this if the alternative is poor pay 30%, middle class 40% and rich 50%???
croddie wrote:(You could also have a simple progressive tax system.)
Thanks for the clarification. I think we can agree on this one?
croddie wrote:
snutten wrote:And by better I mean better lives for the people. Better because people say it's better for them, not "better" as in "nobody's dying", just simply better in their own words.
That's a highly subjective measure of goodness which would suggest you don't believe in an objective good. But you like people to be educated - what if they were happy to belive that Saddam Hussein caused 9/11?
Objective good is tough to nail. Many bright minds have tried and failed.
People can of course be happy whilst believing Saddam blew the twin towers. But the effects of this belief has been terrible. This also shows up in the polls, if you'd care to read them. The end result is more interesting than the shiny idea. You all heard the proverb about the paved road to hell I guess.

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Post by Erssa » Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:54 am

croddie wrote:
snutten wrote:Here, cigarettes are taxed beyond your wildest dreams, or nightmares, depending on how you look upon it. Say what you will about it but the numbers are quite clear: swedes are healthier than most and smoking is dwindling.
This makes sense, especially as healthiness reduces the burden on the state.
Actually smoking reduces the burden on the state. First of all smokers pay for their medical expenses in advance by paying those high tobacco taxes. Second, smokers have 10 years shorter life expectancy then non-smokers. This means that less money is wasted on their pension. Old people are also a huge burden to society because of the huge medical bills they cause. The dozens of pills they swallow every day, extra surgeries, days spent in full hospital care and retirement home add up to a huge amount during those final extra 10 years.
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Post by Erssa » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:10 am

snutten wrote:
croddie wrote:-Flat taxes, compared to progressive taxes benefit poor and rich at the expense of the middle classes. In either class of taxes, higher tax rates benefit the poor at the expense of the rich (up to the point when taxes become bad for everyone).
Could you please explain this? If everybody pays, say 40%, how can the poor benefit from this if the alternative is poor pay 30%, middle class 40% and rich 50%???
Pretty much every flat tax model has a certain "income buffer" before you have to pay taxes. The amound exceeding that buffer is subjected to that 40% flat tax. For the sake of argument, let's assume that it's 10k euros. Which means that, if poor persons income is 15k euros a year, he pays 40% taxes for the 5k, that exceeds the 10k tax free limit. So the poor person would pay 2000k taxes out of the 15k, which adds up to 13% of his total income. Rich people in Finland can pay about 60% income taxes, so 40% would certainly be an improvement for them. This wouldn't really decrease reveneues for the state, because it would kill the incentive for rich people to "evade" taxes through tax-planning, which is exceedingly common practice for doctors, lawyers etc here in Finland.
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snutten
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Post by snutten » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:16 am

kevral wrote:
snutten wrote:Flat taxes for example benefits the rich and we all know the rich already has become so much richer all over the world (globalization effect probably) with increased social tension as a result. And of course flat taxing only changes the percentage payed in different income brackets and certainly doesn't put a damper on the tax lawyers market.
How? How does that make even remotely sense? I don't know about Sweden, but in neighboring Norway the "rich" pay 0 % tax. How do I know? The socialist government thinks it's a brilliant idea to publish searchable databases of personal taxes, that's how.
What's not making sense? If you're referring to the flat contra progressive tax system: Do you think it's the actual progressiveness of the rates that makes it all complicated? I could teach that part to children given five minutes.
Concerning the Nordic "brilliant idea" of Offentlighetsprincipen, roughly translated to Freedom of Information: have a look at the relevant Transparency International Website and judge by yourselves.
I cede that our governments have a strong tendency to try and control our private lives and I can certainly understand how that would be all the more annoying if you don't share their values and beliefs. (In Sweden, the feminist ideology, which I basically share, has gone quite radical and this sometimes lead to some weird results driving people crazy.)
kevral wrote:Ah, a man of no principles -- a true social democrat.
In fact, you have a point. The social democrats have always been very pragmatic. But I would like to point out that I voted for the right block coalition.

snutten
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Post by snutten » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:24 am

Erssa wrote:Describes a model where EVERYBODY pays LESS.

Of course everybody "wins" then. At least as long as we focus solely on paying and not on what it would be like if we did not pay taxes at all.

And by the way, in your system the poor don't win because of the flatness, they win because it's very non-flat. Only difference is the diagram in your words is square instead of rounded, but the end result is however a progressive tax system. Plot incomes on a scale, using Erssa's system, and see for yourselves.

kevral
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Post by kevral » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:36 am

snutten wrote: What's not making sense? If you're referring to the flat contra progressive tax system: Do you think it's the actual progressiveness of the rates that makes it all complicated? I could teach that part to children given five minutes.
What's not making sense is the implication that when compared to the existing progressive system, a flat tax would favor the rich. Considering that today, most taxes are optional for any wealthy Norwegian.

They can't pay any less, so how would they benefit from a flat tax?
snutten wrote:But I would like to point out that I voted for the right block coalition.
Your right block, like ours, is social democratic.

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Post by snutten » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:48 am

Erssa wrote:
croddie wrote:
snutten wrote:Here, cigarettes are taxed beyond your wildest dreams, or nightmares, depending on how you look upon it. Say what you will about it but the numbers are quite clear: swedes are healthier than most and smoking is dwindling.
This makes sense, especially as healthiness reduces the burden on the state.
Actually smoking reduces the burden on the state. First of all smokers pay for their medical expenses in advance by paying those high tobacco taxes. Second, smokers have 10 years shorter life expectancy then non-smokers. This means that less money is wasted on their pension. Old people are also a huge burden to society because of the huge medical bills they cause. The dozens of pills they swallow every day, extra surgeries, days spent in full hospital care and retirement home add up to a huge amount during those final extra 10 years.
This is total baloney. I don't even know where to start. For the love of xxx please read up before you keep torturing us with this never ending flood of unsubstantial bullshit.
Of course not many of you can read swedish, but let me sum up what Statens Folkhälsoinstitut has to say about Erssa's logic:

Total cost for smoking is 26 billion kronor.
- 2,2 billion for hospital care and medicine (conservative assessment)
- 6 billion because of income shortfalls and premature retirements
- 18 billion cost for sick leave

During which Sweden could collect 8 billion in tobacco taxes. Not to mention people have to spend their money on something. Undoubtly it would be better if people spent them on services or such, which would also render taxes whilst avoiding all the aforementioned costs.

The thing with smoking is that not only does it shorten your life-span, it also really extends the time you can expect to be alive but very sick. Perhaps Erssa would have us kill the sick, since they can all blame themselves anyways, thus saving his economical logic.

Note that we're only talking about the purely economical costs. I find it cynical to not at least try to weigh in the tragic life stories. But this would leave me open to arguments about what "happiness" actually means...

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Post by snutten » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:55 am

kevral wrote:What's not making sense is the implication that when compared to the existing progressive system, a flat tax would favor the rich. Considering that today, most taxes are optional for any wealthy Norwegian.

They can't pay any less, so how would they benefit from a flat tax?
We have the very same problem. Doesn't all states wrestle with this? And how does a flat system benefit our cause? I doubt the rich would suddenly start paying up just because it's "flat". (Quite to the contrary I believe that if we let the rich get richer they get to keep even more means that they can use to avoid taxes.)
kevral wrote:
snutten wrote:But I would like to point out that I voted for the right block coalition.
Your right block, like ours, is social democratic.
Hrgmblgm.... yeaaaah, okey, I guess you are right on this one. :-)

kevral
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Post by kevral » Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:01 am

snutten wrote:We have the very same problem. Doesn't all states wrestle with this? And how does a flat system benefit our cause? I doubt the rich would suddenly start paying up just because it's "flat". (Quite to the contrary I believe that if we let the rich get richer they get to keep even more means that they can use to avoid taxes.)
I haven't read up on this in a while, but I think I remember a group of US Congressmen having a study in the 1990s. An integral part of their model was no tax deductions at all, by law, and also that corporations would be prohibited from buying housing, cars, food etc for private use. Every dollar spent for private consumption or investment should have to be paid in wages first, thereby incurring income tax.

From what I remember, their whole idea hinged on it being very very difficult to avoid taxes. No wonder their system went nowhere. :)

edit: fixed exemption => deduction
Last edited by kevral on Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:30 am

snutten wrote:
Erssa wrote:Describes a model where EVERYBODY pays LESS.
You asked how it worked, so I oversimplified it so even you would understand the basic idea. Estonia has flat tax. If you want real data, check up how they do it.
snutten wrote:This is total baloney. I don't even know where to start. For the love of xxx please read up before you keep torturing us with this never ending flood of unsubstantial bullshit.
Of course not many of you can read swedish, but let me sum up what Statens Folkhälsoinstitut has to say about Erssa's logic:

Total cost for smoking is 26 billion kronor.
- 2,2 billion for hospital care and medicine (conservative assessment)
- 6 billion because of income shortfalls and premature retirements
- 18 billion cost for sick leave

During which Sweden could collect 8 billion in tobacco taxes. Not to mention people have to spend their money on something. Undoubtly it would be better if people spent them on services or such, which would also render taxes whilst avoiding all the aforementioned costs.
If you cannot understand how a simple flat tax can benefit the poor, I don't expect you to understand how much nonsmokers costs for the government say from 80 to 90 years old.
Perhaps Erssa would have us kill the sick, since they can all blame themselves anyways, thus saving his economical logic.
Killing the sick, old, retarded, disabled etc would benefit the economy. It's just a fact, no reason to get sentimental over it.
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Post by jaganath » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:38 pm

You asked how it worked, so I oversimplified it so even you would understand the basic idea.
keep it civil, people. you are all members in good standing so you know how this works.
@blackworx: come on people. We are sitting at the pinnacle of human endeavour
if where I am sitting right now is the pinnacle of human endeavour, it is a sad day for human civilization indeed :lol:

joking aside, yes the developed world is very nice (on the whole), but "pinnacle of human endeavour"?! if you had asked the Victorians what the world would look like in a 100 years time, no doubt mention would have been made of personal jet packs and colonies in the sky, compared to that the mundane present looks very drab and dreary in comparison.

it seems to me that from the period from about 1870-1970, the world went through a period of incredible change and progress (ie invention of the motorcar, incredible breakthroughs in public health, massive public health and sanitation initiatives, creation of many international bodies such as WHO and IMF, putting a man on the moon, incredible advances in weapons [from the Lee Enfield rifle to computer-guided ICBMs]), a rate of progress that probably couldn't be sustained, in hindsight. Now we just have slow, plodding, infinitesimal progress in all fields, with research scientists lauded for improving the efficiency of some obscure process by 0.0001%. the only real exception is computers, where hardware improvements continue to track Moore's Law, albeit hampered by Microsoft bloat which takes away performance as fast as Intel can give it.

we still live in a world where people die of preventable diseases like cholera and typhoid (which many thought had been eliminated over a hundred years ago), and many millions of people lack access to clean water and basic sanitation.

it's all very well living in an ivory tower, but most of the world's population isn't invited to that particular party (the developed world, I mean).

you can all go back to discussing flat taxes now (is it really that interesting?)
[size=75]JFK:
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."[/size]

andyb
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Post by andyb » Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:53 pm

we still live in a world where people die of preventable diseases like cholera and typhoid (which many thought had been eliminated over a hundred years ago), and many millions of people lack access to clean water and basic sanitation.

it's all very well living in an ivory tower, but most of the world's population isn't invited to that particular party (the developed world, I mean).
All very true, but at the same time it is a dog eat dog world - the fairest possible thing that first world contries could do here is stop medling in the affairs of these people.

No free money, no 0% profit drugs, no food, no clothes, no weaponary or ammunition, no peacekeepers, no importation of their doctors and nurses or businessmen, no farming subsidies for European farmers, no cotton subsidies for US farmers, and anything else relevant that I have missed.

Note that the above list includes benefits (as seen by some) and drawbacks (as seen by some), I have attempted to keep a balance.

Let the Dogs eat the Dogs, soon enough "A Dog" will win without external interference, the countries/regions will pull themselves together and they will be much stronger for it in the long run. No doubt there will be bloodshed, and chaos, but the difference will be that the first world countries had no involvment from xxx point in history (we cant undo the past), there is vast bloodshed, famine, disease and chaos right now, what will the difference actually be.?
I would rather have freedom of speech/thought than a strengthening of government control of information and attitudes - even if this results in conspiracy theories, paranormal beliefs, etc. - which I am against.
Its good to know that "croddie" is not religious and does not like mention of the word "God" that many politicians use to "influence" their potential voters - although that does step on the toes of "the stengthening of government control of information and attitudes". How does that work, I cant get past the contradiction.
-Flat taxes, compared to progressive taxes benefit poor and rich at the expense of the middle classes. In either class of taxes, higher tax rates benefit the poor at the expense of the rich (up to the point when taxes become bad for everyone).
Have a look at the link below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poll_tax#2 ... ity_charge

Flat taxes are not popular with poor people, but are with middle-income and rich people. But on the flip side of the coin, Inheritance Tax makes poor people smile and middle-income and rich people physically sick.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inheritance_tax


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Post by croddie » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:29 pm

snutten wrote:And yes, Sweden is cleaner than thou. Please check the numbers.
I'm sure it's a clean place. (There are some untouched parts of the world too but that's beside the point.)
croddie wrote:Could you please explain this? If everybody pays, say 40%, how can the poor benefit from this if the alternative is poor pay 30%, middle class 40% and rich 50%???
It could be depending on how you choose the numbers. What it means theoretically for the poor to be better off is the level of benefits/services is higher because income is zero for the poorest person.
It's hard to explain without drawing.
Look at net income as a function of gross income.
Draw a curve which starts above 0 (benefit level) and is increasing and curved downwards. That's the progressive tax.
Then draw a line through that which crosses it at two points. That's the associated flat tax which is better for the poor and rich but worse for the people in the middle. Not every such line will be associated with a flat tax of course, but there is a flat tax that gives such a line.
croddie wrote:Objective good is tough to nail. Many bright minds have tried and failed.
-You can admit its existence without nailing it down.
-We shouldn't give up trying.
People can of course be happy whilst believing Saddam blew the twin towers. But the effects of this belief has been terrible. This also shows up in the polls, if you'd care to read them. The end result is more interesting than the shiny idea. You all heard the proverb about the paved road to hell I guess.
So the thing in itself is not bad? You think it is better for people to be happy and ignorant than unhappy and wise? That's a possible view, but I find it horrific to believe in objective truth and yet ascribe it no inherent value.

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Post by croddie » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:41 pm

Erssa wrote:Actually smoking reduces the burden on the state.
I retract the certainty of my opinion, although I still think it is still probably true. Yes you have to consider various factors including additional costs of old age health care, pensions if they are provided by the state, reduced taxable work done by smokers who die, and possibly other factors.

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Post by croddie » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:45 pm

snutten wrote:Note that we're only talking about the purely economical costs. I find it cynical to not at least try to weigh in the tragic life stories. But this would leave me open to arguments about what "happiness" actually means...
A good case in point for our discussion. What if smokers are happy (in their own estimation) to smoke and die prematurely of cancer.

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Post by croddie » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:49 pm

Erssa wrote:Pretty much every flat tax model has a certain "income buffer" before you have to pay taxes.
I wouldn't call that a flat tax. It certainly wouldn't be called such be academic economists, in the real world I don't know. To me it is a piecewise linear progressive tax.
A flat tax is just a rate. Generally it will start at a negative point so poor people will receive money. You could also describe it as a rate and level of benefits (the amount you receive if you make 0 income).

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Post by croddie » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:55 pm

andyb wrote:Its good to know that "croddie" is not religious and does not like mention of the word "God" that many politicians use to "influence" their potential voters - although that does step on the toes of "the stengthening of government control of information and attitudes". How does that work, I cant get past the contradiction.
I don't know why you are calling me non-religious or what point you are making here? Is there a contradiction in what I said?
That's not a flat tax, it's a modified lump-sum tax. Lump-sum and flat taxes are completely different.

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Post by andyb » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:24 pm

paranormal beliefs
You cant be seen as believable if you dont see "Paranormal beliefs" and "religion" as one and the same. So yes there is a contradiction and it lies in the quote below.
I would rather have freedom of speech/thought than a strengthening of government control of information and attitudes - even if this results in conspiracy theories, paranormal beliefs, etc. - which I am against.
Your statement says:
"I would rather have freedom of speech/thought than a strengthening of government control of information and attitudes"
Is that not one and the same.?

"even if this results in conspiracy theories, paranormal beliefs, etc. - which I am against."
So you are against conspiracy theories, ghosts and god. Seems quite clear to me.

When top-level politicians use the word "god" on a regular basis just to get votes is that not "strengthening of government control of information and attitudes".?
Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poll_tax#2 ... ity_charge

That's not a flat tax, it's a modified lump-sum tax. Lump-sum and flat taxes are completely different.
Please explain how it is different from your "flat rate" system. The "Poll Tax" is a tax that taxes everyone in a building above a certain age (jobworthy) the same amount regardless of what they earn (unless that rate is very low). Apart from the obvious (this is a local tax, and not the only tax) the variation of the cost of the tax in different areas is the only thing that seperates people - everyone pays the same whether they are on minimum income or £1m a year.


Andy
Last edited by andyb on Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by snutten » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:31 pm

Erssa wrote:
snutten wrote:
Erssa wrote:Describes a model where EVERYBODY pays LESS.
You asked how it worked, so I oversimplified it so even you would understand the basic idea. Estonia has flat tax. If you want real data, check up how they do it.
Estonia is your good example?
Erssa wrote:If you cannot understand how a simple flat tax can benefit the poor, I don't expect you to understand how much nonsmokers costs for the government say from 80 to 90 years old.
Show me the relevant numbers or stuff it. This is not a question of opinions, it's easy enough to check up on. You think old people are expensive, but that's a piss in Mississippi compared to what is invested in a young person from 0 to 20 years (moneywise). And any doctor would tell you years of cancer cost a helluva lot more than most old folks ever do even if they live until they are 100.
EDIT: If you pull the John McCain card, I fold. ;-)

So SHOW ME THE MONEY, Erssa. Give us the facts. Serve us a credible link.
Last edited by snutten on Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by snutten » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:41 pm

croddie wrote:
snutten wrote:Note that we're only talking about the purely economical costs. I find it cynical to not at least try to weigh in the tragic life stories. But this would leave me open to arguments about what "happiness" actually means...
A good case in point for our discussion. What if smokers are happy (in their own estimation) to smoke and die prematurely of cancer.
How can we ever know unless we ask them and make statistics out of it? (My own experience tell me smokers are not happy about their addiction. Anyone disagrees? Of course the burden of proof are for me to bear, but you know there are several studies to back me up right?)
Anyways, I get your point.

But, croddie, you seem sensible enough and I also guessing you vote conservative?
Why do you think wealth distribution is not only thought of as a bad idea, but even worse - maybe even as morally wrong? Is it just simply the principle of reaping what you sow and all that?

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Post by snutten » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:49 pm

NeilBlanchard wrote:Government is necessary.
Thank you Neil.

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