2/17/2006

These Damned Taxes


Our taxation system is a joke- an economic thorn in the side of rational people all across America. And guess what? Liberals, conservatives, and many in between agree.
(I’d like to let this one simmer on the back burner for a bit, something to think about in the context of some of the ‘expense’ issues we’ve been talking about lately.)
Turning away from defense and homeland security spending temporarily- let’s look not at what we spend but where we get the money. (Cont.)


In 2004, the General Accounting Office reported that 60% of all US corporations paid NO tax between the years of 1996 through 2000. In 2004, corporate taxes made up less than 7.4% of federal revenues. And this was BEFORE additional tax breaks implemented by the Bush Administration! As we prepare our convoluted papers to comply with Uncle Sam, let’s revisit why the tax code sucks this weekend.

Exhibit A-Citizens For Tax Justice, Date From Annual Reports and Forms 10-K:

Year 2000 Profits of Colgate Palmolive Corporation: 860,600,000
Tax Paid: -8,200,000 Tax rate: -0.9%
Tax Break: 309,400,000

Profits of General Electric: 24,574,000,000
Tax Rate: 13.3%

Profits of IBM: 11,299,000,000
Tax Rate: 12.4%

Profits of Microsoft: 21,866,500,000
Tax Rate: 1.8%

Exhibit B: Family of 4, Income of $30,000 a year
Tax Rate: 17%


So… how do we feel about this? Do we see benefits to this system? What about flat tax proposals? Plans to integrate social security tax with income? What about a higher sales tax instead of an income tax? So those who buy, pay? Would this drive down consumer spending, and how might this change our habits? Trade? Would ANYTHING work better than this ridiculous system we have now? Do you think taxes should be an instrument to monkey with the economy-‘stimulus’ approaches? Do you think average Americans even understand the tax codes? Should taxation be understandable, and fair?

I am not trying to get into technicalities though we easily could, there are some proposals and work groups with all sorts of recommendations on earned income, estate tax, child credits, etc. and hundreds of proposals for how to make giving to Uncle Sam more or less enjoyable. In general, who should pay and how?

44 comments:

Rhino-itall said...

Great topic. I think the only fair tax is a flat tax. The corporations that pay so little now are able to do so because they have the wherewithall to exploit the 3 trillion page tax code. make it simple, Individuals pay X percentage, Corporations pay Y percetage. Whatever that # is, everyone pays the same. With the only exceptions going to the lowest income earners, who pay no taxes right now. I think they have it tough enough as it is. to me this is common sense, therefore there is almost no hope that washington will ever implement it.

tp said...

Are there figures that compare revenues of a flat tax as Rhino describes compared to current revenues under our present code? Like, has somebody done the math to see if we fall short or come out ahead? The numbers on corporate taxes suggest that we would come out ahead. And even if we did not, couldn't we supplement with a federal sales tax?

I just would like to know some numbers on flat taxes- a percent no matter who or what you are. Compared to now. There HAS to be something better than this.

Rhino-itall said...

tp there are many studies, and steve forbes wrote a whole book on it. For every study in favor, you can find one against, so you have to use your own judgement. Forbes wrote a op ed piece in the journal last year that sums up his position. I like it.heres the link.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007139

Lew Scannon said...

Isn't it funny how people who claim to be great patriots start singing a different tune when tax time comes around. Guess what? Freedom ain't free. Before we cut taxes (and increasing the budget deficit that requires the printing of more useless dollars), how about we cut government spending?
Look at the counter at the side of the page. If that isn't the biggest waste of tax payers dollars than I don't know what is. Instead of reducing the federal government and cutting reckless spending as he promised, Bush has increased the size of the federal government and spending as well. Besides illegal wars of agression like the one in Iraq or the upcoming one in Iran, the money copuld be better spent seeking a cheaper less deadly diplomatic solution.
Simplifying the yax code would put a lot of tax lawyers out of work, therefore, I don't expect to see any change in that until we stop voting for the Democrats and Republicans. Both parties are in the pockets of corporate America and most really have no concern for the average American unless it's campaign time again.

Donkeyhue said...

Im not sure if you got the memo Lew but we actually did seek "a cheaper less deadly diplomatic solution" and Saddam got rich of it. The blame for the Iraqi war lies squarely on Saddam. If Saddam had of allowed UN weapons inpectors continued access to his country as was stipulated by UN mandate...then this war would not have happened. I know thats hard to fathom, but this war WAS Saddams fault, not Dubya's.

As far as the tax issue, both sides seems to avoid the issue that it is our money not theirs and a flat tax would be the fairest for individuals. It shouldnt be whats best for the Fed but whats best for the individual, let them adjust their spending according to what we pay not the other way around. The problem with that is that the mass exodus of American industry would be expedited, as other countries would be more than willing to take the dollars and rates you mentioned in your post. Its a big clusterf#ck, I dont claim to have the foggiest idea how we get out this mess, and unfortunately I think both parties are more interested in gaining access to the control of our funds than they are in the management of them

Lily said...

While it is important to debate the causes of the war, and the costs- I'm not sure if that fight has to happen on this topic. It's a specific issue, taxation, and like I said there are both liberals AND conservatives that think the current system is unfair. I simply wanted to get some feedback on it.

Every discussion does not have to center on where people disagree, and we don't have to get out our boxing gloves at 'hello'. Its frustrating because I asked like fifty questions! AND I tried to pick a less polarized topic! Should I just post stupid cartoons? OK. I'll do that. I'm all over fluff.

AJ said...

"..the mass exodus of American industry would be expedited,.."

Aptly put. Just like Ross Perot said, that 'sucking' sound you hear....
Corporations would leave and are leaving for that reason, plus the wages.
Almost seems as though an isolationist economic protocol is needed.
I agree with Donkey about that but disagree with his perception on Saddam. Saddam's main blasphemy was that he refused to accept US dollars for oil, just like IRAN is going to do in a few weeks.
The ultimate question is however, what to do about the makers
of money: The Federal Reserve.
Why do they tax? After all they make the damn shit.
They tax so it becomes scarcer, therefore more valuable, albeit psychologically.

Lily said...

AJ- it depends who you ask. Now former FED Chair Greenspan said that taxation and social spending on unbacked money constituted machinery for wealth redistribution. You bring up good points, but with very lengthy answers! Its not that it makes it scarcer, it allows the government to manipulate the economy through the actions of the Fed and through the budget. This is necessary since the dollar is not backed by a 'standard' anymore. One could go back to the depression and our relationship with Europe after WWII all the way up to the present and see why we are in this mess...but we won't do that now...

Rhino-itall said...

Aj, the fed doesn't tax. congress taxes us. We elect them, and then they steal from us.
lew, you're right about one thing anyway, government spending is out of control. Has been for a century at least. The donkey is right, WE should tell THEM how much they're getting, and then let them fight it out with what they've got. That's why a flat tax is the answer. Especially with the Forbes model, he says any increase would have to get 60% approval in congress. That doesn't happen too often. I couldn't say it would be a guarantee to work, but i don't think it could get any worse than what we have now.

AJ said...

Lily,

I understand the Government's -John Maynard Keynes- policy.
But in reality the Federal Reserve has the ultimate capacity to manipulate OUR government because it exists.
This would explain how the US can keep a huge deficit and still function-becaue they let us.

Lew Scannon said...

Any patriot would be glad to pay taxes. I know I am. It's what the taxes are spent on the is my main concern.

AJ said...

I agree that paying taxes is the honorable thing to do, if it is for honorable things.
I do not have the faith you do, Rhino, in the a prior belief that you have in the congress.
Why hasn't our congress today-both Dems&Repubs asked the hard questions they should? The answer is obvious.
You make it sound as if congress does not take direction from anyone but their constituants, which is a dangerous assumption.
Sorry to sound pessimistic, but you cannot deny what is occuring today-by OUR "elected" officials.

Wadena said...

We only need one tax.

We should eliminate every tax except the income tax and that should be simplified.

It should be this: Any income over $100,000 per year goes directly to the IRS.

Problem solved.

Earl Bockenfeld said...

Paying taxes is better than borrowing like crazy like BushCo and passing on the debt to our grandkids and selling out our country to the Chinese. Flat tax, are you kidding? How about a balanced budget? How about a radical new idea, a graduated income tax? I know the GOP people who feel the pain of millionaires who have to struggle by on tax cuts and welfare handouts. But this is a tried and true plan, the higher the income bracket, the higher rate and more taxes you pay. And in addition, a winfall profits tax on oil companies with ALL the money going to rebuild the gulf coast and New Orleans.

Left of Center said...

Wow, Donkey your take on the path to war is pretty interesting. Hmm lets start back in GW1.. Saddam thought, and rightly so, that Kuwait was slant drilling into underground Iraqi oil fields. He protested, nothing was done. He approached the US, we said do what you have to do. Remember, at the time he was our buddy. Rumsfeld had recently met with him and gave him weapons, he was fighting the evil Iranians. So after getting no international support, he invaded the Kingdom of Kuwait. Keep in mind, I have no love for Saddam Hussein.. These are just some of the facts. Come forward a decade. Experts know the oil is running out. China and India are using more than ever, and global demand is growing fast. The Taliban stands in the way of pipelines for natural gas, and Iraq has more oil underground than the other nations in the region that have pumped out a good portion of their reserves. Saddam had a weapons program that included nuclear weapons, we had given him chemical weapons, and they had tried to make more..To secure oil, and fuel the machine that is The Project for the New American Century, we need a way to get Iraq in our pocket. The idea formed in the minds of neocons, and when 9/11 happened, they new that the plan could be put in motion. We already had the illegal no fly zones set up in Iraq, and when they fire on our pilots, it's just another reason to kick this thing off. We told Saddam to hand over the weapons and programs, then when he didn't, we had another reason. If he didn't have the weapons as was found out, then how could he turn them over? Tell me that Donkey. Thats like me asking you.. When you beat your kids do you use a belt? The deal was stacked in such a way that Hussein could not give the right answer. He was a bad guy. He needed to go.. but we've killed over 100, 000 people over there to “get him”.What reason is being given for the war this week? I'm not giving links to any of my data.. why? You take Bush's word, and that of Cheney and Rumsfeld without fact checking.

Neil Shakespeare said...

How do I feel about it? Fucked, that's how!

Rhino-itall said...

aj, i didn't mean to sound confident in our elected reps. in fact i'm not. That's the point. lets not give them a blank check, which is what they have now, lets tell them you can have x percent thats it.
wadena, if you're going to take everything over 100k, what is my incentive to make more than that? why would i work any harder than whats going to get me that?
Earl, why not the flat tax? If i'm more successful than the next guy why should i be penalized?
Also, why a windfall profits tax?
That's absurd. Exxonmobil had a record year, they should be celebrated, not penalized. The price of oil isn't decided by them, it's supply and demand. Also, as a percentage they didn't do as well as a lot of other companies. Their profit margin was only about 10.5%. Microsoft was around 30% Yahoo was 45% should we have a windfall profits tax on them too? And what about next year? what if they don't make as much money? should we give them some?
Just because a company, or an individual is successful, that doesn't mean they're bad or evil.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about all this...and don't want to get into a pissing contest. Certainly the profit proportion is an issue, but what about huge profits for companies that do not maintain basic safety, that pollute? I mean Exxon hasn't even paid up for the Exxon Valdez spill yet. Who should eat the costs, you, me? There's the issue of ridiculous fines for crimes against the population at large. Do you really think oil prices work on pure supply and demand? Why do they own patents on efficiency technology if not to protect their interests, at the expense of the planet? Patent law is bullshit too. But I know, without it, there's no big payoff to make new things...same old story. Pharmaceuticals too.
Big Scumoil is a different matter, because yes there is supply and demand and then there's bullshit like the deal to let them take oil from federal land without paying for it that made recent news. See rhetorically we say let business do their thing, but we don't REALLY want them to do it. So we talk lots about the less than one percent for some social program while we do nothing about these people.They are killing our ecosystem. Does that bother people? profits will not matter if everyone is dead.

I agree that the flat tax is fair and gives everyone a proportion to pay. Say 20% tax across the board. The less you make, the less you can afford, thats accounted for. Count capital gains and dividends in with income. Subtract bonafide losses from income. But wait, whats a 'bonafide loss'? Let's have a guideline. A worksheet. What abotu hindering small business? Jobs? Oh shit! Change that.Well, new set of rules... what about the self employed who pay for cars? oops, better make some provisions for them, thats not fair.. Eventually you get back to where we are today with our million pages.

Left of Center said...

Taxes... Any tax system that is simple, pays the bills, and doesnt hurt the poorest amoung us is goo dfor me. I like flat taxes although it seems to me there wil be some way for those with money to avoid paying there fair share.

Lily said...

Off topic but great post at UnSpunblog today on National Health care. Does a liberal heart good to read those fellas.

Lily said...

(medicine kicking in) Oh yeah- why does that system sound unfair? If I make more I DO pay more under that system. See the way it is now, with all the loopholes, the wealthy pay less proportionally...HAT seems unfair... I make 100,000 I pay 20,000 in tax. I make 20,000 I only pay 4,000 in tax.

The way it is now, the person making 100,000 will use whatever they can to reduce their taxable income.

Wadena said...

Rhino asks what incentive people would have to work if everything after 100K went to taxes.

Rhino, the incentives to make more than $100K are power, perks, fine-tuning your skills and love of your work.

Surely you don't think if such a system were implemented that everybody would quit working when they got to $100 thousand?

No. Some would, but that loss would be offset by huge increases in tax revenue from the rest.

Businessmen would still want to have a business empire and would still want to have the biggest and best empire.

They could still have all that except that instead of 50 million, they'd get 100K.

There is incredible allure in the tax-free power, perks and parties of the business world. There are limos and yachts and private planes and clients to be entertained.....all this owned by the business and all in addition to your 100K.

You could still pass along your empire to your children or whoever you want.

Working people like doctors and dentists would not close their doors after hitting their limit either....how could they stay skilled in their work if they shut down for nine months out of the year?

No, they would keep working, take a little more leisure time, do more charity work, put more money into their business.......buy better equipment, provide better fringe benefits and better pay for their staff.

Would pro basketball players quit their season after one game? No, they'd play to keep the system going and because they love the travel, the applause of the adoring crowds and competition and, most of all, it's the only way they know to make a good living (100K is better than Zero K shooting baskets on a playground).

Movie stars? What could they do? Make part of one movie? LOL!

Oprah? She'd still have a business empire, she'd just live in a smaller house and maybe have the incentive to pay her employees better.

There would be shifts in who pays tax and how much and some would quit working, but most would keep working and things would go on very much the same as they do now.

Except that we'd have a relatively just society, featuring decent roads and improvements in other public services and fewer poor people and better health care.

A good start toward the good world.

:)

tp said...

Well Wadena, interesting points but 100,000 seems kind of low. Thats like lower/mid rung middle class. I'm trying to think of a family on my average street that doesn't have a combined income of 100,000 or more and we are not talking about mansions, but regular neighborhood homes. A nurse and a teacher? 100,000. A ohysical therapist and a secretary? 100,000. A doctor and a homemaker? Over 100,000. A realtor and a bank manager? over 100,000. I think you need to make the amount much higher. Some people spend 100,000 just on their education!

Wadena said...

That's $100 thousand per person.

School loans? They would be exempt (you could pay them out of money you made beyond the 100K).

Of course, when schools start getting adequate funding again.....tuition can go back down to levels they were at before the Fascists took over America.

Ok now?

:)

Donkeyhue said...

When people talk about the winndfall profit tax, it is just an attack on Big Oil. Google had a record year, and yet you dont hear the rumblings that we have to overtax them for their succes. Bottled Water Co.'s, another banner year. What about the Dairy Farmers? It doesnt take a Yale graduate to know what the price of a gallon is. No, inevitably...it is all about oil.(woner why?) Hate being a objectivist preacher, but I would recommend reading Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged for an interesting take on the slippery slope we fall on when we start penalizing success. Back to taxes, tell Congress to get a real job and stop suckling of the teet of the American Worker.

lily said...

Well Rand and Greenspan were friends for a reason! Thats why they are on my dollar bills together here

Omnipotent Poobah said...

At the risk of starting a flame war:

Taxes aren't the problem. How we raise them isn't the problem. Waste isn't the problem (for the most part anyway). The problem is that we don't have a clearly defined and agreed to idea of what the hell the government is supposed to do. I might add this isn't a new fight. The framers of the American Constitution were having it when it was written, it was a partial cause of the civil war, and we don't appear to be any closer to an answer now than we were over 200 years ago.

The issue here is that everyone wants the money spent on what THEY want to spend it on and are loathe to spend anything on what others might think is important. Everyone also wants rock-bottom prices, world-class service, and direct benefit to them personally. When astronaut Al Sheppard went into space for the first time, ground controllers asked him how he was feeling about the launch. His reply went something like, "How would you feel if you were sitting on top of a rocket filled with high explosive built by the lowest bidder?" THAT is a man who needs some clarity on how NASA funds are spent.

Operating without a clear idea of what the government is supposed to accomplish is like a personal budget that doesn't bother to take into account what you do for a living, how much you bring home, and what you need to spend it on. In other words, impossible.

So unless were able to come to an agreement on this, which I think is about as possible as bringing peace to the entire world, we'll always have this argument. I wish I had an answer, but I don't, because I'm not sure there is one. That's because I've rarely heard a position on taxes and spending, including those in these comments, that doesn't have a valid point. And there my friends, is the problem.

That Damned Jezebel said...

On Poobah's question: Government's Role and Economics:

"Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man's rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man's right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control .
— Ayn Rand

Wadena said...

Ayn Rand.

Smarter than George Bush and just as wise.

Just as full of cowflop and often misoverestimated instead of misunderestimated.

The Queen of Greed has no clothes.

That Damned Jezebel said...

Do we blame the weed or the water?

With all due respect, cat, I am just suggesting we look at another relationship between government and the citizenry. Industry may be demonized rightfully for our many problems, but PEOPLE ultimately create problems that industry often solves to respond to that demand. Do we talk about people eating fast food all day and chemicals or do we demonize pharmaceuticals? Do we on the left talk about our own behaviors, or that of corporations? Corporations are people...employees, developers, salespeople, etc. An extension of society. I hate whats going on, but I also see industry responding to the folly and stupidity of people and their collective dysfunctional behaviors. It won't be an activist that eases the energy crisis- it will be an industry researcher who must have an incentive to devote the time. Time has value!

Maybe you might live modestly and consider justice but people for the most part do not. They dump as corporations dump. They abuse and exploit and mistreat in their own names and from their own 'entitlement' perspective. They might not do it for profit but their aims are no more noble, no less conspicuously suspect.


We can blame inefficient vehicles, for example-yes, but we SHOULD blame the lazy people that buy these big cars they do not need as well! Your logic is like blaming weeds for water!!! We cannot look to business as the source of misery. They would be NOTHING without their consumers!!! Just as FOX would be nothing without viewers and Rush Limbaugh would be nothing without his pigpen.

They employ, they provide, and if we could just get the government to stop taking all of our money to spend on imperialism and bureaucracy we could use that money to decide policy by voting with our wallets. The government enables industry to abuse, and consumers give them the money to keep at it. Stop subsidizing and let people respond to movements and calls for cleaner vehicles, etc. The government is what stands in the way.USING YOUR MONEY TO PLAY GAMES FOR THEIR OWN GAIN. You mentioned earlier that the joy of power and achievement can replace the profit motivation- the pessimist in me knows that money is not about money, without money you do not have the 'power' you speak of because wealth is only partly about possessions. It is FAR MORE about power, influence, safety, security, being able to make choices. You act like its just about getting beyond the idea of 'money' versus what money represents. I would like unicorns to walk the earth too- not gonna happen. We cannot waste time on fantasy when so much hangs in the balance.

Wadena said...

You said, "We on the left?"

I'm on the left.

Ayn Rand?

She's a Radical Libertarian.

She's a heartless, Social Darwinist, elitist bitch who would hire and pay people only what they're worth to her.

Which is, how much, exactly?

(Hint: You will be able to afford one fast food meal a day for the rest of your short and miserable life.)

The answer does not lie there.

Unicorns walk the earth? Ha! We can do better.

I would like pigs to fly.....but Ayn Rand has no wings.

fosco said...

"pay people only what they're worth to her." To her? She is not a 'market'. Do you not think consumers have a role in establishing worth? better the government decide? The way we play with currency, subsidies, goods, exports, tariffs, etc. Where has that gotten us though? In a world of shit with no end in sight. The government is not the enemy but we pay them to provide functions they default on. Repeatedly. How can you recall Katrina and not be distrustful of how they use your money???
Not being confrontational, just asking. Would she not say that the market determines the cost of labor as it would, in her model at least, determine the cost of a 'good' based on demand? It is without question heartless, of course. But we are just exchanging ideas. And the idea that wages are based on supply of workers applies to the wealthy too. If lawyers are everywhere, their wages adjust for the glut. This is not better than permitting lobbying and interest groups from using government as a machine to promote their interests artificially, say through tort law or product liability or some other measure that does not help people but helps the people who make money off the legislation?

See these discussions take off like there are two options, communism or heartless libertarianism. Nobody is suggesting that you have to adopt objectivism to take a concept or two from Randian philosophy. She's not the point, it was a quote to simply consider. Not to attack on as if I said it myself. We are discussing.Extremes are unrealistic and her view is an extreme. But to say that all income over 100,000 is an extreme as well. Neither extreme is really appropriate from where I sit.

Lily said...

In the 'take everything over 100,000 scenario' the legislators would decide how to redistribute all that money? Even more power? More arrogance, maybe more faith based initiatives? Take everything then redistribute it as seen fit? That would give us many useless bridges in Alaska, eh??? Your position presupposes a compassionate, caring government. That would take all that wealth and do the right thing. Yet we repeatedly see that they do the wrong things, they fail at even their core functions.

Ideally, we would have resource distribution based on justice, fairness, need, value, regard for children, the environment, life. I no longer trust them with that stewardship!!! I think the big problem here is the realistic view of the federal government and if they would make good on that idea if you did give them the resources. You don't think they would squander it on self interest?

Just trying to get clear on what everyone is saying. Don't throw anything at me....please.

Wadena said...

It appears we have voted down the evil $100,000 plan.

So be it. I suspected as much.

Too much like Socialism, isn't it?

Totally UnRandian.

Do I believe that consumers should establish the worth of a worker?

Have you read "The Grapes of Wrath?"

Let's be real. Things are not going to get better.

We should face the fact that we will never again have wise and courageous leaders in government....only the clones of greedy and uneducated voters.

It has gone too far now.

Lacking those wise and courageous leaders, things may deteriorate into an Ayn Rand "Lord of the Flies" culture or a FundaGelical theocracy.

Things are going to get more heartless, and it doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference to me if the people I'm fighting are Randian Anarchists or FundaGelical Fascists.

Both groups are heartless and elitist and both bring misery to the poor, the weak and the marginalized.

They are both enemies of the people.

RichM said...

Rambling thoughts I have not fully resolved.

If cars were the means by which we gained wealth would we be better off taxing cars or exempting them from tax but charging them only for what they consume? Use the car as an analogy of American corporations. If China does not tax its "cars" and they can bring them to our country and sell them cheaper than we can ours what happens to our car production?

That kind of ties in with the cost of health care. If most of the countries against whom we compete have a form of nationalized health care but we fund out health care by forcing the employer to provide it what do we do with the ability of our employers to effectively compete?

I think there are rational answers that can work out these tangled conondrums. We need to find a non-political way to explain our system and propose possible solutions. But we are not doing that.

I'd like to see a series of debates by some really knowledgeable people from all sides of the political spectrum lay out the gammut of economic problems we have and propose solutions. Like take the nations 50 top econmmists and have them work the project and make a presentation in one year. Have some of our top economic insiders like O'Neil and Krugman and a few more sit on panels to evaluate and question those who make the presentation to force out for our view the issues that are really important. And then let us decide our course. But who in this country really cares to invest that much interest or consideration to solve this problem. Yawn I'm getting tired already.

fosco said...

I am not a Randian anarchist, I'm sorry you consider my life to be miserable. I wish positive things for you,buddy. I relayed a quote as a possible avenue to explore, just to discuss, especially given the views of some of the participants- it seems that some people do not fully get where some of the commenters are coming from, and assume them to be 'neocons' when that is not really what they are, given the last few threads. I am suggesting we take a look at many sides, not just our typical mindset. But push our mindset a little bit. Where are we headed, as liberals, are we accomplishing much? Are we running out of luxurious time to ponder, debate?I think its time to kick things up a notch myself, but we need leadership that can do so nonviolently. But EFFECTIVELY. As though our lives depend on it. (they do)

You suggested something with potential in theory, not bad ideas, and I threw out something 'in theory' but it does not mean I cannot understand its cruel implications. We are talking about ideas, and clearly what we HAVE does not work and we pay alot for the privilege of this dysfunction! THAT is really my point. Not to say that there is no role in caring for our own, members of our community. I don't think we do that,though. I am not against the people, I am against the answer-to-nobody government and its corporate scheming crony bullshit that does little but fuck over everyone and throw out empty ineffective promises and ignores solutions. Giving money to them is now the same as giving it to 'the man' or to business. Tell me the difference? More paperwork?

And we pay so much (original topic,taxes) for this floundering that only profits and serves an elite, not us. What about US? I live simply, follow the rules. And I will die of neglected healthcare while some fatcat gets fifteen angioplasties. I will freeze trying to pay my heating bills while some asswipe signs more legislation to take oil from OUR federal land.Uncompensated by big oil.

MY problem with your approach is certainly not the humanity of it, I hear you on that...but the wisdom of giving more money to inept assholes that cannot use it for PUBLIC GOOD.

And before we get too far down the trail, I want to clarify that I believe Darwinism and liberalism can be compatible in that I think nature intended for people to develop creatively to solve communal problems. I do not think nature intends for people to leave their neighbors to suffer. To drown, or be stranded thirsty on rooftops. Evolution has graced us with intelligence and tenacity, look at what we have done. But we cannot solve hunger. And that sucks.Our disagreement comes in how to remedy this.

By taking resources from the people and giving them to corrupt inefficient government that lies to its people, that leaves them bloated in floodwater? If I had faith in government, I would agree with you. But I no longer do. I do not see the remedy in religion, I do not see the remedy in government. I do not see the remedy in dog-eat-dog
"Lord of The Flies". But the remedy is what we are trying to discuss here, I don't claim to have answers. I am just trying to understand the options.What are they?

I mentioned Rand not because I particularly subscribe to her approach, but because of the criticisms of the corrupt use of taxpayer money- Also, we are at a time when innovation has to be profitable to somebody because the earth is heading to more rapid decline.

If change comes from the people, from industry, from the government- it has to come from SOMEWHERE. What model is most conducive, Wadena, is the better question. Where will the solution thrive?

Wadena said...

You know.....I hate my inclination to believe there IS NO solution....

But you are slowly convincing me that my inclination is quite accurate.

And I didn't say that your life is miserable....I said that if you (or America, in the larger sense) allow the consumer of your labor to set the price for your labor you WILL have a short and miserable life in which you will be able to afford one fast-food meal a day.

Don't take my examples personally....you will get mad at me.

:)

Yes, we can brain-storm about ideas.....but I don't think we'll come up with any solutions that will actually work.

Things seem to have gone too far.

Omnipotent Poobah said...

Damn! I knew there'd be a flame war.

stevie said...

(Donkeyhue said...If Saddam had allowed UN weapons inpectors continued access to his country...then this war would not have happened. I know thats hard to fathom, but this war WAS Saddams fault, not Dubya's.)

Totally backwards. Hard to fathom for those who only believe what they're told, only follow the leader and don't pay attention.

Saddam didn't kick the Weapons Inspectors out, Bush did--despite their being able to do their job and their protests at being removed before they were done and still not finding any WMD.
The Weapons Inspectors were getting closer to a final report showing no WMD, and the chickenhawks in the Cheney Administration wanted to short-circuit that report because it would have stopped the impending war in its tracks.
Hence, the rush to war. Hence $500 billion of taxpayer money flushed down the toilet to make Cheney and his rich friends richer and us far less safe.
Those incompetent clowns should be jailed; and not just for robbing the Federal Treasury, seeing how much taxpayer money they can steal and printing their own money.

Now they take $50 billion from things like food stamps and student loans and soon will give $70 billion to those making over a million in tax cuts and giveaways.

I thought the Republican Creed was 'Every man for himself ', So why are these rich Republicans 'sharing' so much wealth?
Because it's not their fucking money, it's our money.
They're just common thieves.

Welfare for the rich: that's what you're defending--it's gotta be unpatriotic and unAmerican. Corporate Welfare is Communism.

Saddam wanted to start trading in Euros instead of US dollars, that, plus the idiot-neo-convict plan of conquest are the reasons for this war.
WMD = We Meant Democracy?

What happens when Iran does the same thing? What happens when China calls in its loans? This administration has destabilized our economy just like it has destabilized the Middle East. Now we're all in danger. What's More Deceptive?

It's an honor for the poor and the middle class to die for their country, but it's a burden for the rich to pay their taxes.
Tax the rich.

Lily said...

WMD = We Meant Democracy?

I like that!

Lily Branford said...

I'm putting the link to this under Major Shareholders because I think it's an important discussion...needed discussion. Thanks to all who have taken time and care to comment on this subject.

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