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OfflineEllis Dee
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W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs
    #554909 - 02/17/02 11:35 PM (22 years, 19 days ago)

http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=businessnews&StoryID=598761
W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs

February 14, 2002 09:59 PM ET

By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Girding for an election-year battle with congressional Democrats over taxes, the White House on Thursday said last year's $1.35 trillion tax cut would spur 800,000 new jobs by the end of the year and pull the country out of recession.

Countering calls by some Democrats to suspend the 10-year tax cut to prevent budget deficits, a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the tax cut has "raised the prospects of a solid recovery in 2002."

It said the tax cut will have pumped $126 billion into the economy in 2001 and 2002, boosting economic growth by 0.5 percentage point to 2.7 percent for 2002.

"Moreover, by the end of 2002, the president's tax relief will have helped the private sector to create 800,000 more jobs than there otherwise would have been," it said.

Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to highlight the report in a speech on the economy to the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday, White House officials said.

The tax cut, passed by Congress last year as the economy was heading into a recession, and Bush's call to make it permanent as part of a new economic stimulus plan, have emerged as central issues in this year's election contest for control of Congress.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday voted for a stimulus plan similar to a Bush-backed one that passed last year, which failed in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The House voted to attach the measure to an unemployment benefits bill, but the Senate has already sent a clear signal that the broad stimulus package would fail in that body. U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, a Texas Democrat, called the House move "nothing more than partisan gamesmanship."

The report said canceling the tax cut would jeopardize an economic recovery -- costing 500,000 jobs in 2003 and slowing growth by 0.7 percentage point -- while making it permanent would provide an additional boost to the economy.

"Pro-growth policies, such as the president's plan for permanent tax relief, are important because they give short-run and long-run incentives to the private sector to create jobs, raise income and restore prosperity," it said.

Democrats say the tax cuts threaten to extend a renewed period of budget deficits, and deprive the government of money for what they say are essential reforms of the Social Security retirement system and Medicare old age health plan.


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"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

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InvisiblePGF
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #555188 - 02/18/02 08:50 AM (22 years, 19 days ago)

G, a tax cut for the rich...........what a country.


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***The Real Shroomery nigger

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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: PGF]
    #555574 - 02/18/02 05:20 PM (22 years, 19 days ago)

works for me...i wanna be rich


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson

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Offlinemr_minds_eye
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Innvertigo]
    #555621 - 02/18/02 06:31 PM (22 years, 19 days ago)

If they really are concerned with pumping money into the economy why don't they end this war on drugs bullshit and save some big bucks not to mention the taxes they would get from regulated drug sales. Just a thought.


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Our quest for discovery fuels our creativity in all fields, not just science. If we reached the end of the line, the human spirit would shrivel and die. But I don't think we will ever stand still: we shall increase in complexity, if not in depth, and shall always be the center on an expanding horizon of possibilities.
-Stephen Hawking

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Anonymous

Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: PGF]
    #555635 - 02/18/02 06:54 PM (22 years, 19 days ago)

"G, a tax cut for the rich...........what a country."

How do you define "rich?" All people I know who you would
probably label "rich" have worked hard their whole lives to
improve their economic situation, 12-16 hour days 6 days a
week. They end up employing numerous people and providing
services or products to others who voluntarily pay for them.

If you think you deserve what the "rich" people have, why don't
you do what they have done to earn it?

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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: ]
    #557324 - 02/20/02 09:34 AM (22 years, 17 days ago)

I was wondering the same thing because according to Gore and the other Libbies i'm rich. However, i don't feel rich, i feel more in debt if you ask me. I pay more taxes and i want more back.


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson

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InvisiblePGF
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: ]
    #557600 - 02/20/02 03:51 PM (22 years, 17 days ago)

nothing wrong with making money and working hard, but the tax scale should be sliding and it is currently heavy at the low end. If you can point out where I've ever said being rich is bad, feel free. Until you do so, please refrain from putting words in my mouth. Thank you.


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***The Real Shroomery nigger

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Anonymous

Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: PGF]
    #559178 - 02/22/02 12:00 AM (22 years, 15 days ago)

I didn't mean to put words in your mouth, I was making an
inference from the following statement, "G, a tax cut for the
rich...........what a country."

You state that the tax scale should be "sliding." Am I correct
in assuming that what you mean is, as people become more
productive a greater percentage of the wealth that they have
created should be given up to the government under threat of
force, and if they do not give it up it should be forcibly taken
from them?

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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: ]
    #559211 - 02/22/02 12:47 AM (22 years, 15 days ago)

Evolving: It's true that many wealthy individuals have achieved their status through hard work and by providing useful goods and services. It's also true that once one has accumulated a healthy chunk of capital, one need no longer work for one's money. A finely calibrated combination of hedge funds, offshore tax shelters, dividend reinvestment, etc. etc. can ensure, for those "in the know" a stable return of at least 10-15% a year, even in economically unstable times (this is the beauty of diversification). That is to say, an individual with 5 million dollars to invest can expect returns of over half a million dollars a year for doing absolutely nothing, except placing a few phone calls to his portfolio managers and accountants.

Now, many people earn their capital through honest and respectable means (hard work, etc.) but many holders of vast sums of capital gained it through some less-than-respectable (though not necessarily criminal) means--inheritance, speculation, windfall, etc. Then of course there are the bona fide criminals, like the entire executive echelon of Enron. None of these people with vast sums of capital need ever really work for a living, all the while raking in huge investment income every year--while the janitors and garbage collectors and truck drivers who wake up at 4 am every morning and who are the people who actually hold everything together--they'll be living from paycheck to paycheck. And they bear a disproportionately heavy tax burden. Regressive taxes such as sales tax hurt them a good deal more, because they have a good deal less disposable (this is the key word--disposable) income--that is to say, a greater percentage of their income is spent on essential sustenance. Three hundred dollars in sales taxes each year hurts a person with an income of 20K much much more than 2100 dollars in sales taxes hurts a person who makes 140K.

The middle class has steadily been shrinking in this country. This is due largely to regressive tax schemes and iniquities in access to economic opportunity. Shrinking middle classes are associated with a host of sociological problems (crime, drug abuse, educational malaise) which tear at the fabric of a society from within. The US likes to think of itself as a society free from class antagonism, but this can quickly change if economic desperation seizes a large enough portion of the lower classes. It is in fact better for their own interests, in the long run, for the wealthy to ensure that the middle class remains strong--this is their buffer from the angry and dispossessed. If the middle class shrinks, that buffer disappears. Of course, most people are only interested in the short term. We ALL pay the price in the form of urban blight, rising crime, and lost economic productivity (capital in the final analysis is not productive--only physical and intellectual labor is. It provides the backing for the value of that capital). The wealthy may then retreat to their gated communities, but to feel safe in such circumstances is to wildly underestimate the power and rage of the desperate when it is unleashed

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OfflinePhred
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Sliding Tax Scale [Re: PGF]
    #559365 - 02/22/02 05:56 AM (22 years, 15 days ago)

PGF writes:

"... the tax scale should be sliding..."

Why?

pinky



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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Innvertigo]
    #559373 - 02/22/02 06:26 AM (22 years, 15 days ago)

>>>works for me...i wanna be rich

Innvertigo,

It sounds like you are envious of the rich and greedy.

Tsk tsk tsk, those are two of the seven deadly sins.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Registered: 02/08/01
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Loc: Crackerville, Michigan U...
Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #559376 - 02/22/02 06:37 AM (22 years, 15 days ago)

****It sounds like you are envious of the rich and greedy. Tsk tsk tsk, those are two of the seven deadly sins. ***

Rich does not equal greed and according to some i'm already rich so i'm neither envious nor greedy......but i am selfish...maybe the 8th deadly sin...tsk tsk..


you have a good memory...i couldn't remember who i had that discussion with.


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson

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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #559379 - 02/22/02 06:41 AM (22 years, 15 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"...many holders of vast sums of capital gained it through some less-than-respectable (though not necessarily criminal) means--inheritance, speculation, windfall, etc."

Please explain how inheriting money is "less-than-respectable". Does a parent not have the right to leave the fruits of his labors to his offspring? If not, why not? How does being named in a will suddenly make one "less-than respectable", especially when one may not even be aware of the existence of the will in the first place?

As for "speculation", ALL investments, including savings accounts, are speculative, it is just a matter of degree. And, there is no guarantee that you will make money on your speculation. Quite the reverse. The more speculative the investment, the greater the chance that you will end up on the short end of the stick. Note that the government will happily seize a substantial portion of the money you GAIN from your speculations, but will cover exactly ZERO of your losses.

Please explain how being the recipient of a "windfall" is less-than-respectable? What IS a windfall, anyway? Winning a lottery? Finding a suitcase full of mob money in the back seat of a taxi? Were the $600 tax checks given out recently a windfall?

"None of these people with vast sums of capital need ever really work for a living, all the while raking in huge investment income every year--while the janitors and garbage collectors and truck drivers who wake up at 4 am every morning and who are the people who actually hold everything together--they'll be living from paycheck to paycheck."

Would it be preferable for people with huge sums of money to blow every dime on Ferraris and mansions and continue to cover their day-to-day living expenses by filling a janitor's position that is desperately needed by someone else? Isn't it better for them to take their money and invest it in an auto manufacturer's new share issue, so that manufacturer can build a new plant in an area that badly needs jobs? Isn't it better that they buy municipal bonds to finance infrastructure projects which provide jobs for hundreds or thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled laborers?

"It is in fact better for their own interests, in the long run, for the wealthy to ensure that the middle class remains strong..."

Agreed. The very best way to do this is to make sure that there is a robust economy. The best way the wealthy can ensure this is to INVEST in the economy, rather than converting their holdings into gold, burying it in the back yard, and hogging a job that could be occupied by someone who needs it more.

As a side note, Evolving's question remains unanswered:

"Am I correct in assuming that what you mean is, as people become more productive a greater percentage of the wealth that they have created should be given up to the government under threat of force, and if they do not give it up it should be forcibly taken from them? "

I realize that it was PGF that was defending the sliding scale tax concept, not you, but since you were responding to Evolving's post I was expecting to see you address the sole point that was raised in it. My bad.

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (02/22/02 06:52 AM)

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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Phred]
    #559645 - 02/22/02 11:53 AM (22 years, 15 days ago)

Pinksharkmark:

By "less-than-respectable" I mean not worthy of respect in and of itself. I can respect somebody who created a viable and useful business out of nothing; but am I supposed to RESPECT a person who inherited all of his money? Or made all of his money by creating something (like a trashy bestseller) that is intrinsically worthless but just happened to catch the public's fancy because of clever marketing? Why should I respect that? And also, I NEVER said that parents don't have the right to bequeath their fortunes to their children--you have a bad habit of misconstruing and perverting my statements into unreasonable exaggerations. All I said is that there is no reason I should respect such people, and that the existence of such people puts a dent in the wealth=hard work equation that evolving seems to accept uncritically.

And no, there IS a difference between investment and speculation. I have a number of friends in investment banking. I've had many interesting conversations with them concerning the ways in which high-end investors and speculators have access to all sorts of information (as well the power to move markets by their very financial might) that makes it VERY difficult for them to get burned in the same way that John Q. Investor does. The people who run hedge funds are not like the dipshits at Merrill Lynch--they manage multi-billion dollar portfolios that are so diversified and so carefully tended by very rational, unemotional (unlike most investors) hardcore experts that risks are kept to a minimum. The catch? You have to have at least a cool mil to invest in most hedge funds.

I also never said that wealthy investors should blow their money on luxury items and work as janitors. Where you got THAT idea is beyond me. The problem is that investment, in the end, is NOT as good as consumer spending on a wide scale. What a GENUINELY healthy economy (as opposed to a bubble economy) needs is companies that make SALES and make PROFITS--not companies that make big IPOs, wallow like sows in their unearned cash for a few years, and then go under. Middle class people buy things--this supports strong fundamentals. Wealthy people invest--this supports speculation. The more middle class people there are, the stronger the fundamentals will be.

And finally, I DID address evolvings point, but perhaps too obliquely for you to have noticed. He said "as people become more productive . . ." which assumes that the wealthy are more "productive" than the not wealthy. By showing all the ways in wealth can be accrued to individuals in non-productive ways I challenged that notion. By mentioning offshore tax shelters (among other tax shelters, most of which are available only to the wealthy) I also challenged the notion that the government will come after them "with threat of force." I'm sorry, but that's utter bullshit my friend. That's not the direction in which the guns are pointed.

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Offlinenugsarenice
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #559682 - 02/22/02 12:39 PM (22 years, 15 days ago)

There is shady stock broking going on, companies can pay people, who most of the time are retired fbi and cia, to give them information, from intercepted phone calls, sattelite and such. That shit is unfair to the regular investor, and illegal.

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Anonymous

Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #559827 - 02/22/02 02:50 PM (22 years, 15 days ago)

EchoVortex stated, 'I also challenged the notion that the government will come after them "with threat of force." I'm sorry, but that's utter bullshit my friend.'

What is taxation without threat of force and the willingness to back it up?
It's not taxation. Whenever you ask the government to undertake anything
that does not rely on voluntary compliance, you're asking ultimately for men
with guns to use force to get it done. This applies to laws against prostitution,
drugs, guns and taxation as well as enforcing laws where an actual victim can
be found.

I ask you, what is the justification for confiscating a person's property if he or she
has used no theft fraud or violence to obtain it? Is it merely because this person
had parents who were adept at making sure their offspring were well taken
care of financially? Is it because their means of obtaining wealth is abhorrent
to your sense of taste? Is it because there are certain things or people which in
you opinion are more deserving of the capital and you are a better judge of how
to allocate it than the owner? Or is it simply that you are envious of their wealth?

By your previous post it appears that you would answer some of these in the affirmative.
It is wrong to steal? If so, how would one reconcile that moral principle with the
previously stated justifications for the confiscation of wealth (taxation)?

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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: ]
    #559929 - 02/22/02 04:20 PM (22 years, 15 days ago)

I'm sure most legal experts would disagree with your definition of taxation as "confiscation of wealth" or, as you seem to suggest, theft. Taxation provides revenue for government; government is obligated to provide services in return. These services may include national defense, law enforcement, infrastructure (highways, airports, phone lines, etc.), education, courts, subsidized health care, etc. In a democratic polity, in theory, citizens should have a say in how those funds are allocated, that is, what the national priorities are. It's a kind of social contract: individuals make individual concessions for the common good. Very often, the benefits of that social contract are taken for granted, people think that things will take care of themselves "somehow" but that's not necessarily the case.

The United States already has one of the lowest taxation rates in the industrialized world. In addition, people of means have access to various tax shelters and legal loopholes which make their EFFECTIVE taxation rate (not their official rate) lower in fact than those of lower-income citizens. Now, notions such as "fairness" or "shared burdens" may seem like nothing more than matters of "taste" to you, but in a civilized and moral society they should carry some weight. This is just my personal opinion, my sense of values, so I don't expect you to be convinced by it; nor do I have any intention of forcing it on others. But I do have a right to make a case for it, and the right to point out that societies which lose this sense of fairness and common good (think of Brazil, India, etc. today, or turn of the century Britain and the US) tend to be beset by social problems which can reach dangerous proportions.

As for the argument made earlier by the other guy, "robust" economies don't necessarily protect the middle class. Throughout the 90s, when the US economy was incredibly robust, the middle class continued to shrink (slower than before, but still). Now that the bubble has burst, the process will continue unabated. If this doesn't bother you (you never addressed that point), if you think self-interest will save the day in each and every case, what can I say except that I think you're wrong? But if some day in the future you get mugged or burgled by some heroin addict, or even by some desperate dad who's trying to pay for his son's medical treatment (I stole that from "John Q.", sorry), please don't come on these boards to whine about it. That'll simply be what's called "blowback," except this time not in the foreign policy sphere but in the domestic one.

As far as being "envious of their wealth," I can assure you that I'm far from suffering in that department. I simply have other priorities.

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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #560034 - 02/22/02 05:26 PM (22 years, 15 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"By "less-than-respectable" I mean not worthy of respect in and of itself. I can respect somebody who created a viable and useful business out of nothing..."

But if he then takes the money he has earned from his viable and useful business and uses it to "speculate", he has crossed the line and is no longer worthy of your respect?

"...but am I supposed to RESPECT a person who inherited all of his money?"

Not necessarily. But they do not automatically deserve your disrepect either. They are no more responsible for the financial status of their parents than are children born to welfare mothers.

"Or made all of his money by creating something (like a trashy bestseller) that is intrinsically worthless but just happened to catch the public's fancy because of clever marketing?"

Who has the author of a trashy best-seller harmed? Whose rights has he violated? Whose hard-earned cash has been seized by the author by force? If a welfare mother chooses to buy a Stephen King novel to escape the dreariness of her life for a few hours rather than spend her time watching Jerry Springer, good for her!

"And also, I NEVER said that parents don't have the right to bequeath their fortunes to their children--you have a bad habit of misconstruing and perverting my statements into unreasonable exaggerations."

Since that was the first post of yours I have ever responded to, I am baffled that you would use the word "habit". As for misconstruing and perverting your statements, your original statement was: "Now, many people earn their capital through HONEST and RESPECTABLE [emphasis added by me] means (hard work, etc.) but many holders of vast sums of capital gained it through some less-than-respectable (though not necessarily criminal) means--inheritance, speculation, windfall, etc." The deliberate contrast employed in your phrasing makes it clear that in your opinion these other "not necessarily criminal means", including inheritance, are somehow not legitimate.

"All I said is that there is no reason I should respect such people..."

Actually, you didn't say that, but I will accept that this is what you meant to say. This is the reason I asked for clarification of your statement: to determine if you had unintentionally conveyed the wrong impression.

"And no, there IS a difference between investment and speculation."

NO investment is ever ironclad. It is true that the more capital one has, the better the possibilities are of hiring a first-rate money manager. But none of these people are infallible, and some of them are dishonest. There has been more than one money-manager who absconded with the funds of his clients.

"I also never said that wealthy investors should blow their money on luxury items and work as janitors. Where you got THAT idea is beyond me."

Where? I quote: "None of these people with vast sums of capital need ever really work for a living, all the while raking in huge investment income every year--while the janitors and garbage collectors and truck drivers who wake up at 4 am every morning and who are the people who actually hold everything together..."

From this and your previous statements regarding your lack of respect for those who support themselves through investing rather than working, I just assumed that you believed it would be better for them to actually WORK at a job that helped to hold everything together. Besides, if making money through investments is such an abhorrent practice, then exactly what else CAN they do with their money? I thought you believed that consuming was a GOOD thing. If this is so, then the more money they spend, the better off the economy is, no? Why is it good for the middle class to buy things, but not the wealthy?

As a side point, most of these people DID work, and worked hard, in order to obtain the "vast sums of capital" which enabled them to remove themselves from the workforce. And it is likely (especially if they have a good money manager) that part of their investments went towards the construction of an office building that employs a dozen janitors, or (through municipal bonds, a mainstay of any properly-diversified portfolio) the construction of a school or a freeway or a water treatment plant.

"The problem is that investment, in the end, is NOT as good as consumer spending on a wide scale."

Before consumers can spend their money on goods, the goods must be produced. Before goods can be produced, factories must be constructed. This requires investment.

"What a GENUINELY healthy economy (as opposed to a bubble economy) needs is companies that make SALES and make PROFITS--not companies that make big IPOs, wallow like sows in their unearned cash for a few years, and then go under."

Agreed. This is why the investment examples I used involved manufacturers and municipal bonds, rather than dotcoms.

"Middle class people buy things--this supports strong fundamentals."

EVERYBODY buys things. A wealthy person buys more things than a middle-class person.

"Wealthy people invest--this supports speculation."

Middle class people invest, too. A savings account is an investment. Very few banks speculate... not after the Savings and Loans disaster.

"And finally, I DID address evolvings point, but perhaps too obliquely for you to have noticed. He said "as people become more productive . . ." which assumes that the wealthy are more "productive" than the not wealthy. By showing all the ways in wealth can be accrued to individuals in non-productive ways I challenged that notion."

You may have challenged it, but not successfully. Your contention is that investment qua investment is non-productive. But the vast majority of investments DO produce both jobs AND goods and/or services. Some do not... currency speculation and commodities futures, for example, but both of those are "zero-sum" games. In other words, for every investor who gains two million dollars, there is one who loses two million dollars. These two forms of "investment" ARE examples of pure speculation. Legalized gambling, in fact.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #560072 - 02/22/02 06:06 PM (22 years, 15 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"I'm sure most legal experts would disagree with your definition of taxation as "confiscation of wealth" or, as you seem to suggest, theft."

Taxation IS confiscation of wealth. Taking something from someone against his will is by definition confiscating it. The fact that taxation is legal doesn't change the nature of the act. Is it "theft" as defined by our current legal code? No.

An interesting note... there was no income tax in America before World War One. Further, the income tax instituted at that time was promised to be a temporary measure... that is the only way it garnered enough votes to become the law of the land. So, a century ago, legal experts WOULD have defined income tax as theft.

"Taxation provides revenue for government; government is obligated to provide services in return."

True. Not all of these services are required or even wanted, and providing some of these services necessarily involves the violation of individual rights. Further, some of these "services" are clearly unconstitutional.

"Throughout the 90s, when the US economy was incredibly robust, the middle class continued to shrink (slower than before, but still)."

Shrink how? If there is a smaller percentage of middle-class citizens because more of them are moving into the upper-class bracket, that is a good thing. If it is because more are sliding into the "lower-class" bracket it is a bad thing. Since a greater percentage of Americans became millionaires in the 90s than in any previous decade, I am guessing that upward mobility is a larger component of the reduction in numbers of the middle class than downward mobility, but I admit I haven't researched this point. Have you? I'd really like to find out how the quintiles changed over the 90s. Where's a good place to find out?

pinky


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Anonymous

Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #560181 - 02/22/02 08:40 PM (22 years, 15 days ago)

EchoVortex:

>"I'm sure most legal experts would disagree with your definition
> of taxation as "confiscation of wealth" or, as you seem to suggest,
> theft."

Black' Law Dictionary, under "Tax:"

>"Essential characteristics of a tax are that is is NOT a voluntary
> payment or donation, but an ENFORCED contribution."
(emphasis added)

Black' Law Dictionary, under "Theft:"

> "Theft is any of the following acts done with intent to deprive the
> owner permanently of the possession, use or benefit of his property:
> (a) Obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property; or (b)
> Obtaining by deception control over property; or (c) Obtaining by
> threat control over property..."

Perhaps you don't know this, but the government will put you in jail
if you don't pay taxes. If you resist, they will escalate the physical
force used against you. If you resist too much, THEY WILL KILL
YOU. I can perceive the link between taxation and theft, why
can't you?

----------

EchoVortex:

>"government is obligated to provide services in return. These services
> may include national defense, law enforcement, infrastructure (highways,
> airports, phone lines, etc.), education, courts, subsidized health care,
> etc."

The constitution does obligate the federal government to provide for
the common defense and for courts, however the other items are not
listed in the charter of the U.S. government. If you find them in the
Constitution, please quote the appropriate article(s) and explain how
the bill of rights are not violated by their enactment.

It's interesting to note that a recent court case has absolved the
government of responsibility for protecting it's citizens, when an
individual attempted to sue because the police didn't protect her(?).

----------

EchoVortex:

>"In a democratic polity..."

Benjamin Franklin:

>"A republic, if you can keep it."

----------

EchoVortex:

>"It's a kind of social contract... the benefits of that social
> contract..."

Black' Law Dictionary, under "Contract:"

>"An agreement between two or more persons which creates an obligation
> to do or not to do a particular thing. Its essentials are competent
> parties, subject matter. a legal consideration, mutuality of
> agreement, and mutuality of obligation."

I never signed this "social contract" and I am willing to bet that
no one reading this did either. The concept of "social contract"
is the bastard child of the "The divine right of Kings." Additionally
the U.S. government has repeatedly violated it's own Constitution,
a real contract between it and the individual state governments.
Even if there was any contract between the Federal government and
myself it has already been violated by the Federal government's
nearly complete disregard for and violations of the bill of rights.

----------

EchoVortex:

>"The United States already has one of the lowest taxation rates in
> the industrialized world."

And the highest in peacetime history, until President Bush prodded
Congress to pass the recent tiny cut." This is equivalent to a
gang telling you you're lucky to be living on the east side paying
them $100 per month protection money instead of living on the west
side where the gangs squeeze $200 per month out of the greedy
capitalists.

----------

EchoVortex:

>"But I do have a right to make a case for it, and the right to point
> out that societies which lose this sense of fairness and common good
> (think of Brazil, India, etc. today, or turn of the century Britain
> and the US) tend to be beset by social problems which can reach
> dangerous proportions."

Please define "common good." Isn't this what the communists are
always crowing about?

----------

EchoVortex:

>"But if some day in the future you get mugged or burgled by some
> heroin addict, or even by some desperate dad who's trying to pay
> for his son's medical treatment (I stole that from "John Q.", sorry),
> please don't come on these boards to whine about it. That'll simply
> be what's called "blowback," except this time not in the foreign
> policy sphere but in the domestic one."

Well, you've come to the crux of the matter. Basically, you've
said it already, IT'S EXTORTION, or to quote Black's Law
Dictionary...

>"Extortion. The obtaining of property from another induced by
> wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or
> under color of official right."

Oh, by the way. There's something I do, it's called "shoot back."
I will exercise my right to self defense, whether the government
or you like it or not.

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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: ]
    #560220 - 02/22/02 09:36 PM (22 years, 15 days ago)

As I really have better things to do with my time than sitting here rebutting both of you point by point, I'll just reprint the following, available from The Economic Policy Institute (epinet.org):

HOUSE STIMULUS PLAN DRAWS CRITICISM FROM NOBEL LAUREATES AND FORMER CEA MEMBERS
Experts call for targeted, temporary measures to fight downturn

Washington D.C. ? In a statement sent today to the U.S. Senate, where the future of legislation to boost the economy remains uncertain, nine Nobel laureates in economics and four past members of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President wrote that the stimulus package passed by the House of Representatives would fail to jump start the economy.

To be effective, a stimulus must be "targeted to increase spending immediately," and "temporary, phasing out when the economy recovers," said the statement to Senators Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Trent Lott (R-MS). "The bill passed by the House fails on both counts."

The statement, circulated by the Economic Policy Institute, calls for targeting the temporary benefits of a stimulus package to low-income workers and families, since they will quickly spend the money they receive, thus increasing consumer demand. Permanent tax cuts for wealthy companies and individuals, on the other hand, are unlikely to be spent and will damage the nation's long-term fiscal outlook, according to the statement.

"The House bill is so loaded with tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals, it should collapse under its own weight," says Jeff Faux, president of EPI, who also signed the statement. "These tax breaks may do wonders for big campaign contributors, but will do little to heal a hurting economy and put people back to work."

The nine Nobel prize winners who signed the statement are George Akerlof of the University of California at Berkeley, Kenneth Arrow and William Sharpe of Stanford University, Lawrence Klein of the University of Pennsylvania, Franco Modigliani and Robert Solow of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Douglass North of Washington University, Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, and James Tobin of Yale University.

The four former CEA members who signed the statement are Martin Baily of the Institute for International Economics, Alan Blinder of Princeton University, and Laura D'Andrea Tyson and Janet Yellen of the University of California at Berkeley.


Now, you can quote Black's Law Dictionary all you want and give me all of the standard Libertarian arguments (although I doubt you'll ever find an example of anybody being KILLED here for refusing to pay taxes).

Also, if you believe taxation is such an irredeemable evil, you are always free to move to a country without an intact taxation system. You would of course have to exlude the entire developed world (all of which nations, as I mentioned earlier, have higher tax rates than the US) and move to someplace where the bandits have much bigger guns than you do. The developed world, however, without exception, has seen the need for taxation. And they certainly haven't suffered economically because of it.

If you know better than the nine Nobel Laureates, I suggest you send your next post to them. I'm not really interested.

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Anonymous

Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #560239 - 02/22/02 09:58 PM (22 years, 14 days ago)

Funny, you haven't rebutted a single point I've raised. Apparently,
you haven't utilized rational thought in formulating your opinions and
then want us to accept the misguided notions of a bunch of socialist
professors. No country in history have ever taxed and spent itself into
prosperity, quite the opposite.

People have died resisting taxes in this country, but since your mind is
closed to rational discourse I will not bother researching the facts to
present to you.

To show that I understand your feelings, I'll leave you with this motto,
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

Good Day Comrade.

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OfflineElPrimo
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #560319 - 02/23/02 12:29 AM (22 years, 14 days ago)

Sure sounds impressive if you're a numbskull. But why not just give those 800,000 folks $1.5 million a piece and they wouldn't even have to work. You'd also have over a billion left over from that 1.35 trillion dollar tax and could spend some money to help feed some hungry kids.

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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #560338 - 02/23/02 01:17 AM (22 years, 14 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"As I really have better things to do with my time than sitting here rebutting both of you point by point..."

It has been my experience that when in any debate one of the participants utters a statement like the above it translates to, "I cannot refute your arguments."

"...I'll just reprint the following, available from The Economic Policy Institute." "If you know better than the nine Nobel Laureates, I suggest you send your next post to them."

Ah! The infamous "argument from authority" rears its ugly head. Since many of the people who signed this report are Nobel Laureates, then by all means they MUST be correct, right? Well... let's take a quick look at some of these authority figures, shall we?

George Akerlof's area of interest: how economics is influenced by social psychology. -- "By ignoring these concepts, economists have neglected to see a wide range of important policy options that aim to change how people think of themselves. This variable of identity has a major role to play in many subfields of economics. These include the economics of education, of gender, of income distribution (including the place of disadvantaged minorities), of politics, of substance abuse, of unions, of fertility, and of politics."

Kenneth Arrow, quoted in a 1995 interview about his 1978 article, "A Cautious Case for Socialism" -- "Let me say that the ideals that were sought for there, I still firmly accept. I think the idea that a society has to be responsible for all of its citizens, those who do well and those who do not, is really a precondition of a good society."

Franco Modigliani: (from the Boston Globe, Dec 8 1985) -- "Modigliani is the 67 year old principal author of what economists call the ''life-cycle" hypothesis - itself now nearly 35 years old. But as if to confirm the worst fears of those who think that economics is an undercooked science, his award cloaks much controversy about what exactly is implied by the life-cycle hypothesis. At a meeting last summer to celebrate the lifetime accomplishments of Modigliani, his friend and former close collaborator Albert Ando (along with Arthur Kennickell of the Federal Reserve System) asked how much support there was for dominant interpretation of the life cycle in household data for the United States and Japan.

"There was not much, they concluded. Attempts to use it to explain very large-scale empirical studies must be judged "a complete failure," they wrote in a survey of the published work. "We started with one of the most elegant theories in economics, and we could not find a way to fit abundant bodies of data into its neat framework," they concluded. (A cheerful Modigliani immediately set to work defending his hypothesis at the meeting, of course.)

"Somewhat more generally, the University of California's Thomas Mayer wrote a decade ago, "Of all the many tests which have been undertaken by friends of the (life-cycle) hypothesis, not a single one supports it . . . I therefore conclude that the . . . hypothesis is definitely invalidated."

Douglass North, from his autobiography: "I decided to go instead to the University of California at Berkeley. While I was there my life was completely changed by becoming a convinced Marxist and engaging in a variety of student liberal activities." "I cannot say that I learned much formal economics as a graduate student in Berkeley. My most influential professors were Robert Brady; Leo Rogin, a Marxist and a very influential teacher of history of economic thought; and M. M. Knight..."

Joseph Stiglitz: is the author of "Wither Socialism?" I was unable to find excerpts from it online, only critical reviews of it.

James Tobin: excerpt from his "A Liberal Agenda" -- "Freeman would like to soften this connection by some redistribution of assets. This requires, it seems to me, progressive taxation of estates and intergenerational gifts, and of income. A logical but radical instrument would be a progressive wealth tax."

Laura D'Andrea Tyson: Dr. Tyson was the chief economic advisor of the Clinton Administration and a key architect of President Clinton?s domestic and international policy agenda during his first term in office. As the Administration?s top economic adviser, she managed all economic policy-making throughout the executive branch.

Janet Yellen chaired President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers, stepping down in late 1999. She is married to George Akerloff.

I leave it to the reader to decide how impartial these social psychologists, Socialists, authors of discredited theories, Marxists, proponents of wealth tax and ex-Clinton advisors may be when it comes to their opinions on Republican-sponsored tax cuts.

"Now, you can quote Black's Law Dictionary all you want..."

And what better source to quote? YOU were the one who suggested consulting legal experts to determine whether or not taxation was confiscation.

"...I doubt you'll ever find an example of anybody being KILLED here for refusing to pay taxes."

If you refuse to pay your taxes, the police will come to arrest you. If you resist arrest to your utmost, the police will do THEIR utmost to capture you. In the process, you may very well be injured or even killed. If you are overpowered, captured, convicted, and imprisoned, and then try to escape, you may very well be injured or killed during your escape attempt. To follow the chain of events through to its logical conclusion, your choices are limited --

(A) Fork over whatever the IRS says you must, or risk death.

(B) Submit to imprisonment and hope you are not killed in a prison riot, or by a psychopathic cellmate, or by AIDS contracted after being gang-raped.

"The developed world, however, without exception, has seen the need for taxation. And they certainly haven't suffered economically because of it."

They certainly have suffered from OVER-taxation. Enormous amounts of tax money are pissed away on useless programs. Even though the US may still have the lowest tax rates in the developed world, it is really a case of "The best of a bad lot". It is undeniable that the citizens of the US would be better off financially if their tax burden were lower.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Phred]
    #560909 - 02/23/02 06:43 PM (22 years, 14 days ago)

Why waste my time rebutting your arguments when they're minor and/or tangential?

That money you think "you" made was only made possible by the existence of legal mechanisms that protect you, your property, your right to do business. These legal mechanisms require social cooperation and money to maintain. It's only YOUR money because you live in a society that creates conditions in which you can make it. That tender is legal only because the government prints it and says its legal. The feds whom you think have their guns pointed on you actually have them pointed on the countless poor people who would kill you and take your property in a second, given a chance. You would need an army, not a gun, to protect you from those masses--your tax dollars are what pays for that army.

For your information, comrades, communists reject the right to private ownership. Where did I ever argue for that?

Hey, have you bought your tickets to Angola yet?

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OfflineLeGrouper
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: ElPrimo]
    #560978 - 02/23/02 07:38 PM (22 years, 14 days ago)

ElPrimo your comment is hilariously juvenile and represents the epitome of economic misunderstanding. The government is not looking to make 800,000 people more wealthy. The government is looking to improve the economy, giving 800,000 people 1.5 million dollars each that somebody else worked for would be the ultimate in erasing incentives. You see, those 800,000 jobs supposedly are producing things that the country needs and will use, not just generating income. And that 1.35 Trillion tax cut is really 1.35 trillion dollars that somebody else earned and is having taken away from them. That is why communism always produces poor ass countries because the lack of incentives to work hard. I bet you always wondered why the government doesn't just print infinity money and just hand it out to everyone to stimulate the economy....


--------------------
The above post is entirely fictional and should not be taken out of context.

Ali-G
www.boyakasha.co.uk

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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #561254 - 02/24/02 02:58 AM (22 years, 13 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"Why waste my time rebutting your arguments when they're minor and/or tangential?"

So far, ALL of my comments and questions have been responses to points that YOU introduced: the respectability of making money through investment, speculation vs investment, the definition of "windfalls", the rationale for living off investment income rather than working as a janitor, the best method for the wealthy to ensure that the middle class remain economically strong, the intrinsic "worthlessness" of trashy bestsellers, the relationship of production to consumption, taxation as confiscation, the "shrinkage" of the middle class, the worth of government "services".

If you consider these points minor and/or tangential, why did you choose to introduce them in the first place?

"That money you think "you" made was only made possible by the existence of legal mechanisms that protect you, your property, your right to do business."

Not true. I didn't THINK I made that money, I DID make it. The protective mechanisms you refer to only allow me a better chance of KEEPING my money rather than having it stolen from me by criminals.

"These legal mechanisms require social cooperation and money to maintain."

Agreed. I have no qualms with paying taxes for the services that protect my person and my property: police, courts, military. Period.

"It's only YOUR money because you live in a society that creates conditions in which you can make it."

The State does not CREATE conditions which allow me to create money. I do that for myself. The ceramic products I make and sell to others can be made in any society, or even on a desert island.

"That tender is legal only because the government prints it and says its legal."

Ah! And there's the rub. The government can, at any time, turn that tender (my property) into worthless trash by cranking up the printing presses. This has happened in COUNTLESS countries where government has control of the currency. It is happening today in Argentina and other countries, it is happening today -- at a slower rate, admittedly -- in the USA (compare the worth of a 2002 dollar with a 1972 dollar), and it will happen tomorrow in some other country. I would much rather use gold in my transactions, but the government does not allow this.

Commerce existed for millenia before governments got into the business of minting money.

"The feds whom you think have their guns pointed on you actually have them pointed on the countless poor people who would kill you and take your property in a second, given a chance."

I am sure you meant to say criminals, not poor people. The vast majority of the poor are honest and not afraid to support themselves, and would not hesitate to return my wallet to me if I dropped it in a lineup at MacDonald's, or getting into my car or something. This has happened to me twice already, and has happened to friends of mine as well. Not all criminals are poor, either... not by a long stretch.

"You would need an army, not a gun, to protect you from those masses--your tax dollars are what pays for that army."

More accurately, it is the police that provide this protection, but I understand your basic point. Do you really believe the sole reason the poor don't rampage through wealthy neighborhoods in the USA is their fear of police or the army? If so, you have less respect for the poor than I do. Besides, as I pointed out earlier, I have no problems paying taxes to support the police, the courts, and the military.

"For your information, comrades, communists reject the right to private ownership. Where did I ever argue for that?"

Where? By saying that the government has the right, by way of some unwritten "social contract", to continually increase its area of influence in providing "services" that they decide we must have. Since the only way these "services" can be provided is through the confiscation of our privately-owned property (our money, and in some cases our land), in actual fact our right to private ownership is determined completely by government. In the USA you get to keep approximately two thirds of your property. In Canada, you get to keep a bit more than half of it. In Sweden, you get to keep approximately 35 per cent of it.

"Hey, have you bought your tickets to Angola yet?"

No, but I did become a resident of the Dominican Republic fourteen years ago (still debating whether I should bother going through the bureaucratic hassle of getting full Dominican citizenship so I can vote, too), where I pay no income tax or property tax or school taxes or social security or health care premiums. I do pay sales tax on some things, and duties on imported products are a little stiff on some items, but basically the government here does nothing for me but provide police protection, courts, and miltary. The government here does sweet dick all for me, but they ASK dick all of me, too. They don't care one way or the other whether I become wealthy or starve, as I long as I don't break the law. They LEAVE ME ALONE, to succeed or fail on my own efforts.

A century ago, this was true of the United States of America, as well. I'm very glad that the Dominican government learned from the mistakes the US has made.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Phred]
    #561685 - 02/24/02 04:02 PM (22 years, 13 days ago)

Pinky,

I have to say, at the very least, that I respect your decision to move to the Dominican Republic. That's voting with your feet. I take my hat off to you.

Other than that, though, I have to say it seems to me you have a static view of history. A hundred years ago the United States was not a world power, it had a much smaller population, and most importantly, it didn't have thousands of ICBMs pointed at it.

You write: "I'm very glad that the Dominican government learned from the mistakes the US has made."

I'm sorry, but that is a ludicrous statement. The Dominican Republic is not even on the map economically, scientifically, or educationally. It is a de facto satellite of the US. Drawing equivalencies like that just hurts your case.

When I say your rebuttals are minor/tangential, I mean you (and evolving) have scrupulously avoided the issue of tax shelters and tax evasion. The reason of course is that you can't refute it; what's more, it blows holes in the theory that the government is unfairly bleeding the rich. Maybe it TRIES, but that doesn't mean it actually succeeds.

Your rugged individualism is intriguing, and I will once again reiterate my grudging respect for the life you've created for yourself. But I'm afraid you still haven't convinced me that your ideas have relevance for the United States in the 21st century. It's clear to me that I haven't convinced you either, but in the final analysis it's irrelevant because it seems you, I, and evolving are the only ones on this forum who are in the least bit interested in this topic. We could spin our wheels for ages and have nothing to show for it but wasted time.

I wish you well.


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OfflineGod_Killer
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #562539 - 02/25/02 12:20 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

but in the final analysis it's irrelevant because it seems you, I, and evolving are the only ones on this forum who are in the least bit interested in this topic.


I'm quite interested in this topic myself but the shark argues better than I do and I mostly agree with him on this issue so I been keepin my redneck mouth shut.


--------------------
Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.-Benjamin Franklin

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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #562627 - 02/25/02 01:47 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"A hundred years ago the United States was not a world power, it had a much smaller population, and most importantly, it didn't have thousands of ICBMs pointed at it."

How do any of those circumstances alter the fact that lower taxes mean more money available for growth?

"PSM writes: "I'm very glad that the Dominican government learned from the mistakes the US has made." EV responds: I'm sorry, but that is a ludicrous statement. The Dominican Republic is not even on the map economically, scientifically, or educationally."

Please explain how this relative insignificance prevents the Dominican government from learning from the mistakes the US government has made.

As for economics, the D.R. has had the fastest-growing economy in Latin America for quite some time now. It also houses the oldest university in the western hemisphere and the first medical school in the western hemisphere.

"It is a de facto satellite of the US."

Bullshit. You must be thinking of Puerto Rico. I think that, as a Dominican resident, I just might have a better understanding of US influence here than you do. Our economic trade with South American countries or even with Europe FAR outweighs US trade.

"Drawing equivalencies like that just hurts your case."

What equivalences did I draw?

"When I say your rebuttals are minor/tangential, I mean you (and evolving) have scrupulously avoided the issue of tax shelters and tax evasion."

As have you. This is the FIRST time in any of your posts that you have raised either topic.

"The reason of course is that you can't refute it;"

Refute what? The fact that government has created tax shelters? The fact that people of all social classes try to pay as little tax as possible? Why would I try to deny either of these self-evident facts?

"...what's more, it blows holes in the theory that the government is unfairly bleeding the rich."

Dude, the government is unfairly bleeding EVERYONE. However, under a sliding scale tax system such as the one in place in the US today, the ones who get hosed the worst are the ones whose annual income is the highest. Ask anyone who has passed from one tax bracket into the next.

You seem to believe that evading taxes and utilizing government-approved tax shelters are equivalent. Clearly they are not, but let's take a look at the question of tax evasion, shall we? Government statistics show that more than 70 per cent of Americans will ADMIT to "cheating" on their tax returns. A blunter term for "cheating" is "evasion", n'est ce pas? Tax evasion is certainly not a behavior that is restricted to the wealthy. It is as American as apple pie.

"But I'm afraid you still haven't convinced me that your ideas have relevance for the United States in the 21st century."

And you haven't convinced me (or anyone else reading this thread, I'll wager) that lowering taxes is a bad thing, whether in the US or in Malaysia, whether in the 19th century or the 21st century.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Phred]
    #562728 - 02/25/02 03:01 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

Here are the top ranking countries, according to the World Bank, in terms of per capita GNP (2001 figures, adjusted for purchasing power parity)
1. Luxembourg
2. Liechtenstein
3. United States
4. Bermuda
5. Switzerland
6. Norway
7. Iceland
8. Cayman Islands
9. Belgium
10 Canada


The Dominican Republic is number 96 on the list.

Here are the top rankings for life expectancy from the World Health Organization (adjusted for expected years of "full health")

1. Japan
2. Australia
3. France
4. Sweden
5. Spain
6. Italy
7. Greece
8. Switzerland
9. Monaco
10 Andorra

The US ranks 24th. The DR ranks 114th (out of 197).

The majority of countries at the top of both lists have high tax rates and extensive social safety nets. (Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are aberrations--they are tax shelter parking lots for money that was actually produced in other economies). You seem to measure quality of life simply by the number of dollars that you, as an individual, have in your bank account. I simply consider this short-sighted.

If the United States is the one making the mistakes (and according to your way of thinking (taxes--bad! bad!), Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Luxembourg, etc., are making even bigger mistakes) then why is it that they surpass the Dominican Republic in every single objective measure of national success available--per capita purchasing power, healthy life expectancy, scientific innovation and research? Population size doesn't count as an excuse--the DR has 8.5 million, Norway only has 4.5 million.

Personally, I would rather pay higher taxes and live in a nation where the people lead long, healthy lives and large segments of the population are not impoverished. That's just my personal preference.

The fact that the DR has a fast growing economy doesn't mean very much when the economy is so small to begin with. Communist China has an even faster growing economy. Growth rates have little to do with standard of living. Japan has been in recession for the past ten years, but the standard of living is still one of the highest in the world. When Japan was undergoing its phenomenal growth during the 50s-80s, it was one of the most centrally organized economies imaginable.

And by the way, I did mention tax shelters and evasion in my very first post.

It doesn't exactly make me elated and happy to pay taxes, and it is certainly true that much tax money is squandered by the government. I don't particularly trust the government, either. But I do trust gov't a tiny bit more than I trust corporations who are only accountable to their shareholders, and wealthy individuals, who are usually interested only in their own profit. Sure they may invest their money, thereby helping the national economy--but then again, they may invest it abroad, in search of higher returns, thereby helping somebody else's economy. The government, for all of its failings (and there are many, to be sure) at the very least has to keep in mind the big picture in addition to short-term gains. The money the government spends is also reinvested into the economy, in one form or another. It doesn't just disappear into a black hole.

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OfflineGod_Killer
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #562780 - 02/25/02 03:50 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

The money the government spends is also reinvested into the economy, in one form or another. It doesn't just disappear into a black hole.

Um, the only money tht isn't re-invested in the economy in one way or another is that money that I have burried out back in a mason jar.


--------------------
Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.-Benjamin Franklin

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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #562802 - 02/25/02 04:18 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"The majority of countries at the top of both lists have high tax rates and extensive social safety nets. (Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are aberrations--they are tax shelter parking lots for money that was actually produced in other economies)."

It is true that the Dominican Republic is on the bottom half of those lists. It is also true that from the time Columbus set foot on its shores until about 35 years ago, the Dominican Republic was either a colonial possession of one of the superpower nations or the personal playground of a series of vicious dictators. Give us some time.

"You seem to measure quality of life simply by the number of dollars that you, as an individual, have in your bank account. I simply consider this short-sighted."

Not at all. I measure quality of life by the amount of freedom an individual has.

"If the United States is the one making the mistakes (and according to your way of thinking (taxes--bad! bad!), Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Luxembourg, etc., are making even bigger mistakes) then why is it that they surpass the Dominican Republic in every single objective measure of national success available--per capita purchasing power, healthy life expectancy, scientific innovation and research? Population size doesn't count as an excuse--the DR has 8.5 million, Norway only has 4.5 million."

The Dominican Republic has had less than a generation of freedom in its 500 years of existence. The rest of the time its wealth was being siphoned off into the treasuries of other nations (Spain, France, England) or into the pockets of Trujillo and his cronies. It will take some time to catch up to the Scandinavian countries.

Anyway, why this interest in bashing the D.R.? Is it because we have done so well in such a short time without taxing our citizens to death? Or is it just to divert my attention from the reason you jumped into this thread in the first place: your opinion that the latest Republican-sponsored tax breaks are a bad thing.

"Personally, I would rather pay higher taxes and live in a nation where the people lead long, healthy lives and large segments of the population are not impoverished. That's just my personal preference."

Ah, but you seem convinced that a long healthy life and the lack of impoverished people can only be achieved through high levels of taxation. This is clearly not the case.

"The fact that the DR has a fast growing economy doesn't mean very much when the economy is so small to begin with."

Gotta start somewhere.

"And by the way, I did mention tax shelters and evasion in my very first post."

OOPS... my bad. You did indeed give passing mention to "offshore tax shelters"... I missed that. You never mentioned tax evasion, though.

"The money the government spends is also reinvested into the economy, in one form or another."

And what evidence do you have to support this astoundingly naive claim? SOME money, sure. But ALL money? It is to laugh!

"It doesn't just disappear into a black hole."

Actually, it does. What else would you call the endless series of "loans" to African nations that will never be repayed? Government subsidies of "artists" whose work is of passing interest to maybe six art critics in New York? Warehouses filled with MOUNTAINS of "government surplus" stuff? Millions of gallons of milk literally poured down sewers? I could go on for days listing boondoggle after boondoggle. Face facts, dude, the money that the government spends on these "services" would be better used by tossing it into the furnace of the nearest electrical generation plant.

pinky


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: God_Killer]
    #562934 - 02/25/02 06:46 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

>>>>The money the government spends is also reinvested into the economy, in one form or another. It doesn't just disappear into a black hole.

If the money is given to the UN or sent to third world dictators or used to enrich mexican drug dealers under the guise of saving the mexican economy it doesn't disapear in to a black hole either. Just because the money isn't vanishing doesn't mean that it is being used wisely.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #562940 - 02/25/02 06:49 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

Echo Vortex,

I agree with you. I also think that social programs are more important than low taxes. Our society would be better off with a UK style socialized medicine program than with a tax cut for billionares.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Phred]
    #562985 - 02/25/02 07:36 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

I, personally, have nothing against the D.R. In the NYC area, where I live, we have thousands of immigrants from there who came here seeking a better life (naively, I suppose you would say). It's just that you offered the D.R. as an example of a nation that is doing very well because of its low taxes. My point is simply that it's not doing all that well. Perhaps you're right, perhaps its only a matter of time, but that's purely a matter of speculation.

In the world as it exists today, advanced nations have a need for public spending. Most of that money is spent on essential services, not boondogles. Foreign aid consitutes only 1/2 of 1 percent of the US national budget. Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts weighs in at a hefty 1/100 of 1 percent of the budget, or 36 cents per citizen per year. I've been ripped off for far more than than by the many private oligopolies with which I am forced to do business--hundreds of times more. As far as gov't surplus rotting away in warehouses goes, this is also another exaggerated myth, but even if it were true, it doesn't change the fact that paying manufacturers for those goods is a form of economic stimulus (which is the case even if the goods aren't consumed). Perhaps "reinvested" isn't the right word; perhaps "reinjected" would be better. But all of the money that isn't sent abroad (99.5% of the budget) circulates right here in the US. Even if it is given to some flaky artist, that artist uses it buy things, which in turn constitutes economic activity.

You talk about facts, but mostly all you offer are opinions. I offer opinions too, but at least I'm honest enough to label them as such. You pass your opinions off as facts without any factual support. If you can give me an example of a country that falls into the top twenty when it comes to BOTH economic well-being and health and life expectancy, and which at the same time has very low tax levels (say, less than 20% for the upper income brackets), then I would take what you say more seriously. Barring that, your assertions are merely theoretical. And PLEASE, when you come up with your example, do not take me back again into the mists of time: the US a hundred years ago or some shit like that. Face facts, dude: times change.

You're right, I AM against the Bush tax cuts. Why? Because they're not matched by concurrent decreases in spending. You think tax and spend is bad? Cut tax and spend is even worse. The budget surplus had already more or less evaporated before 9/11. The losses and costs produced by that event will push the budget even further into deficit territory, which is simply a way of buying economic growth today so that somebody else will have to pay for it later (that is, the person who takes office after you leave). This is fiscal irresponsibilty, pure and simple.

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Offlinenugsarenice
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Phred]
    #563010 - 02/25/02 08:09 PM (22 years, 12 days ago)

What else would you call the endless series of "loans" to African nations that will never be repayed?

What kind of loans are being given to Africa? Just curious. You would be hard pressed to find any bank willing to loan money for business purposes there, because any investment cannot be returned by profits, because their money is'nt worth shit. What kinds of loans were you speaking of? Imf? And i think that the imf does expect returns, right?

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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #563150 - 02/25/02 10:55 PM (22 years, 11 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"In the world as it exists today, advanced nations have a need for public spending."

Why? Apart from providing essential protective services (cops, courts, military), which is the obligation of ALL governments, regardless of when in historical time they existed, WHY is it necessary to tax more heavily than fifty years ago?

"Most of that money is spent on essential services, not boondogles."

Anything that is not spent on the protection of the inhabitants of a country is by definition not essential.

"I've been ripped off for far more than than by the many private oligopolies with which I am forced to do business--hundreds of times more."

WHO is forcing you to deal with these private entities? Since the government is the only entity in a society with the legal monopoly on the use of force, it follows that the government is the one doing the forcing.

"As far as gov't surplus rotting away in warehouses goes, this is also another exaggerated myth, but even if it were true, it doesn't change the fact that paying manufacturers for those goods is a form of economic stimulus (which is the case even if the goods aren't consumed)."

A form of economic stimulus? Then so is using tax dollars to hire a bunch of people to dig a trench for six months of the year, then fill it in for the other six months of the year.

"If you can give me an example of a country that falls into the top twenty when it comes to BOTH economic well-being and health and life expectancy, and which at the same time has very low tax levels (say, less than 20% for the upper income brackets), then I would take what you say more seriously."

Why limit it to the top twenty? By that standard, the US wouldn't make the cut. But I'll take a stab at it -- Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Hong Kong.

"And PLEASE, when you come up with your example, do not take me back again into the mists of time: the US a hundred years ago or some shit like that. Face facts, dude: times change."

Times change. Basic principles do not.

"You're right, I AM against the Bush tax cuts. Why? Because they're not matched by concurrent decreases in spending."

Ah! Why didn't you say so earlier? Your first post bemoaned the fact that the rich can support themselves through investments rather than physical labor and warned that the middle class was shrinking. None of your subsequent posts addressed the issue of deficit spending, either.

Of course you are correct that government spending must be reduced. Which "services" in place today do YOU think should be cut? It seems you believe the 99.5% of tax dollars not spent on foreign aid are all required in order for America to exist in the 21st century.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: Phred]
    #564805 - 02/27/02 12:36 PM (22 years, 10 days ago)


Here are some of the services that should be maintained:

1. Defense
2. Law enforcement
3. Courts
(I assume from your previous posts that you agree with me so far. I'm sure you won't like the rest)
4. Funding for primary scientific research. Private industry is reluctant to invest in research that doesn't have immediate or near-immediate profit potential. The catch is that the findings of basic research have to be in place before applied technology can be developed from it. None of the four nations (all four are more like city-states than full-sized nations, by the way) you listed is a major player in scientific research and development.
5. Regulation and oversight in the areas of food, pharmaceuticals, pollution, transportation safety, industrial safety (including nuclear energy oversight) and fair labor practices. The private sector has historically proven itself to be irresponsible when it comes to self-regulation in these areas, often to the point of even hurting their own long-term interests. Short-term gain and government coercion are the only forces to which they tend to respond.
6. Public education. Those nations that have the most impressive track record of scientific innovation (number of patents, number of scientific journal publications, number of Nobel prize winners) all have extensive public education systems. Some, like the United States and Japan, have a mix of public and private. But none of them operates solely on the principle of private education.
7. The maintenance of diplomatic relations. This includes the building, upkeep, and personnel costs of diplomatic missions abroad. It may also include the disbursement of foreign aid. Of course you despise all forms of foreign aid, but the Marshall Plan and reconstruction aid to Japan after the war also fell under this category. Both of these initiatives were crucial in setting the stage to win the Cold War.
8. Here's one you're going to howl at, I'm sure. There should be subsidized health care in the United States. 16% of Americans are uninsured. The economic costs and burdens from illness, lost time from work, etc. are not to be underestimated. This is one of the many reasons why the US ranks so much lower than other industrialized nations in healthy life expectancy.
9. Social security and medicare.

Other programs can reasonably be cut. Welfare (both low-income and corporate welfare), arts, pork barrel projects, etc. Even the postal service could probably be privatized. Existing programs can also be streamlined, with less money being spent in more creative and effective ways. These are problems that can be solved with the application of intelligence and effort. Simply repeating the mantra that all government is bad is absurd reductionism.

As with most businesses, the single largest government expenditure is payroll. The public sector (national, state, and local governments) is far and away the largest employer in the land. The federal government alone employs 2.8 million people. Cutting those jobs will only add to the number of unemployed who will have to be soaked up elsewhere. Giving those people?s salaries as tax cuts to corporations or wealthy individuals will not necessarily result in the creation of an equivalent number of jobs.

By the way, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg both have progressive (sliding) tax scales. The top end of the scale is relatively low, you're right, but they also "punish" the economically successful. Hong Kong doesn?t have to provide for its own defense?the UK used to do that, now the PRC does it. This helps lower public expenditures and keeps taxes down. Liechtenstein (pop 33,000), Luxembourg (pop. 443,000) and Monaco (pop. 32,000) make their money precisely by being tax havens. They fill a niche in the global economy. If all nations reduced their taxes to the same levels, those tiny ?nations? would lose their relative advantage. More money is parked there than is actually MADE there. Liechtenstein is officially represented abroad by Switzerland. Luxembourg rides piggy-back on the defense mechanisms of NATO, getting a lot more than it puts in. These are hardly representative of the situation of most nations with large economies and large populations.

As far as this thread goes, whether you?ve convinced the three dozen or so people who might occasionally take a look at it (look at the number of thread views?a third or more of those are probably due to you and me) is really not terribly significant. This is a magic mushroom site, not a legislative body. The vast majority of the democratically elected leaders of the industrialized world have rejected the ?basic principles? which you?ve presented here. And why shouldn?t they? Their nations have achieved world leadership on a number of different fronts by embracing a very different set of principles these past 50 years. Why should they dismantle systems that have proven themselves to work simply on the say-so of you or anybody else?

Even in the United States, where the Libertarians (I assume that?s what you are, since your views bear a striking resemblance to theirs) are a good deal stronger than in other advanced nations, Libertarians can?t seem to get elected to national or even to state office. Once in a while they get elected as county Inspectors of Elections or to small town councils--that's it. Here are the results of the 2000 US presidential elections, in terms of popular votes:
1. Gore?48.38%
2. Bush?47.87%
3. Nader?2.74%
4. Buchanan?0.42%
5. Browne (Libertarian)?0.36%
Even that flake Nader got 7.6 times as many votes as the Libertarian candidate. Call it what you want: I call it a stunning dismissal of Libertarian principles. The people have spoken.

Well, it?s been fun, but it?s starting to get rather boring and repetitive. I?ll leave you the satisfaction of having the last word on this thread. Lord knows you haven?t had that satisfaction in the real world political arena.

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OfflinePhred
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: EchoVortex]
    #565697 - 02/28/02 10:12 AM (22 years, 9 days ago)

EchoVortex writes:

"Here are some of the services that should be maintained:"

"4. Funding for primary scientific research. Private industry is reluctant to invest in research that doesn't have immediate or near-immediate profit potential. The catch is that the findings of basic research have to be in place before applied technology can be developed from it."

The vast majority of primary scientific research, or BASIC research, has historically come from universities, and a surprising amount from private industry... IBM Labs, and GE Labs for example, are reknowned for this. I know you will say that many, if not most, of these universities receive government funding. But not all do. IBM and GE certainly don't.

"5. Regulation and oversight in the areas of food, pharmaceuticals, pollution, transportation safety, industrial safety (including nuclear energy oversight) and fair labor practices. The private sector has historically proven itself to be irresponsible when it comes to self-regulation in these areas, often to the point of even hurting their own long-term interests. Short-term gain and government coercion are the only forces to which they tend to respond."

Here we disagree. The problem with government regulations in these areas is that the minimums very rapidly become the maximums. Everyone just presumes that if a product meets all the required government standards it MUST be safe. Numerous examples have proven this assumption false.

"6. Public education. Those nations that have the most impressive track record of scientific innovation (number of patents, number of scientific journal publications, number of Nobel prize winners) all have extensive public education systems. Some, like the United States and Japan, have a mix of public and private. But none of them operates solely on the principle of private education."

All of them did, at one point or another. Even in the US, federal involvement in education is a fairly recent phenomenon (the DOE was created in 1980). And not a very successful one, either. See:

http://www.lp.org/lpnews/0202/libsolutions.html

"7. The maintenance of diplomatic relations. This includes the building, upkeep, and personnel costs of diplomatic missions abroad."

Agreed. Since diplomatic efforts can often avoid armed conflicts, expenses associated with diplomatic relations may properly be considered a form of defense spending.

"It may also include the disbursement of foreign aid. Of course you despise all forms of foreign aid, but the Marshall Plan and reconstruction aid to Japan after the war also fell under this category. Both of these initiatives were crucial in setting the stage to win the Cold War."

What ended the Cold War was neither the Marshall Plan nor foreign aid. What actually ended the Cold War was the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union, which would have occurred much earlier if the US government had not been selling wheat to the USSR at below-market prices (a form of foreign aid), setting up cultural and scientific "exhange conferences", etc.

"8. Here's one you're going to howl at, I'm sure. There should be subsidized health care in the United States. 16% of Americans are uninsured. The economic costs and burdens from illness, lost time from work, etc. are not to be underestimated. This is one of the many reasons why the US ranks so much lower than other industrialized nations in healthy life expectancy."

Government involvement in health care is an unmitigated disaster. Ask anyone over forty (when medical care becomes more important) who lives in England or Canada. As an ex-Canadian, I can speak from personal experience on this one. Thousands of Canadians (and English) regularly visit the US or other countries with private health care in order to get the medical attention they NEED that they simply cannot get in their own country... and I am not talking about face lifts or liposuction, here... I am referring to essential operations to correct life-threatening conditions.

MacLean's magazine, a Canadian publication, ran an excellent series of articles on the state of Canada's health care system some time in the last year. So did the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. I am sorry, but I don't remember which issues.

It made me laugh my head off whenever proponents of Hillary's health care proposal would hold up Canada's medical system as a shining example. The Canadian health care system is in VERY serious trouble... everything that its opponents predicted would happen when it was introduced in the early 70s HAS happened, and more. England's National Health system is even MORE fucked, but only because it has been in existence longer.

If there is one and ONLY one area where the government MUST keep its hands off, it is the area of medicine.

"9. Social security and medicare."

We all know that Social Security is in crisis. If taxes were lower, people could provide for their own future through REAL investing in retirement funds, or even in savings accounts. Social Security is not an investment... it is a Ponzi Scheme of mammoth proportions.

"Other programs can reasonably be cut. Welfare (both low-income and corporate welfare), arts, pork barrel projects, etc. Even the postal service could probably be privatized. Existing programs can also be streamlined, with less money being spent in more creative and effective ways. These are problems that can be solved with the application of intelligence and effort. Simply repeating the mantra that all government is bad is absurd reductionism."

All government other than that required to protect its citizens from force IS bad. It necessarily involves the violation of the rights of its citizens.

"As with most businesses, the single largest government expenditure is payroll. The public sector (national, state, and local governments) is far and away the largest employer in the land. The federal government alone employs 2.8 million people."

My point precisely. How can ANY society operate efficiently when the single largest employer is the government?

"Cutting those jobs will only add to the number of unemployed who will have to be soaked up elsewhere. Giving those people?s salaries as tax cuts to corporations or wealthy individuals will not necessarily result in the creation of an equivalent number of jobs."

Sheer speculation. In the rare cases where government departments HAVE reduced the number of employees, those employees have found other jobs.

"By the way, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg... Hong Kong... Monaco... are hardly representative of the situation of most nations with large economies and large populations."

You asked me to name a SINGLE nation that fit your criteria. I named FOUR. Note that three of the four were listed by name on the rankings that YOU introduced to this thread in order to make a point of yours.

"As far as this thread goes, whether you?ve convinced the three dozen or so people who might occasionally take a look at it (look at the number of thread views?a third or more of those are probably due to you and me) is really not terribly significant. This is a magic mushroom site, not a legislative body."

So? You think that the people who take the time to read the "Political Discussion" forum here don't vote? That they don't talk to others? If this forum is so insignificant, why did YOU bother to post here in the first place? Is the Op-Ed section of the New York Times a legislative body? Is the "Letters to the Editor" section of the Washington Post a legislative body? At least the folks who read THIS forum are open-minded enough to have defied the government position on entheogens... maybe they will be receptive to other areas that need to be changed.

"The vast majority of the democratically elected leaders of the industrialized world have rejected the ?basic principles? which you?ve presented here."

Because they have found that the easiest way to get re-elected is to promise "goodies" to the voters. They buy votes, plain and simple. These goodies are paid for by taxes.

"Their nations have achieved world leadership on a number of different fronts by embracing a very different set of principles these past 50 years."

The Soviet Union was once considered a world leader. England was once considered a world leader.

"Why should they dismantle systems that have proven themselves to work simply on the say-so of you or anybody else?"

Of course they won't dismantle these systems. The systems are what keep them in power. That doesn't mean the systems shouldn't be dismantled. And, laws ARE repealed from time to time. Not as often as they should be, but it DOES happen. Prohibition was repealed, after all.

"Even in the United States, where the Libertarians (I assume that?s what you are, since your views bear a striking resemblance to theirs) are a good deal stronger than in other advanced nations, Libertarians can?t seem to get elected to national or even to state office."

That doesn't mean their principles are incorrect. It just means Libertarian presidential candidates don't have the financial resources that the Demopublican candidates do.

"Here are the results of the 2000 US presidential elections, in terms of popular votes:
1. Gore?48.38%
2. Bush?47.87%
3. Nader?2.74%
4. Buchanan?0.42%
5. Browne (Libertarian)?0.36%
Even that flake Nader got 7.6 times as many votes as the Libertarian candidate. Call it what you want: I call it a stunning dismissal of Libertarian principles. The people have spoken."

The number of proponents of a given theory is not proof of its validity. At one point in time, the majority believed the Earth was flat, that disease was caused by demons, and that some humans had the right to rule others by nature of their parentage.

"Well, it?s been fun, but it?s starting to get rather boring and repetitive. I?ll leave you the satisfaction of having the last word on this thread."

Seeya.

pinky


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Offlinesparafucile
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Re: W.House: Tax Cuts to Create 800,000 Jobs [Re: ]
    #569070 - 03/03/02 09:53 PM (22 years, 5 days ago)

Um look at the world. Most of the world is ass poor dying of disease and fighting in wars. Nearly everyone is "rich" in America, by these standards. Our standard of living rocks, hands down. Now, absolutely, its full of shit, but relatively, we're kings. That guy that worked his ass off also has to pay someone to fight his dirty little wars for him so the africans don't rise up and kick the shit out of him.

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