2020 Election Thread

Blue&White
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby Blue&White » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:21 am

So I get it now - you're not the libertarian you've purported to be in the past - your in favor of heavy taxation - on the other guy.

I don't think it's that simple. We don't live in a text book. I am certainly a libertarian on matters of personal choice. On matters of macro economics, I think it has to be more nuanced than that. I am not against government regulation where regulation makes sense. I am not against government interference where the playing field is not level. And, I am absolutely, unequivocally against our current system where it is socialistic in favor of the richest people in this country. 2008 saw the largest transfer of wealth in recorded history.

The Romans, Ghengis Khan and the Conquistadors pillaging their way across Europe, Asia and the Americas respectively did not take as much from the people they encountered as was taken from middle class tax payers after the financial crises back in 2008. When you add up all the various programs that were enacted - some of which were well publicized and many of which were not, the final tally was in the trillions of dollars.At one point the total liability risk (not money paid, but risk) absorbed by US tax payers in favor of the banks was over 7 trillion dollars.. That's not a typo. Just for context, the national GDP in 2009 was just under $14.5 trillion dollars. So, the tax payers took on a risk equal to half the production of the economy. Does anyone here remember voting for that? In fact, does anyone here remember anyone in the press - Fox News, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, really ANY publication - reporting that there was a vote by our duly elected public officials to take that risk on for all of us? I sure don't. Don't beat yourself up over missing it, because there was no vote. A lot of these decisions were made by the Federal Reserve and other agencies, outside public eye. All the decisions were reported to the public, but you had to pay a whole lot of attention to see it all coming together. It wasn't until the number hit that $7T milestone that the press really started to report it. And, people still missed it.

I could go on and on about this. Why did the federal government pass a law that prohibits the government from using it's buying power to negotiate better rates from drug companies that would lower prices for people on Medicare? Why do tax payers subsidize oil exploration and pharmaceutical research? The list goes on and on and on. And, the same group of people continue to be the winners in this economy. I understand that having more money means you have more to play with and the opportunity to create more wealth. But, the simple fact is that almost all the wealth gains in this country over the past 40 years has been concentrated in the top 1% of earners. That's not an opinion. It's not a liberal conspiracy. It's not an MSNBC talking point or an internet meme. It's a cold, hard fact. Real wages in this country for the overwhelming number of Americans have not changed at all in decades. Even this last tax cut, the one where Trump promised we were all going to see these massive wage increases and have all this extra cash, is proving to be a bust. A bunch of corporations gave out 1 time bonuses of like $1,000 and that was the end of it. They paid exec bonuses, bought back stocks, and kept the money. AT&T promised they were going to hire 7,000 more people, but instead they have fired close to 10,000. And, all those people you work with who are oh so happy with their increased pay checks? I am waiting on pins and needles to hear you report back about how they did when they filed their taxes. My guess is many of them are going to be paying a lot of that money back. Let's see how happy they are then.

So, yes, I don't have a problem with non-libertarian ideas and collecting taxes for things like single payer health care. I am 100% for that. And, I'm equally ok if the people who have benefited the most from the past 40+ years of one-way policy decisions have to kick in more of the money. Perfectly fine with me. And, if we can level the playing field along the way and take away some of the competitive advantages they get and remove the incentives to horde wealth, that is just spiffy with me too. This country is on its way to becoming Brazil - a country with a small number of very wealthy people, a very tiny middle class, and then masses and masses of poor people who are barely scraping by. And, that country is a powder keg waiting for a match. It's not a good situation and not one I wish to emulate.

So, put whatever label on it that makes you comfortable, but that's where I am.
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Blue&White
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby Blue&White » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:10 am

Hillary Clinton says she's NOT running in 2020

Image

I like the part where she says she is going to do "everything" she can to help the Democrats win. The only thing I can think of that would help is a public endorsement of Trump.
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sameoldlama
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby sameoldlama » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:51 pm

I've repeatedly stated an opposition to crony capitalism - and have told you I will pick up the torches and pitchforks on the way to Wall Street - but again to me that falls under - get a fair ref to fix it not a crooked commissioner. If you want argue against how are tax system is rigged in terms of how defining income or deductions is manipulated I'm in.

People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or other pioneering people create entire subsets of our economy and the resultant activity provides wealth and opportunity for a significant portion of the population. That ability shouldn't be punished. I firmly believe our society benefits more from them keeping their money rather than Bernie and AOC taking 70% to bribe voters with entitlement programs.

If a person has come about wealth honestly - not via bribing politicians to set favorable conditions - what is your moral and ethical argument that they should be subject to a punitive tax system.
Wendall : That's very linear Sheriff
Ed Tom : Age will flatten a man Wendall

tempe
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby tempe » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:33 pm

In stasis theory - definition argument must be established.
Would you please offer the criteria that defines the terms, wealth and honestly.
Please label each criterion as sufficient or necessary.
thank you very much -

Might as well toss "punitive" in there as well

also - please offer your differentiation between "moral" and "ethical" argument.

Stipulate as you deem necessary to validate your question/concern - malum in se or malum in prohibita?
you know - just to get the ball rolling

sameoldlama
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby sameoldlama » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:06 am

Since we are talking about taxation

Wealth is clearly monetary value - income.
Punitive is when the accumulation of additional wealth is subject to an increasingly negative consequence for a person (confiscation of that wealth at greater rates) such that it disincentivizes what would otherwise be considered desirable behavior (being productive and creating wealth)
Ethical - what is within the bounds of the law
Moral - what is within the bounds of your personal values and belief system.

So tempe - how do you think our tax code should be structured and on what moral and ethical grounds do you base it on.
Wendall : That's very linear Sheriff
Ed Tom : Age will flatten a man Wendall

Blue&White
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby Blue&White » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:49 pm

Ethical - what is within the bounds of the law

Slavery was legal. Jim Crow was legal. The Nuremberg Laws were legal. Anti-sodemy laws and the crimalization of homosexuality were legal. You may wish to rethink your definition "ethical".

To your point back to me, it's great that you are against crony capitalism and systemtic abuses in our tax code and campaign finance laws (I'm extrapolating from other things you have said). But, it's a bit like being against the idea of children with AIDs in Africa or killing puppies in shelters - everyone is against those things but no one really does anything about it. No one really can do anything about it. And, every time any kind of solution is suggested to even the playing field the forces of money rally up to smite it down from the height of their corner offices. And the rest of us eat cake. Some of us eat more cake than others, obviously, but we are still sharing a much small piece than the wealthy.

And, the idea that the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world "provides wealth and opportunity for a significant portion of the population." is just not based on facts. Below is a graph that shows where wealth is held in the US:

Image

That graph tops out in 2013. The situation has not improved and the gap is continuing to grow. And then last year we did the tax cuts which futher exacerbated the situation. Yes, there were a bunch of high profile bonsues of around $1,000 given out by a number of companies, but those were one time things and done under pressure from the government. If you go look at what happened since then, you'll notice that most of the tax reduction has been spent on stock buy-backs and executive bonuses. The average worker got shit after that first set of bonuses. Well, some got pink slips because there have been layoffs. AT&T talked about needed those tax cuts to payf or 7,000 new employees. Since the tax cut they have laid off close to 10,000.

On, and did we mention that my kids and grandkids are now looking at a $22,000,000,000,000 deficit? How moral is that?

Finally, no one is talking about taking 70% of the money someone earned. The proposal was a 70% incremental tax rate on earnings over $10,000,000. How do I morally justify that? It's actually not very hard for me. And, to the extend I am morally outraged about it, it's much further down on my list than a lot of other things going in the world.
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sameoldlama
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby sameoldlama » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:38 pm

Tempe questions on ethics was confined to economics - not the issues you cited.

And though an action may be legally ethical it doesn't necessarily make it moral or compel someone to do it. A lawyer is ethically compelled to put forward the best defense for a client - so even if he represents someone who has committed a heinous crime (rape, murder, child molestation) - if his client can be exonerated through a legal technicality (a due process violation) he is ethically bound to do so though some would argue the action is immoral.

Morally I don't think our tax code should allow exemptions for mortgage interest or 401K contributions - I shouldn't get a deductions based on personal decisions on how to use my money (and I also think they "tilt" the game in favor of banks, investment entities and the real estate markets) but taking the deductions isn't unethical. I also don't feel anyone is morally bound if a moral conviction and ethical conviction conflict to maintain the moral stance if it does not harm another person or brings harm to themselves. By taking legal deductions I am not bringing about harm. Owning a slave clearly brings about harm.

Bill Gates absolutely spawned an industry that created massive wealth. The technology he helped bring to the market spawned an sector with among the highest paying salaries and in many cases shareholder value. It's made everyone more productive in their jobs which has lowered cost to consumers and added value to shareholders of those companies. When people create something in the market that never existed before they create great wealth for themselves and wealth for many others along the way. The PC / DOS has been one of the most transformative market entries of our lifetimes.

And how are "the rich" responsible for the deficit? Because we didn't seize enough of their wealth to cover government spending - how about holding the people who routinely outspend their revenue accountable for that.

And I totally don't get where your coming from with "Finally, no one is talking about taking 70% of the money someone earned. The proposal was a 70% incremental tax rate on earnings over $10,000,000" - are you suggesting the income over $10MM isn't really earned? Or is your moral argument - those guys have too much?
Kylie Jenner is a billionaire - a lot people made money along the way with her - so tell me what immoral or unethical thing she did that warrants the bulk of her income being confiscated.
Wendall : That's very linear Sheriff
Ed Tom : Age will flatten a man Wendall

Blue&White
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby Blue&White » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:59 pm

Tempe questions on ethics was confined to economics - not the issues you cited.

I'm not sure why that matters, to be honest. I don't think that really invalidates my point. But, if you wish to stick only with economic examples then slavery still makes the list. It was legal, it was legalized based solely on economic factors, and it was both unethical and immoral. This is a philosophical question that is really outside the point I think you are trying to make, so I'm happy to let it go, or pick it up in another thread. But, my point was that legal does not equate to ethical. It never has. Sometimes the two coincide. Sometimes they do not. Btw, also for another thread - I found your comment on the lawyer scenario interesting. This will shock you, but I disagree with your conclusion (hard to believe, I know). Again, I don't want to go off track here, but am happy to pick up philosophy - and even legal ethics - elsewhere.

Morally I don't think our tax code should allow exemptions for mortgage interest or 401K contributions

You and I have a fundamentally different view of the purpose of the tax code. I honestly don't think morality plays into it. Taxes are to collect revenue and things like deductions are to drive certain policies. I can see taking a view that a specific deduction or policy is to further something that is immoral, but that's not exactly the same thing. Put another way, I don't think that retirement savings or home ownership are immoral things. And, I doubt most people would disagree. So, I don't find anything immoral about tax policies that try to drive behaviors that society otherwise considers moral.

You may think this is just a semantic quibble, but I don't think it is. I think we have a fundamental different view as to what these policies represent and what they mean. And, these policies don't require you to do anything with your money you do not want to do. There are still people who have access to a 401k and don't put money away. There are people who can afford houses who rent. New York City is filled with people like that. So, I don't understand the point about it being immoral to offer deductions to everyone in society. I would find it immoral if you offered deductions only to certain people based on some kind of classification - which is something we did in this country for years. So, for example, if single women couldn't take the deduction, that I would find immoral. But, that's an issue with the application of the policy, not the policy itself.

Regarding Bill Gates, yes, he spawned an industry that created massive wealth. But, most of that wealth was his. I get that an industry was built around what he did and I get that other people became wealthy. But, most people just got jobs. And, that's all fine. I don't begrudge Gates his fortune and i don't begrudge other people who got rich doing similar things. Michael Dell, Michael Bloomberg, even Kylie Jenner - good for them. But, what I do begrudge is a system that invites wealth to spend money to influence policies to the detriment of everyone else in this country.

Here is a perfect example: the Catholic Church abuse scandal. Last fall there was an effort by victims of the church to try to expand the statue of limitations in PA on civil actions to go after the church for damages. The church - which is one of the biggest landowners and richest entities on planet Earth - spent millions lobbying against this. Take a guess how that vote went. And, let's talk about what is ethical and what is moral.

And I totally don't get where your coming from with "Finally, no one is talking about taking 70% of the money someone earned.

Allow me to 'splain. No, it will take too long. Let me summarize - you made a comment that Bernie and AOC are looking to take 70% from top earners. My point was that's inaccurate. That is 70% on an incremental amount only, not the whole income. The actual amount they would be taxed would be less than 70%. That's where I was coming from. But, in all honesty, it's a number. I'm not sure why one number is an outrage and another would be acceptable. Obviously I get that 70% and 20% are not the same and have different economic impacts.

Final thought - I'd rather have politicians bribe voters (and deliver) than our current system where they largely just take bribes in the form of contributions.
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PittGradPSUMad
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby PittGradPSUMad » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:33 am

What you said in your final thought. Disturbs me deeply that Citizens United has all but codified the idea that we have the best legislators money can buy.
Yeah, well, that's like your opinion, man.

Blue&White
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Re: 2020 Election Thread

Postby Blue&White » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:46 pm

Getting back to the actual election: there were reports earlier that Biden is getting ready to announce his candidacy. I do not consider that good news at all. Not a fan. I view Biden as Trump but with a better wrapper. His policies are not vastly different, his basic morals (and lack there of) are not vastly different, but he is capable of walking into a room and not taking a dump on the carpet whereas Trump is not. But, otherwise - no thanks.

I also saw that Trump's new proposed budget is proposing a 15% drop in farm subsidies. As a general proposition I am all for this. But, given the impacts of the tariffs, I think it is a mistake. And, I also think it's a political mistake because those farmers helped carry a few states for Trump. Hitting them with a double whammy of tariffs and reducing subsidies is going to crush them. We'll see what happens, but that is not going to help his popularity.
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