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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

In the above the individuals rights are not supreme. Society has a right to protect itself from the individual. The question is how much.


Rights can be relinquished and in that case they no longer exist. Broadly speaking, the criminals have voluntarily forfeited their rights by their voluntary actions and therefore they no longer have rights. So its not a question of society's rights vs the criminal's rights, since the criminal no longer has rights.
 
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
In a free society you could donate as much of your income as you wanted to the buger flippers.
Charity can and has existed in the United States long before government income re-distribution plans were in effect. The charities were often more effective as well. The concept of a duty to burger flippers is interesting however.


We are already free to donate to charity and many people frequently do. Charity is big business in the UK and the States. Charities are more likely to know how to better care for those within their scope; some are very effective and vital and but even more so when working in unison and with help from the state. Some are not effective and don't get enough support. I can't really say if charities were more efficient at raising and fairly distributing resources before the state ever intervened (can you?). However I suspect it wasn't nearly enough.
Remember also that charities have to market themselves very effectively. Their income depends on how much they can plead their case to the public, and tug the heart-strings. That doesn't sit comfortably with me, especially when you consider how fickle most of us are (think of AIDS and the 'gay plague' mentality). If the state was to wash its hands completely of welfare support, I don't see us all rushing out to give, give, give (well I can't really say either way but I suspect not). Of course a libertarian will argue that we should be free to choose which unfortunate groups to support and which to ignore. Its the 'free to ignore' part I don't like. And anyway we already do decide who gets state help through lobbying, public debate and voting. Slow and cumbersome as it is, it is less open to petty prejudice and more likely to lead to a fairer evaluation of need.

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Please give specific examples.


There are many of areas in our private lives where I think state intrusion is beneficial for society at large: compulsory public education, temporary benefits for those made unemployed, access to medical care that isn't based on income, financial support to those who cannot care for themselves and have no family to help them, gun control, drug control, even subsidies to ailing businesses in times of crisis.
A mixture of legislative and welfare intrusion. I can only really speak from a UK perspective, and its far from perfect believe me. I'm cynical, I get exasperated and angry, I think politicians are fools, I curse my heavily taxed pay cheque and whinge with the rest of us, but deep down I have faith in the 'system' because I know we can change it if we try hard enough and we're better off with it than without. The state has a duty to protect AND care.
 
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Rights can be relinquished and in that case they no longer exist. Broadly speaking, the criminals have voluntarily forfeited their rights by their voluntary actions and therefore they no longer have rights. So its not a question of society's rights vs the criminal's rights, since the criminal no longer has rights.


But who decides that? Who decides which crimes should be punished by which punishments? Doesn't society make laws?
For example, shouldn't I have the right to go as fast as I want on the highway? And if I do it drunk shouldn't that be my right, also? As long as my doing so doesn't interfere with your rights then society shouldn't interfere with my rights to drive drunk and fast, right?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
All that being said, admittedly, eminent domain unfairness is not the strongest case against collectivism, since there usually is at least quasi-adequate compensation offered to owners.


I should have been more specific... the Northern State parkway was built using eminent domain, just not against the rich who used their political influence to move it south. That couldn't happen today because landowners cane sue the state to prevent that kind of nonsense.
There are not an infinite number of routes between point A and point B. Take the situation on Long Island which is about 24 miles wide and 125 miles long. There are very few routes that make sense for roads going through such a long narrow corridor. Also, if a highway is forced to be built through a mountain because the people in the valley won't sell, then that drives up taxes for everyone as the cost of building the road would be astronomical. I doubt that we would have had a railroad system or a highway system without eminent domain.
 
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
[...] Suppose the neccessary evil is taking health from the citizens. Would you consider it fair for the government to [...] do just a little bit of damage to the "to be dead at 40" (they eat junk food, use drugs, spend all their money on alcohol)?
Don't you see that with the "progressive evil" you are punishing the success?

Eugene, thanks for this valuable bit of additional perspective. You are aware of the vital difference that your analogy brings to the argument, aren't you? In your analogy, the actors have full control over their own health (=fate). And of course, insofar as their poor health is their own doing, sod 'em. Those are their choices. They'll have to pay up with the rest of us.
Life is not as neat as that.
Consider little Enegue. He's got a brain tumour and will die before he is 25. Would it be fair to take what little health he has? Or should he be able to enjoy the few years he's been given, so much less than you or me?
(This is the right point to go all soppy... cut charity logo and voiceover reciting a phone # for your pledges).
Your point is a valid one, but in its way as incomplete as mine. Reality is an ugly tangled mix of both. Without the ability to measure how much influence someone had over their own fate the only way you can do justice to reality is by finding a compromise. And a compromise between a flat tax system and a progressive tax system is still a progressive tax system it just progresses less.
That has nothing to do with "punishing success", which is a bit of empty rhetoric quite unworthy of the fine analogy that preceded it.
- Peter
PS. Herb, you'll have to use a lot of glue indeed to make the "collectivist" label stick on me
[ April 15, 2003: Message edited by: Peter den Haan ]
 
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Herb, you'll have to use a lot of glue indeed to make the "collectivist" label stick on me
Herb, I've got a staple gun here you're welcome to borrow.
 
Peter den Haan
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Can you use staples recycled from scrap metal, please? I'm trying to reduce my ecological footprint
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:

Of course a libertarian will argue that we should be free to choose which unfortunate groups to support and which to ignore. Its the 'free to ignore' part I don't like.


Again, the fundamental question no one will address is what divine right sanctions your (and others like you - society) disposal of my life and income at your whim? Why shouldn't my vote on what to do with my life override yours; after all it is MY Life is it not?


The state has a duty to protect AND care.


The whole concept of duty is no more than a political trick designed to garner support for whatever fancy and whim those mouthing it have at the moment.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

But who decides that? Who decides which crimes should be punished by which punishments? Doesn't society make laws??


Obviously society makes those decisions, but the whole issue and point of dissension here is the standard to use to evaluate whether those decisions are just. You have two standards : collectivism or individualism; Nazism/fascism/communism or liberty.
Chose carefully Thomas Paul.


For example, shouldn't I have the right to go as fast as I want on the highway? And if I do it drunk shouldn't that be my right, also? As long as my doing so doesn't interfere with your rights then society shouldn't interfere with my rights to drive drunk and fast, right?


All rights are predicated on people being capable of using those rights in an adult and responsible manner. This is why we don't allow 3 year old children the ability to exercise all the same rights of adults. Now if you are speeding down the highway drunk, you have reversed the presumption that you are a responsible adult by your own voluntary actions. The probablity of harm is so great to others that it is nearly equivalent to letting a child drive. Children don't drive, and for the same reason we don't allow drunken speeders either.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:


There are not an infinite number of routes between point A and point B. Take the situation on Long Island which is about 24 miles wide and 125 miles long. There are very few routes that make sense for roads going through such a long narrow corridor.


There are not many Long Island type scenarios in the the United States. In the vast majority of cases there are an incredibly numerous amount of alternative routes between any given two points. If you were in front of me I could easily demonstrate with a pencil and piece of paper.


Also, if a highway is forced to be built through a mountain because the people in the valley won't sell, then that drives up taxes for everyone as the cost of building the road would be astronomical. I doubt that we would have had a railroad system or a highway system without eminent domain.


Why do you presume that roads can only be financed by taxes? Going back in history, there have been private roads that you would pay tolls on. Roads could be financed by tolls. Businesses also have the ability to organize themselves to finance many ventures that further commerce, why couldn't road building be one of them?
You're also forgetting that your collectivist type arguments hold no water with me. The fact that some individuals are inconveinced by the fact that the state is properly respecting my rights is not a great problem to me.
 
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Peter den Haan: And a compromise between a flat tax system and a progressive tax system is still a progressive tax system it just progresses less.
That's like looking for a compromise between killing 5 mil people and 10 mil people, -- of course you would settle in the middle. The two extreme ends of a tax system is a progressive one and a regressive one, let's find the compromise in there.
Consider two fellows, Enegue and Eterp. Enegue came to US with $20 in his pocket, but he worked really hard as a laborer, saved money, opened his own enterprize and eventually made a fortune. Eterp was born in America, but he had a fascination with the Dutch culture, -- he never worked, and he was high all the time, so now he has no money and he lives in the street.
Now, let's apply the two extreme taxation systems.
Under the extreme regressive taxation, Enegue will pay $0 in income taxes, -- after all, he already gave jobs to 5,000 people and the output of his factories amounts to a certain percentage of the gross domestic product of his country. Eterp will be forced to work because there are no government handouts for junkies (like in San Francisco), and he will pay 100% of his income in taxes to return his debt.
Under the opposite extreme taxation system, the progressive one, Enegue will pay 100% of his income in taxes to governmnent. He will eventually go bust and emigrate to some other country with some more reasonable internal revenue code. Eterp, on the other hand, will get an unearned income credit from the money that the government took from Enegue. Because Eterp's name sounds ethnic, he will also get some extra subsidies from the government under the Less Than Equal Opportunity Act. Eterp's country eventually goes to hell, and Eterp himself blames the government.
So, who is John Galt?
Eugene.
[ April 15, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Peter den Haan:
...
Reality is an ugly tangled mix of both. Without the ability to measure how much influence someone had over their own fate the only way you can do justice to reality is by finding a compromise.


"Fate" ???
Measuring "fate"???
Reality as an "ugly", "tangled mix of both"?
Don't force your own twisted cosmological or theological mumbo junbo views on the rest of us clear thinkers. No wonder you're a collectiviist.


And a compromise between a flat tax system and a progressive tax system is still a progressive tax system it just progresses less.
PS. Herb, you'll have to use a lot of glue indeed to make the "collectivist" label stick on me
[ April 15, 2003: Message edited by: Peter den Haan ]


Oh, yes, mix a little mumbo jumbo mysticism with cold, clear truth and you get a nice tasty compromise. That's like finding a solution to a math problem by averaging two answers; one answer known to be correct with another answer known to be false. The order of magnitude of the error could still be unacceptable, as it is for me and others who yearn for justice. Imagine the nightmare society where Peter's method of compromise is used : Doctor's mix antibiotics with a dash of anthrax, engineer's design bridges with "compromised" calculations, both criminals get reduced sentences and their victims serve some of the rest of sentence as a compromise, etc...
Peter is the only thing worse than a collectivist,
a compromisist!
 
John Smith
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Peter is the only thing worse than a collectivist,
a compromisist!


To Peter's defense, he is a damn good software architect!
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Peter den Haan: And a compromise between a flat tax system and a progressive tax system is still a progressive tax system it just progresses less.
That's like looking for a compromise between killing 5 mil people and 10 mil people, -- of course you would settle in the middle. The two extreme ends of a tax system is a progressive one and a regressive one, let's find the compromise in there.
Consider two fellows, Enegue and Eterp. Enegue came to US with $20 in his pocket, but he worked really hard as a laborer, saved money, opened his own enterprize and eventually made a fortune. Eterp was born in America, but he had a fascination with the Dutch culture, -- he never worked, and he was high all the time, so now he has no money and he lives in the street.
Now, let's apply the two extreme taxation systems.
Under the extreme regressive taxation, Enegue will pay $0 in income taxes, -- after all, he already gave jobs to 5,000 people and the output of his factories amounts to a certain percentage of the gross domestic product of his country. Eterp will be forced to work because there are no government handouts for junkies (like in San Francisco), and he will pay 100% of his income in taxes to return his debt.
Under the opposite extreme taxation system, the progressive one, Enegue will pay 100% of his income in taxes to governmnent. He will eventually go bust and emigrate to some other country with some more reasonable internal revenue code. Eterp, on the other hand, will get an unearned income credit from the money that the government took from Enegue. Because Eterp's name sounds ethnic, he will also get some extra subsidies from the government under the Less Than Equal Opportunity Act. Eterp's country eventually goes to hell, and Eterp himself blames the government.
So, who is John Galt?
Eugene.
[ April 15, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]


Nothing to add to this wonderful post except applause (we need an icon for that), since it is already a complete, beautiful, humerous, and accurate statement of TRUTH. Eugene gets my vote whenever he runs.
[ April 15, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
[QB]
Under the extreme regressive taxation, Enegue will pay $0 in income taxes, -- after all, he already gave jobs to 5,000 people and the output of his factories amounts to a certain percentage of the gross domestic product of his country. Eterp will be forced to work because there are no government handouts for junkies (like in San Francisco), and he will pay 100% of his income in taxes to return his debt.
Under the opposite extreme taxation system, the progressive one, Enegue will pay 100% of his income in taxes to governmnent. He will eventually go bust and emigrate to some other country with some more reasonable internal revenue code. Eterp, on the other hand, will get an unearned income credit from the money that the government took from Enegue. Because Eterp's name sounds ethnic, he will also get some extra subsidies from the government under the Less Than Equal Opportunity Act. Eterp's country eventually goes to hell, and Eterp himself blames the government.
QB]


Under the extreme regressive taxation, Enegue will decide that his taxes are propotional to his wealth and not the jobs he produces. So he will realize that he can still pay $0 in taxes while moving his jobs offshore. Thereby producing unemployment in the local community and also enjoying the benefits of the regressive taxation system
Under the opposite extreme taxation system, the progressive one, Enegue will pay 100% of his income in taxes to governmnent. So will everyone else Net result is that taxation is not proportional to wealth but to the amount of "progress". Hence an individual is enticed to bring about more jobs to the local community and create new ideas for employment. In return the state provides all required necessities and amenities.
Having illustrated both.. here is the punch. The first system illustrates extreme capitalism the latter communism. What you need is a mix of both.
I believe many people who are debating here are under the impression that taxation is a form of punishment. I view it from a different perspective. Taxation is meant to level the playing ground in society. Imagine if the rich paid lesser and lesser taxes and the poor paid more. The poor would never be able to rise up. Secondly a taxation system should be ideally designed to create a large middle class rather than encourage the two extremes. In any society the rich and poor are required but as a minority. A successful society is alway marked by its large middle class. US, UK and the west in general are very successful because of their large middle class population.
 
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Eugene, I think you're overestimating the benefit "Enegue" brings to the economy. Even if he founds a company that grows to employ 5000, that doesn't mean that he and he alone is responsible for their livelihood. If he never existed, those 5000 would in all likelihood find prosperous employment elsewhere. Crediting Enegue alone for their well-being is just as preposterous as blaming him for driving up the cost of labor for other local employers.
The (unstated but implied) cousin to this misconception is that capital paid into the government is somehow lost from the economy, and that taxes that are cut offer "economic stimulation" by "returning" money to the economy. Come on, what do you think the government does with tax revenue, eat it? Primarily, it pays it out as salary to gov't employees, and buys products from the private marketplace. In fact, since the gov't makes a policy of buying domestic goods rather than foreign, paying taxes might be more economically stimulating that keeping the money in the private marketplace!
One more thing: even if the government were to "eat" the money we sent it, this might work out well for us too, by reducing the currency supply and strengthening the value of the money we hold. It would have the same effect as a corporate stock buy-back program.
 
John Smith
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So he will realize that he can still pay $0 in taxes while moving his jobs offshore. Thereby producing unemployment in the local community and also enjoying the benefits of the regressive taxation system
Thereby lowering dramatically the cost of goods and services so that you can enjoy the higher purchasing power of your dollar.
Having illustrated both.. here is the punch. The first system illustrates extreme capitalism the latter communism. What you need is a mix of both.
How about adding a little bit of nazism to the mix? To unite the society around the common goal, you know?

I believe many people who are debating here are under the impression that taxation is a form of punishment.
No, it's a god damn robbery. Even Peter, your fellow collectivist, acknowledges this.
Eugene.
[ April 15, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
John Smith
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Eugene, I think you're overestimating the benefit "Enegue" brings to the economy. Even if he founds a company that grows to employ 5000, that doesn't mean that he and he alone is responsible for their livelihood. If he never existed, those 5000 would in all likelihood find prosperous employment elsewhere.
Who would hire these 5000 poor bastards? All the enterpreneurs have already gone bankrupt because the government took all their profit away from them. The only choice the 5000 have is to work for the government itself.
Eugene.
 
Chris Treglio
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Who would hire the 5000 poor bastards? Well, EnegueCorp didn't exist by the pluck and genius of Enegue alone -- presumably it exists, like all enterprises in capitalism do, becuase it fills a market need. And if Enegue was never born, that market need would still exist. It would be filled by the company who was next best at doing whatever EnegueCorp did.
To be fair, we know the next corp in line would not be quite as good as EnegueCorp was, because with Enegue alive and well he was able to elbow them out of the way. But it likely would employ maybe 4990 of those poor bastards. So Enegue does make a contribution to the economy, but it's not such an order of magnitude more than any one of us does with our labor.
Therefore, it's still fair to expect Enegue to pony up on April 15th.
 
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
[QB
Who would hire these 5000 poor bastards? All the enterpreneurs have already gone bankrupt because the government took all their profit away from them. The only choice the 5000 have is to work for the government itself.
Eugene.[/QB]


Eugene, you are forgetting that the biggest customer of big business is big government. Not too many big businesses grow on end consumer demand (a few do, I will admit!) but in the end most of these big businesses thrive chiefly on contracts from big governments.
Eugene, it seems to me that you are so blinded by your beliefs you refuse to open your thought process to an alternative system. I would suggest that you read the link provided above MD forum on fallacies.
Also you seem to think Nazism is the same as socialism. Wrong! Socialism is an economic concept. Nazism is a political ideology.
 
John Smith
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Sriraj Rajaram: Eugene, it seems to me that you are so blinded by your beliefs you refuse to open your thought process to an alternative system. I would suggest that you read the link provided above MD forum on fallacies.
Umm, that argument is an obvious fallacy.
Chris Treglio: It would be filled by the company who was next best at doing whatever EnegueCorp did.
If EnegueCorp was the best company that didn't survive the extortion and went bankrupt, how do you expect the next best company to do its business? Remember, 100% of the corporate profit is stolen by the government in the scenario that we are discussing.
[ April 15, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
Chris Treglio
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I am not arguing in favor of a 100% profit tax. I am arguing against the 0% profit tax described in your regressive scenario. You justified 0% the regressive tax on the grounds that someone at the head of an industry has already made tremendous contributions to society, and I'm telling you it's not quite as tremendous as you think.
I'm sorry if that wasn't clear.
 
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Taxation is meant to level the playing ground in society. Imagine if the rich paid lesser and lesser taxes and the poor paid more. The poor would never be able to rise up. Secondly a taxation system should be ideally designed to create a large middle class rather than encourage the two extremes. In any society the rich and poor are required but as a minority. A successful society is alway marked by its large middle class. US, UK and the west in general are very successful because of their large middle class population.

That sounds more like opinion than fact. My observation, at least as regards to the US Fed, is that the powers that be couldn't care less about leveling the playing field. They are more interested in maintaining a constituency, ie job security. How is any taxation system going to create a middle class? A middle class will only emerge as a result of oppurtunity, not by some artificial social engineering technique employed by a government. Oppurtunity is created by risk takers not Robin Hood's, taking from the evil rich and giving to the lowly poor.
 
Chris Treglio
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I agree, taxation is NOT meant to level the playing field in society. Taxation is pooling our money to pay for the stuff we want to buy jointly -- taxation is forking over $3 because the pizza guy is here.
If taxation happens to level the playing field ... well, there are worse things in the world than equality.
 
Thomas Paul
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If corporations don't want to pay taxes then they shouldn't receive any government services. If the factory catches fire let them put it out themselves. If the factory gets robbed let them track down the criminals.
 
Thomas Paul
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Herb, the reason we don't have private toll roads anymore is that it is impossible to run them profitably. The NYC subway system used to be privately owned but every company went bankrupt and the city was forced to take them over to keep service from coming to an end. Of course, the result is a mess since different lines runs different track widths which means the city has to maintain multiple types of subway cars.
 
John Smith
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Chris Treglio: Taxation is pooling our money to pay for the stuff we want to buy jointly...
So, if I am your neighbor, and I use the same highways as you do, and the same army protects me from the enemies, and I visit the same Yellow Stone National Park, why am I paying 100 times more than you do in taxes?
 
Chris Treglio
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Well, if you own a 100 times more stuff than me, technically the army is protecting 100 times more of your stuff than mine, right?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Chris Treglio: Taxation is pooling our money to pay for the stuff we want to buy jointly...
So, if I am your neighbor, and I use the same highways as you do, and the same army protects me from the enemies, and I visit the same Yellow Stone National Park, why am I paying 100 times more than you do in taxes?


Since you are qealthier you are more likely to own a car. You have more stuff for the army to protect. A fire in your house will destroy more stuff than a fire in the poor guy's apartment. You can afford to go to yellowstone more than the poor guy. Plus, you don't want the poor guy to rise up and burn your house down, kill your family, and steal your stuff do you? Or do you think it might be fun to recreate the Russian Revolution in the USA?
Think of it this way... your taxes are a bribe to the starving poor to keep them from rising up and eating you.
 
John Smith
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Well, if you own a 100 times more stuff than me, technically the army is protecting 100 times more of your stuff than mine, right?
That's a good one, Chris. However, the terrorists are not coming to blow my posessions, they are coming for you and me. Since both you and I have one life, we should pay the same for our protection.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Well, if you own a 100 times more stuff than me, technically the army is protecting 100 times more of your stuff than mine, right?
That's a good one, Chris. However, the terrorists are not coming to blow my posessions, they are coming for you and me. Since both you and I have one life, we should pay the same for our protection.



But your life is worth more than the poor guy's according to every actuarial calculation. If you both die in tragic mishaps, your family gets more than the poor guy's family when you sue.
 
Chris Treglio
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I never thought I'd see the day when a Libertarian argued a point based on the fundamental equality of the value of all our lives . . .
Anyhow, I'll pretend you said what I hoped you weren't going to say. This is really a strong counter to my argument:


Since the tax rate progresses, I don't have to own (or earn) 100 times what you own to pay 100 times what you pay. That would only be true if we had a flat tax. With a progressive tax I might pay 100 times what you pay and only earn 30 or 40 times what you earn.


I don't know what the answer to that is, but it's rooted somewhere in us understanding that the ever increasing wealth disparity is fundamentally not good for civil society.
I hope you don't think it's arrogant of me to dismiss your comment, but I think this argument might be more along the Libertarian line. We'll have that other conversation if you want.
 
John Smith
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But your life is worth more than the poor guy's according to every actuarial calculation.
If my life is worth more, take less from me so that I am motivated to stay valuable.
If you both die in tragic mishaps, your family gets more than the poor guy's family when you sue.
I am not relying on the government for compensating my family in case I die, and I am not planning to sue. I just carry life insurance. If I am working for the government and risking my life, the government may provide a life insurance as a benefit, and that's fine, but it's a different story.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:

[QB]
Imagine if the rich paid lesser and lesser taxes and the poor paid more. The poor would never be able to rise up.


Huh???
The poor need the rich man's money to rise? What about them earning it themselves? Millions in the US have gone from lower class to middle and upper class without the rich man's money. Capitalism has provided more opportunities to poor people than all the taxation and communistic schemes ever devised.



Secondly a taxation system should be ideally designed to create a large middle class rather than encourage the two extremes.


What about creating a large wealthy class where more people are more wealthy than at anytime in the history of mankind??? Where the standard of living for all is uniformly higher; where the people in third world non-captilistic countries who are poor would die for a chance to live at a standard we classify as "poor" in the West?
That is what capitalism does and continues to do despite all the attempts at the collectivists and comporomisits who tinker with social systems.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Chris Treglio:
If he never existed, those 5000 would in all likelihood find prosperous employment elsewhere.


At this point in the economic cycle many of those people are still looking for jobs and wish Enegue was still around



The (unstated but implied) cousin to this misconception is that capital paid into the government is somehow lost from the economy, and that taxes that are cut offer "economic stimulation" by "returning" money to the economy. Come on, what do you think the government does with tax revenue, eat it? .


You are ignoring what the economists call "transaction " costs. Money spent collecting and administering the tax programs does not have as much of a stimulatory effect on the economy. Also there are various rates for different "multiplier effects" in spending - Not all spending is equal in its stimulatory effect. Furthermore, governement is less able to allocate money in the most efficient/effective manner in order to raise the standard of living. The failure of centralized planning in raising living standards significantly in numerous countries for over 50 years is proof of this. In short, "government is not the solution, its the problem" (Reagan). Let the free market do its thing and living standards will rise or remain high.


One more thing: even if the government were to "eat" the money we sent it, this might work out well for us too, by reducing the currency supply and strengthening the value of the money we hold. It would have the same effect as a corporate stock buy-back program.


For the good of society, I propose all the collectivists begin implemeting a similar solution by burning their money first.
We've reached a new level of absurdity here in MD :roll:
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
I am not relying on the government for compensating my family in case I die, and I am not planning to sue.

I am not talking about the government. I am talking about someone driving drunk down the highway at 90 miles an hour kills you and a poor person sitting next to you. Your family sues the drunk guy. What your family receives is based on expected lost income, so your life is more valuable.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Chris Treglio:
And if Enegue was never born, that market need would still exist. It would be filled by the company who was next best at doing whatever EnegueCorp did.


So if Thomas Edison had never been born the electric light buld would still have been invented on the same date because of market forces? Or would it have been 50 years later? (more likely)
Repeat this scenario 100,000 more times for all the unique products and services that have arisen. Sure someone would have eventually have done what Enegue does, but how much later? What are the "opportunity costs" in delaying the rate of progress in a society and how does that affect living standards?
 
Chris Treglio
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Sure there are transaction costs... But the private sector pays transation costs too, and while the gov't is at the disadvantage of not existing in a competitive environment, it enjoys an economy of scale that blows everything in the private sector away. Which of these on balance wins out I don't know, but it certainly is not a decided issue that the private sector could offer services we enjoy from the gov't cheaper, anecdotal evidence on Reason.com notwithstanding.
You said something interesting a few pages back, that for most of the history of the US we didn't have such a progressive tax rate and things worked out OK. I don't know why it is so expensive to run a modern industrial country, but if it really were feasible for a gov't to do it with a less progressive tax system, you'd think we could look around the world and point to one, right? On the other hand, flourishing economies exist throughout europe and in Japan with far more progressive systems. In doubt, I think I know what side I'd like to err on.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:

Eugene, you are forgetting that the biggest customer of big business is big government.
[QB]


At least in the US, most people are not employed by big businesses and most businesses do not sell to the government.
[QB]


Eugene, it seems to me that you are so blinded by your beliefs you refuse to open your thought process to an alternative system. Also you seem to think Nazism is the same as socialism. Wrong! Socialism is an economic concept. Nazism is a political ideology.


Nazism originally meant "National Workers Socialist Party" or some such nonsense, in any event, communists, socialists, and nazis are all the same bunch of collectivist bastards.

 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Chris Treglio:
On the other hand, flourishing economies exist throughout europe and in Japan with far more progressive systems. In doubt, I think I know what side I'd like to err on.


Japan has not been "flourishing" for the past 10-12 years. There is a correlation between tax rates and incentives to work and invest. Just as there is another correlation between free markets and general standard of living.
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