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Thread: Is "progressive" taxation inherently immoral?

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    At taxpayer expense of course.
    The justice system costs money, that's why we have taxes, it's also why trivial thing not worth at least a day in jail shouldn't be illegal.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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  3. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.3D View Post
    How about a flat percentage of the income, no matter how much a person makes?
    With no deductions? That would be much fairer- a flat rate vs a flat amount.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The quality seems to have dropped significantly since I came here, I guess you get what you pay for.
    "There is always a tweet. That has become accepted fact in the Trump presidency: For every pronouncement the President makes, there is at least one tweet from his past that directly contradicts his current view." -CNN

    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.



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  5. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The justice system costs money, that's why we have taxes, it's also why trivial thing not worth at least a day in jail shouldn't be illegal.
    So society pays for the crime not the criminal. Your taxes go up to pay for his mis-deeds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The quality seems to have dropped significantly since I came here, I guess you get what you pay for.
    "There is always a tweet. That has become accepted fact in the Trump presidency: For every pronouncement the President makes, there is at least one tweet from his past that directly contradicts his current view." -CNN

    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  6. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.3D View Post
    How about a flat percentage of the income, no matter how much a person makes?
    Even then the rich man has the advantage, the poor have only a slim percentage of their income that is disposable while the rich have a much greater percentage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.3D View Post
    Thing is, a rich man can afford to take time off of work to stay in jail, but the poor man, loses his job, his home and everything else.
    The rich are always better off than the poor, you can't change that.

    I suppose you could give the perp a choice between a percentage of income fine or X days in jail, but people who are self employed etc. will be difficult to deal with.

    Perfection isn't available.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  7. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    So society pays for the crime not the criminal. Your taxes go up to pay for his mis-deeds.
    Days in jail aren't punishment?
    You think fines are used to restore the damage caused by crime?
    You think the justice system doesn't cost society or that there is a way for it not to?


    LOL
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  8. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Days in jail aren't punishment?
    You think fines are used to restore the damage caused by crime?
    You think the justice system doesn't cost society or that there is a way for it not to?


    LOL
    Jails are better at producing better criminals than they are at producing better citizens.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The quality seems to have dropped significantly since I came here, I guess you get what you pay for.
    "There is always a tweet. That has become accepted fact in the Trump presidency: For every pronouncement the President makes, there is at least one tweet from his past that directly contradicts his current view." -CNN

    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  9. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Jails are better at producing better criminals than they are at producing better citizens.
    I think you mean prisons, a few days in jail isn't going to transform anyone into a master criminal.
    And prisons are for people who commit serious crimes who are probably beyond redemption anyway and the only hope is to punish them or for people who are so dangerous that they should be kept away from honest citizens.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  10. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    The top income earners pay close to 50%. The bottom pay close to 0%.
    I was considering only federal taxes, not state income taxes; only the addition of the latter can push someone close to 50%.

    Bottom earners always lose 15.3% to payroll taxes, even if they pay no federal income tax.
    We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
    Erwin N. Griswold

    Taxes: Of life's two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.
    Anonymous

  11. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Krugminator2 View Post
    That's not exactly right. Those are a forced savings that people get back.
    No they aren't. Social Security is taking money from one person and giving it to another. In order for that person who had money taken from them to get any money in the future, that money will also have to be taken from someone else.

  12. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonny Tufts View Post
    Bottom earners always lose 15.3% to payroll taxes, even if they pay no federal income tax.
    And they also get back a considerable percentage in earned income tax credits. If they have kids they may well make a net profit.

    And even not counting that, the difference between 15% and 37% is pretty big.



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  14. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    With no deductions? That would be much fairer- a flat rate vs a flat amount.
    What makes a flat rate more fair than a flat amount?

  15. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The justice system costs money, that's why we have taxes
    That is not why we have taxes. We have taxes so that the oligarchs can control more of the economy and we can control less. To the extent that a justice system or anything else they spend that on actually benefits us (which is guaranteed to be less beneficial than the same product provided in a free market would be), that's only for them a necessary cost of being able to tax us, and not the reason to do it.
    Last edited by Superfluous Man; 09-24-2019 at 07:52 AM.

  16. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    No they aren't. Social Security is taking money from one person and giving it to another. In order for that person who had money taken from them to get any money in the future, that money will also have to be taken from someone else.

    What you just said is true and doesn't contradict what I said.

  17. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    Wealth envy is a powerful emotion, maybe the most powerful.
    ...
    FTFY. It applies to human behavior. Keeping up with the Jones. No one wants anyone else to get ahead of them. Think of a line. Taking cuts in line is considered one of the worst things one can do, at least in western society. Or driving. Try to pass someone. Most of the time, they will accelerate to keep you from passing. Itís often an unconscious reaction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    Support is not the same as lack of opposition.
    Not the same at all. Lack of opposition usually doesnít mean anything. Itís like dividing by zero.
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    ďThey are what they hate.Ē - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  18. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I think you mean prisons, a few days in jail isn't going to transform anyone into a master criminal.
    And prisons are for people who commit serious crimes who are probably beyond redemption anyway and the only hope is to punish them or for people who are so dangerous that they should be kept away from honest citizens.
    Most people in prison (not jail) are in for minor crimes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The quality seems to have dropped significantly since I came here, I guess you get what you pay for.
    "There is always a tweet. That has become accepted fact in the Trump presidency: For every pronouncement the President makes, there is at least one tweet from his past that directly contradicts his current view." -CNN

    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  19. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Most people in prison (not jail) are in for minor crimes.


    So if they deport the illegals , release the drugs and unconstitutional weapons cases that eliminates 76 percent of the prison population . That kind of shows you how $#@!ed up it has become .
    Do something Danke

  20. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    So if they deport the illegals , release the drugs and unconstitutional weapons cases that eliminates 76 percent of the prison population . That kind of shows you how $#@!ed up it has become .
    We have to be tough on crime. Politicians will protect us. Just give them more money to expand prisons and the police forces. We spend about $35,000 each a year keeping them locked up. People opposed to socialism should be against this since it is taxpayers providing them with free room, board, healthcare, etc.

    https://smartasset.com/mortgage/the-...-prison-system

    The American prison system is massive. So massive that its estimated turnover of $74 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations. What is perhaps most unsettling about this fun fact is that it is the American taxpayer who foots the bill and is increasingly padding the pockets of publicly traded corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group. Combined both companies generated over $2.53 billion in revenue in 2012, and represent more than half of the private prison business.
    More at link.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The quality seems to have dropped significantly since I came here, I guess you get what you pay for.
    "There is always a tweet. That has become accepted fact in the Trump presidency: For every pronouncement the President makes, there is at least one tweet from his past that directly contradicts his current view." -CNN

    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  21. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Most people in prison (not jail) are in for minor crimes.


    And that shouldn't be the case.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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  23. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonny Tufts View Post
    I was considering only federal taxes, not state income taxes; only the addition of the latter can push someone close to 50%.

    Bottom earners always lose 15.3% to payroll taxes, even if they pay no federal income tax.
    So? With payroll taxes and the obamacare tax high income earners are well over 40%. That's 40% compared to 15% and that's not even including people that are either working under the table or unemployed and receiving federal benefits.

    Anyway I agree about the payroll tax, we shouldn't even have it. We should just replace the obamacare tax and the payroll tax (and the death tax) with one flat rate with no deductions.

    Do you agree?

  24. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    So? With payroll taxes and the obamacare tax high income earners are well over 40%. That's 40% compared to 15% and that's not even including people that are either working under the table or unemployed and receiving federal benefits.

    Anyway I agree about the payroll tax, we shouldn't even have it. We should just replace the obamacare tax and the payroll tax (and the death tax) with one flat rate with no deductions.

    Do you agree?
    I'd add that capital gains should be taxed at the same rate too.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  25. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    We should just replace the obamacare tax and the payroll tax (and the death tax) with one flat rate with no deductions.

    Do you agree?
    I don't think you can eliminate all deductions -- individuals and corporations that run businesses will need to be able to deduct certain expenses. Otherwise, you'll have a gross receipts tax, which would be payable even by someone who has a net operating loss.

    The estate tax is a different matter. It doesn't raise much revenue, and it currently affects only the wealthy (estates over $11.4 million).
    We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
    Erwin N. Griswold

    Taxes: Of life's two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.
    Anonymous

  26. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    The question is not about taxation in general but the specific case of "progressive" income taxation. If you assume some taxation is necessary...
    Necessary to whom? For what valid purpose?

    Your question presupposes necessity, which implies morality. That assumption, as a generally accepted precept, constitutes Łber-FAIL.

    Taxation is a felony, period. It is never moral any more than is raping an infant to death.

    To discuss this further can only lead to immediate sophistry because there is nothing else that can be relevantly said on the matter.

  27. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    The question is not about taxation in general but the specific case of "progressive" income taxation. If you assume some taxation is necessary do you think it's more moral to have the same rate for everyone or is it better to have a few bear the majority of the burden?

    I think I'm in the minority here. Here's a post from another thread:

    "It's about the total "amount" of aggression, not the number of victims.

    Better a $9 tax burden paid by 1 guy than a $10 tax burden divided among 10 guys."

    Needless to say I totally disagree. It's seems like such a fundamental truth that it's hard for me to even explain why I think it's wrong to have a different tax laws for different groups. Or any laws for that matter.

    I'm not even talking about the obvious fact that when a minority has to pay for the majority, it leads to more spending. I'm saying progressive taxation, or any unevenly declared laws are wrong by themselves.
    A just tax regime collects only as much as is necessary to finance legitimate state services, and does so as efficiently as possible. Progressive taxation is inefficient because it creates opportunities for evasion that otherwise wouldn't exist (shifting income or property from higher to lower bracket taxpayer), which have to be policed, and that has a cost (which has to be covered by additional taxation). So, yes, progressive taxation is unjust, not because of progressivity in itself, but because that leads to inefficiency (which increases the total tax burden).

    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    I have a question for Rev3 who believes the net amount of tax is the only thing that matters, not how it's divided up.

    Suppose you have an island with 10 people who decide to form a common defense (they're tired of getting invaded).

    Suppose the islanders decide that they are going to fund the defense by taking all the money from just one islander, they take his home, all his food and his entire life savings. Do you really see no moral difference compared to taking a smaller amount from all ten people?
    There's no difference unless you take into account the diminishing marginal utility (DMU) of money/goods.

    ...but, ironically, DMU is precisely the argument for progressive taxation.
    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

    -H. L. Mencken

  28. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonny Tufts View Post
    I don't think you can eliminate all deductions -- individuals and corporations that run businesses will need to be able to deduct certain expenses. Otherwise, you'll have a gross receipts tax, which would be payable even by someone who has a net operating loss.

    The estate tax is a different matter. It doesn't raise much revenue, and it currently affects only the wealthy (estates over $11.4 million).
    When I say "no deductions" I'm not talking about expenses, I'm talking about deductions like home interest or the standard deduction or deductions for clean energy. Expenses are not really a deduction, they're part of the calculation of income.

    Anyway I think you're trying to avoid my question. Are you in favor of a flat tax?

  29. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320
    I have a question for Rev3 who believes the net amount of tax is the only thing that matters, not how it's divided up.

    Suppose you have an island with 10 people who decide to form a common defense (they're tired of getting invaded).

    Suppose the islanders decide that they are going to fund the defense by taking all the money from just one islander, they take his home, all his food and his entire life savings. Do you really see no moral difference compared to taking a smaller amount from all ten people?
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    There's no difference unless you take into account the diminishing marginal utility (DMU) of money/goods.

    ...but, ironically, DMU is precisely the argument for progressive taxation.
    Usually when a group of friends go out they try to split the tab evenly. They don't make one guy pay for the whole thing. It's basic morality.

  30. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    Usually when a group of friends go out they try to split the tab evenly. They don't make one guy pay for the whole thing. It's basic morality.
    What makes you think cash register libertarians have morality?
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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  32. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Madison320 View Post
    Expenses are not really a deduction, they're part of the calculation of income.

    Anyway I think you're trying to avoid my question. Are you in favor of a flat tax?
    A flat tax is fine, but not all expenses are deductable; some have to be capitalized and depreciated or amortized over time. Others should arguably be nondeductable even if they're properly viewed as a current expense. For example, fines and penalties aren't deductable under current law; if they were they would be much less of a deterrent. As a practical matter a flat tax could never be enacted without some non-business deductions and without some nondeductible business expenses.

    Incidentally, the standard deduction was originally designed to shelter income that people needed to live on and raise a family. In 1913 the deduction was $3,000 for a single person and $4,000 for a married couple. These translate to $77,800 and 103,740 in today's dollars (the overgenerous 1913 levels may have been set that high in order to assure the tax woulod be enacted). Obviously, today's standard deduction is nowhere near these levels, but the idea is that if the flat tax rate were, say, 10%, we shouldn't be taxing someone who has to spend 95% of his income on food, clothing, and housing for a family of 4.
    We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
    Erwin N. Griswold

    Taxes: Of life's two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.
    Anonymous

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