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Are 99%ers poking fingers at a failure of capitalism?


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#21 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5972

Posted 03 November 2011 - 01:19 PM

Personally i think that neither Capitalism or Socialism works that well if you push them to the extremes, Both systems have pros and cons and rather than following one ideology like a slave a state would be better off trying to strike a balance that gets the best from both worlds, The market has to be free enough to encourage hard work and drive economic growth and still have socialist structues to reduce the impact poverty has on the lower classes.

In the case of the US i don't think a tax increase i really necessary to shift the balance towards a more socialist society, a simple re-prioritization of where to spend the existing tax income would go a long way.
(Education is probably the single most important thing here and spending tax money on it is a far better idea than spending it on a military that isn't really needed).
(This doesn't necessarily mean public owned universities etc, having the state pay the education for poor but bright and driven students might be a far more effective use of resources.

While the production industry will be able to do more with less workers the service industry is growing and will always require human labor.
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#22 Sirisian   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 03 November 2011 - 01:19 PM

Yeah reading for the past month on this topic it would appear a lot of people are out to close any loopholes in the taxing system that allow people to pay very little. For instance paying little for large amounts of accrued interest on bank accounts trivially. I'm not sure it surprised many when they heard that Warren Buffet said he paid 17% taxes essentially.

That and the more obvious group of people that just want money out of the government all together. Lobbying from a general standpoint seems like a good thing, but on the other hand it's far too easy for voices to be drowned out so only the people with time (and money) are heard which is a disproportionate amount of representation. Tricky subject. I mean someone can write a letter to their congressman but big business does more than a letter.

Personally i think that neither Capitalism or Socialism works that well if you push them to the extremes

Exactly. A lot of democratic socialists just want to set up a minimum level of care. I was talking to a tea party member actually that doesn't like those kinds of programs. He specifically said that safety nets for people that can't afford insurance are against capitalism. The US is fun like that. Huge extremes.

#23 Eelco   Members   -  Reputation: 301

Posted 03 November 2011 - 01:24 PM

Why raise taxes when you cut them and borrow to make up the difference! Socialism, fuck yeah! Oh.... wait.


And what might your point be?

#24 Lauris Kaplinski   Members   -  Reputation: 841

Posted 03 November 2011 - 02:03 PM

For the democracy-fetishist out there: whatever your final verdict on that system may be, it is very much democracy itself that is at the heart of crises such as these. Bubbles funded by artificially low interest rates, governments borrowing all they can until the house comes crashing down, bailouts; its all a necessary consequence of democratic politics.

Money you spend while you are in office accrues to your supporters, while any that you leave in the coffers will be plundered by the next guy. Why cut expenses when you can borrow? Why feel the necessary pain of a failing bank when you can pass on the hot potatoe to the future with compound interest? Why not let the good times roll with easy money; screw those crazy people who claim that interest rates are an essential signal in sanely coordinating the allocation of resources.

Democracy, fuck yeah. Roving bandit -> stationary bandit -> revolving bandit is not the in all respect monotonicly increasing function people make it out to be.

Democracy is abstract ideology - like capitalism or socialism - all they are workable in theory, but actual implementation requires considerable thought on small details to make the system of checks and balances (read negative feedback mechanisms) to work.
The current action should not be about jobs, outsourcing, tax rates, tax loopholes, regulations etc. etc. It should be about finding new solutions how to make government actually responding to all people - not only certain groups. Something is seriously messed up and the the simple formula: "elected official messes up our life and people elect new one whom they actually believe that he will do good job" is obviously not working.

Maybe some form of more direct democracy - easily doable in networked world. Mandatory sunset clauses in all laws. Right of people to give capital punishment to politicians. Random selection of lawmakers. Whatever - think fresh, maybe there is solution ;-)
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#25 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 03 November 2011 - 02:39 PM

This is IMO is probably one of the biggest cause people are out there. Rich people are funding political campaigns, and in turn, the elected officials (including the President) returns the favor by providing some type of loans or services, just in case of Solyndra and Obama administration. When you heard that, aren't you outraged? How did you burn through $500 millions in two years?

The trickle down economy is not working as the top people are saving themselves before they want to save others. Govt bailed company XYZ, company XYZ executives got bonuses, filed bankruptcy, and washed their hands. People are still not having jobs.

That's not a trickle down economics problem. That is a problem with the way the government responded, and I am rightfully pissed that few of the board members related to the bailouts barely got a wrist slap. Trickle down economics work, but this was not that. That was bend over and take it economics.

There definitely should have been higher punishments and investigations for the board members for every organization that got bailed out.

I just really wish people would stop attributing the wealth redistribution complaint to OWS. That's not what they are asking for. They are asking for jobs. They are asking for corporations to be corporations not the 4th branch of the government. They are asking "why are you sitting on trillions of dollars, but are not hiring?".

I think the problem here is that if you go to an OWS protest/rally the majority of people ARE asking for wealth redistribution in one way or another. It is not what the movement is supposed to be, but it is very much what it's turning into.

#26 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6990

Posted 03 November 2011 - 03:09 PM

My take is this:

The wealthy view the poor as freeloaders asking for a handout, and the poor view the wealthy as "old money" hoarding cash. Neither view are accurate, both are polarizing and unproductive, and literally prevent any sort of reasonable discourse, much less a solution.

Part of this is directly related to how you view the economy in general -- that is, is it a zero-sum game, in which to acquire more wealth, you must necessarily deprive it from someone else; or, is it a game in which wealth can be created anew?

The Wealthy have the view that they are literally *creating* wealth from their enterprises or investments. This seems reasonable, and its certainly not entirely incorrect -- but I also don't entirely agree either -- If Acme corners the market on Widgets, the demand for said Widgets consumes some portion of available aggregate demand, and the folks running Western Widget Supply can no longer make a living. Now, perhaps Acme make superior Widgets -- nothing guarantees the right of Western Widgets to sell enough shoddy product to get by, nor should it. But, in the case that Acme abuses their position or engages in shady practices to stifle competition, then should we hold them accountable to the detriment they do against the economy? These days, we mostly don't, not in any serious way. Unfortunately, lobbying by big business has created a situation where "free market" has taken on the meaning of "The market is free to do whatever it pleases to get ahead", not, as it was originally intended, "A market where new competitors are free to enter and compete on the merits of their offerings." -- We see this all the time with patent and trademark laws, lawsuits, government influence, shady dealings, etc. Unfortunately, many in our government lost sight of the fact that the original definition is good for the people just as soon as they were shown how the good the new definition could be for them and their buddies.

You also have the wealthy who say things like "I pay for public schools, but I send my kids to private school; I pay for roads, but don't use them any more than the average person; why should I pay more?" -- The answer, to me, it seems, is because while *everyone* benefits from public schools and healthy roads, it is generally the wealthy who *profit* from them (I think a key to this mess, is recognizing that benefit and profit are distinct) -- they profit from an educated workforce to man their enterprises, and from healthy roads when they move their goods to market. Should someone who *profits* from public works pay more than someone who merely *benefits* from those same works? Personally, I think so.

Now, the poorer among us are not free of guilt or blame here either -- plenty of people in this group have made a bad thing worse buy borrowing from the rich to live beyond their means, or by believing that they are entitled to more wealth than their worth (getting an expensive, worthless degree because they were told they needed one -- though that's also a failing of a primary educational system which has failed to keep up with skill demands). I believe that essentially everyone should pay taxes -- currently we have a system where poorer folks have no tax burden below a certain income; I think we ought to lower that bar somewhere below where it is today -- if the average person makes 16k/yr, and that provides for a reasonable living, then make them pay taxes on at least some of it, maybe everything above 8-12k, so that everyone has some skin in the game. Not so much to over-burden them, but enough that they understand that government benefits cost money.

Honestly, I'd like to see a three-tiered flat-tax -- low-income people pay some percentage (around 10-12 percent probably) on money they make above a threshold, cross another threshold at around 120k/yr and pay an additional 3-5% on what you made beyond that, cross the final threshold at around 250k/yr and pay another 3-5% beyond that on all earnings greater than the final threshold. Structure corporate taxes similarly, and eliminate credits, loopholes, and fancy accounting tricks for both individuals and businesses -- you know your percentage, and you pay it. period. Then save some more money by downsizing the IRS accordingly. Of course, these are just numbers and percentages I'm pulling out of the air, but it gets the general idea across. I want a system that is transparent, and wherein the largest contributors (by percentage) are capped according to the lowest, and a system that encourages those in the lowest brackets to increase their station in life. It may prove a hard transition, but I believe it would be a better basis for long-term sustainability that the status quo.

#27 Sirisian   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:06 PM

if the average person makes 16k/yr, and that provides for a reasonable living, then make them pay taxes on at least some of it, maybe everything above 8-12k, so that everyone has some skin in the game. Not so much to over-burden them, but enough that they understand that government benefits cost money.

It takes money to make money. You aren't going to get anything out of the poor if you keep them poor. They'll just be continuously poor usually. I see where you're going, but you need to make sure it makes financial sense to tax for a few dollars. It's a burden on the IRS if anything to deal with small taxes.

Honestly, I'd like to see a three-tiered flat-tax -- low-income people pay some percentage (around 10-12 percent probably) on money they make above a threshold, cross another threshold at around 120k/yr and pay an additional 3-5% on what you made beyond that, cross the final threshold at around 250k/yr and pay another 3-5% beyond that on all earnings greater than the final threshold.

I'd prefer a continuous function specified by a single tax equation. Brackets are a thing of that past. We have computers now. Also you're focusing on income tax. There's also interest income which is where a lot of rich people get their steady wealth.

I think the concept of paper and coin money is really holding us back in this day and age. A real tax system could use a much much smaller IRS if we just tracked changes within accounts with full tracking. That is any transfer of income in and out of accounts has their reason. If you get paid for instance you would see the amount put into one account and subtracted from another and marked as "income" noting an amount was subtracted if applicable and put into another account. Shadow economies would basically disappear with such a system.

#28 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:14 PM


I just really wish people would stop attributing the wealth redistribution complaint to OWS. That's not what they are asking for. They are asking for jobs. They are asking for corporations to be corporations not the 4th branch of the government. They are asking "why are you sitting on trillions of dollars, but are not hiring?".

I think the problem here is that if you go to an OWS protest/rally the majority of people ARE asking for wealth redistribution in one way or another. It is not what the movement is supposed to be, but it is very much what it's turning into.

I take it you've been to a few? (Not being snarky, genuinely asking)
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#29 BLG   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:32 PM

My issues are:
1) Corporations are not people (even though the supreme court tells me they are), its just not true.
2) Someone more successful then me pays less taxes, that is not right as we should all be equals.
3) Corporations get bailouts when they fail, but when I fail, I am considered a worthless bum/leach on society.

Im not out to take other peoples money and smash their successes. However, I do expect people to pay the same share back to society as everyone else (the 99%). The most important thing the protests have accomplished is putting the political conversation back on track to discuss these things.
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#30 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2062

Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:32 PM


I just really wish people would stop attributing the wealth redistribution complaint to OWS. That's not what they are asking for. They are asking for jobs. They are asking for corporations to be corporations not the 4th branch of the government. They are asking "why are you sitting on trillions of dollars, but are not hiring?".

I think the problem here is that if you go to an OWS protest/rally the majority of people ARE asking for wealth redistribution in one way or another. It is not what the movement is supposed to be, but it is very much what it's turning into.


I think it's desperation that these people are having. They want a way out, but nobody really is sure what it is, and they will probably take any logical answer at this point. The most obvious one is to tax the rich as they have been getting a lot of tax breaks. So, people have been chanting that. Although the problems are actually deeper and more complicated than that.

#31 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:37 PM

I take it you've been to a few? (Not being snarky, genuinely asking)


Yea, but it was in Canada. I imagine the US ones are fairly more educated on how politics in the US work, but from what I've heard from friends and seen/read on the news it's fairly similar other than that obvious difference.

#32 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:54 PM

2) Someone more successful then me pays less taxes, that is not right as we should all be equals.


Just a note on this. They rarely pay less taxes, they just might have lower tax rates. The sticky thing about Warren Buffet's case with his secretary is fairly isolated. His secretary makes a lot of money compared to you or I most likely, but he makes an absurd amount of money. What ends up happening is you get someone in a high tax bracket who can afford a lot of write offs compared to someone in a high tax bracket that can't afford a lot of write offs. Warren Buffet still pays more taxes in a year than any of us will pay in our lifetimes (most likely unless you're super rich, in which case go you!).

A good illustration is that A lot of people have household incomes that are easily livable ($70,000+ household salaries make up 31% of the population) and all of these people are in the top 3 tax brackets. The top 1.5% makes over $250,000/year. Just keep in mind when you say, "Increasing taxes on the rich," doesn't always mean, "increase taxes on the absurdly rich," without changing the tax code and adding new tax brackets that include less than 1% of the population, which isn't exactly fair when they already have a base higher tax rate if they don't apply for all the loopholes the absurdly rich people do and already pay a proportionate amount of taxes to the amount of income they make.

To use the case of Warren Buffet again, because of various tax loopholes he pays approximately half of the taxes he would be paying based off of his starting tax rate. If we just close those loopholes, it will have the same affect as increasing taxes on the absurdly rich, won't hurt the people who make a lot of money but don't apply for these loopholes, and make the us tax code much nicer in the process. They could probably even lower tax rates across the board and still take in more income.

How great would it be if your tax return form only had your identifying information, your income, and the number of dependents you have with a nice table underneath that shows how much you owe? Of course I say this like I'm not taking advantage of the write offs I get, but I'd be just as happy to see them gone as I am to get a check every May. Obviously this is an oversimplification, but it could still be much cleaner than it is.

#33 Cornstalks   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6974

Posted 03 November 2011 - 06:06 PM

*snip*


*snip*


While I don't necessarily agree with each of you 100% in every minor detail, I wish more politicians had common sense like you two have (and for that matter, the people who elect our politicians as well).
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#34 Michael Tanczos   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5164

Posted 03 November 2011 - 08:59 PM

Oh nice, today we get a look at Fortune 500 companies that pay ZERO dollars in taxes:

http://www.ctj.org/c...dgersReport.pdf

On a combined $160,000,000,000 in profits for these companies.. our government paid THEM a refund of $10 BILLION, making taxation actually profitable for these companies.

How the hell do you keep billions of dollars from being taxed? Oh.. jeez it gets complicated - http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20020329-265.html

#35 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

Posted 03 November 2011 - 09:16 PM


I take it you've been to a few? (Not being snarky, genuinely asking)


Yea, but it was in Canada. I imagine the US ones are fairly more educated on how politics in the US work, but from what I've heard from friends and seen/read on the news it's fairly similar other than that obvious difference.

You and I just have very different views on the same events. There was an Occupy rally in my city just last week. That rally was about corporate greed and lack of jobs. Something every state in the nation faces. However, I disagree that wealth distribution is somehow the same as corporations getting billions of dollars of tax cuts which effectively cuts their tax rate in half. These tax loopholes need to go. For everyone. Bush and Obama tax cuts, just go away.
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#36 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 03 November 2011 - 09:58 PM

You and I just have very different views on the same events. There was an Occupy rally in my city just last week. That rally was about corporate greed and lack of jobs. Something every state in the nation faces. However, I disagree that wealth distribution is somehow the same as corporations getting billions of dollars of tax cuts which effectively cuts their tax rate in half. These tax loopholes need to go. For everyone. Bush and Obama tax cuts, just go away.

What happened to the campaign funding issues and the desire for legal repercussions for those responsible for the financial crisis that the occupy movement was founded on?

#37 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

Posted 03 November 2011 - 10:14 PM

How do those things not fall under corporate greed? What makes you think that the OWS protesters have to have the same message? There are a variety of issues and problem so they are allowed to protest on a variety of issues and problems. I don't understand this "one message/one complaint" label some people try to put on the OWS movement. Different cities can protest about different issues.
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#38 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

Posted 03 November 2011 - 10:17 PM

But here's a question for Michael, but of course anyone can answer, do you think the US has a problem with capitalism or corporate socialism? To put be another way, are the US companies really capitalist? Or some funky hybrid or spin-off of capitalism?
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#39 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 03 November 2011 - 10:41 PM

Oh nice, today we get a look at Fortune 500 companies that pay ZERO dollars in taxes:

http://www.ctj.org/c...dgersReport.pdf

On a combined $160,000,000,000 in profits for these companies.. our government paid THEM a refund of $10 BILLION, making taxation actually profitable for these companies.

How the hell do you keep billions of dollars from being taxed? Oh.. jeez it gets complicated - http://news.cnet.com...020329-265.html


I don't believe that the problems OWS are complaining about are a problem of capitalism. Our government effectively creates and supports monopolies. Politicians are sitting on the boards of these giant corporations and have a monetary interest in ensuring there are plenty of loopholes for the company to take advantage of all while the would be competition is saddled with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. We have a two party system where democrats and republicans simply trade power back and forth as you get pissed off at one side and turn to the other for support. It is a system designed to keep power consolidated in a relatively small group. OWS would probably be more on target if they were occupying DC instead.

The worst part of it is there are jobs to be had, but they are not and are no longer going to be unskilled. We are not just exporting our jobs, we are importing skilled workers from other countries because there are not enough qualified Americans to do the jobs. The US education system is broken and failing at preparing our children to compete in the future market and despite what many claim, it's not simply a matter of being underfunded. The teachers unions have a stranglehold on our education system and are putting the future of this country in jeopardy. There is another great target for the OWS crowd, but they seem more interested in calling attention to the symptoms than the underlying problems.

#40 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 03 November 2011 - 11:01 PM

I just really wish people would stop attributing the wealth redistribution complaint to OWS. That's not what they are asking for. They are asking for jobs. They are asking for corporations to be corporations not the 4th branch of the government. They are asking "why are you sitting on trillions of dollars, but are not hiring?".


This is the biggest problems I have about the OWS complaints. These people need to realize that corporations do not owe them jobs. It's not their right to be employed at a large company just because the company is successful. The large companies did not force them to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt getting a useless degree. Lets be perfectly clear, corporations exist to make money and I don't believe that there is anything wrong with that as long as those corporations cannot simply buy monopolies via the government. I expect corporations to be greedy to an extent, but it's a problem when politicians who are supposed to be representing us are that greedy.




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