Reference Tax - Berkeley CSUA MOTD
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Reference:Tax:
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Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2021/09/20 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2006/6/6-9 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:43287 Activity:nil
6/6     Don't forget to vote today!
        \_ Yes vote for tax more or tax even more.
           \_ Robinhood, we need you! Please tax the rich to support the poor
              because the super rich like Kenneth Lay, Skilling, Fastow,
              Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, the Bush Dynasty, so on and
              so forth have had a history of ripping off the poor ever
              since the dawn of mankind. Please help Robinhood.
              \- i think BGATES may be a pigdog for other reasons but i
                 dont think he is one of the people pushing plutocracy.
2006/5/12 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:43029 Activity:nil
        I make over 100K base salary, not including options/stocks.
        How does this law benefit me?
2006/5/9-10 [Reference/Tax] UID:42994 Activity:nil
        "The top 3 percent of the returns, those with incomes exceeding
         $200,000, paid about 60 percent of all state taxes."
        It must be cool to be a minority and own so much wealth.
        \_ You realize that with the progressive tax structure, those 3% likely
           own _less_ than 60% of the wealth, right?  And having N% own N% of
           the wealth isn't actually an achievable _or_ desirable ideal, btw.
           \_ We don't need a progressive tax structure. An all
              digital HDMI tax structure is much better! -troll
        \_ in theory, those with the highest income may not have the highest
           total wealth... however, it is indeed more or less the case.  In
           2001, the top 5% had about 60% of the net worth, and about 68% of
           the financial wealth
        \_ It must be cool to be the majority and not work hard in school and
           just sort of coast by in life. They probably have more fun anyway.
2006/5/4-7 [Reference/Tax] UID:42927 Activity:nil
5/4     Can the money spent on taking community college or UC extension
        courses be deducted from my taxable income if they weren't part
        of any degree program?
        \_ No. I was in this same situation (taking some language
           classes in the morning before work just for the sake of
           learning) and I remember TurboTax saying it was only
           deductible if going for a degree. -bz
           \_ I see no reference to this requirement:
2006/4/17 [Reference/Tax] UID:42762 Activity:low
4/17    Today is tax deadline day. Just a reminder.
        \_ Let me tell you how it will be:  There's one for you, nineteen for
2006/3/28-29 [Reference/Tax] UID:42494 Activity:nil
3/28    I bought a piece of unoccupied property and got it appraised at X,
        which was slightly above the listed price. Now that I moved in
        and doing a refi, the loan officer says I need to do an
        "owner occupied" appraisal. How is this going to affect my tax
        and other things? If tax and fees will be based on it, is it
        possible to make my place a total mess and hope to devaluate the
        appraisal? Is there any advantage of getting it appraised
        higher? I understand how silly this question sounds. Need advice.
        \_ Appraisal does not change your property tax.
        \_ It would not be a good idea to make the place a dump as
           this would probably give the bank an action for waste
           against you. If you really make a terrible mess of the
           place, they might even be able to call in your loan and
2006/3/23-25 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:42395 Activity:high
3/23    Have you done your taxes yet?  Do you owe or do you get a refund?
        \_ owed $4500 (too much capital gains)
           \_ L'chaim. -dans
        \_ Only got $1500 from the feds, $600 from CA.
           \_ you didn't "get" anything.  it was your money in the first place.
                \_ Except for the portion lent to us from China, Japan, Europe,
        \_ Damn alternative minimum tax cost us $4000 above what we'd
           normally pay. No weird deductions, just a mortgage. Doh!
           \_ Yeah so?  That just means you're rich and need to be taxed even
        \_ $160 back Fed, $700 CA (don't ask)
        \_ $3k Fed, $3k CA...first year with a home, I immediately raised
           my exemptions after I found out how much money I could have had
           all year to invest.  I love home ownership, I compared my apt to
           home taxes and have saved $12K overall.  Even accounting for
           property tax ($7k), I still save $5k a year with a home.
           \_ really?  can you show us the math?
2021/09/20 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2006/3/23-25 [Reference/Tax] UID:42393 Activity:high
3/23    Chinese levies taxes on non-environmentally-friendly products: (NY times)
        I can't wait to see what would happens if USA does the same thing.
        and... if Bush is serious about remove dependency on foreign oil,
        he should levy taxes on gasoline :p
        \_ bush would never raise taxes.  well, except on the poor.
           \_ I think any commodity tax is innately a regressive tax, and
              therefore "on the poor".
           \_ Does he also call them fees?
        \_ are you nuts?  any idea how much each gallon is already taxed?
           what do you mean "he should levy taxes on gasoline".  we already
           have gas taxes and they only go up.
           \_ I am talking about raise it to $1 / gallon.  Use these taxes
              to fund roads, freeway, bridges.
              \_ Seriously, dude.  It's already higher than that.  It already
                 funds roads, freeways and bridges....  Wanna do a little
                 research before deciding on public policy?
           \_ he's just dumb. he also has bad grammar. "Chinese levies..."
              \_ not if levies is a noun
                 \_ then "Chinese levies taxes" doesn't work. so you're
                    dumb too.
              \_ bad grammar, but dumb?  I beg differ.  I am just making
                 too much sense here, because gasoline tax will encourage
                 people drive less, drive a smaller car, etc.
        \_ How about if the US would just stop subsidizing so many
           environmentally UNfriendly things?
        \_ wow, ship all the democrats to china, they'd love these taxes.
           \_ Why not send the Republicans--they'd love the oppression,
              prison camps and corruption?
                \_ We already ship all of our pollution to China, by proxy.
           \_ Gasoline should be taxed to pay all the costs of roads, pollution
              cleanup, etc. etc.  A lot of car ownership and usage is
              \_ That's a nice delusion tree-hugger. Keep smokin' whatever it
                 is you are smoking, it obviously makes you smarter than the
                 suits that run the world.
                 \_ Are you trying to bait foaming-at-the-mouth anti-car guy
                    into a rant?
                 \_ how much was the highway bill last year again?  you don't
                    call it a subsidies?
                    \_ because without highways our economy and society would
                       mostly collapse.  all government spending is a form of
                       subsidy for something.  if you don't like subsidies
                       then let's cancel taxes and stop having a government.
                       \_ Yep. Without those billions spent on bridges to
                          nowhere in Alaska, the fucking planet would probably
                          stop spinning.
                          \_ Every bill has pork.  Picking a single pork
                             project and painting the entire system with it
                             is intellectually dishonest and rhetorically
                             cheap.  What's the point of posting one liner
                             snap shots?
                       \_ That may or may not be true, but it is hard to
                          argue with a straight face that car driving is
                          not subsidized.
                          \_ Of course it is.  Who said it wasn't?  -driver
                       \_ why highway? why not railroad tracks? light rails?
                          bike lane?
                          \_ Rails are already subsidised and have been for
                             150+ years.  Bike?  Nice for short single trips
                             for healthy people but we're not about to
                             restructure society so everyone lives in a village
                             or near quality public transit.  Public transit
                             \_ Why aren't we?  Do you think magic Jetson
                                style perpetual motion runs on air funny
                                cars are going to be sold by GM next year?
                                We should start preparing for a non
                                car centric lifestyle now or suffer
                                the serious consequences later.
                             has other issues such as inflexibility and one
                             event can bring 10s of thousand of people to a
                             halt such as the Oakland BART shut down the other
                             day.  We need a variety of transit options and
                             quite frankly all of them have already been
                             subsidised.  How many bikers ever paid for using
                             or creating a bike lane, for example?
                                \_ Would people please stop bitching about
                                   subsidies for mass transit/biking? The
                                   subsidies for automobiles dwarf any other
                                   transit subsidies.
                                   \_ I wasn't bitching.  I'm saying *all*
                                      transit is subsidised.  Yes, some more
                                      than others but it all is.
                                   \_ URL? I want to see the amount of $$$
                                      spent on highways outside of the $$$
                                      collected by gas and automobile
                                      taxes versus the amount spent on
                                      mass transit.
        \_ Actually a Carter-era tax idea was to raise taxes on gasoline $1-
           $2 per gallon, and then rebate the same money back in the form
           of lower payroll taxes (most Americans pay more in payroll taxes
           than in income taxes).  It doesn't raise taxes and still encourages
           \_ Don't "payroll taxes" _include_ income taxes?
              \_ no.
           \_ until they make up a reason to raise payroll taxes later then
              you're stuck with both taxes which will continue rising.
                \_ You mean like what Reagan did? Well the current climate
                   is to never raise taxes, cut them whenever possible and
                   have future generations & massive inflation deal with the
                   ensuing problems.
2006/3/21-25 [Finance, Reference/Tax] UID:42364 Activity:nil
3/21    I'm here to expose that Edward Magluyan has a company called INA
        which is really Amway. This guys will say anything to get
        you into Amway trap. He'll talk about debt elimination, tax reduction,
        multiple income streams, etc. Don't buy into any of that crap unless
        you want to lose money. Edward Magluyan is a really nice looking guy
        and a smoooooth talker. Any time someone like that approaches you
        and talk about unlimited growth potential, WALK AWAY.  -really pissed
        \_ I lost 30lbs in 30 days!  Ask me how!
           \_ A very slow guillotine?
              \_ A cheese-grater.  Gotta be.
           \_ A cheese-grater?
           \_ An angry dystopic future?
        \_ so how did you get screwed? inquiring minds want to know
                                                \_ bored sodans
2006/3/20-21 [Politics/Domestic, Reference/Tax] UID:42336 Activity:moderate
        \_ I've got nothing against tax cuts but what we've got is not really
           a tax cut but rather tax postponement.  All that money you're
           "saving" now?  It's going to come out of your budget later, with
           interest.  --PM
        \_ You realize that most of the conservatives are too bright to
           consider Slate, a left wing propaganda web site, to be a
           fair and balanced source of information?
           \_ The exact details of how the facts were misrepresented is what's
              being reported.  Fair and balanced or not, unless they're
              actually lying, that's pretty damning.
              \_ I think pp was trolling.
        \_ this is 3 years old, dude.
2006/3/20-21 [Reference/Tax] UID:42325 Activity:nil
3/20    For those who have lots of capital gains (stocks, etc.), and
        contribute to charity, check out donor advised gift funds
        (Fidelity: Vanguard:  These allow you to
        shield your donated assets from capital gains taxes.  You
        can then redirect your donation to the charities of your
        choice whenever you want.
        If say you donate $10000 stock of which $8000 is capital gains,
        you save taxes worth $1500 compared to selling the stock and
        donating the after-tax amount to charity (assumption: 15%
        captial gains rate and 25% income tax bracket, itemized
        deduction)(calculation: (0.15*8000)+(0.15*8000*0.25)=1500).
        (i.e. $1200 lost to capital gains tax and this $1200 also
        lose its benefit for charitable donation deduction worth
        $300).  Other benefits: you can give your fund your own
        name, or donate anonymously without losing tax savings,
        undistributed funds have several investment choices, etc.
        caveat: $100 or 1% management fee per year, $10000
        to start fund (for Fidelity)         - christian socialist
2006/3/18-20 [Reference/Tax, Consumer/TV] UID:42305 Activity:nil
3/18    I'm shopping for a LCD TV and as much as I like newegg, on a purchase
        like that I'd like to pay tax OR shipping, not both.  Can anyone
        reccomend a retailer with good prices and selection that is either
        local to the SFBA or else wholly out of state?
        \_ I used (Oregon) for a 46" Toshiba projection TV.
           They also do LCD TVs, but probably not the cheep ones that newegg
2006/3/13-14 [Reference/Tax] UID:42214 Activity:nil
3/13    I'm looking to start some part-time sysadmin contract works. Are there
        any sites that gives you tips on how to start? What kind of accounting/
        billing software can you recommend?
        \_ Unless you plan to hire employees yourself, you don't have to
           do anything.  You will just get a 1099-MISC form instead of
           W-2.  Just make sure you pay estimate tax.
        \_ Make sure the work you do is really 1099 and not 1040 disguised as
           1099.  Know the legal difference between the two.
2006/2/28-3/2 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:42028 Activity:low
2/28    What's a good "next step up" from high-yield (4-5%) savings accounts
        if I want something to invest, say, $50k in and still keep it fairly
        liquid and still have little to no risk (i.e. I'm OK with !FDIC if
        it's a biggish institution and not too likely to fold).  By "fairly
        liquid" I mean no more than a year lock-in.
        \_ I have some I-bonds that are pulling in 6-7% a year.  I bought
           those a few years ago though, and I think they've been dropping
           the yield in recent years.
           the yield in recent years.  Oh, and they're fed tax free too.
                \_ Don't you have to pay taxes when they adjust the principal?
                   \_ Woops.  I got it the other way around.  No state tax,
                      and fed tax deferred until either bond redeemed or
                      annually--your choice--and not on adjusting the principal.
                   \_ No, that is for TIPS.
           \_ I bonds deduct 3 months interest if you sell before 5 years,
              so that's a minus for the op since he wants less than 1 year
        \_ probably more risk than you would like but I like FAX (asian bonds
           close end fund) recommended by Bill Gross (king of bonds).  It
           yields 6.87% and is currently 4.68% below its net asset value.
           \_ 6.87 taxable w/ risk vs. 6.73 state-tax free no-risk (I Bond)..
              meh.  What does "4.68% below..." mean?
              \_ well, I Bond yield is inflation dependent and may go down,
                 so it is not risk free.  4.68% below nav means that the
                 fund is trading at a value that is 4.68% below the total
                 value of the bonds it holds.  of course FAX also has
                 exchange rates risk.  you should probably only buy it
                 if you think the dollar is going to fall, or you want
                 to diversify your currency risks.  I personally think
                 the dollar will fall, so I especially like FAX.  In the
                 scenario that FAX returns to NAV, and dollar falls, I
                 could get 15% return.
                   - I bond holder who suggested I bonds on the motd
                     a few months ago.
           \_ I'm a big fan of FAX too.  I'm curious though, where are you
                getting the "*currently* 4.68% below its net asset value"?
                I know they mention it periodically, but is there some way
                to check at any given point (they have way too many holdings
                to calculate it yourself) -crebbs
                \_  it's down to 4.35% now.  I recently
                   found out that IFN is 30% above NAV.  I am going to sell
                   IFN and get MINDX or maybe IBN (ICICI) to stay exposed
                   to India.  IIF is also 15-20% above NAV so it's not much
                   \_ Funny, I was just yesterday showing a buddy of mine
                      a comment that IFN was 30% over NAV and that he should
                      short it.  How do they manage a 9% dividend at that
                      pemium? are they really holding assest that pay well
                      over 9% divedends on average??  Anyway, thanks for the
                      over 9% dividends on average??  Anyway, thanks for the
                      link.  Email me and tell me who you are if you don't
                      mind being bugged once in a while about this kind of
                      thing.  -crebbs
                      \_ feel free.  good for me to have someone to bounce
                         one's investment ideas off too.  I have a rather
                         patchy record with shorting.  I recently tried
                         shorting GM; it promptly appreciated 20% but
                         later fell back, so I am now even.  Do you think
                         I should be glad I didn't lose money and run, or
                         keep the short?  - ecchang
                         \_I would be terrified of shorting GM.  The funds
                           seem to be sticking with them.  The gubmnt could
                           come to their rescue (again).  Despite their
                           dire straights and massive debt, I think that's
                           a scary play.  But I pretty much only take
                           short positions in combo with long.  For exmple
                           I shorted 3dfx and went long with NVDA back in
                           the day. </brag> -crebbs
                           \_ my thinking with regard to GM is that there
                              is something fundamentally wrong with GM
                              that cannot be fixed without going into
                              bankruptcy.  yes there may be short term
                              gains but it won't last.  question is
                              whether one can hold through those gains.
                              But you may be right, the risks are pretty
                              high, especially given how far GM has
                              fallen already.
                              NVDA is another of my bad shorts.  I shorted
                              it around 21 and it went up to 26 at which
                              point, I gave up.  After I gave up, it
                              dropped all the way to 10.  This was in
                              mid 2004, I think, when ATI is kicking
                              NVDA's butt when NVDA is having production
                              and heat issues with their chips.  What's
                              worse is that I then missed NVDA's runup
                              from 10 to the current 48.  ugh!
                                                            - ecchang
        \_ How about T-Bills?  If I read this right, you can go in for a
           month and make > 4% state-tax free?  Am I reading that wrong?
           What's the catch?  -op
2006/2/21-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:41942 Activity:nil
2/21    In an effort to reduce paper clutter, I'm thinking about scanning
        my old tax and W-2 related papers, convert them to PDFs, and
        shred all physical copies for good. Is this a good/bad idea?
        \_ Okay idea, but it's probably better to just to keep them around.
2006/2/20-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:41929 Activity:nil
2/20    Does anyone plan to pay the use tax for their internet purchases?
        \_ Is porn a service or good?
          \_ When it's good, it's a service!
        \_ No, but I do not fill in '0' for that line of the tax form either.
        \_ I paid $500 for the last two years, might do it again.
2006/2/18-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:41925 Activity:nil
2/18    Business SUV tax break still far greater than hybrid tax break
2006/2/9-10 [Politics/Domestic/Election, Reference/Tax] UID:41779 Activity:high
2/9     With housing costs outstriping salaries, 40% of young people are
        moving back in with their parents after college. "And with deep
        cuts to education and tax breaks aimed mainly older, wealthier
        Americans, government no longer has young adults back." Gosh,
        I don't know whether to feel bad for these kids or laugh at
        them. They should have been born in another era.
        \_ And why is housing so expensive?
           \_ there's a shock, the Cato Institute thinks that government
              regulation is the cause of all our problems!  -tom
              \_ Actually a couple of guys from Harvard and UPenn.
        \_ "A college degree is mandatory for most entry-level
            professional jobs, but most of today's job growth is in
            low-paying, low-skill industries like retail and food
           Isn't globalization supposed to force Americans to move
           up the job food chain, instead of down?
           \_ It does happen, just not immediately. The Reaganists and the
              Free Market theorists say that there is a short period that
              people down the chain will have to make adjustments. In
              practice, that short period lasts about 1/2 a person's lifetime,
              and adjustments are rarely made because displaced workers
              usually have no foundations and stepping stones to
              which they could better themselves in order to take jobs
              that require higher skill sets.
           \_ "advertised to" != "supposed to"
        \_ What exactly is wrong w/ this? For most of human history
           people lived in extended families and it mostly worked.
           \_ Nothing wrong.  It's just that people want to moan louder these
              days and they don't want their parents to hear it.
              \_ No, I also think there is more of an expectation of
                 personal privacy and space.  Some people moan about this
                 as an indication of the decline of "family values", while
                 others just don't feel comfortable with the idea of the
                 perceived intrusiveness of shared living space.  Unfortunately
                 that costs.  I feel bad for people who don't have the
                 possibility of their own space, although regarding the
                 article, I don't understand why people in a dodgy financial
                 situation opt to have children.  -John
                 \_ what?!  even Big Cow Wang making $1 a day in rural
                    china can have children.  the dude in the article
                    is making $27000 per year. of course he can and
                    should have children.  that's his right, and any
                    place where a person making $27000 can't afford
                    children must be seriously screwed up.  what I
                    find really wrong is all the tax breaks rich
                    people get when they have children.  I don't mind
                    subsidizing poor people for child care expenses
                    but why do rich people get them too?  It's good
                    that you still don't have children.  I would hate
                    paying tax to support your kids and your
                    expensive tastes.  ok, just kidding.
                    \_ I think child care tax credits phases out as income
                       goes up.
                 \_ The world has more people now than ever before.  I don't
                    think it is really a case of "living with family" vs not.
                    I think it is that when you and 500 people live in a small
                    village and the next village is 2 days away, you are going
                    to get a lot more 'personal space' than living with your
                    parents in a 4/3 house in the burbs.
                    \_ I think think the village of Long Wang, China (2 sq.
                       miles, 500,000 inhabitants, 3 billion chickens) is not
                       something by which I want any society I live in to
                       measure itself.  And yes, by all means have children,
                       but don't whine if you're too poor to support them
                       in the manner you'd like, and don't rely on my state
                       to do so.  -John
                       \_ 500k in 2 sq. miles is exactly what I'm talking
                          about as a "Bad Thing" that you'd only see in an
                          over crowded world.  And no, I don't want to shell
                          out so someone else can have 8 kids and still live
                          like a prince, either.
                       \_ Thanks for your concern, but we manage our affairs
                          just fine, and we alway say "butt out" when
                          American hypocrites start whining about our
                          population control policy, etc.  We also plan on
                          turning Tibet into a big theme park tourist
                          attraction.  All the Tibetans are very excited
                          with the prospects of new tourist money.  But
                          we still love our American friends, so when they
                          are in big economy trouble because their people
                          are lazy and love to enjoy life, and their
                          government is corrupt and like to spend money,
                          we help them by appreciating our currency and
                          lending lots of money to them.  This, in spite
                          of the fact that they stole lots of our treasures
                          last century and acted like drug dealers.
                                                 - Big Cow Wang
                          \_ You personally help do this stuff eh? That's
                             quite the active motd poster. How's your standing
                             in the Party?
                             \_ I am member of the legislature for the
                                Great and Glorious Republic of China.  I
                                led the successful "Just say no to buying
                                overpriced and outdated American weapons"
                                campaign.  - Big Dog Lee
                          \_ Here, we'll give you back the glorious imperial
                             hankie that we stole in the Opium War, you have
                             a bit of froth right there, to the left.  -John
                             \_ Don't tell me.  Tell your museum directors.
                                But it's okay, you can have them for now.
                                May help a few of those laid off delphi
                                workers work as museum security guards.
                                                  - Big Cow Wang
                                Think of the children they have to feed.
                                and security guards most likely make less
                                than $27000 a year.        - Big Cow Wang
                                                  - Big Cow Wang
                                \_ Hey, I don't care.  As long as great
                                   glorious Chinese mob is living in shit
                                   and getting beaten with sticks to make room
                                   for new factories, it's all good.  -John
                                   \_ Paddi field bad.  Factory good.
                                      More pay at factory so I take my
                                      children to see exotic natives in
                                      Tibet, and Americans dancing around
                                      in funny suits in Hong Kong
                                      Disneyland.  - Big Cow Wang
                                      \_  -John
2006/1/31-2/2 [Reference/Tax] UID:41622 Activity:nil
1/31    Is the land above/below the freeway owned by the state or
        federal government? Who pays property tax on I-80, 880, 680,
        280, 237, 101? If the federal government owns a piece of land,
        does it pay state tax on those properties?      -land newbie
        \_ This probably depends on whether it's an Interstate or regular
           CA highway. As for tax, the government doesn't pay tax. Are
           you kidding?
        \_ federal property in DC is not subject to local taxes.
                \_ To see why the fed. gov't. is not subject to local tax,
                   perform a thought experiment where you're a mayor and
                   you get to tax Fed. property however you like.
                        \_ We declare this here bridge is worth $1 billion
                           and we like to tax the feds at 50%.
                   \_ I don't think there is a question as to why.  I was
                      just posting an example to help answer the question.
                      \- See MCCULLOCH v. MARYLAND on the tax question.
                      \- See McCulloch v. Maryland on the tax question.
                         That is The Standard. note, this also applies to
                         when say LBL buys a pencil in CA ... you are not
                         supposed to be taxed.
                         \_ And if you are there is a form for reclaiming
                            that money from the State.
2006/1/25-26 [Reference/Tax] UID:41513 Activity:nil
1/24    I am single not married no itemized deduction. My income is
        about 90K and I pay about 30.0% tax (both federal and state).
        Does that sound about right?
        \_ Buy a house, stupid.
        \_ I think at 90k, you should be itemizing.
        \_ ~ 30% is what I pay, and I made $90K and am single.
           I itemized in TurboTax, but I didn't have mortgage interest to
           \_ State tax can be itemized, at 90k it is probably worthwhile.
              \_ "I itemized"
2006/1/24-25 [Reference/Tax] UID:41506 Activity:nil
1/24    Tax question. Currently my tax withhold is "2" (single). Usually
        I get back a few grand every year from Uncle Sam because of too
        much tax withheld. However, someone told me that it's better to
        put down "3" so that you have more in the bank to accumulate
        interest rate, and pay back Uncle Sam later. The overall gain
        would be the interest rate from the few grands that the government
        withheld. Has anyone done this and is it particularly bad? Thanks.
        \_ Everyone does it.  I think I'm claiming 6 for withholding
           purposes right now.  Your goal should probably be to be close
           to breaking even when tax time comes around; if you get a bunch
           of money back, you gave the government an interest-free loan,
           and if you have to pay a bunch of money, you might also have to
           pay a penalty.  -tom
        \_ If you withhold too little you will be subject to
  .  Whether it's
           a good idea to withhold more or less really depends on your
           spending habits.
           \_ Note that you can also be penalized for withholding too
              much. You should owe/overpay within 10% of the amount due.
              \_ Wow, I didn't know there's an overpayment penalty.  Do you
                 have a pointer to more info re that?
                 \_ I bet this entirely academic, but ...
                 \_ I bet this is entirely academic, but ...
                    "An employee who files a false Form W-4 may be subject
                    to a $500 penalty."  Of course, it depends on what the
                    meaning of "false" is:  "Sometimes this cannot be done
                    simply by claiming an exemption for each member of a
                    family. The employee may be entitled to additional
                    withholding allowances, as provided in the regulations.
                    Code section 3402(m), section 31.3402(m)1, Employment Tax
                    to a $500 penalty."
                    \_ Unfortunately this doesn't say there's an overpayment
                       penalty.  To be honest, I was suprised to hear that
                       the IRS would penalize overpayment, no matter by how
        \_ Don't forget that you need to pay tax on the interest from your
           bank account, so the overall gain is lower than you think.
2006/1/14-17 [Reference/Tax] UID:41376 Activity:nil
1/13    If the government literally offered you five million dollars for
        having a foreign object shoved up your ass by IRS agents, and you knew
        it would be sterile and would not cause permanent rectal damage,
        would you do it?  Assume that the IRS agents are not hot chicks.
        \- just out of curiousity, since this is a voluntary transaction
           why are you making the govt/irs the other party. why not just
           ask "would you be willing to be medically ass probed for $5m?"
           this isnt an opening to a rant about emiment domain is it? --psb
           \_ It's a response to the ED rants.  For whatever reason anal
              probing has featured prominently in that debate(see below),
              so I thought I'd cut to the chase.
        \_ You should be asking, "Would you be happy if a government agency
           grabbed you off the street and anally raped you against your
           will for their own pleasure but gave you $5MM tax payer dollars
           after wards?".
           \_ Did I have a bonafide deal I would get the $5M before the
              anal raping?  Was it lubed, and what's the size and duration?
              \_ There's no "deal".  You're grabbed off the street at random
                 and have no choice.  And oh yeah, to recover the $5MM cost,
                 they give the tape to some private business who shows the
                 tape for cash to the public.
                 \_ My work here is done.  -op
                    \_ Whatever.  It was your analogy.  The rest of us were
                       just going along with you.
                       \_ No, it wasn't my analogy.  -OP
                          \_ Of course it was.  You're saying you're the op
                             but didn't write what you wrote?  Ok whatever.
                             Anal retentive engineer or overly clever English
                             \_ You're the one who's being an anal retentive
                                engineer here.  Obviously I wrote what I wrote;
                                the point is that the analogy originated in the
                                ED flame war below, and I was just continuing
                                \_ Ok so you're not an overly clever English
                                   major or you'd know the difference between
                                   the slang use of the word in the first ED
                                   thread below and your literal meaning in
                                   your thread.  Thanks for joining us.
                       \_ In the case of the OP, the anal probe may be
                          the same as a brain probe.
2006/1/13-17 [Reference/RealEstate, Reference/Tax] UID:41370 Activity:high
1/13    You think Bay Area housing prices skyrocketed?  Check this out.
        $60K -> $4.95M in 30yrs.
        \_ Synopsis of this article: Many dumb asses bought useless FL
           swamp lands during the 1960's land scam, and got paid millions
           of dollars 4-5 decades later.
           My interpretation: The land/real-estate market is dumb ass
           dummy-safe. If you hold it long enough, and in this case
           2/3 of your lifetime, you'll still come out ahead. So go
           ahead and buy your first home or 5th income property regardless
           of the bubble, you'll still do well 4-5 decades later.
           \_ Why is it a surprise that land might have tremendous value
              *50 YEARS* after purchase?  You seem pretty bitter that these
              people had the foresight to give themselves a nice retirement
              package starting *50 YEARS* ago.  Why are you so upset that
              other people have done well in life?  Nothing is stopping you
              from putting some money down on cheap land today and *maybe*
              retiring well on it in *50 YEARS*.
        \_ "...I will never be able to freely do what I wanted to do."
           With $4.95M?  I'd think he could afford a big place somewhere just
           as rural.
           \_ He was apparently forced off his land.  I see a problem with
              \_ Go bother Jeb
                 "Bush said Thursday that it looked as if negotiations with
                 Hardy would not succeed and that the state would have to
                 pursue eminent domain against him, something Bush said he
                 doesn't like to do. He said Hardy would be
                 'well-compensated.'" (Oct 17, 2003)
                 Hardy sure wants to:
                 "So, you can do the math, people, 160 acres at $50,000 per
                 acre, equals $8 million dollars - a far cry from the
                 'staggering' $4.95 million I 'shrewdly' negotiated!"
                 ... along with his lawyers:
                 "My negotiator, Will Smith, let me get ripped off, just like
                 my attorney, Charlie Forman. I would do anything to get my
                 land back, even if I didn't have anything else left."
                 \_ I'm happy to bother Jeb.  Why does that matter?
        \_ 70 year old with a 9 year old son..  This guy sounds like a trip..
                    \_ just telling you who's to blame in this case.
                 \_ This is horseshit, Jeb or not.  There is a reason for
                    the existence of eminent domain, and the fact that it's
                    been abused crazily by corrupt politicians and property
                    developers doesn't mean it's always bad.  Ask yourself:
                    qui bono?  The guy got $5 million for a piece of swamp he
                    acquired for 60k--that's a lot of money.  -John
                    \_ It doesn't matter what he got for it or what he paid
                       for it.  We still like to pretend in this country that
                       we have property rights.
                       \_ Not after Kelo.
                          \_ Well yeah, like I said: "pretend".
                    \_ So when someone lubes you up and reams you, it's just
                       haggling over remuneration?
                       \_ Re. property rights:  if you don't pay property
                          tax, your property is taken away from you.  So that
                          sort of scotches that argument.  Re. reaming: you
                             \_ Scotches what?  In no manner does the concept
                                of property taxes scotch an anti-ED point.
                                [erased my own long rant].  In short, what
                                the hell are you talking about?
                          don't seem to be getting the fundamental difference
                          between taking away land for someone else's
                          profit (a la New London) and taking away land that
                          was initially probably developed at least shadily,
                                \_ Probably?  All land in this country was
                                   initially stolen from the natives.  By
                                   your logic it is therefore ok to ream all
                                   current land owners just because.
                          like much of the Everglades, and returning it to
                          the commons.  And yes, I know there's a huge grey
                          area.  -John
                                \_ There's no grey area.  Land taken from an
                                   owner for anything more than strictly
                                   defined public use (such as needing a
                                           \_ I hope you realize that after
                                              Kelo pretty much anything the
                                              gov says is a public use is a
                                              public use, including taking
                                              away your home and giving it
                                              somebody wealthier b/c they
                                              will pay more property taxes.
                                   school, firehouse, etc) without first making
                                   all reasonable efforts to use other land and
                                   not *fully* compensating the victim for
                                   their loss is theft by government.  There
                                   are way too many ED cases where the ED isn't
                                   for a real public use and the compensation
                                   figures are calculated falsely (such as
                                   after prices in the area drop by 80% after
                                   they announce an ED) that it is impossible
                                   to defend ED and it's advocates without
                                   associating one's self with some of the
                                   scummiest people in local government.  This
                                   isn't Europe.  We've always been allowed to
                                   actually *own* our property here.
                                   \_ Nice dig, there.  The money allocated to
                                      him was not calculated falsely, as
                                      property prices could would not drop
                                      in the conventional sense if the property
                                      was not being commercially allocated.
                                      You may have noted the bit about it
                                      being returned to its natural state.
                                      That said, of course there is a grey area
                                      and it is huge.  I agree fully that ED
                                      is vastly over- and too often misused.
                                      But do you seriously believe that
                                      communities as such could make _any_
                                      economic progress if they had no way at
                                      all of occasionally expropriating
                                      resources?  And no, before you hint at it
                                      again, I do not believe in some socialist
                                      utopian idea of land as a public good,
                                      but as a limited resource to be handled
                                      judiciously.  And let's face it, the guy
                                      _did_ get $5 million for a swamp.  -John
                                      \_ Ah, so the lube is okay if the price
                                         is high enough.  Thanks for sharing.
                                         If the government can take land not
                                         for public use, then private property
                                         doesn't exist.  Period.
                                         \_ Parks are for public use.  -tom
                                            \_ Not state park and "preserves."
                                               Too often they're off limits
                                               for people.  ED is reasonable
                                               for roads and ... well pretty
                                               much nothing else.
        So let's take this ad absurdum--if I build a house on a pristine _/
        natural resource under some sort of homesteading "nobody's using it,
        come 'n git it" initiative, and the land is later found to be the
        last remaining preserve of the rare spotted mud iguana whose
        secretions cure cancer, and my presence is killing off the last few,
        then the gub'mint takes my land, fences off the area and doesn't let
        anyone in, you would oppose this, right (like I said, ad absurdum)?
        Also, I'll freely admit that maybe I'm dense, but I fail to see the
        difference in the big-picture between this and the gub'mint taking
        your land if you don't pay property taxes.  In both cases, the land
        isn't really yours unconditionally as such.  -John
        \_ I'm not the op or anyone who responded to your post. I just
           want to say that all this talk is further proof that the
           concept of ownership (I give you XX trinkets so that you will
           give me YY acres of land) makes people greedy and do really
           evil things. The land is precious, and an individual has very
           limited scope in what he/she can do to fully use the land for
           greater goods. Given that most common people have been proven
           to be selfish & stupid in the entire history mankind, it should
           have been the case from the beginning that the land is not
           monopolized by individuals. Land belongs to the common habitats
           of the land.
           \_ Is this a troll?  Are you really actually advocating some form
              of socialism or just looking for enraged responses?
              \_ What?  You haven't learned to pick up on the subtle
                 article-abuse we have all come to know and love of Chicom
                 troll? Get with it.  Nevermind. I re-read the post, and I
                 believe it to be an imposter.
                 \_ I didn't see the expected ChiComTroll grammar at all.
                    I'm sure it is someone else but still a troll.
        \_ I'm not the above poster you're responding to.  With that in mind:
           Cancer: it doesn't matter how you came about the land as long as
           it is legally yours today.  ED'ing cancer cure land: first, it is
           necessary to keep the frogs on that land to harvest them directly
           for a cancer cure?  If so, we're screwed anyway since there won't
           be enough of $rare_animal_or_plant_X to matter.  If someone wants
           to "steal" all the frogs off the land, I don't have an issue with
           that.  We're assuming the rare plant/animal is secondary to the
           normal land use pattern for the owner.  If the owner was actually
           raising and farming these things for a cancer cure then I've got
           a problem with stealing his frogs.
           Property taxes: this is what all land owners pay in exchange for
           the State (be it local, state or federal) to support and protect
           the owner and their land claim so they don't have to raise their
           own private army to defend their stake.  The resource being paid
           for with PT is protective physical and legal enforcement of the
           land ownership claim.  The State usually uses that cash to do
           things like provide water, roads, schools, etc, but it doesn't
           have to.  Once the PT are paid, the State does what they want with
           the money.  By not paying your PT you are not paying the State what
           they need to protect your land claim.  Since the State is
           effectively forced to defend all land claims, you can't opt out of
           your property taxes.
           Back to the core idea: I don't think the vast majority of people
           have a problem with the concept of ED.  I don't.  The problem is
           that local governments have been very seriously abusing it for
           years and in the last 15-20 years the abuses have skyrocketed
           both in number and severity well past the point of thinking of
           ED as anything more than theft.  Far far far too many cases all
           over the country go like this:
           1) Business Developer buys a few beers and kicks a few bucks at
              a local mayor or board.
           2) Locals find some nice water front land inhabited for the previous
              $MANY_DECADES by honest, hard working tax paying, working class
              folks and retirees and announces ED on the whole area calling it
              a "blighted area".
           3) ED announcement naturally causes huge drop in housing prices in
              the area.
           4) Locals use new lower comp figures as pay out number to determine
              worth of remaining houses and small businesses.
           5) Citizens get pennies on the dollar and evicted.
           6) Locals hand over the land to the Business Developer we saw back
              in #1 who builds yacht club, fancy hotels and condos.
           7) Locals and Business Developer claim victory for The Community
              and "Yay!  ED makes everyone a winner!" except for those
              Community Members we decided weren't adding enough to the tax
              base and were kinda lower class anyway and couldn't afford a
              yacht club membership, screw them.  Welcome to ED in the
              current era.  Oh yeah, we might have built a school or small
              park in there somewhere, too.
           The alternative to the above is less common but has happened here
           and there is they steal some dumb bastard's land, don't do a thing
           with it and then sell it on the public market 20 years later after
           real estate sky rockets.  Not even a token park is built.  Just
           pure raw flat out theft under color of authority.
           \_ Well, I think we agree that (a) this is theft, and (b) ED has
              been massively abused and is a slippery slide in itself.  I do
              however still think that this particular case falls under the
              few "legit" uses of ED--both due to the intended use of the
              land ("for the public good" in the greater sense) and the
              amount paid.  -John
              \_ I believe in this case he ended up in some sort of
                 negotiated settlement that he felt was forced upon him
                 under threat of ED.  Negotiating under the gun isn't much
                 of a negotiation and he probably could've gotten more which
                 I think is what his gripe is.  Anyway, at least we agree on
                 the major points which is the part I was here for.
2005/12/27-30 [Reference/Tax] UID:41150 Activity:nil
12/27   Creative Commons needs $50k in donations to maintain tax exempt status
        in the US:
        \_ Where does it say anything about tax exempt status?
        \_ Excuse my ignorance, but what does Creative Commons actually do
           other than draft up various licenses for people to use?  Where is
           this money going to go?  Why shouldn't I donate to the EFF instead?
2005/12/13-15 [Reference/Tax] UID:40995 Activity:nil
12/13   Currently the yearly gift tax limit is $11,000 per year, and if it
        is over you can deduct it from your lifetime unified gift tax (for
        both gift and estate) exemption limit per person, which is $1.5 mil.
        This will increase gradually in the next few years thanks to Bush. (old, just change numbers)
        According to the URL above, "Because of all of these rules, gift
        taxes are rarely required to be paid." Fine. If they're rare
        in the first place why did Bush want to increase the limit, and
        what % of the Americans actually give more than $1.5 mil as gifts?
        \_ political benefits?
        \_ Because taxes should always be cut to zero whenever possible,
           and instead of balancing the budget you just pressure Asian
           countries to keep buying out debt?
           countries to keep buying our debt?
           \_ asian money is like opium.  We have a need for it but it's
              bad for us.
        \_ Republican Party ideology requires as many tax breaks for the
           rich as are politically feasible.  -tom
2005/12/5-7 [Reference/Tax, Consumer/Audio] UID:40862 Activity:nil
12/5    Anyone interested in a white 60GB iPod at 15% off ($339+tax)? I just
        bought one through my employee discount but my roommate said that he
        meant to ask for the nano instead. It has no engraving. Email me if
        interested. First come first serve, I live in the Mission. -abe
2005/12/5-7 [Reference/Tax] UID:40854 Activity:low
12/5    Say I buy a house and my parents wire in the down pay.
        The down pay over $11,000 is subject to the gift tax. But
        what if they add their names to the title of the property,
        is that still subject to gift tax?
        \_ Talk to your mortgage agent.  They know how to solve these issues.
          \_ no.
             \_ they have no clue on this matter.  talk to your
                \_ Even if they have a clue, they are legally barred from
                   giving such advise to you because their relationships to you
                   are real estate / mortgage agents, not tax advisers.  But
                   you can try to pursuade them to tell you off the record as
        \_ Yes, the gift tax applies to goods and real estate as well as
           money.  But if you give them ownership of the house concommitant
           to the amount they contributed, it's not a gift.  But that would
           mean that when you sell, they would get part of the proceeds.  It
           also means that they're liable for the mortgage.  -tom
           \_ Could they then gift you an $11,000 portion of the title every
              year until they have no remaining interest? -gm
              \_ Yes, they can gift the equity back $11K at a time.
                 \_ technically, yes.  but each time you redistribute the
                    ownership, you need to re-assess the house which of
                    is not free!
                    \_ And if that reassessment triggers a change in your tax
                       assessment, you're probably better off paying the gift
        \_ Talk to a professional.  Do not take financial, medical, or legal
           advice from motd cranks.
        \_ you should talk to an accountant to make your final decision.
           however, it's good that you get some background information
           first so you will ask good and useful questions.
        \_ They don't really have to pay any tax yet, but it will reduce
           the amount of tax free gains will be in their estate when they
           die. Talk to an accountant about all this.
        \_ Use the "unified (tax) credit"
           This makes the most sense.  I am very surprised no one earlier
           suggested this.  Your parents do not need to be dead to use this.
           IRS example:
           Your parents file form 709 (just like it says on to tell
           the IRS they're using part of their unified credit.
           \_ Uh, this is what I was referring to in the entry directly
              above yours.
              \_ Okay, I'll give you half-credit for this question.
                 -your Physics TA
2005/11/22-25 [Reference/Tax] UID:40696 Activity:nil
11/22   Are there still tax breaks for buying hybrids for personal use?
        \_ If I recall, there'll be new tax credit starting January 1st.
           Don't know the detail, though.
           \- what about google arbitrage?
2005/11/14 [Reference/RealEstate, Reference/Tax] UID:40577 Activity:nil
11/14   My Alameda County property tax statement reads "Secured Property Tax
        Statement.  What's the difference between Secured and Unsecured?
2005/11/1-2 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:40370 Activity:low
10/31   Second homes accounted for 36 percent of all home sales last year.
        Is this historically normal?
        \_ randomn guess... no :p  how many of your parents' friends own
           more than one home 10 years ago?
           \_ dunno, that'd depend on how rich my parent's friends are.  is
              that a statistically reliable sample set?
        \_ lots of kids are also living with their parents past 30, when
           they should get off their ass and buy a house..  Is that
           normal either?  I believe it evens out.
        \_ Is it 36% of all successful sellers sold their second homes?  Or is
           it 36% of all successful buyers bought their second homes?
2005/10/19-21 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Banking] UID:40180 Activity:nil
        Rent or buy?
        \_ "Please use Netscape4.7 and below to see your result or, please
            use IE.  Thank you"   Wow.
2005/10/11-13 [Reference/Tax] UID:40044 Activity:high
10/11   "President Bush's tax advisory commission indicated today that it
        would not propose replacing the income tax with a national sales tax
        or a value-added tax but would recommend modifications in the popular
        tax deductions for mortgage interest and employer-provided health
        \_ What the hell.  That whole article reads like "ok, what can we
           fuck with?"
        \_ Yay, let's make the tax code ten times more complicated than it
           already is!
                \_ As long as Paris Hilton's accountants can have her pay
                   almost no tax ... "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"
                   \_ "The generous mortgage-interest deduction in the law
                      [that the commission is proposing to reduce] now helps
                      rich people the most, leads to larger houses and
                      encourages borrowing..."  Why cut back the deduction?
                      Because "the commission agreed to recommend abolishing
                      the alternative minimum tax for individual" and the
                      commission has "a mandate to develop an overall proposal
                      for changing the tax system that is revenue neutral."
                      \_ This doesn't account much for those parts of the
                         country where you spend 75% of your take-home on
                         \_ I have this suspicion that the parts of the country
                            that spend 75% of take-home pay on housing are
                            the parts of the country that bitch loudest about
                            AMT.  Of course, reducing the home mortgage
                            deduction screws one group of people within those
                            parts and likely rewards a different group, but
                            that's what the income tax is all about anyway.
                            Where did you think the offsetting revenue was
                            going to come from when you MOTD types were
                            bitching about the AMT?
                            \_ By not giving the uber-rich tax breaks? Yeah
                               I know, it's just a fantasy.
                               \_ Certainly Teresa Heinz and her ilk are
                                  undertaxed relative what I pay (since I pay
                                  the same order of taxes as she does and I am
                                  worth 2 orders of magnitude less).  But
                                  you might find out that taxing the uber-rich
                                  yields less money than you think, simply
                                  because there are so relatively few of them.
                                  In the end, to get the big tax bucks, you
                                  have to tax the upper-middle class.
                                  \_ I am worth one order of magnitude less
                                     than Heinz, but I still consider myself
                                     upper-middle class.  I consider you
                                     lower-middle class.
                                     \_ You're worth multiple million, and
                                        think you're middle class?  Ha.
                                        Check some statistics on the
                                        average wage in the US.
                                        \_ No, no, no.  I am worth multiple
                                           TENS of millions.  A mere multiple
                                           million still brackets you within
                                           the lower middle class.
                                           \_ You're probably worth 2 orders
                                              less than Teresa Heinz if your
                                              net worth is in the tens of
                                              \_ Does that mean I am still in
                                                 the lower middle class?
                                                 \_ Only if you live in Palo
                            \_ At least in:
                               The cap on interest deduction to $300,000.  If
                               you're paying $300,000 in interest per year, you
                               *are* the uber-rich.
                               \_ You misunderstand.  The cap of $300,00 is
                                  not on interest paid per year, but on the
                                  principal owed on the mortgage.
                                  \_ Show me where this is the case.  I'm
                                     unable to find that anywhere. -pp
                                     \_ Not from where you picked up the $300k,
                                        but earlier in that article "the
                                        current $1 million cap on deductible
                                        mortgage interest should be reduced,
                                        possibly to about $350,000".  From
                                        we learn million cap came from "you
                                        can deduct the *interest* [emphasis
                                        added] ... [if the debt] totaled $1
                                        million or less".
                   \_ ^Paris Hilton^Teresa Heinz
                      How did she do it anyway?
                      \_ Well ^X^Y syntax really is short hand for !!:s so,
                         it was pretty straight forward once she had that down.
                         \_ Paris Hilton bang bang Teresa Heinz? i likes me
                            some ultra rich girl on ultra rich girl action.
                            \_ Teresa has her heart set on becoming the First
                               Lady.  Your chances of her dumping Kerry and
                               going for some hot girl-girl action with
                               Hilary are much better.
                               \_ She stands a better chance of becoming
                                  first lady as Hillary's gf than with Kerry.
2005/10/10 [Reference/Tax] UID:40038 Activity:high
10/10   My parents are buying an apartment outside of the US for
        their retirement and I am going to help them to pay for part of
        the down payment (over $10,000).  What is the best way to gift
        the money to them?
        \_ You can buy an apartment with only $10K down? What planet,
           I mean, what country is it?
           \_ Latin America, Eastern Europe, etc. (I am talking about
              decent housing, not living in the slums). Besides, you can
              buy decent new homes in places like Texas or New Mexico
              for $100K or so (not in the prime spots, but still very
              acceptable for retirement).
              \_ My parents just built an 8 bedroom house in China for <$40k.
           \_ ".. part of.... (over ...).:
        \_ Just give them the money along with a letter describing what it is
           for.  There won't be tax consequences for either of you.
           \_ i hope it's as simple as that.
        \_ If the amount you are giving them is $11K or less, you can just
           send them a check.  If it's over $11K, they probably have to pay
           gift tax on it, unless you are going to end up with partial
           ownership of the property.  -tom
           \_ that the answer i get from various sources.
              \_ This might help.
        \_ I think you can give each parent $10K..
           \_ $11k now
              \_ oh yes, that's right, so you can do up to $22K. -tom
        \_ If my parents need $80k, I write $10k to eight different people
           and these eight people each write $10k to my parents.  Would
           that work?  Am I inviting tax auditing?
           \_ I don't know whether that would trigger an audit or not, but
              if you do get audited, the IRS is going to look for the
              eventual recipient of the money, and probably fine you
              heavily.  -tom
2005/10/7-9 [Health, Reference/Tax] UID:40016 Activity:nil
10/7    Can I get some advice on where to go for health insurance?
        There is a cute set of circumstances which sadly leave me without, and
        I was wondering where I should go/look to buy it.  I would likely
        want a plan with a high deductible (aka low monthly?) that would
        basically just be needed if I had some catastrophic health issue.
        Thanks. -mrauser
        \_ Mike, I went through the same thing few yrs back and used
  After you feed them your basic info
           (age, smoking/nonsmoking, zip code, etc) they will present you with
           a list of options. You can certainly find the high deductible ones
           with low monthly. For example, I got one through Blue Shield with
           $2400 deductible (yes, it's outrageous, but) with dues around
           $86/mo. Assuming you're 30+ yrs old, Bay Area nonsmoker. They also
           offer short-term insurance (12 months or less) if you're simply
           between jobs. Hope this helps! - jthoms
           \_ I got this same plan through Cal Alumni Assoc. Check it out.
           \_ Forgot to add, with high deductible, you're also eligible to
              open a Health Savings Acct (the so-called 'Healthcare IRA')
              or HSA. So with a $2400 deductible, you can open a $2400 HSA
              and write off $2400 from your 1040 for tax year 2005. Sweet!
              Go to for more info (but you don't have to open
              it through HSA Bank).
              \_ You still need to make sure that your high deductible plan
                 is HSA-compatible.  My wife's Blue Cross plan was not, even
                 though the deductible was $2500.
              \_ Yes, but if you don't use the money you lose it.
                 \_ Wrong. You're thinking the HCRA, the 'use-it-or-lose-it'
                    acct. HSA is totally separate, you accrue it for life, and
                    you can only use it for qualified medical expenses. (no,
                    your monthly dues don't count, unfortunately). It's a gov't
                    ploy to encourage folks to save up for their hlthcare exp
                    prior to and during retirement. Unlike IRA though, you can
                    use the money even before you turn 59.5, as long as it's
                    for qualified medical exp. STFG for a list.
              open a Health Savings Acct (the so-called 'Healthcare IRA') or HSA.
              So with a $2400 deductible, you can open a $2400 HSA and write off
              $2400 from your 1040 for tax year 2005. Sweet! Go to
              for more info (but you don't have to open it through HSA Bank).
2005/9/28-10/1 [Reference/Tax] UID:39908 Activity:nil
        Take a witchcraft class, get an educational tax deduction
        \_ And the objection is...?
           \_ No objection. It's good to encourage education
                \_ If churches aren't taxed, might as well make witchcraft
                   tax free.
2005/9/14-16 [Reference/Tax] UID:39669 Activity:kinda low
9/13    Dear Seattle fan guy who lived in Crowne Seattle in downtown for $129
        plus 15% tax. How did your trip go, and did you like Seattle?
        \_ actually our trip went very well. It was quite fun. Even the hills
           were "small" compared to SF. The streets were so clean, and the
           people were very friendly. The crowne wasn't bad at all, and on one
           day, having a "big fat greek wedding" next to the lobby was fun to
           watch. Pike place market was very crowded when we went. We went
           back on labor day morning, but the place that throws fish around
           was closed that day. 3 days wasn't enough time to really see too
           many things, but it was overall enjoyable. After staying in some
           dumps for $70-80 a day in an earlier Portland trip, $129/day
           for a decent place was worth the extra $$$. I wish we had enough
           time to take a ferry to Bainbridge, and maybe take a drive to
           mt. st. helens, and vancouver. We rented an SUV on our trip, but
           a smaller car would have been better. On some streets it felt too
           wide. The biggest downer on the Crowne was $25/day valet parking.
           \_ See, where you went to before Seattle completely changes the way
              you look at the city. I visited Vancouver first. It's cleaner,
              streets not as crowded, good traffic, extremely nice hotels (and
              much cheaper), friendly people, nice scenery, best Dim-Sums in
              North America, etc. Then when I visited Seattle it was a total
              dump. In fact Vancouver makes the entire U.S. look like a dump.
              \_ Vancouver is a nice town, but I felt no overwhelming urge
                 to want to move there. It's just another city to me.
                 \_ Obviously, you're not an Asian and don't share the same
                    values and desires many of us share.
                    \_ No, I am not Asian. I didn't realize Asians like
                       the cold, wet, short days and high taxes. I am
                       trying to figure out what Vancouver and Monterey
                       Park have in common.
                       \_ I'm white and I love Vancouver weather, so there.
                          Also, short days part of the year means long days
                          the other part.
                       \_ No one like cold, wet, short days and high taxes.
                          But Vancouver has one of the highest density of
                          Cantonese/HK populations in the US. The dim-sum
                          Cantonese/HK populations in N Am. The dim-sum
                          there is INCREDIBLE. Before the Chinese takeover,
                          1/3-1/2 of the top notch chefs and restaurants
                          moved to Vancouver. The elite buy properties in
                          Vancouver. It's like HK-- right by the coast,
                          good mass transit, lots of Chinese people, lots
                          of high-rise buildings. If you're retiring and
                          you're Chinese then most likely you'll love to
                          socialize and play majong or just have a nice  cup
                          of tea. Tax? No one like tax. But things are
                          cheaper anyways, and most people realize that the
                          Canadian government really spends the tax money
                          well. The infrastructures are incredible-- good
                          transit, little traffic, clean, very few people
                          below poverty, low crime rates, etc.
                 (here, NYTimes about
                          HongKouver). And yes I'm Asian and I prefer
                          metropolis, mass transit, drinking boba, karaoke,
                          and simply living close with w/ other Asians and
                          I'll easily take horrible weather and high
                          taxes for the other things I like.
                          taxes for the SeaBus.
                       \_ You forgot the most insane collection of gorgeous
                          women I've ever seen in one place.  A colleague
                          claims it's because there's a huge porn industry
                          there.  -John
                          \_ Not that you'll get any chance, but, are they
                             white or Asian? When I went to the Oceanfront
                             I didn't see many white people. However, when
                             I went to Gas Town and Victoria I saw the most
                             incredible looking blonds. I don't have a white
                             women fetish and it's rare that my penis
                             gets hard when I meet them, but I actually met
                             quite a few friendly white chicks there who for
                             the first time in my life made my penis hard.
                             Unlike a lot of white trashy Paris Hilton
                             wannabes in the US, they actually look natural.
                             They look skinner, classier, more well dressed,
                             and don't put on too much make-up. They're
                             almost like the Asian women I date in the US,
                             except taller and whiter.
                             \_ I'm trying to determine if this is a troll.
                                If not, it's one of the funniest things I've
                                seen on motd.
                             \_ "Where all de white women at?"  -John
              \_ Besides vacation, the trip to Seattle was more of a scouting
                 trip to see if it might be a place that we could be happy
                 moving to for lower housing prices, a decent job market, and
                 a good quality of life. I think Seattle is someplace I could
                 put on my list of possible places to move to. Having places
                 like Vancouver nearby for weekend trips would be great. Plus,
                 there are plenty of places to shop, bookstores, restaurants,
                 and cafe's to hang out at. The huge REI there rocked! The
                 weather held up nicely while we were there. It was warmer
                 in their downtown, than SF downtown, though, it was also
                 more humid, but not bad. I only used my jacket once, and even
                 then it was warm enough to do without one. I would still like
                 to experience a typical rainy season (winter) day. It did
                 rain on a Sat afternoon/night, but we were tired and
                 sleeping thru most of it. The Uwajimaya (sp?) market was
                 pretty cool. Their ready-made crab sushi was really
                 delicious and cheap.
                 \_ Go in the winter. Seattle in the summer is great.
                    \_ I'm orig from the midwest, so anything better than cold
                       snowy winters, or just brown and dead vegetation is
                       a big improvement to me. I would actual welcome a
                       change in seasons, just not a winter full of snow and
                       \_ Depends on how far north you lived. The days
                          are really short. Imagine Wisconsin more than,
                          say, Kansas.
                          \_ Just east of there in MI.
                             \_ Ah. Everywhere looks nice compared to MI,
                                except maybe OH.
2005/8/31-9/2 [Reference/Tax] UID:39373 Activity:nil
8/31    Dubya to release oil from strategic petroleum reserves.  Yay!
        \_ Too bad he can't release our strategic refineries.
        \_ It's a stupid idea that will accomplish nothing.
           \_ Psychological effect.
           \_ "Many other refineries are struggling to cope with
               shortfalls of crude caused by the closure of major port
               terminals and pipelines from evacuated and missing rigs in
               the Gulf of Mexico. "
        \_ Slapping a $2 tax on gasoline temporarily would probably fix the
           \_ no tax is ever temporary.  taxes don't fix problems.
2005/8/30-9/2 [Reference/Tax] UID:39370 Activity:nil
8/30    Get a $2000 tax break next year by going solar:
        \_ Yay!  I can spend $20000 and save $4000.  What a deal!
           \_ Actually, do the math.  Between the state and federal credits
              and discounts, it's a pretty good deal vs. the "real" cost.
              That being said, PV is still a pretty poor price performer.  But
              if you're in a high electricity tier and going PV could drop you
              a couple tiers and you finance the PV installation and you're
              collecting all of these discounts, you could end up money ahead
              every month, starting now, and more in the future.  --dbushong
                \_ Not to mention the fact that we don't know the future of
                   electricity prices.  What if they start going up 10% a
                   a month for a few years? Those with PV panels will have
                   no change to their $0/mo electric bills.
                   \_ A solar system is also a home improvement which
                      increases the value of the house, so the cost is
                      at least partially recoverable, even leaving aside
                      the electricity bills.  -tom (Zero kwh usage for three
                                                    months now)
2005/8/26-29 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/California/Prop] UID:39296 Activity:low
8/26    How many poeple here would find the following tax system to be
        A flat income tax of 15 % is paid by everyone, *but* it's based on
        your first job right out of college, and stays fixed even as your
        income increases.  So if you work at walmart for a year and then
        go into investment banking, you're still taxed at the flat 15%
        rate based on your walmart salary, while the guy who got the ibanking
        job right out of college pays six times what you do in taxes.
        Imagine also that everyone who moves into the state starts at the
        rate of their first california job.  Hence when an out of stater
        takes a job, they might pay four times what their co-workers pay,
        since the co-workers are paying based on happening to have a low
        paying job 15 years ago when they graduated college in California.
        Sound fair?
        Or does it sound like a perverse nightmare that would fuck up the whole
        labor market for the state and totally distort the tax base?
        \_ I didn't think the current tax system could be any more broken
           than it already is.  I was wrong.
        \_ I'm guessing this was intended as a Prop. 13 analogy.
           \_ Yes. I wanted to see if any of the pro-prop 13 crowd would be
              willing to defend the same system applied to fucking up the
              labor market as they're using to fuck up the real estate market.
              \_ Then get a real analogy.  Yours is silly.
           \_ Hm, I guess.  It's a poor analogy since a job != a house.  I
              can get a crummy job for a day and then get a high paying one.
              If I get a crummy house, I pay less property taxes.  If I get an
              expensive house, I pay more.  The analogy falls over at step 1.
              \_ It continues to be poor: changing income tax rates don't
                 screw over retired people on a fixed income.
        \_ When I graduate, I'll make sure I tell Google or whomever to
           postpone my start date by a month, so that I'll have time to take up
           a job at Walmart for a few weeks.
        \_ How do idiots like this get into Cal? Is it really that easy?
        \_ broken analogy.  When/if I buy a new home, I pay new taxes.
2005/8/25-26 [Reference/RealEstate, Reference/Tax] UID:39276 Activity:nil
8/25    How much is california property tax like?  ballpark figure?
        here in the chicago suburba, my property tax is about 1.2% of the
        price of my house.
        \_ 1% per year, based on the assessed value of your house.  The house
           is re-assessed when it's sold or there's new construction.
           \_ how is "new construction" defined?  Anything with a contractor/
              building permit? (new windows? update bathroom?)  Or more major
              things (build an addition?)  Seems like this would be a major
              disincentive to do repairs/updates?
              \_ Minor stuff doesn't count. I dunno what the cutoff is though.
                 Not minor remodeling.
                 \_ Yes, minor remodeling counts. However, you are only
                    assessed the added value of the construction. That is,
                    if you add a $50K den to your house then you pay
                    property tax on $50K. If your previous assessment was
                    $100K it is now $150K. It doesn't cause the entire
                    house to be reassessed.
           Otherwise, the assessed value changes +/- 2% per year depending on
           E.g., my parents' house owned for ~ 15 years is taxed at $375K even
           though it's worth $800K right now.
           If they decided to gift it to me for $0, I'd have to pay 1% of
           $800K per year.
           \_ I've always wondered how it worked with inherited property -
              some articles I have seen seemed to imply that if it was not
              a sale, it would still have the original cost basis.  Anyone
              have any experience with inherited houses and the resulting
              property tax?
              \_ Yeah it retains the cost basis.
           \_ Your parent's house is from 15 years ago and it only
              went from 375k to 800k? Something's not quite right
              here. 15 years ago 375k would by you a lot! I for sure
              would've bought one in Palo Alto for that price ;)
              \_ it's next to a freeway ... the 10 freeway
                 and you're doing your math wrong.  it's taxed at $375K
                 today, but new it was purchased for ... $150-200K?  I forget.
              \_ 15 years ago was the top of the last real estate bubble.
                 Houses have about doubled off of that high (after
                 subsequently falling for a few years) so it's totally
                 feasible. My neighbor bought her house in 1989 for $280K.
                 It's worth probably $600K. In the interim it fell in
                 value all the way to maybe $220K and was only worth $300K
                 again in 2001. So it doubled in 4 years, but fell before
        \_ 1% + regional additions.  Albany, for example, is 1.25% I believe.
           \_ Alameda county base is 1.1%, Berkeley adds 0.6%, so in Berkeley
              you pay 1.7%.
2005/8/25-26 [Reference/Tax] UID:39275 Activity:nil
8/25    How about tying property tax with income, such that if your
        property tax goes above certain percentages of your income, you
        only have to pay a smaller and smaller percentage of the "full"
        property tax.
        \_ Extend that to corporations, partnerships and the like as well
           and it seems reasonable.
        \_ That's called (wait for it) "income tax".
                \_ It's called it a progressive property tax.
                   \_ Thank you Mr. Orwell.
                        \_ Umm I was serious ... If you don't own property
                           wouldn't pay a penny, so how is it an income
                           tax exactly.
2005/8/25-26 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/California/Prop] UID:39262 Activity:high
8/26    Does anyone know how prop 13 even come about? On one hand it makes
        sense that old people who owned homes for 30 years should not have
        to pay mortgage up their nose. On the other hand, new home-owners
        many who are young and owning homes for the first time have to pay
        MORE than old home-owners, many who are corporate land owners, or
        individual investors owning and controlling vast amounts of lands?
        We talk about flat tax, but this is the opposite of that. Is this
        even fair?
        \_ How about taking an end-run around prop13 by abusing the newly
           refined powers of eminent domain (thanks SCOTUS) to force longtime
           landowners to sell in order to bring the property  taxes on
           their properties in line with current valuations of the property.
        \_ "old people who owned homes for 30 years should not have to pay
           mortgage up their nose"  You mean pay taxes up their nose.  Let's
  it fair for the government to reassess your property and
           then tax you on their assessment?  That sounds a bit scary doesn't
           \_ This is how government has been raising taxes as long
              as there has been government and still how it is done
              all over the world. Don't know why it scares you so much.
        \_ It's not fair at all.  It passed because people were sold fake
           images of old people sitting on extremely valuable property,
           losing their homes because they couldn't pay property tax.  -tom
           \_ Well, the people who voted for it were people who owned
              land. In another word poor people didn't vote, and people
              who wanted to protect their assets, did so regardless of
              consequences like less funding for infrastructures, etc...
           \_ Were you in CA at the time prop 13 passed?  I was.  People were
              selling houses left n right and moving out of state because they
              couldn't afford to own their houses anymore.  They were taxed
              out of home ownership.
              \_ True, but you didn't answer the question about fairness. Why
                 is it fair that new hard-working home owners have to pay
                 more than everyone else? Whatever happened to meritocracy,
                 where the harder you work, the more you should get back?
                 What about the fact that old timers usually own properties
                 close to down-town or working areas where they no longer
                 work, forcing young home owners to buy properties much
                 farther away, and causing traffic? You mentioned one effect
                 of not having Prop-13, but what about its side-effects?
                 \_ The idea is that over time people will sell and the house
                    will be reappraised at market value or die or whatever.
                    The effect is to slow down the overall rate of increase of
                    property taxes across the state.  Those same young people
                    (but really *any* new buyer) who pay current value rates
                    will be paying next to nothing in 30 years, the same as
                    that "old couple" who stayed in their house.  I see nothing
                    wrong with encouraging and even rewarding people to stay
                    in the same neighborhood, helping to build a community
                    instead of the super transient "don't know who my next
                    door neighbor is and don't care" nature of many people
                    today.  Those old people paid high rates when they were
                    young.  They pay low now.  Same thing for current young
                    people.  No issue.
                    \_ The issue is that the cost of the services keeps going
                       up, so other taxes, like sales tax, get raised to
                       pay for them.  So Prop 13 transfers the tax burden
                       onto people who don't happen to be sitting on half
                       a million dollars in equity.  -tom
                        \_ I'm not the pp but I think he will respond like
                           this: "No. The old couples were once young and
                           had to share the burden of having to pay more.
                           Now new young couples have to share the burden
                           of paying more but when they're older, new
                           young couples will share their burden, so on and
                           so forth. No issue."
                           \_ Uh, you might not realize this, but there are
                              a lot of people in California who don't own
                              property and are not likely to ever own
                              property.  So they get to pay more for their
                              whole lives.  -tom
                           \_ That isn't the first thing I thought of, but
                              yes I believe that's true.  In direct response
                              to tom above, "the cost of the services keeps
                              going up" is not just an inflationary measure
                              but also an ever increasing number of 'services'.
                              I'll happily pay my share of roads, schools, etc,
                              but there's a zillion other "services" I'll never
                              use which are just vote buying at best and high
                              corruption and criminal at worst.
                              \_ That's a red herring argument; the vast bulk
                                 of municipal government expense is roads,
                                 schools, police and fire.  -tom
        \_ When Warren Buffet advised Ah-nold to repeal Prop-13 to raise
           revenue, Ah-nold said "If he mentions Prop-13 again I will make
           him do 500 push-ups." Thank god for Ah-nold, thank god I
           voted for him.   -going to inherit 3 properties from my parents
           \_ If you're inheriting properties from parents, don't worry.
              There's a law protecting that.
              \_ Why should this be "protected"?
                 \_ It's written into the Prop. It was part of the selling
                    package. Sold as "preserving" neighborhoods and avoiding
                    "poor kids inherit pricy house - must sell" scenario.
        \_ Where do people get the idea that government has a right to
           endlessly tax your house, and raise those taxes without limits?
           Imagine paying $24K for your house in 1970, as my parents did,
           now their house is worth $600K.  If they paid property taxes
           on 600K as they would without prop 13, they would be spending
           100% of their retirement income on those taxes alone.  -ax
           \_ They're sitting on $600K in equity and you don't think they can
              afford, what, $5K/year?  And of course, the services they
              receive from property taxes still cost the same as they did
              in 1970.  -tom
                \_ When the premise of your argument is that we aren't taxed
                   enough, I give up and walk away right there.  -ax
                   \_ The premise is that the *wrong people* are taxed.  -tom
                        \_ Under what conditions should someone escape taxes?
                           Shouldn't retired poor people pay the least amount
                           of taxes, if any?  You want a flat tax? -ax
                           \_ I think it's fair to say that property owners
                              should be taxed more than non-property-owners.
                              The beneficiaries of Prop 13 are almost
                              exclusively not retired poor people.  -tom
                              \_ I'd like to see the numbers. I know a lot
                                 of retirees in my neighborhood benefit
                                 from Prop 13. You call them rich because
                                 they own a $700K house free and clear,
                                 but the reality is they have very little
                                 income and would have nowhere to go if
                                 they sold. By the way, if you raise taxes
                                 on property owners then guess who will
                                 eat that? Owners will pass the costs on
                                 to the renters anyway.
                                 \_ Look, it's pretty simple.  The proportion
                                    of tax paid by property owners after
                                    prop 13 is less than before.  This is
                                    trivially obvious even if you account
                                    for rents rising to pay property tax.
                                    Therefore, non-owners pay a greater
                                    proportion than they used to.
                                    And it is also trivially obvious that
                                    poor retirees who own their own homes are
                                    a tiny portion of all property owners
                                    in CA.  -tom
                                     \_ It is not trivially obvious that
                                        the beneficiaries of Prop 13 are
                                        almost exclusively not retired poor
                                        people. Young people tend to move
                                        much more often. It is also not
                                        obvious that non-owners pay more
                                        now than they did. Essentially,
                                        the same people pay either way
                                        (the wealthy landowners) whether
                                        it is in the form of income tax
                                        or property tax. Renters can pay
                                        more rent (w/o Prop 13) or more
                                        in other taxes (w/ Prop 13). Sales
                                        tax is a red herring, because it is
                                        about as high even in states w/o Prop
                                        13. At issue is whether the state is
                                        collecting enough, not who is
                                        paying for it. The poor are never
                                        paying for it, unless you consider
                                        the poor retirees who would pay
                                        if Prop 13 is repealed. Given state
                                        revenues, I think the state is
                                        collecting more than enough as-is.
                                        \_ OK, given that the state is in
                                           deficit, and two-thirds of the
                                           budget is schools and health care,
                                           what do you think should be cut?
                                           \_ Whatever we've pumped money
                                              into recently. The State
                                              spent a lot of money in the
                                              <DEAD><DEAD> years when we were
                                              flush with cash. What did we
                                              spend it on? I also guess
                                              I am not opposed to raising,
                                              say, income taxes or the
                                              VLF. I just think going after
                                              Prop 13 is barking up the wrong
                                              tree. Here's the budget:
                                              If you look at previous
                                              years you see we spent now
                                              than before, so it's not
                                              that anyone wants to 'cut
                                              education' but instead
                                              change how we spend some of
                                              the money allocated to it.
                                              years you see we spend more now
                                              than before. Why?
                                              \_ Because of increasing
                                                 education and health care
                                                 costs, mostly.  -tom
                                                 \_ Health care costs are
                                                    rising faster than
                                                    inflation, but what
                                                    about education? Why
                                                    would that be true?
                                                    \_ Because we're comparing
                                                       against historically
                                                       low (abysmal) school
                                                       spending from the
                                                       Wilson years.  -tom
                                                       \_ What about before
                                                          that? Prop 13 was
                                                          around a long time
                                                          before Wilson.
              \_ Equity is meaningless until you sell your home.  When you
                 sell your home, you don't need to pay property tax.
                 \_ Umm, the whole economy is currently being powered by
                    cash-out-equity financing.  Don't forget there is always
                    the reverse mortgage for old folks.  So equity is NOT
                    meaningless until you sell your home.
              \_ So you get to determine how much someone can pay?  In a city
                 that has normal property turnover, aggregate taxes will go up.
                 That doesn't give gov't the right to decide what property
                 values are and then tax you on it.
           \_ Alright. No do you feel the same way about commercial property?
              I.e., would you oppose something that specifically repealed
              prop 13 with regards to commercial property alone? -- ulysses
              \_ YES.  A general pholosophy of taxing:  Taxing on real gains,
                 fine.  Taxing on paper gains, NOT GOOD.  My fater recently
                 sold his business's building for about 2x what he paid.
                 But if property tax kept going up on PAPER gains before
                 he sold it, it would have been a significant additional
                 \_ Alright. Now does that same approach apply to the
                    massive land value appreciation of, say, the Shorenstein-
                    owned buildings in downtown San Francisco or the hundreds
                    of square miles developed into office parks by Kaufman and
                    Broad - which have, incidentally, made outfits like these
                    the most powerful political players in the State?
        \_ It is a NECESSARY evil when you get bubbles in the market.
           I'm all for taxes on real gains and real property, but being
           taxed on paper gains is, emm, problematic.  Would you like to
           be like my friend in Virginia who's property tax went up
           by $5000 a year because his rather modest suburban townhouses'
           appraised value went up by ~$200k?
           \_ I think it is fair to be taxed $5000 a year. It's called
              natural forces of capitalism. If you have to pay more, you
              work harder. If you can't afford it, then you leave so that
              someone else more capable or more desperate can take your
              place. Look at Silicon Valley. Half of the inhabitants are
              tech-related workers but can't afford housing, thanks to
              land investment companies that lock down land, or people who
              locked properties from generations and generations even though
              they have nothing to do with the local industry they're in.
              You either help with progress, or inhibit progress.
              \_ I think it's fair if you are taxed $100000 a year.  It's not
                 natural forces of capitalism, because the person didn't sell
                 their property.  It's an artificial reassessment by the
                 government who then tells you to hand over more cash.  Doesn't
                 sound fair to me.
                 \_ My issue with granting immunity to land owners is that
                    often times they own a huge amount of land and lock
                    them down for things that are not necessarily good for
                    the people. For example, a Sunnyvale nursery built 100
                    years ago, now surrounded by young working people who are
                    desperate to find housing in one of the most expensive
                    places in South Bay. This is not helping everyone.
                    \_ Actually, in spite ofyour communist rant about
                      'helping everyone' it might be nice to have things
                      like a nursery within a 100 mile drive of your
                      house, right? Some of those old mom and pop
                      businesses are valuable to the community. Tearing
                      them all up for (what exactly?) doesn't sound good
                      to me.
                      \_ What if the property-owner enjoys letting the field
                         lie fallow and unused?
                         \_ You gonna tell him how to use his land, comrade?
                            \_ Not me, but that fellow a few posts up ("My
                               issue with...") sounds like he's got a few
                               ideas. -pp
           \_ Well, the law could build in some hysteresis and do the
              increase as an increment every few years based on the
              difference or sth. But permanently exempting prop owners from
              tax reassessment is bullshit when those taxes are what's used
              to support community services that all use. It makes the
              rates higher for the rest of us. (And doesn't the tax base
              get transferred on an inheritance? And of course to rental
              investment properties.)
              If values go up like crazy then at some point that tax rate
              should be cut also, since services costs probably don't
              go up linearly.
              Not wanting to pay taxes in general isn't a good enough reason.
              \_ Prop 13 doesn't exempt property owners from reassessment.
                 It limits the amount the assessment can be raised each
                 year. Also, if you do something like improve your home
                 you will trigger a reassessment on the new construction.
                 In short, I think people opposed to Prop 13 are whiners.
                 The government doesn't tax you on stocks until you sell,
                 so why tax on property? My coworker just received a
                 'special assessment' of $40K from his city in order to
                 upgrade the sewer even though he has a septic tank which
                 he just installed a few years back. He has no choice but
                 to pay. This is fair? If shit like this happens with Prop
                 13 in place can you imagine what will happen without Prop
                 13? Every time the city or county needs money they will
                 take it rather than make the necessary cuts. In LA, even
                 with Prop 13, there was an unexpected windfall because of
                 property taxes. Most people sell after ~7 years. If Prop
                 13 is ever repealed the CA economy will be screwed.
                 \_ I paid plenty of AMT tax on stocks I didn't sell, so the
                    statement that the government doesn't tax you on stocks
                    until you sell doesn't work for stock options.
                    \_ Sure it does. Did you exercise the options or not?
                       If you didn't then you shouldn't have owed any
                       tax. You mean you exercised them and then didn't
                       sell the stock afterward. Not quite the same.
                        \_ Exercising is not the same as selling.  You can
                           exercise the stock, the company can go bankrupt
                           and not be able to sell the stock ... You've now
                           paid taxes on paper value only.  The statement
                           was "The government doesn't tax you on stocks
                           until you sell" -- I didn't sell and still paid
                           tax.  This is not advanced logic here, the
                           statement is simply WRONG.
                           \_ He said "stocks".  Not "stock options".  No
                              matter how bitter you may be, he is right.
                           \_ When you exercise an option you are 'selling'
                              the option. A transaction has taken place.
                              People are taxed (generally) on
                              transactions. If you don't exercise you
                              don't pay tax. Same idea.
                                \_ Thx for overwriting my response.  And the
                                   argument here is about SELLING stock you
                                   don't SELL options.  You
                                   \_ Of course you can buy and sell options.
                                        \_ Funny I sat through hours of stuff
                                           and my company never mentioned
                                           selling my options, because that
                                           doesn't apply here.  And matters
                                           not since I'm not selling the
                                           option anyhow.
                                           \_ You made a categorical statement
                                              that was factually incorrect.
                                                \_ Ok I probably should have
                                                   said "I couldn't sell MY
                                   can exercise an option and not be able to
                                   sell the stock.  You may never be able to
                                   sell the stock.  The statement was "The
                                   government doesn't tax you on stocks until
                                   you sell" -- NO STOCK SALE HAS OCCURRED!
                                   Exercising options and selling stock are
                                   totally different things, unless you believe
                                   that BUYING stock and SELLING stock are
                                   the same thing.  And I'm not bitter about
                                   anything, I did quite well.  However, I
                                   know many who had to declare bankruptcy
                                   because of AMT taxes on now worthless stock.
                    \_ I'm opposed to AMT on stocks as well.
                \_ Well, stock taxes aren't the same as yearly property
                   taxes. It almost sounds like you're opposed to those at
                   all. Basically I stand to benefit from this stuff
                   because my parents inherited some property, and I stand to
                   inherit that same property eventually, and I don't forsee
                   ever doing anything to trigger a tax reassessment. But I
                   still think it's unfair. They rented this prop out and I
                   probably would end up doing the same. Other thing are
                   bullshit like depreciation writeoffs, exemptions from
                   taxes on gains, etc. I believe all taxes should be very
                   clear and straightforward, not a myriad of special rules
                   that people manipulate and that interfere with the free
                   market. I also think it's bullshit that tax rules are
                   voted on in general propositions and the legislature is
        \_ Prop. 13 came during a housing bubble akin to what is happening
           today. The initial proponents were small goverment conservatives
           who saw the backlash against the huge rise in property tax as a
           chance to "starve the beast" by limiting property tax increases and
           reassessments to a minimal level. As such CA has become more
           dependant on income and sales tax and fees for it's budget.
           Unfortunately, those sources of revenue are not as reliable nor
           as progressive as property tax, so you get CA's socially liberal
           stance clashing with it's constant budgetary problems and failing
                    until you sell doesn't work with stock options.
        \_ I believe prop 13 is a good thing. Without prop 13, a lot
           older retired and soon to be retired people will be forced
           to leave, because there's no way they could afford to pay
           property tax that's more than their retirement income.
           Raising property tax without a limit is NOT FAIR any way
           you cut it. Forcing people out of their homes because the
           market has gone up (especially in a crazy time as now) is
           not fair. Capping the gain is a reasonable compromise. I
           suppose you are also against prop 60/90 that allows seniors
           to carry over the current property tax to their new place.
           I pay a premium now on my property tax, but knowing that it
           will not grow without limit and I can have a comfortable
           retirement life later in life sounds pretty fair to me. I
           made a wise choice buying a home a few years ago, the
           savings I get on property tax now is my reward, plain and
           simple. Just like I have no problem with people making
           millions because they bought Microsoft 10 years ago. It's
           their reward and they earned it. There are other ways to
           solve the housing shortage problem. Most retired people
           does not want to sell because they have no place to go and
           anywhere they go they cannot afford the new property tax.
           Prop 60/90 is a step in the right direction.
           \_ Your reasoning is flawed. Seniors are by far the richest age
              segment today and most likely to afford increases in taxes.
              Before Prop. 13, you could have your property reassessed or
              apply for property tax relief. Those imaginary poor old people
              being "forced" out of their houses? The state would have had
              them jump through a few hoops, but they wouldn't have to pay
              anything close to the full amount. This is how it works in
              other places. Your whining about having to pay property taxes
              is nothing more than more self-interest. It's always amusing
              to hear people speak of the downfall of American communities and
              society, and yet when it gets down to brass "taxes," forget it.
              It's all about the individual.
              \_ I don't think anyone is whining about paying property
                 taxes. Prop 13 doesn't eliminate that. What it *does* do
                 is set a reasonable rate that taxes can be raised. You
                 might think seniors are the wealthiest, but they are not, by
                 the way. They might have high net worths if they happened
                 to own a home (which many do not) but their incomes are
                 low in any case and much of the income they do have goes to
                 medical care. If this real estate bubble crashes many
                 seniors won't have any money at all beyond Social
                 Security. In fact, many people depend solely on Social
                 Security as it is. I am going to guess that you are
                 either a wealthy limousine liberal (in which case you
                 can afford to fund the government's waste) or else someone
                 who doesn't own any property and thus doesn't care.
2005/8/18-22 [Reference/Tax, Reference/BayArea] UID:39157 Activity:low
8/17    I went to Seattle for the first time in my life, and I have to say
        it really blows. The city traffic sucks as badly as SF, and the
        freeways are almost as congested as Los Angeles. The freeway signs
        are really fucked up and curves too much to be newbie friendly.
        The mass transit doesn't take you anywhere. The $1.75 ticket for a 1
        mile stretch on the famous Seattle Monorail is utterly pointless.
        What's up with the Space Needle? It is expensive, the queue is over
        1 hour, and it's really stuffy & crowded. When you leave the city,
        1/2 of the roads have huge pot-holes and many don't even have
        signs, or have old signs that you can barely read. It's near
        impossible to drive and read the map at the same time, since
        the roads curve a lot and the signs suck. It's funny my flawless
        GPS failed ***three times*** to take me to the right places
        in downtown Seattle; it gets confused. One of the bridges
        closed down so I had to fucking drive 5 hours around the bay
        from Port Angeles to the city. And the weather? It is fucking
        90 degrees. Food is mediocre. Bay Area is so much better.
        Sleepless in Seattle? That's right. Fucking lame city.
        \_ Everyone I know who loves Seattle, happens to be hiking and
           camping fanatics. They can never stop talking about how close
           they are to great camp-sites and all that crap. I am somewhat
           disabled so I don't really give a shit about hiking, or
           Seattle for that matter. Bay Area is still beats Seattle
           in terms of food, traffic, weather, and career opportunity.
        \_ You are correct. You should stay away from Seattle. That much is
           absolutely clear. In fact, you should consider not even visiting.
            -- ulysses
        \_ Good riddance.
        \_ Good riddance.  There's nothing native seattles like more than to
           see Californians go home.
        \_ the proximity to mt. ranier, olympia nat'l park, etc. are nice
           but otherwise it is just another crowded city.
        \_ Still want to visit Seattle. Where is a good yet cheap place to
           stay? Ideally within walking distance of shops, cafe's, etc.
           \_ I did exactly that, I tried to get something cheap and close
              to the Market. The only thing I got was a $120 hotel with
              a $12 parking fee/day, the garage was a HUGE 45 degree hill
                                                           \- have you ever
                                                              been on a 45deg
                                                              "hill"? it was
                                                              probably not more
                                                              than 12deg.
                                                              \_ For reference,
                                                                 the steepest
                                                                 streets in SF
                                                                 are about 32%
                                                               [18 degrees]_/
                                                                 (Lombard is
                                                                 closer to 40,
                                                              [22 degrees]_/
                                                                 but uses the
                                                                 And according
                                                                 to wikipedia,
                                                                 the steepest
                                                                 hill in SEA
                                                                 is 21%, E. Roy
                                                       [12 degrees]_/
              from the hotel, and the Market was 10 blocks aways. It turned
              out to be 10 HUGE blocks, with 30 degree hills all the way.
              The place is called The Virginia Mason Inn. According to
              Google Map and my GPS it's right by the ocean. It's not.
              It's pretty hard to find anything under $150, within 10 blocks,
              and is good. In fact Virginia Mason smells like a hospital. I
              think they converted it to an Inn a few years ago. Anyways,
              I booked 3 days with them, and I totally regret it. The city
              is small and you'll pretty much see everything in one day.
              There's no need to torture yourself by living closer to it.
              \_ We ended up booking the Crowne Seattle in downtown. $129
                 per night. But something like 15% hotel tax will be added.
        \_ Hey, no state income tax.  I visited in 1998, and there were trees
           everywhere and home prices were lower than that in the BA back then.
           \_ No state income tax = no money for mass transit or basic
              \_ I don't have any facts, but maybe Microsoft generates enough
                 tax income like Vegas is with the Casinos?
        \_ I visited in July.  Don't forget the stench of coffee everywhere.
           You can't swing a cat by its tail without hitting two Starbucks.
        \_ I have been many times to Seattle. It's okay. The weather sucks.
           The 90 degree days aren't bad, but the cold, wet, and dark (short
           days) winters are unbearable. It's kind of a manufacturing town
           and I don't find it beautiful. It is odd to see so many
           redheaded people, though. There are worse places to be, but I
           don't like it too much, especially now that it is expensive to
           boot. You could buy a big, brand new house there for $150K 12
           years ago and it seemed almost worth it then. Same house is
           $500K+ now and not worth it at all. I'm a California snob,
           though. Whether it's San Diego, Santa Barbara, LA, SF, or
           wherever I find I like CA better than anywhere else.
           \_ Yeah, I'd love to stay in SF, but the housing is too $$$.
              We need a one bread-winner mortgage and a decent quality of
              \_ follow-up: what neighborhoods near Seattle have decent
                 housing prices, and walking neighborhoods (shops, cafes,
                 etc)? I would like to avoid suburban sprawl, Wal-Marts,
                 and so forth, and prefer independent establishments.
                 Basically your good old-fashioned main street.
2005/8/17-18 [Reference/Tax] UID:39154 Activity:nil
8/17    How's the housing boom in Canada? Vancouver, Richmond? How much
        are properties there and are they worth buying for investment?
        Are taxes much higher?
        \_ I know that Vancouver and Toronto have boomed a lot. I think
           it's pretty much like the US market.
2005/6/21-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:38225 Activity:nil
6/21    Is it worth winning a trip on a gameshow when they
        set the prize's worth to like $4000 to make it sound good
        when you can just book a the same vacation for like $1500?
        since you have to pay taxes on it and all anywayz
        \_ took me five minutes to find, but here it is:
        \_ what gameshow?  You also have to consider that it might be
           fun participating in a gameshow.
2005/6/14-16 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:38124 Activity:moderate
6/14    Even Alan Greenspan thinks the rich/poor gap in the United States is
        becoming a big problem.
        \_ The dumbing down of the average American is NOT the core of the
           wealth gap. The problem is that there are too many people
           getting smarter, thus creating and keeping wealth that the average
           American can't possibly have. The solution is to cut all
           education programs and reduce F1/F2 skilled-worker VISAs from
           India and China, which will hopefully reduce the educational and
           income gap in the U.S. Wait, it's already happening thanks to the
           guidance of our great President. Thank God and Bush for standing
           up to evil. The Good and Righteous will always prevail. God Bless.
        \_ You know, the Catholics have the Pope as the head figure. What
           about the Jews? So I asked my best friend who's a Jew, and his
           reply is that they have Alan Greenspan.
           \_ -5 Lousy excuse for a troll.
        \_ "America's powerful central banker hasn't suddenly lurched
           to the left of Democratic National Committee chief Howard
           Dean. His solution is better education today to create a
           flexible workforce for tomorrow - not confiscation of
           plutocrats' yachts."
           I'm confused.  When did Dean announce his yacht-confiscation plan?
                \_ High taxes == no yachts, because rich people can't afford
                   lawyers to avoid taxes.
                   \_ I think he meant
                      Yacht confiscation != Progressive taxation to check the
                                            wealth gap
                      You say the first thing if you're a Republican.
                      You say the latter if you're a Democrat.
                      \_ What's funny is that most of my entrepreneur friends
                         here have this ideal of America as a place where
                         people say "hey, he's rich, how can I be rich too?"
                         whereas in Europe people say "hey, he's rich, he
                         shouldn't be rich, that's not fair."  How about
                         making it easier for the poor to, I don't know, make
                         more money?  Given all the effort that goes into
                         coming up with taxation schemes, that might be an

                         idea, or am I just being hopelessly naive?  -John
                         \_ The standard Republican answer seems to be keep
                            taxes low on the off chance any of them do start
                            earning more money. The truly poor pay little in
                            taxes as it is so reducing their taxes further is
                            moot. The left response is provide things that
                            either give the poor money directly or make things
                            cost less for them so they can keep more of what
                            they make. Where, however, shall that funding
                            come from, if lifting the poor is one's actual
                            concern? -- ulysses
                            \_ Income taxes != sales taxes != inheritance
                               taxes.  I do not like the latter, and #2 are
                               regressive, except for "luxury taxes", which
                               are a logistical nightmare.  I have no problem
                               with cutting taxes for "the rich" (usually
                               including your upper middle class) thereby
                               creating incentives.  There's nothing wrong
                               with "the rich" getting richer, as long as
                               nobody's poorer overall.  How about better
                               education?  Scientific incentives?  Tax breaks
                               for successful industries?  And how to pay for
                               it?  How about greater accountability in
                               govt. expenditure, sensible military budgets,
                               and cuts in direct subsidies?  And yes, I'm a
                               hopeless romantic.  -John
                               \_ When taxes are decreased, the programs they
                                  made available are curtailed. This is most
                                  likely the exact intent of much recent and
                                  Reagan-era strategy. For people whose income
                                  is small to begin with, reducing programs
                                  such as socialized health care and public
                                  transit is making many people poorer overall.
                                  Succesful industries (oil, pharma) already
                                  receive frightfully large incentives. Is that
                                  the most effective way to help poor people?
                                  A sensible military budget would go a long
                                  way, at least at the gov't end of funding.
                                  That is not likely for quite awhile, though.
                                  Bless your hopelessly romantic heart.
                                   -- ulysses
                                  \_ I don't mind cutting programs.  In fact
                                     I would specifically want to cut spending
                                     on programs which I don't feel benefit
                                     "the poor" (or the country) at all-such
                                     as a lot of hopelessly inefficient pork
                                     in defense, agricultural subsidies, etc.
                                     I make no apologies for my stance on
                                     taxes--where I am willing to concede that
                                     I am unrealistic is in my strong belief
                                     that there _is_ a shitload of waste and
                                     inefficiency in government spending, and
                                     that, in an ideal world, this would all
                                     go away.  I am of the firm conviction
                                     that a government's expenditures will
                                     always rise to exceed any funds available
                                     to it.  -John
                            \_ Why don't you like the latter, which I assume
                               you mean inheritance tax?
                               \_ Because I feel it is the business of an
                                  individual to what he wants to give to whom.
                                  Note that I didn't say I don't see some
                                  justification behind having it, I just don't
                                  like it.
                            \_ If we really wanted to reduce taxes on the
                               poor we'd get rid of the lottery and reduce
                               tabacco taxes.
        \_ The new thing is Greenspan says there is a widening wealth gap and
           widening wealth gaps are bad for America.
           The questionable thing is he also implies the dumbing down of the
           average American is the core reason for this.
           It's true, though, that if the average American gets smarter, the
           gap should narrow.
           The question is whether this is "the core reason", or just one with
           the distinction of having approval from Dubya's people.
           He probably can't say:  "The wealth gap widened because the wealthy
           benefited most on the last tax cut, and don't forget the elimination
           of the dividend tax and of the inheritance tax."
                \_ If everyone gets a PhD who will dig the ditches and pack
                   \_ The answer is apparent in Europe. EVERYONE.
                      \_ Yeah, it's great, I just got back from my weekend
                         socialist-enforced ditch digging collective trip,
                         and we all sang people's ditch digging songs and dug
                         ditches for the glory of the EU constitution.  -John
                         \_ You know, you laugh, but I actually have been on
                            one of those.  Along with my mother, who was a
                            college-educated civil engineer. -- ilyas
                         \_ Why do you hate Socialism?
                            \_ Because there's a chance of being forced on a
                               peoples' revolutionary ditch digging gang and
                               having to listen to ilyas sing peoples' revo-
                               lutionary ditch digging songs.  -John
                               \_ I've been known to sing russian war songs
                                  when I had a bit to drink. -- ilyas
                               \_ Ironically, I would pay money to see ilyas
                                  forced to sing revolutionary people's ditch
                                  digging songs.
                                  \_ I've been known to sing russian war songs
                                     when I have a bit to drink. -- ilyas
                                     \_ And Russian peasant drinking songs?
                                  \_ Ironically, in a society in which he'd be
                                     digging ditches, you'd be right there
                                     next to him, bub.  -John
2005/6/13-15 [Reference/Tax] UID:38101 Activity:kinda low
6/13    Not that I agree with all Krugman said, but this commentary
        explains why dynasties fell:
        \_ Like I said, Reagan's super tax break for the super wealthy
           (60% tax for the richest before Reagan) really contributed to the
           wealth gap.
        \_ Not exactly related, but is anyone else concerned that whomever
           takes over in 2008, R or D, is going to have to raise taxes a LOT
           in order to get us out of this huge hole we are digging for
           ourselves?  One way or another it's going to have to happen,
           whether through "regressive" or "progressive" means.
           \_ Like the "by 2040 we won't be able to afford anything but debt
              financing" hole.  Yeah.  If people don't wake the fuck up, this
              country's going to be in pain.
           \_ Of course I am concerned. Can you imagine your tax bill
              going up, say, 10%? That's a lot of cash you suddenly won't
              have. The ultra-rich and the poor won't care, but it is
              really going to screw the people in the $75-200K brackets.
              \_ On a national level, yes things are screwed.  On a personal
                 level, save more, and learn to live on < 80% of your
                 income, but I guess everyone knows that but only some
                 do it.
                 \_ When taxes have to be raised, you'll bet your ass it's
                    a personal issue.  Tax cuts + huge spending increases
                    are a tax on future generations.
                    \_ STARVE THE BEAST!%@@666!#
            \_ Yeah, I am kind of worried that taxes on my 401k are going
               to be huge when I try and withdraw them. I don't really
               know what to do about it though. Start an offshore account?
               \_ they are thinking about doing a Roth 401K.
2005/5/30-6/1 [Reference/RealEstate, Reference/Tax] UID:37887 Activity:high
5/30    dear motd probate lawyer,
        an elderly woman who lived in an expensive house dies, leaving two
        surviving sons, brother X and brother Y. After her death it turns out
        that several years before, brother X got her to sign over the deed to
        the house to his name in exchange for some money that was worth less
        than 10% of the value of the house. no one else in the family knew
        about this and everyone assumed she still owned the house at the time
        of her death. People suspect that coercion or trickery was involved
        but there is no proof. The brothers don't get along but the mother had
        a good relationship with both and there is no possibility that it was
        her intent to "cut off" brother Y from owning his share of the house.
        Does brother Y have any legal recourse?    -clueless about legal stuff
        \_ this is pretty sad. I assume you're Y. You can take X to the court
           of course, but you have no evidence of coercion, and basically,
           you have no case. You might be tempted to talk to lawyers and
           many will take up your weak case without telling you
           what your real chances are, since they just want to take your money
           (trust me, many lawyers will tell you what YOU want to hear and
           take you for a ride). Trust me, my grandpa left several estates
           back in my country and my dad, who thought he was close to his dad,
           only got 20 acres of tea farm while my old uncle (the oldest son,
           who never talks to my grandpa), got EVERYTHING. But this is in Asia
           and the oldest son always gets everything, and there's nothing you
           can do. Anyways, let's examine your case. If you really had a
           good relationship with your mom, and if she's not senile
           or stupid to be tricked, then she would surely have consulted
           with you in regard to the transfer of deed.  The fact that
           she didn't tell anyone, is an indication that 1) she really
           favored X for whatever reason, like being the oldest son,
           etc and 2) she didn't want to hurt your feelings. If this is the
           case maybe it's time to reflect back and see that perhaps, perhaps
           you weren't as close to her as you originally thought. And if she
           was indeed coerced, then I'd just take this as an expensive lesson
           in life, because seriously, your case is just weak. It's a
           cold world out there and it's all about survival of the
           fittest, and it's clear to me that X is the one who's more
           fit, you're weak. I'm sorry, I wish you luck.
           \_ Sorry but you're totally clueless.  This isn't "the old country"
              where you come from.  Judges here 'tend' to apply common sense
              to cases when allowed to by law.  See below for a much more
              useful answer as it applies in the US.  In short, the cheated
              son should consult a few lawyers, compare notes, and decide
              from there.  This sort of thing is very common unfortunately
              and can be invalidated by a judge quite easily if they choose
              to do so.  From the OP's description there was clear intent to
              defraud the mother and other heirs.
        \_ I'm not a lawyer yet, but some things I think you need to find
           out about are:
           (1) Was the contract between mom and X for the sale of the home
               in writing? - If not, mom's estate may be able to void the
               the contract b/c the statute of frauds.
           (2) How educated was mom in relation to X and was mom in decent
               health, &c. when the contract was made? - If mom wasn't very
               well educated or was sick, &c. it might be possible to void
               the contract b/c of a lack of capacity/unconscionability
               since the price was so low (by itself the low price probably
               is not sufficient to void the contract, and I'm guessing that
               you won't be able to find evidence of coercion/duress).
           (3) Did X record his deed? - If so, it will hard to invalidate
               the transfer from mom to X.
           (4) Did mom live in the home (or rent it out and keep the rent)
               after she "sold" it to X? - If so, mom's estate can argue
               that the deed to X is ineffective b/c mom did not have an
               intent to convey the property to X.
           (5) If mom lived in the house or rented it out, (i) did she do
               w/ X's possession and (ii) how long did she do it? - Mom's
               estate might have a claim of adverse possession.
           (a) I'm guessing that mom didn't have a will or her will didn't
               cover the house or what to do w/ unidentified property
           (b) The deed from mom the X didn't impose any conditions on X
               that X might have violated thus forfeiting his claims.
           (c) There might be a statute of limitations problem w/ (1) and
               and (2) if the sale happened a long time ago.
           (d) Unless Y is the executor/receiver of mom's estate, I don't
               think that Y can sue X directly for (1) and (2), however Y
               probably can sue for (4) and (5) directly
               think that Y can sue X directly for (1) and (2).
               \_ Anyone with an interest can sue.
                  \_ My contracts class was a mess but I'm pretty
                     sure that for a 3d party, like Y, to sue on a
                     contract theory (#1 and #2) they will need to
                     show that there were an assignee or a 3d party
                     It doesn't look like mom assigned her rights
                     under the contract to Y, so Y would have to
                     argue that he was a 3d party beneficiary
                     under the contract to Y, so Y would probably
                     have to argue that he was a 3d party beneficiary
                     (possible, but hard) of the contract in order
                     to sue on his own, which is why I said that
                     Y probably can't sue X directly.
                     \_ This isn't a contracts issue.  It is fraud and probate.
                        It is also defrauding the IRS since I'm sure the son
                        who stole the house didn't pay taxes on his instant
                        10x profit on the difference between what he 'paid'
                        and the fair market value of the house.
                     \_ This isn't a contracts issue.  It is fraud and
                        probate. It is also defrauding the IRS since I'm
                        sure the son who stole the house didn't pay taxes on
                        his instant 10x profit on the difference between
                        what he 'paid' and the fair market value of the
                        \_ AFAIK, there are multiple issues here.
                           (1) Y wants to rescind the contract for
                               sale between mom and X which means
                               Y needs standing under a contract
                               theory. If fraud was involved in
                               the formation of the contract for
                               the sale of the home, then the
                               contract is generally voidable by
                               the parties.  I don't think there
                               are enough facts to show fraud,
                               misrepresentation, &c.; incapacity
                               and unconsionability are probably
                               better theories.
                           (2) There may or may not be a probate
                               issue separate from the contract
                               issue - did mom actually transfer
                               an interest to X and did mom get
                               and interest via adv possession?
                           (3) There may not be a tax fraud issue
                               if 10% of fmv is close to the state
                               assessed value of the house.
           (e) I think that Y can sue directly for (4) and (5) b/c mom
               would have retained a property interest that (assuming the
               will did not deal with explictly) may have passed in part
               to Y.
           BTW, is this for real? It sounds more like an exam question.
           \_ Yes, this is a real case, and yes, it's pretty sad. I'm not Y
              (though I can see why people might assume that) but he's someone
              I care about and I appreciate the advice so far. I guess the
              first reply mirrors the kind of worry I have about lawyers
              pressing for a case when there's no case there, which would waste
              a lot of money, and more importantly, cause a lot of unnecessary
              stress. Then again, i don't see this as weak versus strong (and
              there is no "survival" involved). what's "strong" about cheating
              an old woman? but of course I'm biased. The mom did live in the
              house until she died. Apparently after selling the house she
              told a friend of hers it was one of her "biggest regrets". The
              rest of the questions I don't have answers for right now. -op
              an old woman? (I know, I'm biased). The mom did live in the
              house until she died without paying rent. Apparently after
              selling the house she told a friend of hers it was one of her
              "biggest regrets". The rest of the questions I don't have
              answers for right now. -op
              \_ If mom lived in the home rent free, it would strengthen
                 #4, but it might cause you a problem with adv possession
                 (esp if mom knew she had sold it).
                 If you answer #1 or #2 as yes, then you might have a case
                 and should probably see a real lawyer and see what they
                 think. If the plan is to sell the home, you might be able
                 to get the lawyer to take the case on contingency that Y
                 wins and gets an interest.
                 \- It seems to be the strongest thing to focus on
                    is the sham sale, given that it was not anywhere
                    near market value. Otherwise that would be a way to
                    get around tax laws. I think you may be able to attack
                    that way. If you hire your kid to mow the lawn so he
                    is eleiglbe for your "corporate education program"
                    where you pay for his college and then you claim that
                    as a business expense, something fishy is probably going
                    on. etc.
                 \- It seems to be the strongest thing to focus on is the
                    sham sale, given that it was not anywhere near market
                    value. Otherwise that would be a way to get around tax
                    laws. I think you may be able to attack that way. If you
                    hire your kid to mow the lawn so he is eleiglbe for your
                    "corporate education program" where you pay for his
                    college and then you claim that as a business expense,
                    something fishy is probably going on. etc.
                    \_ The "sham" sale may not be the best thing to
                       focus on:
                       (1) The fact that the sale price was 10% of fmv
                           is inconclusive b/c family members often
                           sell land to each other at below fmv in
                           order to keep the property tax low (in sj
                           there are homes the city values at $200K
                           for property tax but fmv ~ $1.2e6, a sale
                           at $200K would be ~ 17% of fmv but still
                           \_ My understanding is that property values are
                              re-assessed whenever a property changes
                              ownership, so it doesn't matter if the sale price
                              was x% of fair market value.
                       (2) Unless there is conclusive proof for the
                           sale, X can claim that the money he gave
                           his mom was a gift and that she made a
                           separate gift of the home.
                           \_ BZZZT!  Gifts are limited to $11k per person
                              without getting nailed by the IRS.
                              \_ Even if X had to pay the tax it is
                                 probably on the assessed value (in
                                 CA generally less than the fmv) so
                                 claiming it is a gift maybe pretty
                                 good for X.
                              \_ There is a large exemption called the unified
                                 tax credit which everyone uses when gifting
                       (3) Y may not have standing to sue under the
                       Best thing OP can do is to get more info and
                       then go see a real lawyer.
                       \- yes, i understand this happens, i understand
                          the law and tax enforcement people dont spend a
                          lot of resources rooting this out, but i image
                          it is not legal ... just like a business is supposed
                          to be in the business of making money if it is to
                          be treated as such for tax reasons.
        \_ I am aware of a situation where a 'family friend' bought a
           house from an old widow for quite a bit less than it was worth.
           Someone involved in the process (attorney, realtor, or
           accountant - I have forgotten) noticed the unusually low sale
           price. The transaction was rescinded by a court after they
           found the woman mentally incompetent. The house went on the
           market with the stipulation that the 'family friend' could not
           bid on it for something like 30 days. It ended up selling for
           $70K over asking, which was like double what the 'friend' had
           offered. He was not the winning bidder. This happened in CA.
2005/5/20-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:37778 Activity:nil
5/20    These obscure and complicated US tax laws are really annoying.
        I just discovered that this 5-bagger stock (crxl: $3.67-$19) I bought
        is classified as PFIC (passive foreign investment company).  I would
        presume the law is made for foreign mutual funds but unfortunately,
        it also hits foreign biotech companies with lots of raised cash, but
        little earnings.  So now instead of a capital gains rate, I have to
        pay an income tax rate on gains.  Not only that, I also have to pay
        interest penalties to IRS, unless I pay tax on unrealized capital
        gains every year.  WTF?!  Now I am faced with two "choices":
        (1) Spend many hours to visit an accountant (TurboTax doesn't deal
        with PFIC satisfactorily), file an amended tax return, emails and
        phone calls to crxl to get the needed information to complete the
        tax forms, in order to pay like $6000 additional tax payment, and
        file election forms every year in the future as long as I own the
        (2) Pretend I didn't know the company is a PFIC and not do anything,
        and just pay the capital gains rate when I actually sell.

        Choice (2) just seem so much more attractive.  I mean, first, the
        spirit of the law should not be applied to biotech stocks, and
        second, why does IRS make it so complicated and time consuming, and
        so much work to pay them additional taxes.

        PFIC tax laws:
        Anyone has any experience dealing with PFICs?
        \_ Just do (2). If the IRS sends you a bill for the remainder just
           pay that. The cost of dealing with this on your own, i.e. the
           cost of hiring an acountant/tax attorney can be deducted, however...
           With the IRS being as emasculated today under the Bush
           administration, I think they'll just be happy to receive a check...
           \_ Thanks.  I "transferred" (sold and rebought) the stock from
              my regular account to my Roth/IRA accounts.  I decided to take
              a tax hit now (or rather, next year) rather than let this tax
              issue fester while I continue to hold on to the stock.
2005/4/16-17 [Reference/Tax] UID:37221 Activity:kinda low
4/15    Teresa Heinz's 2004 return:
        $2,338,000 primarily from dividends and interest
        $2,777,000 in tax-exempt interest income from state, municipal and
        other bonds.
        Total fed tax: $750,000
        Effective rate: 14.7%
        \_ How would you factor in the fact that she's subsidizing state,
           municipal, and other debt at a lower rate than would be earned
           by putting the money elsewhere?
2005/4/15-17 [ERROR, uid:37212, category id '18005#5.74719' has no name! , , Reference/Tax] UID:37212 Activity:moderate 57%like:37210
4/15    Cheney's 2004 return: (Mr. and Mrs.)
        AGI:            $1,734,373
        Taxable income: $1,328,678
        Total fed tax:  $393,518
        Effective fed tax rate: 22.7%
                \_ You're looking in the wrong place.  Check out how much cash
                   is going past taxes to Haliburton so it can continue to pump
                   cash into Cheny so he can fund schools to eliminate
                   original thought.
        \_ So Cheney is the real evil, not Bush?  More than twice the AGI, yet
           lower effective tax rate.
           \_ The Cheney's contributed more to charities, I think.
              Also, Lynn "Makes Hillary Look like a Girl Scout" Cheney made a
              lot of money off books.
              \_ Money made off writing books aren't taxable income?
                 \_ Nah, just saying Lynn made more than Laura.
        \_ 40% of Cheney's profit from Halliburton goes to Univ Wyoming (his
           home town), 40% goes to GW University's medical faculty,
           and 20% goes to private and religious schools:
2005/4/15-17 [Reference/Tax] UID:37210 Activity:low 57%like:37212
4/15    Dubya's 2004 Federal tax numbers:
        AGI:            $784219
        Taxable income: $672788
        Total tax:      $207307
        Effective (not marginal) tax rate:      26.43%
        \_ Is he still considered a TX resident so he doesn't have to pay
           state tax?
        \_ How do you get $110,000 in deductions?
           \_ ~$80k of charitable contributions, I think.
              \_ Of that, $10k for the tsunami, as far as I remember.
           \_ Not that hard. Buy a $2M house and finance 80% of it.
              Capital losses. Business losses. Depreciation on rental
              property. Hell, I made 1/7 of what Bush did and deducted
              $30K. Seems right in line.
              \_ No, you can only deduct the interest of up to $1M mortgage.
                 I suppose you can just buy a $10M house and deduct the
                 property tax.
                 \_ Is there a huge difference here between a $1.5M
                    mortgage and a $1M mortgage?
              \_ This brings up a question; if you were the President, and
                 wanted to paint the White House some other color, could you?
                 \-rainbow/google coalition.
                 \_ BLACK LIKE MY SOOOOULLLL!!!!! --rivethead
2005/4/15 [Reference/Tax] UID:37209 Activity:high
4/15    What could you have bought with the money spent paying taxes?
                                                  \_ spent occupying Iraq
        Ob yermom:
        Nice dinner:
        Nice bike: ..
        BMW: .
        Condo: .
        Third-world country:
        BA House:
        None, because after I paied my taxes I have nothing left.
        \_ Isn't this the same as ob yermom?
        Cute petite chick with big natural boobs: .
           \_ Rent or buy?
              \_ Buy.  I don't like sharing chicks.
2005/4/15-16 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/California] UID:37206 Activity:low
4/15    Just curious, anyone pay use tax on the ca state return for internet
        \_ Yes, I wrote in I spent $500 on out-of-state purchases for both
           2003 and 2004 tax years.  $41 in taxes for being in L.A. County.
        \_ No I don't.
        \_ No.
        \_ Statistically speaking, no.
2005/4/15-17 [Reference/Tax] UID:37203 Activity:insanely high
4/15    So does anyone object to the so-called (love those names) "fair tax"?
        Replacing all federal tax with a 23% sales tax?
        \_ Poll, Yes: ........
        \_ Worst. Idea^H^H^H^HTroll. Ever.
        \_ If you're rich, you love it.
           \_ No seriously, why would you believe this?
              \_ Uh, because they could accumulate wealth unhindered by
                 ANY taxation.  How much does any one person need to spend
                 in a year, even to live (VERY) well?  a few hundred thousand?
                 so you pay the tax on that amount of consumption, and the rest
                 is gravy.
                 \_ So what?
                    \_ So, because you're wealthy you get to enjoy the freedoms
                       and protection of this country while paying less into
                       this country than everyone around you. That sounds fair?
                       \_ Are you seriously suggesting that the rich, under
                          either a sales tax or under the current system,
                          somehow pay "less into this country" than the poor?
                          40% of Americans pay NO income tax at all, and the
                          top 20% pay over 80%.
                          \_ Yes.  Under a sales tax, the rich would pay less
                             than they currently do, and far less proportionally
                             to the rest of the people.  That 40%, under a flat
                             tax, would pay pretty much 23% in your sales tax.
                             A person in the top 20% can afford to save and
                             invest.  They would be hard pressed to spend their
                             entire $250k or so on sales-taxable goods.  They
                             would pay a far lower percentage of their income
                             in this tax.  Are you intentionally being daft?
                             \_ Don't change the subject. You didn't say
                                 "paying a lower percentage of their income
                                 into this country". You said "paying less into
                                 this country". That's very different.
                                 \_ And you're an obtuse little bitch.  In
                                    a discussion like this, the "fairness"
                                    point pretty much always refers to
                                    proportions.  DUMBFUCK troll.
                          \_ consider that roughly 25% of the population is
                             below the age of 15 (2000 census numbers).  Are
                             you including all those newborns and kids who
                             can barely get a work permit (at least in CA)?
                             \_ He is talking about top 20% of taxpayers,
                                not about kids and unemployed. --dim
                          \_ You are just making up numbers now. No way does
                             the top 20% pay over 80% of all taxes.
                                Top 20% pays 81.4% of federal income
                                taxes. Top 1% pays 38.8% alone. If you
                                include payroll taxes, the share of the
                                top 20% drops to 60.8%. However, you can
                                see following the chart that the least
                                wealthy 60% also only have 5% of the
                                wealth. --dim
                                \_ Compare the pre-tax income shares versus
                                   the federal tax share.  It's very slightly
                                   progressive.  Note that this was in 2000.
                                   Now that comparison is basically flat.  For
                                   all intents and purposes, W has given y'all
                                   the flat tax y'all wanted.  We'll see how
                                   long until it all crumbles..
                             \_ wtf?  You didn't know that?
                                You better be some bored undergrad.
                       \_ Since the rich don't pay less than less wealthy,
                          you're full of shit.  Since "wealthy" is undefinable,
                          you're just arguing that THEY SHOULD GIVE MORE,
                          WAHHH!  Shut the fuck up you retard.
                          \_ This is about as incoherent as you could get.
                             We're talking about proportions, not absolute
                             values, you twat.
                       \_ Here's a nice game to play with your friends. Go
                          ask them "do you think the rich should pay more in
                          taxes". Then ask them "what percentage of all taxes
                          should the top 20% of taxpayers pay?" Then have
                          some fun asking them to reconcile their answers
                          to these two questions.
                          \_ We don't all have stupid friends.
                          The larger issue here is that it will be very
                          dangerous for us as a country when a substantial
                          fraction of the electorate pays no taxes (40% now)
                          and thus realizes they can vote in any government
                          program (say, prescription drug benefit) without
                          having to pay a dime for it.
                          \_ Yeah, it would be much better to tax them into
                             the debtors' prisons.  We could have so much cheap
                             labor if we could bring those back.  Those people
                             who you see as freeloading are the ones who make
                             the economy happen.  They spend their paychecks
                             like good consumers.  They produce the goods that
                             they turn around and buy.  Without generous
                             exemptions on a sales tax for the lower end, our
                             economy would grind to a halt.
                             \_ Don't put up the strawman of debtor's prisons.
                                My point is that I feel it is bad public
                                policy to have a substantial fraction of the
                                population pay no income tax.
                                \_ you're right.  So what are you doing to
                                   increase their income?  -tom
              \_ Because the amount of money you spend on taxable items
                 becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of your income
                 the more money you make. A person making $1 million might
                 have a $100K car, whereas a person making $50K might have
                 a $25K car, for instance.
                 \_ So what?
                    \_ So that's why a sales tax is a regressive tax.
                 \_ Are you insane?  A $50K/yr schlub can't affort a $25K car.
                    \_ Well, actually -- if you have a decent credit rating,
                       you can buy a $25k honda with only a $3-4k down.  The
                       payments might be rough, but financing over 48-60mos
                       makes this very reasonably affordable.  Welcome to the
                       real world, son.
                    \_ Wow, you're a DUMBFUCK.  Are you the same DUMBFUCK
                       from yesterday?
                    \_ $25K barely buys a Honda Civic EX these days.
                       Plenty of people making that kind of salary drive
                       $25K cars whether or not you think they can afford
                       to. Let's change it to $90K salary and $40K car
                       then (real numbers from BMW). Same difference.
                    \_ With that logic who the fuck can buy a house.  It's
                       called LOANS.
        \_ "Reagan's 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act is recognized as the most
            significant tax policy change in modern history. The bill
            significantly reduced the marginal income tax by roughly 25
            percent over a three-year period, lowering the top rate from 70
            percent to 50 percent, the bottom from 14 percent to 11 percent."
            Proportionally, Reagan still beats Bush. Why aren't you guys
            bitching at him instead of Bush? I know why. Because Reagan is
            good looking and charming and irresistable ON TV.
            \_ And, uhm, not the current president for almost 20 years.
                \_ The fact that he's no longer President never seems to
                   stop the Republicans from blaming everything bad on Clinton.
                   \_ Oh that's easy.  Clinton is an unperson.  Reagan is our
                      Glorious Hero.  Get it straight, Comrade.
                                      \_ Reagan was a cold warrior; shouldn't
                                         that be 'Citizen'?
        \_ I'm in favor. I think our current tax code is broken and far too
           cumbersome. For an income tax, I'm against flat income tax.
           \_ Since the poor currently pay a fairly small percentage of their
              income in taxes, how would you reconcile that with the new
              system?  Either you just accept you're giving the poor a massive
              tax hike, or you need some system of exemptions, deductions or
              refunds and you're right back to everyone having to file taxes
              \_ One way is to tax more heavily on luxury items and waive
                 tax on essentially items.
              \_ The plan is for an automatic rebate to cover the taxes up to
                 a floor level of consumption. Such a rebate is nothing like
                 the current income tax situation.
                 the current income tax situation. And it means that it's
                 possible that the rebate ends up being more than some people
                 actually pay in taxes. Also, wealthy people do consume more;
                 they don't just sit on their cash and live like a poor sap.
                 It's not a massive tax hike when you consider the massive
                 overall benefits to the economy.
                 \_ The wealthy consume more, but on different things and
                    in a different way. As a percentage of income and net
                    worth they consume far less. Most wealthy people I
                    know bought a lot of property, which contributes to
                    property taxes but not to the IRS. Lots of money also
                    does get 'sat on' in the form of investments.
        \_ What happens when you buy a $500k house?  Pay $115k tax?
                    \_ But there's nothing wrong with that. We should only
                       "tax the rich" to support the poor to a minimum extent.
                       Rich people make investments, fine... they help create
                       jobs and eventually money gets used on end products and
                       services. They hire contractors, buy fancy stuff for
                       their houses, etc. The level of consumption in the
                       country is fairly stable and the proposed numbers
                       provide for a scenario where both poor and rich are less
                       taxed, and are better able to manage their own savings
                       by being frugal. Personally, I'm not "poor" at 90k
                       salary but I've had really low consumption all my
                       working days so I'd be way better off. A consumption tax
                       would encourage savings which economists say is sorely
                       needed in this country.
        \_ What happens when you buy a $500k house?  Pay
        $115k tax?
           \_ There is no sales tax on real estate and there is no tax levied
              by the Feds. I assume this would remain unchanged.
        \_ "Fair tax" is stupid.  If you don't like progressive
           tax and want "fairness", let's just not pay any tax at all.
           That would make it fair.
2005/4/15-16 [Reference/Tax] UID:37202 Activity:kinda low
4/15    Happy tax day.
        \_ April is the cruelest month.
        \_ When my first company was located on Shattuck, we had an outing
           where on every April 15th at around 11pm, we grabbed donuts and
           coffee and headed down to the post office on Allston and watched
           procrastinators rushing to mail the forms.  A lot of them wore suits
           and looked like accountants.  We cheered and applauded and they
           usually liked it.
           \_ That sounds pretty entertaining, actually.
           \_ It makes sense to file at the last possible minute if you
              owe money.
              \_ I get a net refund every year, yet I still procrastinate.
           \_ InktomiP
              \_ No.  Geoworks.
2005/4/14-15 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:37194 Activity:high
4/14    So it seems like TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities) are the
        safest bonds to buy.  It doesn't seem like they're at all affected by
        market conditions (bad or good), and they have a guaranteed rate of
        return after inflation (CPI adjustments).  So what's the catch?
        Is the only downside of this tiny risk investment a tiny post-inflation
        yield of ~ 1.8%?  Anyone with experience?  I think I can buy these
        direct from the government, too.  Thanks!
        \_ AFAIK the low yield is the drawback.
        \_ well, yes, the catch is you can get better rates elsewhere. for
           example, top cd rates today are rather higher than the comparable
           TIPS rate. if inflation were to go crazy, TIPS could be a
           better deal. but otherwise...
           \_ Over the last few years interest rates have dropped below
              that of inflation.  While inflation rates weren't "crazy,"
              lots of fixed income households were hurt. TIPS is supposed
              to solve this.
        \_ If you can count on the government to report inflation accurately.
           I don't think you can, personally.
           \_ So if Dubya's people say CPI is overstating inflation and manage
              to drop the CPI calculations by 1 or 2 points, I get screwed
              \_ Hey, maybe one of those Bush guys took Econ 100b!   "The CPI
                 overstates rates of price increase by 1/2 to 1.5 percent per
                 year (and the GDP deflator has similar biases)."
                 \_ Which leads us back to Social Security which uses the CPI
                    to determine how much to increase payouts. Messing with
                    the CPI means messing with SS. Neat stuff, huh?
                    \_ You know, when it shows up in Econ 100b, it's probably
                       not a controversial issue whether the CPI overstates
                       or not.  So, the question is would you prefer to run
                       Social Security based on a CPI you know is faulty, or
                       would you prefer to run it based on something that
                       economists can agree is more realistic.
                       \_ It showed up in Jan 1996 lecture notes.
                          I believe CPI calculations have already been
                          adjusted downwards since then.
                          The question is, well, how accurate is it now?
                          \_ Well, apparently Greenspan is still pushing
                             for using a chained CPI, which was recommended
                             by the Boskin Commission back in 1996.
                             \_ Makes sense.  You need a big gun opposite
                                Greenspan to challenge him.  Otherwise,
                                he's probably right on that point.
                           \_ There have been a lot of arguments that the
                              CPI _under_estimates inflation. I think
                              overall it is probably a decent number if
                              people argue both ways.
        \_ The catch is, as far as I can tell, that you have to pay taxes on
           the increased value of the bond when it adjusts, which sucks.

        "Another caveat: If you buy TIPS directly from the Bureau of Public
         Debt you're liable for federal taxes on the inflation adjustment,
         even though it's not a cash payout. That's in addition to the tax
         you must pay on the interest income. (You don't pay state or local
         income tax on Treasuries.) For that reason, it's best to hold TIPS
         in a tax-deferred or nontaxable account, such as an IRA."
2005/4/13-15 [Reference/Tax] UID:37185 Activity:moderate
        This is gonna make the Gates' kids, Walton kids, and Paris Hilton
        very very happy.
        \_ Like it matters. If you're as rich as Gates etc. you would
           have already figured out ways to let the next generation inherit
           your property with minimal taxation. The people who are going to
           benefit the most probably are medium rich people, people with
           assets between 2-10 million bucks.
           \_ why do you hate rich people?
           \- gates is a bad example in this case. --psb
              \_ Why is he a bad example?
        \_ It also makes people who care about the principle happy. -emarkp
           \_ Which principle is that? Getting rid of all taxes and just
              borrowing money indefinitely?
              \_ I'm sure you're capable of thinking of one.  I'll leave the
                 exercise to the anonymous troll. -emarkp
              \_ I sure like to see the IRS get a chunk of wealth from the
                 super rich to finance social programs that benefits me and my
                 family, but what justification is there to tax them when a
                 father passes his wealth to his son while there is no business
                 activity or employment involved?
                 \_ I had to pay a ton of AMT taxes on virtual wealth I no
                    longer have.  The question is, which taxes do you want to
                    raise to compensate for the loss of tax revenue to make
                    up for the money we will no longer be getting from rich
                    dead people.  Small businesses and family farms are already
                    protected, so the "passes his wealth to his son" argument
                    is bogus.
                    \_ How are family farms already protected?
                    \_ 1. Rich dead people don't necessarily pay tax when they
                       were alive.  People who simply hold on to a lot of money
                       don't (and shouldn't) pay tax.  Only people who use that
                       big money to generate income does (and should) pay tax.
                       2. Do you mean which tax we raise comes down to which
                       tax the majority of people want to raise, rather than
                       which tax is justified to be raised?
                 \_ What about the gift tax?
                    \_ Also immoral and socialist.
2005/4/13-14 [Politics/Domestic/Crime, Reference/Tax] UID:37166 Activity:nil
4/13    Yahoo! News - "At tax time, lots of money under table":
        The evaded tax is "equal to 75 percent of the annual budget deficit,
        two-thirds of Defense Department spending, or what the US spends on
        Medicare in a year."
2005/4/6-7 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:37082 Activity:moderate
4/5     So it begins.  Welcome to the culture of death:
        \_ Big churches esp. Catholic, gives me this image of having a
           lot of clout like the ones mafias have. I would think that if
           pro-lifers seriously want her to live, [weathly] Churches like the
           ones in Utah would have no problem coming up with Save-a-Shiavo
           campaign. In addition, it would be a great public relationship
           stunt. The fact that none of the Churches offered a penny or
           had not organized any visible and successful campaign, shows you
           that either they don't give a damn, or that they're not as powerful
           as GodFather the movie portrays them to be.           -troll
        \_ WHY is it anyone not talking about bolemia and anorexia and other
           things that could have prevented Shiavo's death in the first
           place? I mean, an ounce of prevention is... you know.
        \_ i for one welcome our new culture of death overlords.
           \_ "Hail Death!"
        \_ How much of your tax money would you like to go toward keeping
           ABD (all but dead) people alive?  Would you rather that money
           went toward schools or prenatal care?  How much of your income
           would you like to pay in taxes?  As for me, if I am ABD, take
           the money and buy immunizations for the poor, and let me drop
           dead. --PeterM
           \_ The *real* question is *who* decides which people are ABD.
              \_ Who do you think is deciding now?  If you disagreed in
                 Schiavo's case, it was the doctors who decided she was
                 hopeless, and her guardian chose to end extraordinary
                 measures.  That seems the right way to me.
        \_ It is long past time for us as a society to have this discussion.
           I worked in a hospital and I used to watch doctors do stupid
           and expensive procedures on people who were obviously in their
           last few months of life.
           \_ And I've seen doctors not give a shit about whether someone lives
              or dies.  They're the ones we're bowing down to.
              \_ Where did you see a doctor like that? I worked in two different
                 hospitals for a total of 4 years and I never saw anything
                 close to resembling what you are describing.
                 \_ Radiation Oncology.
                    \_ This makes the case for a serious conversation about
                       how to handle these cases even more compelling.
        \_ We've always been a culture of death. Even those expousing the
           "Culture of Life" are enamored by death and have fetishized their
           beliefs to the point of ridiculousness.
2005/4/5-8 [Politics/Domestic/President/Clinton, Reference/Tax] UID:37075 Activity:high
4/5     Pope JP2's death reminds me of Ronald Reagan's death. I don't agree
        with most of Reagan's policies and in fact I think they're stupid.
        Tax break for the super wealthy, military spending explosion,
        aggressive [redneck] foreign policies, etc. However, when he's on
        camera he's so nice looking and charming and I just can't help it
        liking him. Ditto with JP2. I don't agree with b-control and other
        crap JP2 says but I still like him for some reason.
        \_ A tax cut that moved the highest bracket from 70% to 28%.  70%!!?!
           How did we ever allow that?  It's immoral!
           \_ You shouldn't tax the rich, they CREATE jobs and equal
              opportunity for everyone! Just look at Microsoft, WalMart,
              and Dell! Every employee looks so happy and they REALLY believe
              in their company! Let's all turn America into one big happy
              corporate family. Yeah!
              \_ You're being dense.  Nobody's arguing against taxing "the
                 rich" (what the hell kind of dumbshit stupid, ill-educated
                 American fat-buttocked Fox viewer demagoguery is that,
                 anyway?)  The point is that taking 70% of a person's
                 earnings is, besides being counter-productive (as it removes
                 the motivation to excel, etc. etc.) is just theft.  Please
                 stop it with the "anyone who argues against fleecing teh
                 r1ch is a bloated plutocrat pig, workers of the world
                 unite!" horse shit, it's unworthy.  -John
                 \_ According to your argument, any tax at all is "theft."
                    What is the difference between taxing at 70% and 50%?
                    50% and 20%? Do you think that all taxes should be
                    abolished because they are "theft"? Why not? What is
                    magical about 70%? Plenty of countries tax at
                    a marginal 70% rate and somehow manage to muddle through.
                    \_ I believe that any tax taken, regardless of rate, by
                       a government that does not do its utmost to use its
                       citizens' money responsibly and conservatively is
                       theft.  Nowhere from my statement can you infer that I
                       belive "any tax at all is theft".  Furthermore, while
                       there is a large gray area, there comes a point at
                       which taxation is oppressive.  I maintain that, once
                       more of your earnings are taken from you as taxes than
                       go to you, a boundary of what is reasonable has been
                       crossed.  And I believe you used the magic word,
                       "muddle".  Is that something to strive for?  -John
              \_ Microsoft has made a lot of very ordinary Americans very
                 \_ The Waltons were smarter than Gates, they made sure their
                    money didn't leak out as in the case of M$.
           \_ It is inhumane to tax the super rich. Imagine the pain
              Paris Hilton has to go through when she can only afford to buy a
              BMW 740i instead of a Ferrari Testarosa, or the suffering of
              George W. Bush when he can only play at a cheapo 4 star golf
              course instead of a full fledged 5 star golf course. It's
              simply unusual and cruel punishment.
              \_ It doesn't even cause that. They still afford what they want.
              \_ Don't forget Paris resorted to making herself a porn in order
                 to afford a BMW 740i.  That's cruel punishment.
           \_ Do you not understand how marginal tax rates work?
              \_ Yes I do.  A 70% marginal rate is immoral.
                 \_ What a strange and twisted version of ethics you must have.
           \_ I could argue it's immoral to allow billionares to exist when
              there are people starving.
              \_ It's immoral to allow my neighbor to own a Ferrari when I
                 only drive an Audi.  What the fuck kind of argument is this?
                 Spawning season on planet thick?  -John
                 \_ Having to drive an Audi is not very much like starving
                    to death. Your analogy is flawed.
                    \_ Of course it's flawed, it's downright silly.  Now tell
                       me where exactly the line is.  Until then you have no
                       argument.  And from whom should we expropriate assets
                       to feed all these people?  Billionaires?  Millionaires?
                       Over $500k?  $100k?  Yes it sucks that there's poverty
                       and starvation and hurt and whatnot and we should all
                       do what we can, but please, do give me a working model
                       that relies on a Robin Hood approach.  -John
                       \_ Just because I cannot give you an exact answer
                          without further experimentation doesn't mean
                          that no experiment is worth doing. Sweden is
                          a pretty good working model, I would say. So
                          are Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany,
                          France, Italy and even Switzerland.
                          \_ I am going to guess that you subscribe to the
                             utopian ideals of Europe and Canada instead
                             of witnessing the realities.
                             \_ No, I have been to all these countries.
                                Canada and The Netherlands are especially nice.
                                \_ Holland *USED* to be nice. My mother
                                   was born there and lived there until 16.
                                   All the rest of her family is still there.
                                   They used to always make fun of how bad
                                   things like education, crime, and medicine
                                   were in the US. Now, many of them are
                                   shopping for houses here in the US. It's
                                   not nice like it once was. The system is
                          \_ Sweden has been haemorrhaging educated
                             professionals for years who forsake it for the
                             UK (!) and its lower taxes.  All Scandinavian
                             countries have massive immigration problems, and
                             can't cope (as the rest of Europe) with their
                             overburdened welfare systems.  Switzerland has
                             way lower taxes and stingy welfare, and will face
                             the same problems.  You're right about "it's
                             worth trying something".  But blind truisms about
                             redistribution of wealth at the expense of "the
                             rich" isn't it.  Some people will always simply
                             be wealthier than others--life isn't fair; you
                             cannot enforce uniform economic equality.  -John
                             \_ No one is arguing for enforced equality. That
                                is a straw man you made up to avoid talking
                                about the real issue: what is a fair top
                                marginal rate. You claim that 70% is immoral,
                                but have provided no evidence as to why that
                                is so, other than your feelings. Sweden is
                                doing fine economically actually, much better
                                than the rest of Europe. And "the line" to
                                answer your previous question, is that point
                                where society provides enough resources to
                                keep anyone from starving to death. I don't
                                think it is too much to ask from those who
                                are the primary beneficiaries of that same
                                \_ OK.  To be honest, I would add "a roof over
                                   everyone's head" and even "education" to
                                   that mix.  I simply massively criticize the
                                   extreme polemicization of the idea of
                                   forced redistribution--i.e. the systematic
                                   fleecing of "the rich" rather than a
                                   decent tax system (which nobody's arguing
                                   against.)  Governments are massively
                                   inefficient organizations, and it's wrong
                                   to use the classic European welfare states
                                   as examples of how to do things right--they
                                   have been either stagnant or coming apart
                                   at the seams.  Yes, Holland is nice, but as
                                   a visitor don't let utopian visions cloud
                                   your impressions.  I spend a lot of time
                                   in W. Europe and the UK, and there are too
                                   many problems to elaborate on, a lot of
                                   them caused by over-bureaucratization and
                                   crazy government taxation & fiscal
                                   intervention.  -John
                                   intervention.  Oh yeah, and as for Sweden,
                                   you've probably read the Rijksbank report.
                                   Look at too. -John
                                   \_ Communist! Seriously, by American
                                      standards you are some kind of loonie
                                      liberal. I have no doubt that bad
                                      government is bad. I see lots of
                                      bureaucratic bungling in San Francisco,
                                      and we have much less to work with than
                                      they do in the Scandanavian countries.
                                      But the solution to this is to make
                                      the government institutions more
                                      efficient. The Swedes seem to like
                                      their government just fine, so they
                                      must be doing something right. Thanks
                                      for the link, btw, I had not seen that.
                             (The Economist)
                                      Sweden is the second fastest growing
                                      economy on that list. And if you go
                                      by GDP/capita, which is what really
                                      matters to a person, they rival the US.
It's growing quickly, the quality of life is great, and according to many _/
economic indicators, they're just dandy.  However, this relies on adherence to
a social contract which is slowly coming apart, cultural homogeneity (ditto),
and enough people working to keep up the fun (ditto.)  Economic excellence,
entrepreneurship, and personal mobility seem disparaged (i.e. don't get above
your station, sit around having smiling blond babies.)  Same in many European
countries.  The Swedes (except for aforementioned educated professionals who
are fleeing in droves to avoid taxes) love it, which is great.  This model
would not work in many other places--note how high taxes, bureaucracy and
govt. inefficiency have just about destroyed the German economy--and frankly
it frightens me just a bit.  And yes I probably am a bit of a commie in some
respects--I think that (a) I deserve quality and accountability for _my_ $$$,
and (b) it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.  -John
                             \_ I would argue that the massive deficits of
                                the USA give a false sense of economic
              \_ please do.
              \_ that's not very Randian of you
                 \_ Or very Jeffersonian.
                    \_ "The property of this country is absolutely concentred
                       in a very few hands ...
                       Another means of silently lessening the inequality
                       of property is to exempt all from taxation below a
                       certain point, and to tax the higher portions of
                       property in geometrical progression as they rise."
                       -Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785
                       \_ He was referring to land, which is truly a limited
                          \_ So would you agree to cut taxes on one's primary
                             home, and ramp up tax rates on 2nd, 3rd homes
                             etc? Currently we have the opposite. The tax
                             situation is better on a 2nd investment home
                             and there's no limits.
                             \_ Sounds reasonable to me. -pp
                             \_ Just cut down on Asian immigration.
                                They're like the Jews in the 30s, buying up
                                cheap land (Silicon Valley land is cheap
                                relative to expensive Tokyo and HK properties)
                                and screwing up us natives. Go final solution!
                                \_ Somehow I doubt you're a "native"
                                \_ Price per sq ft living space in SF is going
                                   to beat HK soon.
                          \_ Don't forget the previous paragraph to his letter:
                             (I am talking about "people starving" vs.
                             billionaires and morality, not necessarily
                             Jefferson's views on an income tax)
                       "As soon as I had got clear of the town I fell in with
                       a poor woman walking at the same rate with myself and
                       going the same course.  Wishing to know the condition of
                       the laboring poor I entered into conversation with her.
                       ... As we had walked together near a mile and she has so
                       far served me as a guide, I gave her, on parting, 24
                       sous. She burst into tears of a gratitude which I could
                       perceive was unfeigned because she was unable to utter a
                       word. ... This little attendrissement, with the solitude
                       of my walk, led me into a train of reflections on that
                       unequal ision of property which occasions the numberless
                       instances of wretchedness which I had observed in this
                       country and is to be observed all over Europe."
                    \_ "The rich alone use imported articles, and on these
                       alone the whole taxes of the General Government are
                       levied ...
                       We shall soon see the final extinction of our national
                       debt, and liberation of our revenues for the defense
                       and improvement of our country. These revenues will be
                       levied entirely on the rich. ... The farmer will see his
                       government supported, his children educated, and the
                       face of his country made a paradise by the
                       contributions of the rich alone, without his being
                       called on to spend a cent from his earnings."
              \_ Look, the Gov't should never get more of my income than I do.
                 That's simple enough.
                 \_ the government didn't get 70% of anyone's income.  Get
                    a clue.  -tom
                    \_ I am sure it did happen. Why not?
                    \_ Of the income in the bracket.  Are you sure no one ever
                       had an effective tax rate of >50%?
                       \_ My overall tax rate, including state and federal
                          was about 40% in 2000, so I would not be surprised
                          at all if someone had a 50%+ rate at some point
                          when the tax rate was higher.
                          \_ Don't forget to add 8% sales tax, > 50% gas taxes,\
                             etc, etc.
                          \_ Don't forget to add 8% sales tax, > 50% gas taxes,
                             etc, etc.
        \_ They were both previously actors.
           \_ Ah-nold!
           \- As I have said many times, this is really at core a conversation
              about "what we owe each other". Well, there are other ways to
              formulate the core question, but it isnt a conversation about
              tax policy alone. You might want to for example google for
              "wilt chamberlain, nozick, liberty upsets patterns". I dont
              have a problem with people being wealthy and in general a very
              asymmetric distribution of wealth. And I also dont think you
              can do much about say the wealthy having better health care
              than the avg person. But in certain areas, we can do something
              about keeping a level playing field or try to have a "floor".
              While the Nozick view about voluntary contribution to Wilt ->
              nobody can complain when he is rich, is complelling, these
              claims that spending money = free speech liberty in a political
              context, so there should not be any limits on campaing spending
              seems iffy and other areas where the state can do something
              about buying influence [like say legacy considerations in
              college admissions, buying organs etc.]. And if you do want to
              tlk about tax policy, let's look at what people actually pay
              rather than one number, the highest marginal tax rate.
        \_ Although I agree 70% is way too high, there should definitely
           be market controls to regulate the free market (not necessarily
           taxes).  I believe a "completely" free Market will eventually lead
           to a caste society with a limited middle class.  The gap in pay
           between average workers and large company CEOs surpassed
           300-to-1 in 2003, but in 1982, it was just 42-to-1. Annual pay was
           $26,899 in 2003, up just 2.1% from 2002 according to the Bureau of
           Labor Statistics. The average large company CEO received
           compensation totaling $8.1 million in 2003, up 9.1% from the
           previous year.  The average worker took home $517 in their
           weekly paycheck in 2003; the average large company CEO took
           home $155,769 in their weekly pay.If the minimum wage had increased
           as quickly as CEO pay since 1990, it would today be $15.71 per hour,
           more than three times the current minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.
           \_ Are you stupid? EVERYONE knows that the wealth gap is increasing
              disproportionally esp. in the US and everyone knows that the
              current Reagan-worshipping administration doesn't really give
              a damn. You don't need to spend 10 million dollars on formal
              inquiries to find out if Clinton had sex in the Whitehouse or
              not; it's just common knowledge.
              \_ Speaking of Clinton, the wage gap grew tremendously under
                 \- clinton didnt try to repeal the billionaire estate
                    preservation tax. however his pardon of marc rich does
                    give us an example of of the problems that can be avoided.
                 \_ Does it ever shrink?  Did it grow more under Clinton or
                    under Bush?
                    \_ i believe more under Clinton, but he had a booming
                       economy for 7+ years.
                       \_ As wages have DROPPED under bush, this whole point
                          has a definite apples-to-oranges feel.
                 \_ This is simply not true. The poorest quintile's share
                    of national income grew under Clinton. Unless you are
                    talking about something else, like the average ratio\
                    of CEO pay to worker pay. What are you talking about?
                    talking about something else, like the average ratio
                    of CEO pay to worker pay. What are you talking about?
                 \_ References please
                    \_ google for: wage gap under clinton. here's an example:
                        \_ Here are much better statistics:
                           Go look at the whole site. The top got richer,
                           but the poor did not get poorer. It was the middle
                           class that really took a hit under Clinton.
                           \_ That's an odd conclusion to reach from the data
                              \_ In 1992, the bottom quintile took 4.2% of
                                 the national income. In 2000, they took
                                 4.3%. 4.3 is larger than 4.2, right?
                                 \_ I was talking about the "middle class ..
                                    took a hit" conclusion.  The quintiles
                                    moved, but the data are incomplete.  Did
                                    the second or fourth quintile grow?
                                        The top quintile made a bunch more
                                        and the bottom stayed the same. It
                                        should be pretty easy to figure out
                                        who is left and what happened to them.
                                        \_ Look at the full data:
                                           income increased for all levels
                                           through the clintotn years.  Bush
                                           takes office and the bottom gets
                                           taken, the middle slows and the
                                           top keeps rising.
              \_ I'm all for Bush, Cheney and Co having wild & raunchy
                 bestiality S&M orgies 24/7 in the White House if it will
                 make my stock portfolio go back up to 2000 levels when
                 Clinton was getting in trouble for getting his cock sucked.
                 \_ Well you could have done *better* than 2000 had you gotten
                    in/out of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Enron. A lot of
                    Texans didn't get in/out of the tech era, but now they're
                    pretty happy with the current administration. Sucks 2 b u.
                        \_ I did fine actually, just no longer rich on paper.
2005/4/4-5 [Reference/Tax] UID:37059 Activity:nil
4/4     Is there a Home & Business version of TurboTax this year?  There was
        one last year but I don't see one this year.
2005/3/28-30 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:36925 Activity:moderate
3/28    tom, can you please tell me how to invest overseas?      -anon coward
        \_ Give all your money to John.  -tom
           \_ come on, I'm being serious.
              \_ So is Tom.  -John
        \_ Mutual funds/bond funds, of course.
           \_ Vanguard Pacific Stock Index Fund,
              Vanguard European Stock Index Fund,
              Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund
              (Disclosure (Recommendation?):) I have holdings in all of the
              above funds.  I particularly like the Emerging Markets fund
              because it has been aggressively growing the percentage of the
              fund that is invested in China and Taiwan over the last few
              years. -dans
              \_ Thanks dans. I checked all 3 and they're available from ETrade.
                 Is that what you're using? Also, how come I can't see any
                 historical data? Also, what is the monthly fee I have to
                 pay (I plan to just buy and hold for a while), and what is
                 the tax implication on EFT? Thanks.-ok thx
                 \_ If you're planning to buy and hold (especially for
                    retirement), put the first $nk (I think n is currently 4
                    and will be 5 next year, but double check) in as your
                    yearly IRA contribution.  Unless you're planning to retire
                    in less than a decade, you should get a ROTH IRA (pay tax
                    now, don't pay taxes when you withdraw) as opposed to
                    Traditional IRA (pay no taxes now, pay taxes when you
                    withdraw).  If you're investing in anything you should get
                    a prospectus, this will include historical data.  You can
                    order a prospectus (free of charge) via Vanguard's
                    website, and I believe you can also download a prospectus
                    in PDF form.  I don't know all the tax implications since
                    all of the mutual funds I hold at present are retirement
                    savings in ROTH IRA's so the tax implications are nil in
                    my case.  Otherwise, I believe that it's your standard
                    investment taxation rules for capital gains.  My holdings
                    are directly with Vanguard.  Their fees are very low
                    compared to other long-term investment oriented firms
                    (Charles Schwab is comparable, many supposedly premier
                    fund firms, e.g. Oppenheimer are much higher). -dans
                    \_ The miniscule tax advantages of a Roth IRA are not
                       enough for me to keep numerous accounts like that.
                       So I just max out my 401k at work.
                       \_ So there's really not much effort involved with
                          keeping IRA's/ROTH IRA's.  From a tax standpoint,
                          the 401k and Traditional IRA are identical.  You pay
                          no taxes now, but you pay when you withdraw your
                          funds.  The nice thing about 401k vs. IRA is that
                          the yearly cap for 401k contributions (I think 25%
                          of gross income) is much higher than that for IRA
                          ($4-$5K).  That said, the tax advantages of a ROTH
                          IRA vs. Traditional IRA/401K are *huge* if you're
                          not going to be retiring for at least a decade.
                          ROTH IRA, you pay no taxes when you withdraw your
                          funds which has been compounding exponentially for
                          30+ years.  One useful trick is that after changing
                          employers, you can rollover your 401k to a
                          Traditional IRA, and then convert the Traditional
                          IRA to a ROTH IRA.  This allows you to have a ROTH
                          IRA where you contributed more than the yearly IRA
                          cap. -dans
                          \_ $3k/yr is not much money, even over 30 years.
                             Even if the tax difference was 25%, I don't
                             think I would find it worthwhile to deal with
                             the extra hassle. Unless tax rates go way up,
                             in which case I will wish I had done what you
                             are doing.
                             \_ Ahem interest compounding *exponentially*.
                                Run the numbers, what you have at the end is
                                not chump change.  And a 25% cut of $100K is
                                25K, which is not the kind of money I can
                                throw around with reckless abandon.  YMMV, I
                                guess. -dans
2005/3/25-29 [Reference/Tax] UID:36889 Activity:kinda low
3/25    Why the hell doesn't Wal-Mart pay to have its street widened?
        Spending $37 million of taxpayer dollars seems stupid when
        Wal-Mart can easily afford it.
        \_ Is this a troll? They don't do it because it's not profitable.
        \_ Why pay for it if the government will.  sounds like sound
           business fundamentals.
           \_ No shit. Why is the government subsidizing Wal-Mart?
              \_ Because of the income that Wal-Mart promises. Big box
                 stores pay a nice bit of property taxes and sales tax.
                 Plus an anchor store like WalMart attracts other businesses.
                 There are minuses too. It's all POV.
                         \_ it also decimates nearby businesses and pays
                            its humans such a low wage that they need to go on\
                            on public assistance.
                            its humans such a low wage that they need to go
                            on public assistance.
        \_ Funny, wasn't the the whole merchant/road thing one of the main
           examples in The Wealth of Nations?  -John
        \_ url?
        \_ It's well known that Wal-Mart is especially adept at sucking
           every freebie from the government it possibly can, in addition to
           paying their employees so little they have to rely on government
2005/3/21-22 [Reference/Tax] UID:36790 Activity:moderate
3/21    Does the TurboTax CD this year let you pirate it onto more than one
        \_ I have it, althought I havn't tried it on another machine, I don't
           see anything that will prevent you from doing it...
           \_ Last year there was some protection scheme that prevented one
              from doing it.
              \_ I know, I didn't see anything this year. Things look normal.
                 \_ Thanks for the info.
        \_ Completely unprotected.  The CD contains both the PC and Mac
           versions and does not require you to have the CD after you have
           installed the program.
        \_ TurboTax may let you, but one might hope that your conscience
           may not.
           \_ Well, it does cost $15 to file electronically for federal;
              same for state.  As someone else pointed out, you can always
              print out the forms and mail them in for the cost of postage.
2005/3/20-21 [Reference/Tax] UID:36781 Activity:moderate
3/20    I bought a car last year and my dealer took care of filing for
        title and registration. I never got an itemization for VLF fees
        for tax purposes but I know what the total amount paid was. Is
        there a way I can find out what the VLF portion is?
        \_ I had the same problem before.  Go to DMV site and there's a
           number you can call to ask.  I'm too lazy to go through it
           again now, though.  Basically, just call DMV and ask.
        \_ Page 66 of the California 540 booklet:
           "Vehicle License Fees for Federal Schedule A
           On your federal Schedule A, you may deduct the California motor
           vehicle license fee listed on your Vehicle Registration Billing
           Notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles.  The other fees listed
           on your billing notice such as registration fee, weight fee, and
           county fees are not deductible."
           Note: you need to subtract off any VLF Offset listed.  --dbushong
        \_ Heh, I took the deduction, but it was kinda silly.  My car VLF
           was $14 and my motorcycle's was $4. -jrleek
        \_ I also bought a new car last year.  I think you can deduct the sales
           tax as well.  But I haven't started doing my tax, so I'm not sure.
           \_ You can choose between deducting your state sales tax or your
              state income tax from your federal return (that's new this year
              IIRC).  A new car will likely have more sales tax than your state
              income tax.
              \_ Really?  I thought state income tax is around 7-8%.  So
                 unless you make less than the cost of your car, shouldn't
                 your state income tax be greater than your car sales tax?
                 Of course I am assuming CA tax, it does benefit if you
                 are in a no state income tax state.
                 \_ Yo man, my ride is hella pimpin.
        \_ I paid ~$14000 in interest payments on my mortgage last year, so
           ~$50-$100 for my VLF seemed pointless.
           \_ why?  $100 would still mean like a $30+ check.  Why throw
              $30 away?
2005/3/9-10 [Reference/Tax] UID:36591 Activity:nil
3/9     Anyone have a promotion code for a Turbotax State discount?
        Federal's free this year, but it'd be a shame to have to pay full
        price for State.
        \_ Promotion code?  I had to pay to download.  Then I submit a
           rebate form to cover the price.  Did that last year too, probably
           the year before that too.  Used to be it came as an .exe that
           you could give to your friend, but this year, they hid the download
           process in the interface, and I couldn't locate it on my hard drive.
           The "free" State comes with Deluxe, as usual.
        \_ I've always heard that the government save on electronic filing,
           by not having to scan.  There are lots of free tax filing options
           available - why isn't turbotax filing free yet? (you already have
           to pay for the program, who is getting the filing charge $$?)
           \_ Your first federal filing (and state, with Deluxe) can be
              reclaimed on rebate.  If you have friends or family members
              using the same copy of TurboTax, they need to pay - since there's
              only one set of rebate forms per box.
              \_ So it is purely a mechanism by which Intuit can charge for
                 additional uses of one program CD?  I don't like hassling
                 with rebate forms/checks, so I just printed and emailed the
                 taxes instead, to be done with it.  But I'm annoyed that the
                 system doesn't work more efficiently...
2005/2/17 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:36211 Activity:high
2/17    "No, the philosophy, as I recall, was that if you earn
         money, you deserve it (note "earn" in the the meritocratic
         sense.)  And are not wealthy, and don't work for money,
         you do not deserve it.  -John"
        \_ ok, few Q's. 1) what if you won the lotto, is that meritocratic?
           2) suppose you simply got lucky, say during the dot-com days and
           got 5 million dollars even though the poor bozo around you worked
           just as hard, is that meritocratic? 3) suppose you inherited an
           apartment building and all you do is you hiring someone else to
           manage it for you, and you get good and consistent income from
           that. Is that meritocratic? 4) suppose your ancestors left great
           wealth to you and the wealth "self-generates" with minimal input,
           is that meritocratic?
           Lastly, for each of the question, if the answer is no, should the
           solution be to redistribute the wealth via brute force?
           \_ Are you asking what John thinks, what we (other random motd
              posters) think or what Ayn Rand would have thought?
              \_ asking what everyone thinks, just a survey, not expecting a
                 right wrong answer, just want to understand what and why you
                 guys have certain opinions. open ended question ya know  -pp
           \_ (1) Yes.  You invested, you got lucky.  Question the system if
              you will, not the winner's right to the money. (2) Yes.  Life
              is not fair, sorry.  If he's starving, you may take a moment to
              think about whether you have an ethical burden to help him or
              not, but this is your prerogative. (3) Yes.  It's capital.  It
              was earned at some point by someone, you received it through
              legal means. (4) Yes.  See (3).  Of course I'm ridiculously
              stretching the meaning of "merit", but I fail to understand
              the source of all the resentment directed at those with money
              obtained through legal means?  I always thought the American
              ideal (compared to some wacko European marxists I know) was not
              "hey, he's not supposed to have that", but "hey, how can I get
              that as well".  And if you're going to quote me, do me the favor
              of correcting my ass grammar, would you please?  -John
              \_ I don't resent the wealthy.  I do think that wealth reaches
                 the point of diminishing returns fairly rapidly, and that
                 it is better for the society for a billion dollars to be spent
                 on, say, public health care, than for Bill Gates to be worth
                 $51 billion instead of $50 billion.  -tom
                 \_ I don't know what the exact endowment of his foundation
                    is, but it's accomplishing exponentially more than the
                    same amount of money would in the hands of, say, NIH
                    bureaucrats.  Yes, if you rely on private charity you
                    can't guarantee the flow of money from the hands of the
                    wealthy, but it's also pretty obvious that, without the
                    choice of what to do with the money (hence the idea of tax
                    deductions, I guess) the money would go somewhere else
                    (i.e. a Cayman account) pretty quickly and nobody would
                    benefit from it.  -John
                    \_ The argument you just made--you can't tax the rich
                       because they'll just hide the money--is a lot different
                       than the one you started this thread with, don't you
                       think?  -tom
                       \_ (a) I didn't start the thread, (b) I didn't say you
                          can't tax the rich, I objected to the idea of
                          taxing the rich out of principle (as in "because
                          they're rich and we're not") and (c) I'm pointing
                          out economic realities which any society trying
                          to come up with a usable and just taxation model
                          must consider--that enforced equality is bunk, that
                          exorbitant taxes will be seen as theft (rightly imho
                          but that's just a subjective opinion) and that very
                          often private disbursal of funds is more effective
                          than government spending.  -John
           \_ Having read only Atlas Shrugged, I would say that Ayn Rand would
              reply as follows: (1) No. Lotto is theft. (2) Possibly, depends
              on what you did vs. what others did.  Did you create value? Did
              your work translate into $$? Or was it plain dumb luck? (3) Yes.
              Capital begets capital. It's smart investment. (4) Yes. See
              previous.  Although, given Ayn's philosophy, she would likely
              say for (3) and (4), that if the previous generation earned the
              money via superior intelligence, ability, etc., they would most
              likely also have trained their progeny to be "men of ability,"
              who would be able to further the family line.  Ayn believed in
              what John says above, and also believed that certain ppl had
              inherent qualities that made them "men of ability," and that they
              knew hard work, were intelligent and capable, and would thus
              naturally rise to the top in a meritocracy - a system that
              rewarded those who earned money, and not those who didn't.
              \_ I have also only read Rand's fiction, just Atlas Shrugged and
                 The Fountainhead. I am having trouble seeing where you get
                 (1) from.  I don't remember gambling being mentioned in
                 either book.  Personally, I agree with "no. lotto is theft",
                 but where's the evidence that Rand did?
                 \_ Privately run lotteries would not be considered theft.
                    Whether a publically ran lottery would be something Rand
                    agrees with is not a question I know the answer to.  In
                    some sense the question is moot because government ran
                    lotteries make, rather than lose, money.  She certainly
                    wouldn't say it was 'theft', she might possibly say this
                    sort of thing lies outside the juristiction of government.
                      -- ilyas
        \_ Wealth becoming concentrated in the hands of a small minority
           of richer and richer landlords is a phenomenon seen in the
           dynastic cycle of China.  Usually, when a new dynasty is
           founded, land is redistributed to make it more equitable, and
           taxation would be working well, then as the years passed by,
           wealth becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer number of
           richer and richer landlords.  Wealth begets wealth and these
           landlords gain power and can bribe local officials or become
           officials themselves, and through corruption, they don't pay much
           taxes, and the central government starts having problem collecting
           taxes, and the tax burden goes increasingly to the small farmers,
           and the dynasty weakens and eventually fails.  This
           phenomenon was well observed and documented in China's history and
           they even have a term for it.  A little simplistic, and probably
           not entirely relevant to the modern world, but it's something to
           think about.
           \_ Very astute and accurate observation.  Equally interesting is
              to chart out what happens to healthy economies and societies
              when the rabble finds that it can help itself to the wealth
              of its prosperous members at gunpoint in the name of
              democracy and equality (French revolution, Soviet revolution,
              Zimbabwe, Uganda under Idi Amin, etc.)  -John
              \_ The idea is that if the problem the poster above you
                 mentioned is not dealt with, it may eventually lead
                 to the problem you stated.
                 \_ Also completely accurate--however it's an fascinating to
                    compare upheaval-type attempts to redistribute wealth to
                    more gradual ones (viz. growth of tax systems in western
                    countries since 1700.)
                    \_ Yes, the gradual ones are known as 'boiling the frog.'
           \_ Of course, there is also a Chinese proverb that says wealth
              doesn't survive past 3 generations.  BTW, what is the chinese
              term that describes the phenomenon you described?
              \_ I only remember the second character is "tian2" as in
                 farm land.
        \_ I wonder how Marx and other various famous political theorists
           would respond to this question.
        \_ Take my girlfriend.  She just got her master in human
           resources from a above average school.  She is very capable and
           driven and I am sure she will do well in her career.  But
           because she is a foreign student, doesn't have any US working
           experience,  and also her English is not very
           good at all, after a few months of job search, all she got was
           a $47000 offer from a tiny company in the middle of nowhere.
           So she called up her wealthy and successful cousin who knows many
           wealthy and successful people, and viola, she got a $80000 job with
           nice annual bonuses of $20000+.  Now, people say most job offers
           are made through networking, but do you think this is meritocratic?
           \_ I don't.  I think networking is evil, and I don't do it
              professionally myself. -- ilyas
              \_ no wonder you don't have a job.  -tom
              \_ isn't academia very political as well? I get to know a few
                 people, write mediocre papers, submit to conferences in which
                 your buddies or your professor's buddies are chairmen of, and
                 get published? How about DARPA and NSF funding, don't
                 professors shmooz a lot to get those funding?
                 \_ Yes, academia is extremely political. -- ilyas
                 \_ Yes, academia is extremely political and schmoozy.
                    However, past a certain point, in academia (as in industry)
                    results speak for themselves without any of the crap.
                      -- ilyas
        \_ "Behind every great fortune there is a crime." -Honore de Balzac
2005/2/2-3 [Reference/Tax] UID:36038 Activity:low
2/2     (Re-post) Are any of you full-time grad students on fellowship at
        UC Berkeley? If so, I am curious how you are interpreting the info on
        your 1099-T. TurboTax is useless here. -- ulysses
        \_ I'm in grad school and got a 1098-T.  I wonder what the difference
        \_ Give your copy to me if its useless to you. :)
        \_ I'm not sure what to do with my 1099-T here either.  It doesn't seem
           right to not even input it into the program, or return a copy of it,
           but not really sure.  What's even more sad though is that I asked a
           few people at the SD office where TurboTax is made (I'm a former
           employee of Intuit), and they had no clue what to do with it either.
           Worthless bastards.  -phale
2005/2/1 [Reference/Tax] UID:36010 Activity:nil
2/1     Do any of the full time grad students here have a good way to work
        through taxes? My wife (a full time PhD candidate) just received her
        1099-T and we are both at a loss as to how to determine what is
        taxable and what isn't. TurboTax assumes one already knows this.
        -- ulysses
2005/1/31 [Reference/Tax] UID:35989 Activity:nil
1/31    Turbotax for the Web: Worst.  Tech.  Support.  EVAR!!!!
        \_ Hey it's free.  Stop complaining.
2005/1/26 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/SocialSecurity] UID:35915 Activity:moderate
1/26    Question:
        Currently we have a surplus of social security funds every year
        (i.e., more taken in from social security taxes than disbursed).
        I do know that the federal government spends the surplus, and leaves
        an IOU to the social security trust fund.
        The trust fund will start collecting on those IOUs around 2019, when
        social security taxes will not be enough to cover disbursements.
        Does the IOU make any money, and if so, how much?
        \_ The surplus is used to buy government bonds, which pay (not great)
           interest.  When the surplus needs to be spent, the bonds will be
           redeemed (government pays money into the SS system from general
           revenues) or the bonds will be sold on the market.  These have
           basically the same net effect.
           \_ What this is getting at is that at some point the government
              is going to borrow to cover the system. This is a given. I
              don't know why everyone is up-in-arms over the costs of PRAs
              when SS is going to go bankrupt at some point without reform.
              If you object to privatization then what is the solution when
              SS eventually goes bankrupt? Wouldn't it be better to try
              to fix it now? It will cost more now, but save more in the
              long run.
              \_ "at some point" is when?
              \_ Basically, all of Krugman's articles argue that private
                 accounts will be significantly worse than a long-term SS fix.
              \_ I think we SHOULD pay now to fix the system, but that means
                 either raising taxes or not letting people excuse themselves
                 from payroll taxes just because they have a PRA.
                 What's being proposed is just running up the debt now
                 in stead of later.  I think it's an especially bad idea to
                 run up a big debt when we already are running a huge deficit.
              \_ What makes you think we will borrow? Why not just raise taxes?
                 The current surplus is being handed to the wealthy in
                 the form of a tax cut. Eventually, they will have to pay
                 it back. They are doing everything they can to blow smoke
                 in your face and avoid admitting to the responsibility though.
                 up your ass and avoid admitting to the responsibility though.
        \_ Let's have a hard number.  3% annually?
2005/1/26 [Reference/Tax] UID:35912 Activity:moderate
1/26    When did SS get renamed "payroll tax"?
        \_ When someone figured out a way to talk about killing it without
           becoming automatically unelectable. Taxes are bad, see, so getting
           rid of "payroll taxes" sounds like a good thing instead of "robbing
           Social Security," which is what it is.
        \_ fyi, payroll tax includes the social security contribution,
           Medicare, maybe disability and unemployment too.  but yeah,
           SS is the biggest part.
        \_ Why is working for a living taxed more than passive income?
           That seems counter-intuitive.
           \_ We all hates inheritance taxes.  Except Bill. -rich bastard
           \_ Because the rich own more senators than you do.
2005/1/26 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/SocialSecurity] UID:35911 Activity:very high
1/26    I don't think everyone understands this yet, so I'll make sure.
        You know the 6.2% social security tax you pay every year (and
        the matching 6.2% paid by your employer)?  All of it goes directly
        to people receiving social security checks today.  It does not in
        go into any "private account" for you.  Instead, the government
        tracks how much money you make over your life.  Once you hit 67, you
        start getting social security checks.  The size of each check
        will be somewhat proportional to how much you made over your life.
        But this number is very progressive -- that is, people who made
        a lot of money get a much smaller proportion of how much they
        made, compared to people who made a small amount of money during
        their life.
        Once again, the current generation pays money directly to the
        old generation.
        What happens when you have "private accounts"?  Well, everyone gets
        a private account now.  You are paying yourself, not other people.
        However, the old people today still need their social security
        checks.  So who pays for it?  The government!  It takes out huge
        loans to pay money to old people, since all the young people are now
        saving for themselves instead of paying old people.
        Now, it's not a 100% transition to private accounts.  At the
        beginning, it will be a 1/3 transition.  So 4.2% tax goes to
        the old system (paying old people), and 2% goes to yourself (your
        private account).
        \_ Where did you get 6.2?  I pay 7.65% (as does my employer).
           \_ Medicare is 1.45%.  6.2% is social security tax.
        \_ But where does the government money come from?  Taxes.  Collected
           the same way the money would be collected under the current system.
           Right?  Am I missing something?
           \_ I don't understand your question.
           \_ You are missing someting.  If an individual goes the PRA route,
              they will stop paying SS taxes and in stead pay a (regulated)
              amount into their PRA.  The government is now missing the payroll
              taxes for this person but still has to pay for current SS
              beneficiaries.  To make up this missing money the government must
              either raise taxes or run a (larger) defecit.  The person who got
              a PRA is paying X-dollars less in taxes but being forced to
              invest X-dollars into their PRA.
              You will see your payroll tax be replaced with a enforced PRA
              contribution.  That money must be made up with new taxes or a
              defecit (future taxes).
        \_ While you're contemplating this, please also ask yourself the
           following questions.. Is an average American capable of making
           reasonably good investment decisions for his/her private account? If
           \_ You presume that there will be a choice.
           not, then do you think you would trust the government to do that for
           you? What about mutual funds? Where is the guarantee that whatever
           gains you get from the higher stock market returns will not be
           skimmed by those firms as administrative fees? What will happen to
           the financial markets around the world as trillions of dollars from
           the private accounts will start being poured into them? What will
           happen to the world economy and the US economy in particular if the
           US government tries to borrow trillions of dollars that are
           necessary to implement the transition? Have you seen a country that
           has successfully privitized their social security system?
           \_ Solution is simple.  Holders of the PRA are only allowed to
              invest in T-bills.  The rate of return is still better.
              \_ The problem is that with financial industry lobbying you know
                 that regulation won't last for long.  If you think they'll let
                 themselves miss out on this avalance of financial-services
                 business you'd be deluded.  What about people (like me) who
                 think that with our current-account defecit T-bills are not
                 a terribly safe investment?
                 \_ You investing in T-bills is likely as safe as the SSA
                    investing in T-bills for you.  Would limiting investments
                    to T-bills resolve the pp's concern for the lack of
                    security for PRA funds?  I am trying to figure out if the
                    sensitivity is over the security of the investment or
                    something else.
                    \_ It may be as safe an investment, but it destroys the
                       system.  Is that where your sensitivity is?  Do you
                       want the system gone?
        \_ We all understand this. SS does not need to be privatized, but
           it needs the ability to invest better. Imagine if that massive
           surplus has been invested in something other than navel lint.
           \_ Why?  What's wrong with treasuries?
        \_ can I just opt out of the whole system?  Where's my freedom to do
           that?   Don't send me checks, don't make me pay into it...
           \_ It's part of living here.  Don't like it? Move somewhere else.
           \_ The social contract is that you get to live in a country where
              old people get medical care and don't starve to death living on
              the streets.  In return, you must pay payroll taxes.
           \_ The law allows that if you become Amish.
           \_ Why do I have to pay for freeways even though I don't have
              a car? Why do I have to pay for the police even though
              I don't commit crimes?
        \_ And why is there an income cap for SS tax?
           \_ Do you mean, why is it that if I make $200K/year, I only pay
              6.2% of $90K?
             \_ Exactly.  Why make any income exempt?
                \_ I think it's because they want social security to be
                   progressive, but not THAT progressive.  In fact, one of
                   the remedies toward fixing social security is to raise the
                   the amount taxable, while keeping the maximum social
                   security check amounts lower in proportion or the same.
                   \_ SS is regressive, at least when taxed.
                      \_ The payout is much more progressive, outweighing
                         what you put in.
2005/1/14 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:35712 Activity:high
        \_ I wonder if the moron parent who was all pissed off that her
           son wanted to be a fisherman has any idea what commercial fishermen
           \_ Actually, I'm curious how long the kid would last as a
              commercial fisherman.  It's a whole different boat from
              sittin' on the riverside with a pole.
              \_ Well, I did it every summer I was in college. Personally,
                 I can't stand the sitting around with a pole type of fishing.
                 Yes, it's hard work, but depending on what fishery you're in,
                 it's comparable to construction work in difficulty, but
                 with *much* better pay, and much more fun.  The big pay
                 difference partly comes from the fact that when you're at
                 sea you don't spend *any* money, so what you earn you actually
                 save, without bills, food expenses, etc.  And there's no
                 income tax in Alaska.
                 \_ No income tax in Alaska?  How oppressive!
                    \_ Yeah, but the sales tax is 12%.
                       \_ Nice try.  It's zero.
                          \_ Omg!  Poor poor people!  How can they stand it?
                             Clearly, someone has NOT thought of the children
                             in Alaska.
                             \_ Actually every resident of any age gets a check
                                from the interest on a fund from oil money
                                that was started in the late 70's.  It's
                                usually about a grand a year per person.
                                And yes, that includes children.
                 \_ But if you're a resident in CA you have to pay tax on
                    income made elsewhere as well.  Also, how's the mortality
                    rate on the boats?
                    \_ The danger level strongly depends on which fishery you're
                       in.  Crab is really dangerous, salmon hardly at all.
                       I mentioned the income tax thing because if someone
                       were to do it fulltime, that makes a big difference.
                       It made no difference to me, since I only worked two
                       months a year and was still in a low tax bracket.
              \_ I wouldn't last a day.  I hate sea-sickness.. -- ilyas
                 \_ You'd be suprised how many commercial fisherman have the
                    same problem, but just suck it up and take dramamine
                    until they get used to it.
                    \_ Heh.  Let me tell you something about dramamine.
                       Dramamine does not work in storm weather, if you are
                       on a tiny boat.  To the tune of continuous vomiting.
                         -- ilyas
        \_ Other cool career choices for 8th graders:
           Adult Film Star
           \_ If no one grew up to be an adult film star, about 75% of you
              would have nothing left to live for.
           Professional Prostitute
           Pawn Shop Proprieter
           Crack Dealer
           \_ Don't forget crack whore; it is a noble profession and quite
              necessary to help sustain our society's way of life.
           \_ Crack dealers make GOOD money.  It is a great profession if you
              don't fry your brain first.
              \_ How much would a street dealer make?  Not some distributor
                 who sells to the street dealer, but the guy on the street
                 pushing the shit. Are there really that many crack addicts
                 in a given area?
                 \_ Hollywood, and the 2nd floor labs in soda.
              \_ Rule Number One: Never use your own product.
                 \_ Don't get high on your own supply.
2005/1/10-11 [Reference/Tax] UID:35632 Activity:very high
1/10    Flat tax: how does this make sense? If you make over $100k, 15% may
        not seem like a lot of money, but if you're making $25k, that 15%
        could be necessary for feeding a child or paying for health insurance
        that your employer's not giving you. Serious replies, please.
        \_ I think even in the proposed "flat tax" scheme it's not absolutely
           flat.  There is still some basic exemptions and deductions that
           everyone will take.  After those exemptions and deductions, a flat
           percentage number is applied.
        \_ I see where you are coming from, but on the other hand 40% of
           $x million is a buttload of money, right? It's not like that
           doesn't hurt a very rich person, too.
           \_ True, but it hurts in a different way. 40% of $xm still gives
              you 60% of $xm free and clear, which will still support a very
              generous lifestyle, whereas 15% of $25k could result in welfare.
              I agree that 40% may not be fair to the very rich, but I'm not
              sure a flat tax answers that.
        \_ Yes, flat taxes are regressive.  Yes regressive taxes are bad for
           society and bad for the economy.  Yes, the people calling for
           flat taxes don't give a damn.
           \_ Flat tax is not regressive by definition.  You are an idiot.
                -- ilyas
              \_ Everyone knows sales tax is regressive, even though it is a
                 fixed percentage.
                 So, is a flat federal income tax regressive, progressive, or
                 Neither, you say.  But, when a flat federal income tax is
                 combined with a sales tax, the overall system is regressive.
                 I think both of you can agree with the above.
                 \_ True, sales tax is regressive.  Flat tax is not.  I favor
                    a flat tax and abolition of all other taxes -- i.e. a
                    non-regressive, non-progressive system. -- ilyas
                    \_ This also includes eliminating all capital gains and
                       corporate taxes, right?
                       Finally, are you including eliminating all deductions?
                       \_ I would subject corporations to the same flat tax
                          as individuals, since corporations seem to enjoy
                          a legal personhood status, and can earn money just
                          like people.  I would eliminate deductions.
                          I would tax all effective income at the same rate,
                          which would include some form of capital
                          gains tax. -- ilyas
                          \_ I agree with this.  Even though my rate would
                             effectively go up (I have a mortgage, 2 kids, and
                             charitable contributions that are worth itemizing
                             under the current system). -emarkp
                             \_ What do you two think of a two-bracket
                                progressive system?  E.g., eliminate all
                                deductions and sales tax, but have an income
                                tax of 10% for < 30,000, and a rate of 40% for
                                > 30,000?
                                \_ Nope.  Any progressivism is bad IMO.  And
                                   where did you come up with 40%?  And why
                                   30K? -emarkp
                                   \_ Currently, wealthy people and
                                      corporations pay most of the taxes in the
                                      U.S.  Let's say they pay a 50% rate.
                                      Let's say the non-wealthy pay at a 25%
                                      rate.  If you have one rate, the
                                      loss in taxes from the wealthy is huge
                                      versus the gain you get from raising
                                      taxes on the non-wealthy.  Hence, "40%"
                                      for everyone.  These are guessed
                                      numbers, along with the 30K number, but
                                      the basic idea is as stated above.
                                      \_ That's the long way of saying you
                                         pulled them out of the air.  But
                                         thanks for answering. -emarkp
                                         \_ No.  The extra information here
                                            is that the wealthy carry most
                                            of the tax burden in the U.S.
                                            Since the wealthy are few, then
                                            if you have a flat tax rate,
                                            this rate will be closer to the
                                            high end, assuming no efficiences
                                            and the government stays the same
                                            size (whereas in the rest of this
                                            discussion, the assumption
                                            is you gain efficiences, and
                                            the government gets smaller).
                                      \_ Corporations have been paying less
                                         and less taxes year after year, now
                                         they only contribute a sliver to
                                         revenues.  About equal shares come
                                         from payroll and income taxes.
                                \_ I disagree with any non-flat tax on
                                   principle. -- ilyas
                                   \_ emarkp/ilyas:
                                      If you have one bracket, this means you
                                      increase taxes for the poor and decrease
                                      taxes for the wealthy.
                                      Perhaps this is the way it should always
                                      have been.
                                      Can either of you suggest something that
                                      would alleviate the additional burden
                                      on the poor?
                                      \_ I no more believe the poor should
                                         receive compensation for 'additional
                                         burden' of paying their share than
                                         I believe african americans should
                                         receive compensation for having to
                                         compete on equal footing for college
                                         admissions in CA, since the time
                                         affirmative action was struck down.
                                         I think the effects of smaller
                                         burden on the investors, along with
                                         the vastly simplified tax code would
                                         have a hugely positive, liberating
                                         effect on the economy overall
                                           -- ilyas
                                         (just as I think the lack of
                                         affirmative action
                                         has a positive effect both on the
                                         quality of the student body, and the
                                         academic performance of african
                                         americans).  -- ilyas
                                         \_ So you're saying if we move to a
                                            purely flat tax system, the
                                            efficiencies gained will be so
                                            great as to not create an
                                            additional burden for the poor?
                                            \_ I am saying the additional
                                               burden on the poor is something
                                               I am willing to live with,
                                               since it's only a burden in
                                               comparison to the current system,
                                               which I view as unfair.  As a
                                               completely separate comment,
                                               I think the positive benefits
                                               of flat tax are vastly under-
                                               estimated. -- ilyas
                                               \_ I understand now.  The
                                                  wealthy and middle class are
                                                  are being forced to subsidize
                                                  the poor through a
                                                  progressive tax system.
                                                  Such charity should be
                                                  voluntary, not government-
                                                  This is speaking from the
                                                  viewpoint of fairness.
                                                  Economically speaking, you
                                                  think a flat tax system will
                                                  have a hugely positive,
                                                  liberating effect overall
                                                  for the reasons you
                                                  \_ Yes, this is correct.
                                                       -- ilyas
                                                     \_ See, we CAN have
                                                        a reasoned discussion
                                                        on the motd!
                                                        \_ Unfortunately, it
                                                           all only works in
                                                           theory.  Like all
                                                           the big libertar-
                                                           ian ideas.
                                                           \_ As if anyone
                                                              ever tried this.
                                                              I wonder if
                                                              any monarchist
                                                              nobles who
                                                              read up about
                                                              read up on
                                                              governments in
                                                              Plato wondered:
                                                              sounds nice in
                                                              theory, but it
                                                              would never work.'
                                                                -- ilyas
                                                     \_ Oh, and I agree with
                                                        ilyas. -emarkp
           \_ Okay, I've probably been trolled but I'll ask anyway.  So you're
              for revoking tobacco taxes?  Sales taxes?  Social Security (I
              love how that's been renamed "payroll tax")?
              \_ This is one of the things I think is funny.  If we were
                 really in favor of reducing taxes on poor people we'd
                 lower tabacco taxes and eliminte the lottery.
                 \_ Exactly.  Also, poorer people tend to die sooner, so
                    private SS accounts would allow them to have some
                    inheritance to give to their children.
           \_ *All* taxes are bad for the economy. Progressive taxes, too,
              if not more so. As for society, I am not sure. Lots of people
              address the poor by proposing a negative income tax along
              with a flat tax. I actually think a flat tax might be a
              better idea, since our current 'progressive' system has so
              many loopholes that companies like MSFT pay nothing. Just
              have them pay 15% flat with no deductions and you might get
              some money from them. Charge them more and watch them leave
              the US.
              \_ While MSFT pays nothing (or rather, a lot less than its size
                 suggests it should), in order to qualify for all of those
                 deductions it has to spend an inordinate amount of money on
                 charities, non-profits, and the public sector. While some of
                 that money may go to questionable causes (i.e., toward
                 increasing MSFT's market share), it's still money spent on
                 the public good; taxes are supposed to be collected for
                 similar reasons (although, of course, Joe Taxpayer doesn't
                 get to decide where his tax money actually ends up). A Flat
                 Tax would seem to remove the need to spend all of that money
                 on charities and other social programs; the money could
                 instead be hoarded and passed on as dynasty (cf. the repeal
                 of the Estate Tax).
                 \_ While many large companies do spend money on charities
                    and whatnot, most of the deductions are because of
                    capital depreciation, capital losses, stock options,
                    and so on. I don't think this money is going to
                    charities, since that's not a big allowed deduction
                \_ oh my, 100 million dollars worth of Windows XP donated to
                   schools. How generous!!! Thank you Bill Gates.
                   \_ would you rather they run Linux?  MacOS ain't free either
               \_ No, *all* taxes are not bad for the economy. If this
                  idiotic belief were true, then countries like The Congo
                  would be booming economically. Taxes are necessary for
                  roads, armies, police and the functioning of a safe
                  and sane society. Take your libertarian BS elsewhere.
                  \_ I didn't say taxes were unnecessary, just that they
                     are bad for the economy. This is not me talking, but
                     Nobel Prize winners in Economics who have studied
                     \_ I understand that taxes may, on their face, be bad for
                        the economy, but the benefits reaped from the proper
                        application of collected taxes can create the
                        infrastructure to actually boost the economy. Cf.
                        Roosevelt's CCC programs and their effect on
                        transportation, et. al.
                        \_ Perhaps, but then you are saying that people
                           do not recognize the value of such investments.
                           I believe that the free market will provide
                           infrastructure if it really is an economic
                           benefit. A tall $30 million bridge serving a
                           remote part of Wyoming is not really a benefit,
                           but the Bay Bridge is. If you believe that the
                           free market will not provide those things truly
                           of benefit then, yes, you need to tax.
                           \_ Let's just say that I believe the current system
                              holds the best chance for properly allocating
                              funds for the greater good, insofar as it holds
                              within itself the means of reform. The free
                              market has the properties you've mentioned, but
                              the deficits are very difficult to overcome.
        \_ Most taxes, other than income tax, are regressive. See Social
           Security, sales tax, use fees, etc, so no, I think replacing
           income tax with a flat tax would be unfair. If all taxes
           were replaced with a single flat income tax (with a largish
           deduction), that would be fine with me. It sure would put
           a lot of accountants out of work. -ausman
        \_ under progressive tax where the rich pay more, they will
           suffer at a disproportionally rate. Imagine you making
           5 million dollars a year and you get 50% tax. Now you'll
           only make 2.5 million dollars. That means you'll only be
           able to buy a LearJet 4 instead of LearJet 5 (plus pilot and
           maintenance and storage), or you can get a LearJet 5 but
           you may have to fly it yourself. Progressive tax is unfair
           and flawed.
           \_ Boy, you really have NO idea what you're talking about, huh...
           \_ Yes, comrade. We should divide all assets equally among
              the citizens.
           \_ Fair or not, very high income taxes for the rich reduce their
              incentives to invest money into riskier business ventures
              potentially hurting the economy.
              \_ Unless, of course, you offer tax deductions for investments
                 in certain key industries. Taxes and loopholes can be a
                 powerful tool to guide an economy; they can also lead to huge
                 abuses of power.
                 \_ I'm against that; I don't think the tax system is the right
                    place to provide such incentives. It makes the system too
                    complicated and seems hard to manage. Incentives for e.g.
                    better environment-friendly tech. can be handled under a
                    different umbrella, and new-industry development done
                    through competitive research grants and other stuff.
                    \_ So're Bush and most of the super-wealthy. They'd
                       prefer to keep the goods for themselves. Estate taxes
                       help ensure that their money reenters the general pool
                       now and then, and the current tax system makes them more
                       likely to do something with what they've got rather than
                       just building up legacies; as the adage goes, spend it
                       while you've got it, and you'll know where it goes.
2005/1/3 [Reference/Tax] UID:35523 Activity:very high
1/3     I propose a way to compare who's more generous in aiding the tsunami
        victims: calculate the govt and private donations of a country as a
        percentage of its GDP, then rank the countries.
        \_ I propose ranking generosity of people, not governments. -- ilyas
           \_ But then it's hard to compare low-tax countries to high-tax ones.
              \_ Why do you want to compare countries?  -- ilyas
        \_ Wow!  You're a genius!  I wonder why no one has thought of that
           \_ Maybe because the result might not be that pleasing.
              \_ The sarcasm just flew right by ya' there didn't it?
        \_ How much is are the Saudis giving to the relief effort?
2004/11/22 [Reference/Tax] UID:35013 Activity:high
11/22   We should make income tax flatter, but also allow all charitable
        donations to be tax deductible.  This will encourage Christian
        giving to the poor and give glory to God as opposed to the evil
        liberals who just want entitlements.
        \_ Except that it doesn't.
        \_ Are you the same guy who's trying to say the poor should pay more
           taxes and not get food stamps because they sometimes blow their
           lottery winnings?  'Cause if you are, that's pretty un-Christian.
2004/11/22 [Finance/CC, Reference/Tax] UID:35011 Activity:high
11/22   So in a recent article I've read that relatively poor people
        who win state lotteries tend to lose all of their money and then
        some within a couple of years, especially those who opt to collect
        all of their funds up front. In other words, it's useless to give
        poor money if they haven't actually earned it since they'll just
        lose it. Something to be said about our tax system.
        \_ are you equating lower tax brackets and welfare to the lottery?
        \_ No, this says something about systems that give money without
           education or expectation.
        \_ TROLL HARDER!
        \_ Did you see what happened to the homeless guy that Howard Stern gave
           money to? He was one of those street drummers. He blew the
           money on liquor and whores. He bought a very expensive leather
           jacket that was then stolen from him. He bought himself some
           nice drums which were also stolen. The idea was that he was
           going to rent an apartment. I think Howard gave him $10K, which
           was a year of rent. He was supposed to report back in with his
           progress and never did. The station finally hunted him down. I
           agree that education is the key, but entitlement programs often
           don't include such components.
           \_ Entitlement program != HUGE CASH PRIZES!
              \_ Entitlement program == small cash prizes
                 \_ No.  A prize is a one time bonus, while a low tax bracket
                    or government service is a regular income source.  If your
                    job gave you a bonus, wouldn't you spend some of it on
                    impulse buys?
                    \_ Not if I was HOMELESS!!!
                    \_ Would you point me a research that says the entitlement
                       class tends to spend smaller regular payments more
                       responsibly than they do larger lump sum payments?
                       Or, to continue the above Howard Stern example, would
                       the recipient of the largess not just buy the drums
                       one month and the leather jacket the next?
                       \_ Would you point me to research that says the poor are
                          more wasteful of their money than, say upper-middle
                          class people with too much disposable income.  Who
                          buys the Hummers and Luis Vuitton bags?  It's not the
                          working poor.
                          \- i'm not sure it's much dumber of a homeless
                             person to blow $10k boon than for a berkeley phd
                             making $150k+ to be amassing credit card debt
                             [i know such a person]
           \_ Buying expensive leather jacket and drums is good.  This
              will help stimulate the economy.
2004/11/22 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:35009 Activity:insanely high
11/22   so what is the justification for eliminating the tax deduction
        for providing your employees with health insurance?  evil?
        assholeness?  true conservatism?  freedom is on the march?
        i don't get it.
        \_ If you are asking a serious question, some people believe
           controlling/encouraging behavior through taxes is not a good
           idea.  Why Bush did this is another matter, of course. -- ilyas
           \_ I don't think the gwbush administration is doing anything
              because of deeply held conservative principles that are ingrained
              in them after long years of study of Smith.  They just
              want to stick non ultra rich people with the bill for
              their spending habits. - danh
              \_ Neat Dan, can I borrow your direct line into W admin's heads
                 sometime?  I mean seriously, is it completely inconceivable
                 to you that there may be a non-evil explanation? -- ilyas
                 \_ so what is their justification?  the war on terror? - danh
                    \_ It's not like Dubya woke up one day and decided to cut
                       in this particular way.  He has some idea of what he
                       wants, and he asks his advisors, who in this case would
                       be high powered econ people, for plausible
                       implementation.  Your beef is probably with them, but
                       I bet they _are_ governed by principle (and understanding
                       of econ).  You may not agree with the principles, but
                       painting them as mindless evil is silly.  -- ilyas
                       \_ No, he didn't wake up and think this.  He's said
                          all along that this was what he wants to do.  His
                          whole plan of the ownership society is about "encour-
                          aging investment".  Unfortunately the HUGE majority of
                          the population does not have sufficient investment
                          to benefit from these policies nor available cash
                          to increase their holdings.  This is a massive tax
                          burden shift from investments to income.
                          \_ Actually, insofar as Bush wants to encourage
                             any sort of behavior (even 'good' behavior, as I
                             see it), I disagree with him.  On the other hand,
                             moves to make out tax system less progressive and
                             more flat make me happy.  I d be annoyed if he
                             copped out of the vague flat taxish motions he was
                             making in early 2004. -- ilyas
                       \_ you don't believe there are evil people in the
                          \_ No, I don't believe Bush's econ prof advisors are
                             evil, no.  Do you?  Can I have some of the good
                             stuff you are having? -- ilyas
                             \_ I believe Grover Norquist bathes in the blood
                                of liberal virgins every night. - danh
                             \_ don't be an idiot!  no red blooded texan
                                listens to sissy econ prof from academia.
                                he just finds an econ prof whose theory
                                happens to fit his agenda.
                \_ whether they are evil or not doesn't matter so much to me
                   lately, whoever is in charge of fiscal policy appears to
                   be completely delusional as they continue to increase
                   spending while deliberately cutting off the gov's revenue
                   streams.  maybe grover norquist has gay blackmail photos
                   of everyone?  can you find a non faith based economist
                   who actually thinks cutting off revenue and running huge
                   budget and trade deficits is a good thing for the US
                   economy?  i think the dollar is going to plummet,
                   debt service is going to become a huge chunk of our budget
                   just like several third world countries, but at least
                   gay people won't get penalized by the death tax. - danh
        \_ Link?  I have no idea what you're talking about.
           [stuff about the administration trying to further cut capital gains
           "The changes are meant to be revenue-neutral. To pay for them, the
           administration is considering eliminating the deduction of state and
           local taxes on federal income tax returns and scrapping the business
           tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, the advisers
           said." - danh
           \_ Do people here live in caves?
              \_ More or less.  I don't watch TV, and read the news that shows
                 up on google.
        \_ I particularly like the $2m to buy the presidential yacht.
        \_ The justification is that the current administration is
           against gay marriage and terrorists.  Get it?
        \_ What will screw me is eliminating the deduction for state and
           local taxes. It would be just like Kerry winning. The biggest
           reason lots of Repubs vote Repub is because of taxes. If Bush
           is gonna sock it to high-income people living in states with
           high tax rates then the Repubs are ruined.
           \_ Welcome to the ownership society.
           \_ Dude, Bush is spending massive amounts of money while slashing
              taxes for obscenly wealthy, leading to record debts.  Where do
              you think the money is going to come from?  Just because the
              Republicans claim to be the party of financial responsibility
              doesn't mean they are.
              \_ "If Bush is gonna sock it to high-income people"...
                \_ He isn't socking it to the ultra-high income people.
                   \_ There aren't enough ultra-high income people to make
                      any real difference to government debt one way or the
                   \_ Ultra-high income people are still getting screwed
                      by this, because they pay a lot in state taxes. If
                      you make $10 million per year you are paying $1
                      million to CA and Bush's stupid idea costs you real
           \_ No.  Those states voted Kerry anyway.  Bush's power base is
              \_ Haha, it would be awesomely evil if Bush implemented a
                 blue state agenda in blue states.  Democracy would work
                 then! -- ilyas
                 \_ This was not a blue state agenda in any way shape or form.
                    \_ Raising taxes is always a blue state agenda.
                     \_ Until you start actually questioning this are
                        you just going to keep being surprised that the
                        republicans are fucking you tax wise while claiming
                        the opposite and then forgetting about it until the
                        next time your ass hurts?
                 \_ Oh, you mean CA.  A state with blue state budgetary
                    priorities and the predicted blue state problems?
2004/11/17-18 [Reference/Tax] UID:34942 Activity:low
11/17 (wonkette)
        Infamous Cheney photo.
        \_ Is that the one with his schlong?
           \_ yes.
              \_ And it's TAX-FREE -freeper
                 \_ No, it's FLAX-TAXED.  Not to mention PRIVATIZED.
2004/11/3 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:34581 Activity:moderate
11/2    Why is Orange County so red? San Diego-- easy, a lot of dumb
        and patriotic servicemen. But Orange?
        \_ I am glad you can disparage those "dumb" serviceman with your
           freedom you owe them but hey, what can I expect from those
           selfish many who never served.
           \- i feel sorry for them ... i think they are being taken advantage
              of by BUSHCO, halliburton etc.
              \_ I'm glad they feel that way 1 out of 3 times. Don't forget
                 Halliburton was hailed by Clinton for their work in Kosovo.
                 Please, BTW, tell me just what other companies provide
                 the same services and take the same risks ?
                 \_ Bechtel.
                 \_ so, no bid contract is ok?
        \_ Rich, hard-working people live there.  Rich, hard-working people
           want smaller government, less taxes -- they don't want handouts for
           lazy poor people or higher taxes for inefficient govt bureaucracy.
                \-a recent study suggests there is more willingness to fund
                  social welfare programs when it is visibly and obviously
                  going to "people like you" ... that may in part explain why
                  some areas are more willing to have social welfare ... some
                  people are suggesting the support for social welfare programs
                  in europe is declining with brown people immigration.
                  also the OC people dont feel bound by principle to suck it
                  up when the "going isnt good" ... think state bailout
                  after OC investment fiasco. i think the OC is still the
                  largest municipal banruptcy in american history. --psb
                \_ Why would you vote for Bush if you wanted a smaller
                   \_ "Free Heathcare for Everyone!" answer your question?
                      \_ Do you even know what that plan entailed? FYI:
                         it didn't cover everyone. Providing basic health
                         insurance to those who can't get it from employers
                         doesn't require too much. Those people end up costing
                         money regardless, in emergency rooms for example.
2004/10/13 [ERROR, uid:34084, category id '18005#10.665' has no name! , , Reference/Tax] UID:34084 Activity:high
        I'm looking at the differences, and frankly, none of them
        really affects me. In another word, I don't care about
        estate/inheritance tax, education relief, and I'm not in
        the high tax bracket, so it makes little difference who
        I vote for
        \_ Way to think only in the short term and only about yourself!
        \_ Social Security? Capital gains? And, for you especially,
           minimum wage. What about other non-financial issues?
          \_ I for one don't give a damn about foreign policy and
             all that crap. Money talks and everything else matters
             little. I know this is a very narrow minded and selfish
             point of view, but I'm sure I'm not the only person
             thinking this way.
             \_ So you know you're narrow minded and selfish, but you don't
                care?  I'm really glad that I don't know you.
                \_ I am selfish and I don't care.  Actually, that's not true,
                   what I actually think is that anything other than
                   selfishness requires justification because selfishness is
                   natural human behavior.  It doesn't help that altruism is
                   often used as a justification for questionable policy.
                     -- ilyas
                   \_ altruism can also be the most efficient method of
                      selfishness.  come on, you know game theory, surely you
                      understand that a system in which all members strive
                      only for maximum gain over the short-term is ultimately
                      \_ Sure in small systems and if there aren't defectors.
                         Selfishness is still natural, and most of the animal
                         kingdom is selfish (eusocial animals excepted and I
                         should admit they are VERY successful -- ants make up
                         something like 90% of animal multicellular biomass).
                         Eusociality is, of course, selfish from the gene
                         point of view. -- ilyas
                   \_ Government policy has a long term effect, for good or
                      ill, on economic growth. If the stagflation ills
                      of the 70's return, you will with you had paid more
                      \_ I am sorry, I should clarify.  What I meant to say
                         is that it doesn't bother me that I am selfish
                         (I think it's good actually).  Foreign policy of the
                         US is of great concern to me, of course. -- ilyas
             \_ Foreign policy can directly affect how much money you do
                or do not have. This is one reason why you are not in the
                top tax bracket: You are an idiot.
2004/10/11-12 [Reference/Tax] UID:34041 Activity:nil
10/11   motd poll.
        income tax is unconstitutional:
        income tax is constitutional:
        public services are unconstitional:
        \_ The USSC has already made it clear they won't take any cases
           that challenge the 16th.  It's over.  No point in polling.
2004/10/7-8 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Banking] UID:33974 Activity:very high
10/7    So I read in The Economist last week that Americans now save
        1% of their income. That astonished me. Time for a motd poll:
        I save 30% or more of my income: .
        I save 1% or more of my income: .......
        I save less than 1% of my income:
        I save NaN of my income: .
        \_ I think these things are bogus.  They usually say "disposable
           income" but what exactly is that?  401k counts?
           \_ Any income that goes above the standard costs of living,
              basically any money left over after you pay rent/mortgage,
              food, utilities, transportation, debts and insurance.
              A lot of people are living month-to-month because they
              have zero disposable income (they buy too much house,
              they have kids, they buy too much car, they have high cc debt,
              etc.) The only real way to get out of this trap is to
              own some assets which generate you money, which is why
              it's technically a lot less riskier to start your own
              venture than it is to just keep living from paycheck to
              paycheck. (Optimally you do both). In contrast, my
              disposable income approaches 50-60% of my total income, but
              that's because I have both assets (in terms of rentable,
              paid-off real-estate and running small business ventures
              on the side and playing the market) and a steady income
              from a "day-to-day" job. Plus, I have no capital intensive
              dependents (read kids).
              \_ That's very nice for you, but doesn't really do much for all
                 the Americans who can't save.  I find your explanation for
                 why people are living paycheck to paycheck to be somewhat
                 glib.  What about skyrocketing health care costs?  What about
                 skyrocketing housing costs (a tiny single family home is only
                 "too much house" because it is overpriced)?  What about
                 stagnation in middle class income?
                 \_ I make about 23k/year and save about 10% of my income.
                    not driving is probably the single biggest factor.
                 \_ What about them? As I said before, the only way to
                    get out of the trap is to own money-generating assets.
                    Sure, a 10-25% increase in healthcare/fuel costs is going
                    to cost the average American about 3-4K more per annum,
                    but 3-4K is like peanuts compared to the money you
                    can generate by doing things beyond a monthly paycheck.
                    Is it easy to do? No. Does it take a toll on your social
                    life? Absolutely. Working weekends/nights on your own
                    stuff is only for those who want to do it, but the
                    rewards are there if you stick to it.
                    Plus, buying a house in an overpriced market is just
                    dumb. Even if interest rates are low the savings in
                    monthly payments are offset by the longer term of the
                    loan and the higher property tax you pay. Think about it,
                    a 15 year loan is finished in 15 years, but property taxes
                    are there ALWAYS until you sell the property. A lot
                    of people get suckered into thinking that buying a home
                    is good because it's an asset. It isn't. Buying a home
                    that is overpriced with long-term mortgaging is just plain
                    stupid because it's a big LIABILITY. So, people should
                    take the emotion out of buying real-estate and pay for
                    what the property is worth, NOT what the monthly
                    mortgage payments are. After all, if you are making a
                    decent living the extra couple of points on the mortgage
                    are tax deductible anyway.
                    \_ My mortgage + property tax is not that bad once I
                       deduct the interest and the tax. If the house falls
                       in value the property tax goes *DOWN*. Be careful
                       that you don't fall off your high horse, because
                       many people in this country cannot afford a house
                       at any price and $3K/year is a lot of money to
                       someone who clears $450/week (which is what you get
                       if you make $30K). It's easy for us six figure
                       college boys to scoff, huh?
                       \_ I've met a number (not many, but a fair number)
                          of people who have never even set foot on a
                          University campus who slowly but surely became
                          millionaires. They did it by owning small businesses.
                          They did it by being frugal. They did it because
                          they knew how to save. A large paycheck doesn't
                          equate to knowing how to save that money
                          because Uncle Sam whacks off 33-40% off of
                          that paycheck thanks to our progressive tax
                          system. The key is to think about doing
                          things OUTSIDE your daily routine that will
                          generate money.
                          \_ This is not everyone. The number one thing
                             you need to have in order to save is money.
                             Discipline and motivation are second. My dad
                             saves a lot of money (as a %) but he could
                             save that % for the rest of his life and
                             it wouldn't do much good. Your audience is
                             wasteful professionals, not the working man.
                             Yes, you can turn from burger flipper into
                             burger chain owner like the Wendy's guy, but
                             not everyone is capable and quite frankly
                             there's a lot of luck to it.
                             \_ I dunno about that. My wife worked as a
                                waitress for seven years and managed to
                                put away $50k, which she had turned into
                                $100k by investing. Now she has a Master's
                                from UCB and is making high five figures,
                                but even as a waitress, plus working odd
                                jobs, ske was able to pull in about $40k/yr
                                and save 1/4 of that. And this is in the
                                Bay Area. I, on the other hand, was $30k
                                in credit card debt before a dotcom cashout
                                saved me. Needless to say, she manages
                                the finances.
                                \_ She saved $10K per year on a $40K
                                   salary? That's definitely unusual, but
                                   even so what can she do with $50K?
                                   She's going to start her own business
                                   with that?! In 20 years she would have
                                   $200K and will have lived like a
                                   college student for her entire life.
                                   That is not exactly appealing to most.
                                   Most people take $50K and buy a house
                                   with it, which is probably not a bad idea.
                                   \_ That is what we did with it: we
                                      bought a duplex, which we live in
                                      and provides a good revenue stream.
                                      That is how you do it: save $50k,
                                      turn it into $100k and leverage that
                                      into bigger gains. It is not easy
                                      and it takes some luck, but unless
                                      someone hands it to you, that is
                                      all you can do. At this point I
                                      would like her to start her own
                                      business, but she likes where she
                                      is at too much to switch.
              \_ I see.  I spend like $1900 per month.  If I make $5000
                 (should it be before or after tax?), does that mean I have
                 a savings rate of 62% ?  I have trouble believing
                 the 1% figure.  Many people I know don't save enough, but
                 1% sounds too low.  Does, say, home improvements that
                 increase the value of your house count as savings?
                 \_If you make $5000 per month your take home pay is about
                   $3700-$3900 after taxes, SSI, etc. depending on how you
                   do your taxes. If you spend $1900 per month you'll be
                   left with around $2000 of disposable income. Obviously
                   you're not going to save $2000 (you probably spend some
                   on stuff like movies, games, gifts, computer junk, etc).
                   so you probably save around $1200-$1500, which is a good
                   number compared to most Americans. The U.S. could encourage
                   even more savings if they would give people who saved their
                   money tax breaks, i.e. they would knock off a buck off
                   your taxes for every 10-20 bucks you save.
                   If you want to save on taxes you should start a business
                   and expense a bunch of stuff, like your vehicle, equipment,
                   etc. That way you expense some of your consumables and
                   you can deduct that from your taxes. In addition, you
                   should really use some of the money you save for business
                   ventures because if you lose the money it's tax deductible.
                   So hey, why not risk it? And contrary to popular belief,
                   you have about a 50% chance (if you do your homework)
                   of having a business succeed. (the 1-10 number is
                   not an accurate statistic).
                   \_ I thought that the 1 in 10 number was just for VC funded
                      high-tech startups.
        \_ Why save when the government is there to take of you
           cradle to grave.
           \_ The gov't wasn't there to help you write a coherent sentence,
                  \_ The couple who live below me are probably 38-44ish,
                     have no kids and are renters.  The complain about
                     chipping in an extra $7/mo for garbage but they own
                     1 brand new 5series BMW, a corvette, and another car,
                     a +$25k harley and another motorcycle. One is some kind
                     of office manager type and the other is a personal
                     trainer. I fully believe the have a ~1% savings rate
                     or one of them is a successful drug dealer.
2004/10/6-7 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:33953 Activity:very high
10/6    I'm trying to beat a radar speeding ticket on "speed trap" grounds.
        I want to see if I can find the Engineering & Traffic "Speed Zone"
        Survey for that road to see if the speed limit's set too low, or a
        survey wasn't done recently enough.  Does anyone know how or where
        you go about obtaining these?
        \_ if you haven't already, snag a copy of the 'fight your ticket'
            book from nolo press.  It covers all of this stuff, in good
            detail..  -- Been there, done that, beat my ticket.
        \_ Pay the fine you ass! Or drive slower.
           \_ Pay the fine AND drive slower!
           \_ Speeding tickets are an underhanded regressive tax for the
              most part. If the system cared more abouit safety and less
              about raising money enforcement would be on other things.
              \_ As long as the speed limit is set in a sane way, I'm fine
                 with speeding tickets.  It would be interesting if we had a
                 system where your fine was proportional to your income, like
                 some Scandinavian countries.
           \_ The argument here is about the speed limit being set wrong
              (specifically, that it's lower than the speed at which 85% of
              people actually drive on that stretch), not about cheating the
              \_ 85% of people deciding to break the law doesn't make breaking
                 the law right.  85% of people deciding to drive above the
                 speed limit doesn't necessarily mean speeds above that limit
                 are safe.
                 \_ Perhaps, but it makes enforcement arbitrary
                     and hypocritical.  Especially when approaching 100% of
                     cops and politicians speed. (and the number for the
                     general populace is closer to 95%)
                     \_ In these situations, to avoid being pulled over, do not
                        be passing people, changing lanes, or young and black.
                        \_ you forgot having out of state plates in BFE states.
                 \_ It also makes driving below the speed limit dangerous,
                    when everyone is tailgating you, or speeding pass and
                    then cutting in front of you.
                 \_ "85%...doesn't make right."  You know... we live in a
                    democracy.  Laws exist to serve the people, not the other
                    way around.  If the majority of people break a law, I
                    believe that by definition makes it "right" in our society.
                    \_ If the majority of restaurant waiters evade tax by not
                       reporting all their tips to IRS, does that make not
                       paying tax on tips right?
                       \_ you've never waited tables, have you?
                          \_ No, but I've tipped at restaurants and I've seen
                             how much the waiters collect in one hour.  Anyway
                             is this relevant to the point?
                             \_ maybe yes, maybe no.  I'm not really that
                                interested in this debate.  my point is that
                                compliance with taxes on cash tips is probably
                                less than a tenth of a percent in most
                                \_ The IRS collects taxes on the imputed
                                   value of tips collected to counter this.
                       \_ That's a false comparison.  The correct comparison
                          would be "majority of taxpayers all not claiming
                          gratuity income"  Good luck finding that.  If the
                          majority of americans cheated in the same way on
                          their taxes, then yes, I think that way of "cheating"
                          should become legal.
                          \_ Wrong.  The first poster who quoted 85% wrote
                             "... lower than the speed at which 85% of people
                             actually drive ON THAT STRETCH".  The correct
                             comparison is "if the majority of WAITERS don't
                             report tip income", not "if the majority of
                             taxpayers don't report tip income".  On the other
                             hand, if what the first poster wrote were "...
                             lower than the speed at which 85% of people
                             actually drive IN AMERICA", the correct comparison
                             would be "if the majority of TAXPAYERS don't
                             report tip income".  See the association?
                             \_ Ah, but you're ignoring the "who it effects"
                             \_ Ah, but you're ignoring the "who it affects"
                                facet.  Speeding affects... people who drive
                                on that road.  Federal tax evasion affects all
                                taxpayers (and some non-taxpayers) in one way
                                or another, hence they are involved in the
        \_ what many folks here dont realize  (and would if you bothered to
          read the nolo book, is the letter of the law (at least in california)
          isn't against violating some arbitrary limit of speed (unless you
          were going over say 70mph), but that the speed was fast enough to
          be 'dangerous'.  This 'fuzzy' definition provides for lots of
          flexibility to the defendant, as the cops now have to *prove* the
          speed was dangerous.  Usually they use the traffic engineering
          studies to estabilsh a 'prima facie' speed limit that anything over
          is *assumed* dangerous and this is the posted 'maximum speed limit'
          you see..  But you still have room to argue against this, as there
          are a number of things that you can attack on the traffic study,
          including the 85 percentile speed travelled speed that the OP
          mentioned..  Do you research, show up to court prepared, and argue
          your case.  If you dont have a good argument, maybe you were driving
          hazardously, and should just pay up and not deal with the hassle.
          \_ Is over 70 always indefensible?
                \_ I've driven numerous times on roads with limit 75.
        \_ I bet you are a democrat, right?
           \_ See, AMC, what happens when you censor political threads? Now
              we start to pollute other threads.
2004/9/27 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:33770 Activity:kinda low
9/27    Gates has been an extremely generous philanthropist, giving away
        $28.3 billion over the years.
        So does that include all the free MS OS he donated? Can he claim
        to have donated $100 for each free XP given to schools?
        \_ that's an impressive figure.  Even more so when you realize that
           he can lose 30% of his fortune and not even notice.  In my mind
           though, the better man is the poorer man who gives away money
           he could actually use.
           \_ Are you trying to get biblical on our asses?
        \- i think bill gates is a pigdog for most things, but i think
           he has spent some of his charitable $ in a good way [like finding
           work on vaccines for which there is no mkt incentive, like malaria].
           it's also sort of cool that he has said "fuck you" to the philan-
           thopy racket run by women with expensive hairdos out of coctail
           parties. apparently they took a fair amount of criticism because
           they didnt hire a "professional" to run it but instead turned it
           over to big bill [parent of evil bill]. --psb
        \_ The article failed to realize that had he not given away $28b, he
           wouldn't be worth $28b more, because he would have to pay tax on it.
                 \_ No, he'd be the full $28B richer, just not liquid.  Do you
                    think his current net worth reflects the massive tax hit
                    he'd take if he sold all his MSFT?  No, it's calculated by
                    addingu p the value of all his shares.  Otherwise to
                    calculate rich people's net worth you'd have to track all
                    the purchase prices of their assets and estimate the tax
                    liability if liquidated.
                    \_ Oh, I see.
2004/9/21 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Foreign/MiddleEast/Iraq] UID:33666 Activity:kinda low
9/21    Missing signature mars launch of war on hunger
        U.N. Global Tax
        \_ login?
           \_ csuamotd csuamotd (newly made)
        \_ UN: We want more of your money to pour into our pockets.
                \_ Kofi Annan's son's friends pockets, actually. -John
                   \_ And you think Kofi Annan and son did not receive any
                      kick backs?  How naive you are then.
                        \_ For god's sake, "subtlety" for you must be
                           a fucking sledge hammer.  Ever heard of
                           "implying something"?  -John
2004/9/14 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:33517 Activity:very high
9/14    For people working for UC: Is the 457(b) a complete no brainer
        investment like the 401k/403b, i.e. everybody should max it out,
        or is it more nuanced? [I am a Bay Area renter without a mortgage
        or any debt, so this would not cause a cash flow problem ... and
        I would like to reduce my tax liability.]
        \_ My financial advisor told me to max out both 403b and 457b. So if
           you have the cash, do it.
           \_ Max out?  That's $26,000 a year!
        \_ It's not a complete no-brainer; there is a $45/year fee, and you
           can't get at the money while you still work for UC (though that's
           less restrictive than the 403b).  If you're going to use it, it
           probably makes sense to put a significant amount of money into it,
           just to reduce the fee on a percentage basis.  -tom
        \_ Plus, at least for 2004, you can only go into the uc-managed funds,
           which definitely have limitations.  Yes, you immediately profit
           (from the taxes you don't have to pay now), but to get into the
           fidelity funds you need to wait until at least July 2005.
           \_ If your salary is over $100k, the tax savings more than
              offsets the management fee, right?  Only being able to choose
              from UC managed funds does not seem like a significant limitation
              to me.  Especially siince your comparable 403b can be moved.
              I dont understand the "Max out?" comment. -op
2004/8/26-27 [Reference/Tax] UID:33172 Activity:insanely high
8/26    Question for motd conservatives:  what do you think about the following
        argument for progressive taxation?  The practical value of money does
        not grow linearly with the amount of money you have, but faster than
        that.  For instance, you can't live in LA on 50 dollars a day.  On
        50000 dollars a day, not only can you live well anywhere, but bend
        the fabric of society around you for your own benefit, like a star bends
        spacetime.  Progressive taxation then is meant to compensate for this.
          -- ilyas
        \_ Why does there need to be any compensation for having more money?
           If you want to redistribute wealth and thereby destroy it, then
           just do that and don't hide behind 'funny' terms like
           "progressive taxation" which are just buzzwords for what the
           left really means.
           \_ Capitalist system tend to concentrate wealth. Wealthy tend to
              bend rules of law for their benefit, thus, generate more
              wealth.  People who inheirt this wealth won't need to do
              anything.  By protecting their constant stream of income, they
              destroy opportunities for others.
              Soon or later, you will have a few wealthy people,
              may be 1-2% of population who lives very well-off, and 90%
              of people who can barely fed themselves regardless how much
              they work. If you reach that point, then, bloody revolution
              occures.  Progressive taxation is just one of way to slow down
              such process.
                \_ Don't forget that the wealthy can now pass laws to prevent
                   any future uprisings from having any chance of succeeding.
                   New York won't even let the people protest this weekend,
                   to "protect the grass."  -rollee
                   \_ If I were wealthy enough to do so, I would certainly
                      try to use any influence I could muster to prevent
                      redistribution of _my_ wealth.  It's _my_ money, not
                      the money of the collective.  Taxation is about
                      people paying for their fair share of goods and
                      services, not out of some dipshit communist principle
                      of preventing the accumulation of wealth out of pure
                      spite.  -John
                \_ No, inherited wealh diminishes over generations.  It is
                   taxed, divided, spent, and gone.  It is very rare that the
                   next generation ends up with more than the generation that
                   created it.  Only if there's a growing and successful
                   \_ False. Try again.
                   family business, in which case, the next generation has
                   earned their wealth by successfully running and growing a
                   business.  I also object to your bit about the wealthy
                   making laws for themselves which generates more wealth.
                   That is opinion and conjecture.  As a salaried person I pay
                   more than half my income in various taxes.  After working
                   \_ Wages are heavily taxed. Asset income is not. The
                      Republican rich are laughing at you, wage slave. --aaron
                   for 15 years I have a mortgage and less than year's post-tax
                   income saved.  How come I'm not making my own laws and
                   creating a legacy of vast wealth on a salary yet I pay such
                   a huge amount of my income in taxes?  This is bullshit, but
                   thanks for trying to make an honest effort to justify your
                   redistribution and destruction of wealth plan.
                   \_ Because you're a wage slave dupe who doesn't
                      understand the wage-unfriendly tax system.
                       Read "Perfectly Legal" by David Cay Johnston.
                   \_  This seems like opinion and conjecture as well.  Have
                       you seen that HBO documentary "Born Rich"?  If most
                       of the inheritance is in real estate, then there's
                       not even the necessity to earn the wealth, since the
                       returns from real estate can be so rediculous.
                       BTW, if you are working for a salary, you are not
                       truly wealthy.
                       \_ I'm not truly wealthy.  I made that clear.  If I'm
                          not truly wealthy then why am I getting ripped apart
                          by your progressive taxation/theft system?
                          \_ You're not even close to wealthy. You're part
                             of the 19% of the population that mistakenly
                             thinks they are in the top 1%, probably.
                          \_ Because you've reached the top of a heap that
                             should be higher. Those making more than you are
                             paying the same percentage income tax as you,
                             essentially it's a "flat tax.". It's no longer
                             progressive in your favor. Add on property tax
                             on your house and POOF, 50% gone. If those who
                             raked in 5x or 10x paid a higher percentage, it
                             would allow the easing of the tax burden on you.
                             Ah such is the curse of the upper middle class...
        \_ tell us about the... ah forget it.
           \_ darn, you beat me to it
              ilyas:  Please remove the part about the stars, it is honestly
              \_ Hey at least now you asked, rather than (rudely) doing it
                 yourself.  I appreciate that (really).  -- ilyas
              \_ But it sounds so dramatic! Inspiring, really. I can only bend
                 a crappy apartment around me for my benefit.
        \_ How progressive is progressive enough? -emarkp
           \_ Separate question.  Assume we are able to establish the precise
              curve for 'amount of money I have' vs 'practical value of said
              money.'  Just have the progressive schedule make that curve
              linear.  The question isn't about the specifics, but whether
              the argument itself is good. -- ilyas
              \_ It's not a separate question, it's fundamental to the issue.
                 Who decides how much more valuable my property is? -emarkp
                 \_ I just proposed who (or rather what) decides -- the curve
                    decides.  You can either say 'yes I accept this curve is
                    a good measure' or 'no I reject this curve for reasons
                    x, y, z.'  -- ilyas
                    \_ I reject this curve because if I earned it then I
                       should keep it.  If tax rates were flat, I'm still
                       paying more for the same basic services while not
                       using more of them.  Then you want me to pay more on
                       top of that so I not only pay a greater absolute
                       amount but a greater percentage of what I earn.
                       Just take it all and be done with it.
                         \_ Regardless of where the wealth comes
                            from, our judicial system and law enforcement
                            allows you to keep the wealth that you have
                            \_ *laugh* wtf?  Yes, and?  You would prefer a
                               system of total anarchy?  A system where I don't
                               like what you posted on the motd so I drop by
                               your place and shoot you?  Ok, you're right, we
                               have cops and courts and jails, so we should
                               have a brutal tax rate to match.  That makes
                               sense.  That way if I object to my insanely
                               high tax rate I can be processed.  Thanks.
                       \_ Alright, do you agree that the relative usefulness
                          of money is a superlinear function of amount?
                          \_ No, I don't.  Who determines "relative
                             usefulness"? -emarkp
                             \_ The magic rocks in my hat determine it. --aaron
                                \_ Hi troll!
                                   \_ I'm just reminding emarkp why he has
                                      no credibility.
                          If so, what's wrong with a 'flat % of usefulness tax'
                          versus a 'flat % of money earned tax?'  Yes, I am
                          familiar with the standard flat tax arguments, you
                          do not need to reproduce them here.  I am curious
                          where a typical conservative's worldview clashes
                          with the above observation, that's all. -- ilyas
                          \_ It clashes anytime a salaried guy making 6 figures
                             who doesn't own any new gadgets or spend a lot on
                             much of anything has less than a year's income
                             saved and pays out over 50% of his income on
                             various taxes every year.
              \_ I agree with emarkp here.  It's hard for me to understand
                 the question if you just say "The right amount of money
                 will be taken." Communists would say this is all the
                 money that puts you above average, so everyone make
                 $50,000 (or whatever).
                 \_ Yes, thank you.  We all know what communism means.  This
                    is in no way pertinent to the discussion.  If you want to
                    play in the real world, call us when your clue arrives.
        \_ The real problem with the tax system is that 40% of Americans pay
           no income tax at all (33% of all tax filers have no tax liability).
           Thanks, Bush tax cuts!
2004/8/13 [Reference/Tax] UID:32882 Activity:insanely high
8/12    CBO reports Bush tax cuts have shifted tax burden to middle class
        The CBO is headed by a former senior economist from the Bush white
        house, Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
        And the Bush response?
        "Girding for the study's release, Bush campaign officials have already
        begun dismissing it as 'the Democrat-requested report.'"
        \_ General question about tax increases and tax cuts for the
           liberal-minded sodans.  Say we agree that progressive taxation is
           good.  So whenever the government raises taxes, it does so in a
           progressive way (the rich pay more).  Shouldn't it, when lowering
           taxes, do so in a regressive way for the result to be the inverse
           operation?  Why is this raising such furor?  Is this just
           emotion politics? -- ilyas
           \_ Yes it is.
           \_ Assume you have some progressive graph of total income in the
              x-axis and total taxes on the y-axis.  In a progressive system,
              this curve would look something like a hyperbola monotonically
              converging to the max tax rate.  Multiplying the curve by some
              constant, say 0.9 would fairly lower taxes by 10% for everyone.
              The problem is if you change the shape of the curve in a way that
              it's overall 'progressiveness' is reduced.  If Bush's tax cuts
              preserved the progrssiveness, than everyone would have seen their
              total taxes decrease by the exact same percentage, but in reality
              the rich saw a much larger percentage drop in the amount they
              were paying.
              \_ Careful, you're making Motd Debate Mistake #1: trying to argue
                 with ilyas.
                 \_ It's not debating or arguing with the guy; it's pointing
                    out to everyone else on the motd why his argument is clearly
                    \_ That's my whole point - once you are in the IlyaLogic
                       zone, normal rules do not apply.  Its best just to ignore
                       \_ I think you guys pick on him because he is both
                          smarter than you and thinks more clearly and
                          logically than you.  And his real crime is he
                          questions your assumptions and beliefs.  The only
                          thing you can do is dismiss him without comment
                          because you can't win against someone smart and
                          \_ actually, ilyas' brain has a lot of weaknesses.
                             it's too theoretical and ivory towerish.
                             he tends to think autistically, unable to
                             keep an open mind in examining others'
                             point of view.  he also likes to project his
                             own rather narrow and limited experience onto
                             problems he has no clue about, like "affirmative
                             action is bad for US, so it must be bad for
                             India" or "Libertarianism is what I like, so I
                             support Taiwan declaring independence", etc.
                             Like software, his brain could possibly be
                             upgraded to a better version, but it would
                             require some effort.
                          \_ Actually, I personally think he makes a lot of
                             not well-supported statements, just like in this
                             post.  I try to explain why.
                          \_ There are people on the motd who get picked on
                             because they're smarter, know more, and are too
                             willing to show it, but ilyas is not one of them
                             (except for the showy part).
                             He is an example of someone who pushed himself
                             (or get pushed) through education that is just
                             beyond his own capacity.  He and Tom show that
                             one doesn't necessarily become wiser by getting
                             higher degrees, and vice versa.  No, I am not
                             against education, but just think what a waste
                             it is of everybody's time and resource to pursue
                             graduate degree without knowing how to reason.
           \_ No, the progressiveness should be fixed, like each income
              bracket paying a portion of the total taxes.  Now, as a
              percentage, the top 1% is paying less.
           \_ The question is "how progressive is progressive enough"?  If one
              assumes that taxes are currently (after the Bush tax cuts to the
              rich and the removal of the dividend tax) not progressive enough,
              then to become more progressive, you can either (1) Lower the
              tax rates on the poor, (2) Perform (1) but lower the tax rates
              on the right by a smaller amount, (3) Increase taxes on the
              rich, or (4) Both (1) and (3).
              rich, the removal of the dividend tax, and the phasing out of the
              inheritance tax) not progressive enough, then to become more
              progressive, you can either (1) Lower the tax rates on the poor,
              (2) Perform (1) but lower the tax rates on the right by a smaller
              amount, (3) Increase taxes on the rich, or (4) Both (1) and (3).
              If, on the other hand, as you suggest, we lower taxes on
              the poor and rich at the same rate, you leave the tax system
              at the same level of progressiveness (which takes you from
              "not progressive enough" to the same level of "not progressive
              enough", given the initial assumption).
              \_ Uhm, ok, but as far as I know, the tax cuts were never made
                 permanent.  I think it's 2011 they all revert back to the
                 pre-Bush tax era.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.
                 \_ You are likely correct.  It is also true that it does
                    not change the original argument.
           \_ To clarify my earler comment.  Suppose you start with a system of
              progressive taxation where one person pays $100 taxes on $1000 of
              income and another person pays $1000 taxes on $5,000 of income.
              To fairly reduce taxes by 10%, you'd see the poor guy's tax bill
              go to $90/$1000 and the rich guy's tax bill go to $900/$5000.
              An unfair reduction in taxes would be to reduce the  poor guy's
              taxes by 5%, to $95/1000, but reduce the rich guy's taxes 15% to
              \_ Ok.  So the general feeling is 'current tax system is not too
                 progressive.'  Did I get that right?  Because if it _was_ too
                 progressive, you would need to reduce taxes regressively to
                 fix it.  Next question: what's 'progressive enough?' -- ilyas
                 \_ we did reduce the taxes regressively.
                    \_ So was that good or bad?  -- ilyas
                 fix it.  Next question: what's 'progressive enough?'
                 To clarify: assuming you believe progressive taxation is a good
                 idea, AND assuming the current rates are 'just the right level
                 of progressiveness', you would want to reduce uniformly.
                 If you believe it's not progressive enough, you reduce
                 progressively, if you believe it's too progressive, you
                 reduce regressively.  So is the outcry about Bush's reduction
                 stemming from the fact that there's the belief the current
                 rates are not progressive enough?  What is progressive enough?
                 Btw, I was really flabbergasted by the level of shit in this
                 thread earlier today.  I was trying to understand the liberal
                 mindset in criticizing regressive reductions.  You would think
                 I would be encouraged to be more open minded, but I guess
                 not. -- ilyas
                 \_ The outcry was because the tax cuts were regressive, that
                    is, they made the tax structure less progressive.
                    \_ Yes ... but the outcry only makes sense if you believe
                       the system before Bush's cuts wasn't too progressive
                       (i.e. either just right or not progressive enough).
                       Do people here believe this to be so? -- ilyas
                       \_ That's a topic all its own.  Me personally?  I think
                          it should be more progressive.
                          \_ Well... the way I see it, you can't separate the
                             'outcry' from this topic.  And yes, it's a big
                             topic.  The fact that a regressive cut being good
                             or bad seems so disconnected in people's minds
                             from what a fair progressive tax system ought to
                             be makes me suspicious that it really is some sort
                             of hot button issue (the poor are getting screwed
                             more than the rich!).  -- ilyas
           \_ I thought ilyas is reasonably smart.  how come he doesn't even
              understand the difference between velocity and acceleration.
              \_ check your assumptions.
              \_ IlyaLogic is "different" than normal logic.
                                          \_ from
              \_ He does, he's just trying to lead you into a trap.
        \_ Since payroll taxes aren't being cut, most of the taxcut should
           go to the middle class.  Bush and Co always leave this bit out.
2004/8/11 [Reference/Tax] UID:32829 Activity:very high
8/11    Rep. John Linder, R-Ga. has introduced a bill that would replace
        the income tax with a federal sales tax:
        \_ Conservative politicians will always be talking about a sales tax
           or flat tax.  There is a beguiling simplicity and sense of fairness
           behind every individual citizen getting taxed at the same rate, or
           only paying a federal sales tax.  That Bush said recently that the
           sales tax idea was "interesting" does encourage his base, but is
           also a strawman.  When all the liberals go bonkers over that,
           he'll just say, "well, then the tax cuts I have in place aren't all
           that bad, huh?"
           \_ You have a funny sense of fair.
              \_ Take it up with Adam Smith and construct a real argument
                 and get back to us. Learn what marginal utility is as well.
                 \_ Blah, blah, I know economics.  Yeah, well: Wassily
                    Leontief, a Harvard economist and 1973 Nobel winner in
                    economic sciences, once observed: "In no field of empirical
                    enquiry has so massive and sophisticated a statistical
                    machinery been used with such indifferent results."
                 \_ Fair is 0% or 100%.  Anything different and someone gets
                    treated differently.  No need for your personal abuse.
                    When you're really smart, you can come here and insult
                    \_ what does 100% mean?
                        \_ Totalitarian communism.
                           \_ This is such a strange answer, I guess I am going
                              to have to bite. What is 0% fair, then?
              \_ I don't think you realize that my post was in support of a
                 progressive tax system.
        \_ Well, although I don't think anything like this would happen, it
           does have the advantage of getting rid of the bloated carcas of the
        \_ This plan is not feasible. See:
        \_ Nobody should pay any taxes. Period.
2004/8/6 [Reference/Tax] UID:32752 Activity:nil
8/6     The tax thread was active.  Why was it deleted?
2004/8/5-6 [Reference/Tax] UID:32723 Activity:very high
8/5     On taxes from the housing thread below.  I think this deserves it's
        own thread.  I was thinking about what a 'fair' tax rate is, whether
        it is for income, property tax, whatever, doesn't matter.  If 'fair'
        means the tax has the same level of burden on each tax payer, there
        can be only 2 truly 'fair' tax rates: 0% and 100%.  Anything else
        is going to be unfair to someone.  What do you think?
        \_ I don't think there is anything inherently unfair in a progressive
           tax rate. It may however be stupid, discouraging of enterprise and
           hard work, etc. But as long as everyone is in the same system it's
           not unfair... no one forces the high income guy to do that work.
           Personally I do believe we'd be better off with a small tax rate,
           with some progressivity but a pretty low slope up to a defined
           "rich point" of at least $150k, and moving up to about 33% as the
           very top rate even for super high income. The fed. gov't may be too
           huge right now to make it ideal. But even at $150k I'd like to see
           less than 15%. Such a system would 1) encourage doing higher paying
           work since you can actually get ahead for your efforts, 2) keep
           the wealthy still with a big incentive to invest in the economy, and
           3) be more fair to those who are able to earn a lot in just a few
           years for some reason, rather than a smaller amount each year.
           Ideally the gov't would be a lot smaller in the first place. And
           I would prefer taxing from the consumption side than the income side
           although there are practical problems with that now. --foo22
        \_ you could also blame howard jarvis. - danh
        \_ Depends on your definition of fairness.  I think fairness is
           achieved when each tax-payer has approximately the same level
           of post-tax income.  This is similar to the scheduling definition
           of fairness, I think.
           \_ Why is that fair?  If someone works harder, they should make more
              money.  If money was not a hoardable resource, I would say
              fairness is achieved where everyone has the same results/reward
              ratio (note: not effort/reward).  Since money is hoardable,
              and reasonable people believe in property rights, things become
              a lot more complicated.  The feeling I get from people who
              know a lot more about 'fairness' (as a formal concept) is that
              the closest tax scheme to 'fair' (as most people define it)
              would be some sort of flat tax scheme. -- ilyas
              \_ Is hard work the only contributing factor to income?  Should
                 someone be rewarded for good luck, in the sense of having the
                 right parents, or born with natural ability, or having chosen
                 a career that turns out to be high paying rather than not?
                 Notice you did a switch in your argument.  In the beginning
                 you said "if someone works harder", then in the middle you
                 switched to "note: not effort/reward".  Which one is it?
                 Do you reward effort?  Do you reward result?  Do you reward
                 good luck?  Is money the measure?  Is societal benefit?
                 Might incentive for some of the above actually
                 be detrimental in some societal sense?  Fairness.  I prefer
                 the communications model where fairness is achieved when
                 all competing consumers of a resource have an equal share of
                 the resource.  In that case, a high-consumer of the resource
                 is throttled (or pay a greater tax, if you will) more than
                 an low-consumer of the resource.  I'd be perfectly happy to
                 discuss other models of fairness if you wish.
                 \_ You are right, I did switch (not on purpose). I meant
                    'results' not 'hard work.'  -- ilyas
                 \_ You are right, I did switch (not on purpose).  I believe
                    results are what's important, not effort.  I view money in
                    a very basic sense: money are the symbol of value.  Value is
                    a very basic sense: money are the symbol of value. Value is
                    that which people want.  I compared money to a resource,
                    but I don't believe it is, in the same sense as air or oil
                    or natural gas.  However, let's run with it for a while.
                    It seems your notion of fairness goes something like
                    this:  There are 2 people digging for oil in the desert.
                    One works 16 hour days, the other works 2 hour days.  Both
                    are equally good diggers, but one digs up about 8 times as
                    much oil.  You say, there are two agents competing for the
                    same resource, so each should get an equal share of the oil.
                    I say that's stupid.  They should keep what they dig up.
                      -- ilyas
                 \_ I'm not the pp.  Of course hard work isn't the only way to
                    make money.  Should it be?  Should we 100% tax gamblers in
                    Vegas?  The lottery?  Should people with greater natural
                    ability be paid the same as someone doing the same thing
                    with less natural ability?  Should I get the same money as
                    a million bucks a year NFL quarterback even though I lack
                    his natural physical ability?  To answer your question,
                    the result is what counts.  You don't 'reward' good luck
                    but I don't see a need to punish it either.  How exactly
                    would you go about taxing good luck, anyway?  Why is it
                    fair that all competitors for a resource get the same
                    amount?  What if one competes harder for it because they
                    want or need it more than someone who puts in less effort
                    to acquire the resource?  Should they be punished or capped
                    in their ability to acquire?  Should the lazy do nothing
                    get the same reward for little or no effort?  That is
                    certainly not fair in any sense of the word I know.
                    \_ When I raised my approximately equal post-tax income
                       proposal, people complained that it would kill the
                       incentive to work.  I merely observed that there are
                       many contributing components to income, and hard work
                       is but one.  How about a proposal that says we set up
                       a tax regime where we limit the post-tax income min-max
                       spread to 3x?   Would that still provide incentive to
                       succeed and at the same time be more fair?
                    \_ Do you think it should be results that counts or
                       ability (I include hardwork as part of ability, you
                       can say "ability + hardwork" if you wish) that counts?
                       I can achieve more results than someone more capable
                       and hardworking than me simply because I have more
                       resources, for instance.  Do you think that is fair?
                       \_ How can you include hard work in ability? If someone
                          decides to work hard at writing a book nobody wants
                          to read should he get the same as the guy who is a
                          bestseller? --foo22
                    \_ Just for sake of argument, what if the 2 hour guy
                       gets lucky and strikes oil and the 16 hour guy
                       never does? Tough luck? That's my answer, but I'd
                       like to hear yours.
                       \_ In my experience (with commercial fishing, not
                          with oil specifically) the two hour guy probably
                          did not just find the valueble stuff because
                          of luck.  The same skippers get "lucky" or
                          "unlucky" way too many times in a row for it to
                          be luck.  If one guy takes the time to read up
                          on the behavior of the fish they're hunting for
                          and catches all the fish he certainly earned
                          his massively larger keep even if there was some
                          luck involved.  I think the same thing is almost
                          certainly true in the oil industry.  Why do you
                          think that Monkey Boy was unable to find any
                          oil in texas with Arbusto?  it wasn't luck.
                          \_ You think oil company executives personally choose
                             where to drill?
                       \_ Them's the breaks.  Maybe we can create a government
                          entitlement system for oil hole diggers who never hit
                          it big?  Or maybe the 16 hour guy was just stupid and
                          didn't know as much geology as the 2 hour guy so
                          education wins out?  Or maybe the oil just wants to
                          be free so we should tax both of them at 100% and
                          take the oil by force and just keep it for the rest
                          of us because after all we stand on the shoulders of
                          (oil digging) giants and without the guys who came
                          before us to invent shovels we wouldn't have any oil
           \_ Mmmm, socialism.  You do realize that this is all well and good
              until someone loses an eye, right?
              \_ It's easy to give something a label and dismiss it based on
                 that label.  It's easy, but all it is is intellectual laziness.
                 that label.It's easy, but all it is is intellectual laziness.
                 Propose your model of fairness or attack mine, if you can.
                 \_ I'm not the pp, but, that pretty much sounds like
                    Socialism, man.  The reason it doesn't work is because
                    it removes incentives.
                    \_ I said "aproximately the same level of post-tax
                       \_ Do you know anything about Europe? There is very
                          little downward/upward mobility in Europe. The
                          rich have always been rich and will always be
                          rich. The poor and middle class have little chance
                          at being rich. My whole family is European and
                          this is what Europe is like. Do you really want
                          that? In the US, most uber-rich families are back
                          to the mean in about 3 generations and there are all
                          \_ Good post, dim.  One serious difference tho--a
                             lot of the immobility in Europe is the way the
                             educational systems and vocational training are
                             structured (there's also not as much sideways
                             professional mobility as in the US.)  -John
                             \_ Yes, but this ties into it. If your parents
                                went to a certain school or had a certain
                                vocation then you have a much better chance at
                                it. I know, for example, that science positions
                                in France factor in who your parents were
                                and your age. That's ridiculous and it is why
                                so many foreign students come to the US to
                                study and perhaps even to stay. --dim
                          \_ Not with the Bush tax cuts.  Goodbye estate taxes,
                             goodbye investment taxes.  This is the most
                             disturbing part of Bush the younger's policies.
                             \_ But you ignore the other side of the coin where
                                the poor stay poor in EU as well.  You seem
                                more interested in tearing down the rich rather
                                than raising up the poor.
                                \_ I haven't said anything to the other side
                                   of the coin.  That's not to say I ignore
                                   it.  Are you suggesting that Bush's tax
                                   policy raises up the poor?  How 'bout his
                                   other economic policies?  His environmental
                                   policies?  --scotsman
                                   \_ Haven't said = ignored.  Anyway, Bush's
                                      tax policies don't hold down the poor,
                                      they allow the poor to keep what they
                                      have should hard work and/or luck lead
                                      them to being rich.  What other economic
                                      policies are you refering to?  What about
                                      his environmental policies is bad for the
                                      poor or worse for them than the rich? We
                                      all drink the same water, breath the same
                                      air, and get the same cancers.
                                      \_ That's not true, although it's
                                         certainly not the fault of policy
                                         at the federal level.  A
                                         disproportionate number of destructive
                                         polluting industries get located in
                                         poor areas, such as power plants in
                                         cities.  Of course, this problem
                                         will really only get solved by
                                         making the factories and power plants
                                         not kill people anymore, which
                                         will only come from technology.
                             \_ Please explain how tax cuts for the rich some
                                how oppress the poor.
                                \_ It's a systemic effect.  These tax cuts
                                   create a tendency to horde.  Wealth begets
                                   wealth, and humans are horders.  I don't
                                   want to see a pure plutocracy in this
                                   country.  There's also the direct effect
                                   of massively shifting the tax burden onto
                                   income tax.  When it comes to paying of
                                   the current deficits it will be much harder
                                   politically to make the case for restoring
                                   those cuts than to tell the public "we all
                                   have to tighten our belts..."  -scotsman
                                   \_ So you think making people have less
                                      money will make them spend more absolute
                                      dollars of those they have left?  This
                                      makes no sense.  By your reasoning, the
                                      richest person would spend near zero
                                      absolute dollars and the poorest would
                                      spend more absolute dollars than the
                                      richest person.  This is clearly false.
                                      People who have more money available
                                      to spend will spend more money.  I don't
                                      understand how anyone could claim the
                                      opposite.  As far as hording goes, so
                                      what?  If someone somehow makes a billion
                                      dollars and doesn't spend any of it,
                                      hordes it as you say, so what?  It is
                                      their money to spend or save as they
                                      choose.  The government sure as hell
                                      won't spend it more efficiently.  If the
                                      government were more efficient then
                                      communism would be the most efficient
                                      economic system which we know to be
                                      false.  So, how exactly is it that rich
                                      people keeping more of their money is
                                      bad for poor people again?
                          sorts of rags-to-riches success stories. Hard work
                          here can get rewarded. The person who mentioned
                          incentives is exactly right. --dim
                       income".  You can go a long way to reduce the min-max
                       spread in American income distribution (the European
                       spread is, what, an order of magnitude or two less?)
                       and improve fairness without eliminating incentives.
                                   \- i havent read the entire thread above
                                      however if you look at say the bottom
                                      quintile in the US, they are essentially
                                      at the same place as the bottom 20%
                                      in sweeden in terms of purchasing power,
                                      or absolute terms. in relative terms,
                                      the top 10% here is a lot wealthier
                                      than all the other normal countries.
                                      which make "inquality" in the narrow
                                      statistical sense greater. as a crude
                                      measure you can see if you can find a
                                      number called the "gini coeficient"
                                      for the national economies you are
                                      interested in. --psb
                       \_ So, a heavier margin-based tax rate with a higher
                          exemption?  I can get behind that.  But i'm deeply
                          bothered by the european VAT taxes.
                       \_ Wow, so you're definition of "aproximately" is
                          "within 2 orders of magnitude?"  I guess it
                          kinda works on an astrophysics scale.
                          \_ You need to work on your reading comprehension.
                             You also need to learn how to use quotation marks.
                                      \_ So taxing the rich at a really high
                                         rate is really about bringing them
                                         down, not about bringing the poor up.
2004/8/5 [Reference/RealEstate, Reference/Tax] UID:32716 Activity:high
8/5     Berkeley homeowners:  what are the bad things about owning
        in Berkeley?            -brain
        \_ I have some friendss whose property splits thhe oakland/berkeley
           border, which made them happy because they could get a number of
           permits cheaper in oakland. --scotsman
           \_ your friends should be happy, nay, *proud*, to pay the higher
              berkeley fees because those fees support the community.
        \_ Socialism.
        \_ You can't rent it out without dealing with the
           city rent control board.
        \_ Anyone live near the N. Berkeley BART station? How do you like
           your neighborhood? We're thinking of buying there, within a few
           blocks (walking distance). Thoughts?
           \_ n berkeley is great, by n berkeley bart
           \_ Used to rent a few blocks east of there.  Nice neighborhood but
              busses and emergency vehicles favor taking MLK to I wouldn't
              want to buy a place on MLK or Sacramento.
        \_ Property taxes are thousands more per year than neighboring cities.
           \_ 1.8%/year, versus 1.2% in many other cities.  This adds $50/month
              This is based on the figure that mortgage,taxes, insurance and
              maintainance run you about $750/mo/100k
              per $100,000 your house costs over neighboring cities.  So a
              house in Berkeley is about 7% more expensive to own than a
              house that has the same price but is in a different city.
              \_ A $500,000 house will cost $3000 more per year in
                 property tax. This is significant. What do you get for
                 the extra money?
                 \_ Probably the biggest thing is public schools; Berkeley's
                    one of the better districts in the state, Oakland's one
                    of the worst.
                 \_ wildly inflated profits when your house appreciates? - danh
                    \_ does berkeley house prices appreciate faster than
                       the surrounding cities?
                 \_ A cable-access show where a bunch of hippie retards do
                    naked interprative dance and show off their wrinkles.
                    \_ I could do without
                       too. - danh
                 \_ What's your point?  If you can afford a half million
                    dollar house, you shouldn't complain about paying extra
                    $3k in property tax.  We should have a graduated property
                    tax schedule so that expensive houses pay a higher rate
                    of property tax.
                    \_ not necessarily, some people might have come across
                       a large wad of cash (inheritance for instance) but
                       do not have a high income.
                       \_ The homebuyer should know how much property tax
                          is owed for the house and should plan according.
                          If he spends his windfall in one wad and does not
                          plan for taxes, insurance, and other fees, then
                          he's an idiot.
                                \_ Hey asshole: maybe the homeowner did
                                   plan for taxes. The question was what
                                   sucks about Berkeley. Paying more taxes
                                   sucks. STFU.
                                   \_ If you planned for the higher tax, then
                                      you shouldn't complain you can't afford
                                      to pay it.  Buy a cheaper house, or buy
                                      it in another city than Berkeley, if you
                                      can't afford the tax here.
                          \_ This is the most stupid reply I've seen,
                             I mean really, STFU. -!op.
                             \_ I take it you're another selfish property
                                owner who doesn't want to pay his fair share?
                                But you'll vote Kerry and go to bed at night
                                with a clear conscience  because you've done
                                your share for democracy.  You make me sick.
                                \_ I agree.  Vote Bush!
                                \_ Ermm.   what does Kerry have to do with
                                   local property taxes?
                     \_ The point is that its $3K less in the city next
                        door. What am I getting for that extra money? By
                        the way, why the hell should more expensive houses
                        pay a higher % of property tax? Property tax is
                        beautiful in that it is FLAT. People pay more if
                        they buy a more expensive place. Why raise the RATE?
                        \_ Because it would be *fair*, the same way the
                           regular income tax is graduated, despite what some
                           Republican zealots would like to do otherwise.
                           Those who have more money, who can afford the big
                           expensive houses, should pay their fair share to
                           maintain the community.  Instead of making the
                           poor family who can barely pay the mortgage for a
                           broken down house in marginal neighborhood pay
                           more taxes, why not make the fat cat who can
                           afford it pay more?  Sounds reasonable to me.
                                \_ Fair share? The most fair system is
                                   the same tax rate, be it the income
                                   tax or the property tax. With
                                   income tax, people who makes more
                                   have the luxury (most of the time)
                                   to pay a slightly higher tax rate.
                                   With property tax, most home owners
                                   in the bay area do not have the
                                   luxury to pay a higher property tax
                                   rate. Ask most working family in
                                   the bay area, do they have extra
                                   10k to burn on property tax each
                                   year? This has nothing to do with
                                   fairness. I worked hard to save up
                                   the money to buy the house while at
                                   the same time paying my share of
                                   taxes. With income tax, we are
                                   talking about the top 1%, with
                                   property tax, you are talking about
                                   50% of the home owners (higher than
                                   the medium price). With income tax,
                                   you only pay when you make money,
                                   with property tax, you pay no
                                   matter what. Do you think it's fair
                                   that older people who have worked
                                   all their life has to move out of
                                   their homes into a dirty shit area
                                   because now they cannot pay the
                                   higher property tax rate you
                                   proposed? And what does this have to
                                   do with Kerry or Bush you troll?
                        \_ Actually, in CA property tax is largely regressive.
                           Because of Prop 13 the peopel who bought their
                           houses earlier are paying tax on a price far below
                           market value.  They are paying a lower tax rate
                           even though they have seen more appreciation and
                           have more equity than a recent buyer.  There are
                           legitimate public-policy reasons for progressive
                           taxation, and instituting it in property taxes would
                           not necessarily raise the average rate, though it
                           *would* raise it for people with more expensive
                           poor family who can barely pay the mortgage for a
                           broken down house in marginal neighborhood pay
                           more taxes, why not make the fat cat who can
                           afford it pay more?  Sounds reasonable to me.
                           \_ Even better, how about we do this?  Keep the
                              property tax rate as it is for houses under
                              some kind of state or regional median price.
                              Have a graduated property tax schedule for
                              houses more expensive than the median, and
                              use the additional tax revenue to fund schools
                              and other projects in poorer neighborboods.
                              \_ You obviously are not a home owner.
                                 Keep dreaming.
                                 \_ I am obviously not a selfish hypocrit.
                                    \_ Have you ever lived in a poor
                                       neighborhood? Do you think more money
                                       is the solution? I for one have lived
                                       in one and a bullet is a much better
                                       solution for some of those fuckers.
                           \_ I don't like the idea of a high property tax
                              at all.  It discourages savings.  It
                              discourages home ownership.  It forces people
                              to work forever.  For instance, I have a
                              good job and is earning big bucks, and
                              already bought a nice home.  Now I want to
                              devote the last 5 years of my working life
                              to charity work, but can't because I want
                              to keep my house but charity work job pays
                              very little and high property tax would be
                              a big hit.  High property tax is also bad
                              for older people and retirees who labored
                              all their life and should now enjoy the
                              fruits of their labor in the form of a
                              nice house.  A home is important part of
                              one's life and highly illiquid in that one
                              can't just move on a whim; but life circum-
                              stances changes, and a high property tax
                              (a recurring cost) would force people to move
                              when they suffer a bad break.  I don't mind
                              a graduated income tax and inheritance tax,
                              but property tax should be low (we are
                              already taxing rent income).
                              \_ You have no right to save money.  You have
                                 no right to live in a nice house.  You have
                                 no right to stop working when you can't
                                 afford to.
                              \_ Very well said, thank you!
                              \_ I don't think it's a good idea to just tax
                                 income and leave assets (like a house)
                                 un-taxable.  Your house needs police and fire
                                 protection whether or not you are retired, and
                                 I think you'd still like schools to run and
                                 roads to be repaired irrespective of how many
                                 of the homeowners are working.  For people
                                 who are retired or in your situation, there is
                                 something called a "reverse mortgage".  In any
                                 case, you still need money for food and
                                 clothes, so you should just budget for your
                                 property taxes too.
                           \_ I don't think housing price necessarily
                              reflects the income level. If you really
                              want the fat cats to pay more, then
                              increase income tax on the rich people.
                              Housing price reflects more than just the
                              income level, it reflects years of hard
                              working, saving up, sacrifice, family
                              contribution, etc. People should not be
                              punished for that. If you and I make the
                              same amount but I saved more than you do
                              and I bought a more expensive house, then
                              why should I cover your share? Home is not
                              a luxury, it is a necessarily.
                              \_ A house is a necessity, but a $750k house is
                                 a luxury.
                              \_ Your 1500 sq. foot half million dollar house
                                 in Berkeley is certainly a luxury and not a
                                 necessity.  Come back to me with that
                                 necessity line when you're in a 10' x 10' hut.

                                 \_ WTF? Can you find ANY DECENT HOUSE under
                                    half a million now a days? shut the fuck up!
        \_ Berkeley Hills homes are very nice.  You just have to worry about
           hill fire.
2004/7/19-20 [Reference/Tax] UID:32359 Activity:high
7/19    How much roughly does H&R Block charge for preparing an individual tax
        return for a couple with two income, a few ESPP sales, a few stock
        dividends, and a newly-purchased home under mortgage, with all
        documents available?
        \_ H&R block is for people with very small, simple tax returns who
           want to reduce their hassle from epsilon down to zero(me).  If you
           actually expect to have your return done right the first time,
           with all the deductions you should get, and this adds up to
           real money, just forget it.
        \_ Call them.
        \_ As of 4 years ago, they charged by the forms filed.  1040EZ alone
           was like $30.  Schedule A costed extra, and schedule C and etc...
2004/5/5 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:30033 Activity:high
5/5     Does apple education store charge sales tax/shipping for CA? thx.
        \_ When I bought an iBook, shipping was free, but I did have to
           pay tax.
        \_ Yes, for recent G5 purchase. Funny, while you are filling out
           your order, sales tax doesn't show up, but after you click
           the "buy" button, it's all tacked on to your bill. I ended up
           going over my apple loan limit. It makes one appreciate
 's checkout process.
           \_ This happened when I bought a refurbished G5.  I'd managed to
              talk my wife into the expense, and then the bill showed up
              with an addition couple hundred tacked on.  That really pissed
              me off.
2004/5/3-4 [Science/Electric, Reference/Tax] UID:29957 Activity:insanely high
5/3     This is what should be taught in schools:
        As a real conservative, I want to save tax money by not funding this
        current "secular science" education.
        \_ Mm... a crank as well as an anti-semite.
        \_ Grade school should be nothing more than the 3Rs.
2004/4/23 [Reference/Tax] UID:13362 Activity:nil
4/23    TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities) seemed like a good
        deal until I found out you have to pay taxes on inflationary
        adjustments on the PRINCIPAL when they happen.  So let's say you
        buy a $1000 TIPS and inflation is 10%, and you get 12% return because
        of that.  Your principal would be adjusted from $1000 to $1100, and
        you would have an interest income of $120 but pay taxes on $220
        ($100 principal adjustment + $120 interest).  Numbers are approximate.
        This doesn't seem like a good deal if you are interested in having
        a steady inflation protected income...
2004/4/19-20 [Reference/Tax] UID:13268 Activity:nil
4/19    Bush makes $700k last year, pays about $200k in taxes.  Cheney
        makes 1.5 million, pays $200k in taxes.  How does this work exactly?
        Seems like this directly contradicts what even the Cato Institute calls
        the "bedrock principle of taxation" in America.
        \_ Because different income sources are taxed at different rates.  I'm
           stunned that no one on the motd seems aware of this trivial fact
           and instead prefers to go off on conspiracy theories and pseudo
           marxist drivel.  Put away the tinfoil.
           \- Once again, read this book "Perfectly Legal":
              Written by a Republican, not a Marxist. --psb
              The different sources of income is partly a non-issue because
              the people we are really talking about are making the big
              bucks on some form of investment income [i.e. trading
              risk and time for reward] not wage [trading calories and
              time for money]. In other words we *are* talking about
              differential tax treatment of income. And we are challenging
              the equity and efficiency of the current system. We're talking
              about examining the descriptive consequences and considering
              normative issues. --psb
              \_ What's wrong with trading risk instead of calories?  Is the
                 sweat of one's brow the only worth a person has?  How about
                 other ways of measuring value such as the fact that a person
                 with a higher education will have a higher earning capacity
                 than one with a lower education?  Or smarter vs. dumber?  Or
                 any number of other ways?  Calories are not measured evenly
                 across the economy.  Is that unfair?  I don't think so.  Some
                 calories are worth more than others.
                          \- i'm not saying everyone should make the same
                             hourly wage. the issue is the tax exemptions
                             not the tax schedule. --psb
                 \_ Your argument might hold water if income from calories
                    burned was taxed at an equitable, or even an equal, rate
                    as that from risk.  "Risk money" has had its taxes reduced
                    immensely over the last few decades, and very wrongly so.
                    The estate, dividend, and capital tax reductions tend
                    toward consolidation into massive hereditary fortunes that
                    look suspiciously like the monarchies we threw off more
                    than 200 years ago.
                 \- because wage income is deducted from your paycheck so
                    it is harder to hide. next, companies are less willing
                    to play games to the tax advantage of the avg shlub making
                    $150k/yr, but probably is for the person making $15m.
                    a bus driver obviously cant arrange to be paid minimum
                    wage and then fly off to bermuda to give a talk as a
                    "transportation consultant" in a bar over a red stripe
                    or two and get paid $25k which goes into a bermudan
                    bank which then gives him a visa card to access that
                    account ... all invisible to the IRS. --psb
              \_ How come sometimes you can't spell?
                 \- because english is my second language.
                    \_ BS.  This post was well-thought and spelled
                       perfectly.  Other times you barely deign to press
                       the space bar.  It's odd.  Are there 2 of you?
                         \- my brother, esb, helped me compose that entry.
                            he is knowing much english than i. --psb
                            \_ Extra Special Bannerjee?
                       \_  Wait a minute.  You've been regularly reading psb's
                           posts on the motd, and that's the only thing you
                           find odd?  I think you're pretty odd for thinking
2004/4/14-15 [Reference/Tax] UID:13198 Activity:nil
4/14    Has anyone not done their taxes yet?
        \_ I'm doing them tonnight and I have a question 'cause my W-2 isn't
           in front of me.  On the CA form 540 where it says "Total wages (W-2
           box 16)" is that gross wages, or wages after witholding?  Where it
           says "Total tax withheld (W-2 box 17)" is that all witholdings, or
           just the state witholding?
           I don't need a tax expert, just someone with their W-2 at hand.
           \_ gross wages before withholding; just state withholding.
              \_ Thank you.
        \_ I did mine last night.  I use TurboTax, and they annually have
           clogged up servers for online filing on the last night.
           \_ ED!  ED!  ED is the STANDARD!!!  Tax Editor.
              \_ ED! ED is the STANDARD UNFUNNY JOKE!
                \_ I started learning/using ed recently.  It's actually a very
                   enlightening process. --darin
              \_ A good friend uses only ed.  It works for her and apparently
                 she's too lazy to learn anything else.
                 \_ If she was serious she'd use sed and cat.  ed users are
                    weak.  SED!
        \_ Taxes?  Didn't I just do those last year?
           \_ Bear tax?  Let the bears pay the bear tax.  I pay the Homer tax!
2004/4/11-12 [Reference/Tax] UID:13133 Activity:nil
4/11    Turbo Tax imported my previous year's tax return, which i have $XX
        state refund. it considered it as income. but I also received a
        1099-G from the government for the same money. If I type in the
        1900-G, my tax is increased. Is this right? I feel like I am being
        counted twice for the tax refund. If I don't report the 1099G, am I
        at risk of being audited? thx.
        \_ No one here is a cpa.
        \_ Did you try looking it up in TurboTax? That's part of the point
           of spending money on it, it's supposed to answer small questions
           like this.
        \_ 1900-G? The 1099G is for unemployment insurance. And yes it is
           taxable by the feds.
           \_ I got a 1099G for my state return, too.
              \_ My boo-boo. It covers the state returns too. The money is
                 federally taxable. TT automatically adds it as income. You
                 don't need to send the 1099-G form.
                 \_ Wasn't the money already taxed by the Fed govt in the
                    previous year?  Why would the refund be taxed again the
                    following year?
                    \_ Thanks!
2004/4/2-5 [Reference/Tax] UID:12997 Activity:nil
4/2     So some guy decides to try to jump off of the bay bridge and holds
        up traffic for hours while police try to negociate with him.  He's
        already cost the state far more than he'll ever pay in state taxes,
        so why not just shoot him or push him off already?
        \_ or better yet, since people will get pissed about killing the
           guy, just put a safety net below him, then push him off.  police
           do not solve problems the same way engineers do. usually this is
           probably for the better.
        \_ Because people are not potatoes.
           \_ Tell me about it.  Potatoes are useful before and after falling
              200 feet into water.
           \_ we have enough people on this planet already.
              \_ that's why we should stop tax breaks for people who
                 reproduce like pigs.
                 \_ pigs are over breeding?  eat more pork.  the other white
        \_ "Think of the children!"
        \_ Did he eventually jump of get down?  Wussed out didn't he?
           \_ At 11:30pm he had moved off the edge to an alcove and was acting
              groggy.  The CHP SWAT team, wearing safety lines, rushed in and
              "subdued" him.
              \_ clubbed him into submission or tasered him?
              \_ This isn't what SWAT is for.  Complete waste of money.
                 Even if he should be saved, a social worker would suffice.
                 \_ since when does the CHP have a SWAT team anyway...
                    \_ CHP _DOES_ have a SWAT team, they are for Govn'r
                       protection and SWAT situations on state propert'y. In
                       most cases however they defer to the local county
                       SWAT team for tactical responses.
        \_ Hopefully it'll be you up there next time and they'll just push.
        \_ Personally I'm taking notes, and figure that I will use this to
           stop traffic in SF next time I have need for such a distraction.
           \_ youll get arrested and at a minimum spend 72 hours in lockup
              being 'evaluated'.  if some state paid doctor decides he has
              a spare bed and he needs funding, he'll declare you insane and
              keep you there until he retires or you die of old age.  i say
              go for it!
2004/3/26-27 [Reference/Tax, Reference/Military] UID:12888 Activity:kinda low
3/26    After opening a new phone line, I have been using a calling card for
        long distance exclusively, but I also want to have a long distance
        carrier as a backup in case when the fone card's system fails.  Any
        long distance carrier that does not charge a monthly fee/tax/surcharge
        and is not exorbitantly expensive?
                   \_ I think you mean 'exorbitantly'.
                      \_ yeah thanks and corrected
        \_ don't worry...some long-distance provider will call you soon
           enough with a "courtesy call" and would love to be your
        \_ Why not just get a backup phone card?
           \_ Different type of systems.
        \_ or use 10-10 numbers for backups?  I was using for LD
           for 6 months because of their free deals, but then when they
           mis-billed a int'l call at $4/min I disabled LD on my phone, not
           worth the hassle.  Onesuite, and
        \_ I wanted exactly this.  SBC had some deal that's no-fee 5M-"/minute.
        \_ I wanted exactly this.  SBC had some deal that's no-fee 5/minute.
           Works for me.  --dbushong
2004/3/26-27 [Reference/Tax] UID:12887 Activity:nil
3/26    For a home-based small business, is it required to have a business
        phone plan for its charge to be counted as biz expense for tax purpose?
        Is biz plan much more expensive?
        \_ dunno. yes.
        \_ not really, and yes generally
           if you are sole proprietorship there are basically no restrictions
           the usual corporate veil issues pertain to the S-Corp/LLC case
        \_ No, but you have to have a separate line (you can't say "I use
           40% of the single line to the house for work)
2004/3/24 [Reference/Tax] UID:12829 Activity:nil
3/24    Are you having trouble with TurboTax and TurboTax State?
        \_ efiled everything over the weekend. no problems.
        \_ my stock losses actually helped me this time.
2004/3/23-24 [Reference/Tax] UID:12821 Activity:nil
3/23    Self-employed sodans, is there any advantage at all in getting a
        Fed Tax ID when you are not required to, i.e. when you don't employ
        anyone else?  I know the obligatory "it's beyond stupid to seek
        * advice on the motd" but I have done some research and I do think
        there are sound advice from the motd, sometimes, and advice for which
        I pay $$$ is not always reliable.  tia.
        \_ I should add that one lawyer claimed on his web page that getting
           a Fed Employer Id can protect your asset even when you have no
           employee but I cannot verify that claim on any IRS regulation.
           \_ It would help if you decide to incorporate (not a bad idea) or
              if you MIGHT employ somebody. The IRS calls these Employer
              Identity Numbers (EIN). Look up:
                \_ "me too" - making yourself a closely-held corporation is
                        easy and the taxes are easy to do yourself too- look
                        into the S election for small corporations.     -brain
                   \_ Really?  Did you get a lawyer when starting up?  Some
                      books claim paperwork would be onerous.  And what about
                      double taxation?
                      \_ the paperwork is not bad; I recommend one of the Nolo
                         books... the hardest part is drafting your articles of
                         incorporation.  In my case, I did hire a lawyer, but
                         most of my friends said I was a sucker for doing so!
                      \_ S-corps are for small businesses. some berkeley
                         printing company makes do-it-yourself books for
                         this kinda thing. S-corps are pass-thru income
                         like LLC's and partnerships. the regular corps
                         (C-corps?) you can get double-taxed.
                         \_ See for books.
                        \_ if you are the owner there is no reason you should
                           get double-taxed in a C-Corp even... there is no
                           dividend tax until 2006 !  Yay evil republicans!
                      \_ The best thing is that you can protect your assets
                         if something terrible happens to or at your job.
2004/3/16 [Reference/Tax] UID:12699 Activity:high
3/16    Bring back the car tax:
        \_ Great!  Ride Bike!  Use Linux!
        \_ No no no! We must lower all taxes to 0% and only then will we be
        able to spend infinite amounts of money on combatting terrorism!
           \_ It's too bad that you're trying so hard to destroy what could
              be a good discussion.  The tax rates, what gets taxed, and how
              the money is spent is a core issue that matters to everyone on
              a daily basis and you're pissing all over it like a baby.  Oh
              well, this topic is dead.  thanks.
              \_ Have you ever seen a political debate on the motd that didn't
                 degenerate into garbage?  I think he was just saving us all
                 some time.
                 \_ I have seen lots of good political debates on the motd.
                    Some of us are interested in that sort of thing, you know.
                    \_ Really?  Are you reading a different motd than me?
                       There may have been one or two but 99% of them
                       quickly degenerate into (or even start with) name
        \_ Why is this an issue?  The car tax was like that for most of the
2004/3/15-16 [Reference/Tax] UID:12683 Activity:nil
3/15    Turbo Tax or Tax Cut?  Now that turbotax does not include copy
        protection this year, is anyone switching back to turbo tax?
        \_ Yeah, I'm using TurboTax, and I used it for the last 4 years too.
           But geez, Norton AntiVirus added product activation, and they
           also charge $19.95/year per computer for virus updates.
           \_ their stuff doesn't work. still get hit by viruses that
            other shareware can easily find and remove
        \_ TT.  TC was crap last year.
           \_ I fully agree. I ended up having to buy TT after finding that TC
              had no capability to handle my situation.
2004/3/11-12 [Reference/Tax] UID:12633 Activity:low
3/11    Probably haven't seen one of these since before the bubble, but
        does anyone have a particular strategy for exercising options
        that they advocate? I don't need the money immediately and am
        trying to minimize my tax liabilities. I can afford to pay the
        exercise price if that will help. -saarp
        \_ to avoid risking AMT, just sell as soon as you exercise..
        \_ you should pay what you owe and stop looking for loop holes to
           avoid giving back to society.
        \_ What kind of options?  ISO or NonQ?
           \_ NQ -saarp
2004/3/10-11 [Reference/Tax] UID:12609 Activity:nil
3/10    I hope that the large number of sodans who paid AMT in 99-00
        understand that they now have an AMT credit that should be
        helping lower their tax bills. Use it or lose it:
        \_ fuck that, they should be paying amt every year!  tax the rich til
           they aint rich no more!
2004/3/9 [Reference/Tax] UID:12581 Activity:high
3/9     GREEN! : .
        PURPLE! : .
        \_ This a lightsaber color poll?
           \_ No
           \_ Are you the Green leader?
        \_ Why do motd polls always lack the right answer?  Everyone knows
           RED! is the right answer.  I want to see a url from a source I
           approve of before I'll even consider discussing these other useless
              \_ Red Five standing by.
        \_ Green must fight purple, purple must fight green. Is no other way.
                 \_ Cut the chatter, Red 5.
                 \_ It's not a Star Wars reference --op
        \_ Why do motd polls always lack the right answer?  Everyone knows
        RED! is the right answer.  I want to see a url from a source I approve
        of before I'll even consider discussing these other useless options.
           RED!: .
           \_Green must fight purple, purple must fight green. Is no other way.
2004/3/3-4 [Reference/Tax] UID:12503 Activity:nil
3/3     When calculating the net worth of a person far from retirement, why is
        the balance in his/her 401k account included?  That money hasn't been
        taxed and can't be withdrawn without a penalty.  Thx.
        \_ Because it is part of your net worth? If you have $30 million
           in your IRA but no other assets should your net worth be $0?
        \_ With penalty and taxes, there's still a net worth.  It's not like
           penalty and taxes would negate everything you have.
           \_ No, just most of it.
        \_ penalty shouldn't be deducted, taxes should, in my opinion.
           \_ Why? If you own $4 million in stock or in property or cars
              or any other asset it is still $4 million worth. You might
              pay tax when you sell and you might pay transaction fees, too.
              That has nothing to do with the worth of those assets.
              \_ I should say the part that's the deferred income tax.
                 \_ How do you know what they may be? It could be zero if,
                    say, capital losses offset it when you withdraw. It
                    could be much more than now if your income goes up a
                    lot. Net worth is net worth and figuring out the best
                    way to get income out of that is a different problem.
                    \_ It's an ever-changing number, genius.  If your stock
                       has a certain value on the market today, that's the
                       value today and part of your networth today.  If
                       tomorrow your stock tanks and goes to zero, then you
                       recalculate your net worth.  Please tell me you're not
                       a Cal student or alum.
                       \_ Please tell me where what you said contradicts
                          what I said. Obviously, net worth is calculated
                          at a given point in time, genius.
                          \_ I didn't.  Someone has been maliciously editing
                             and moving stuff.
                    \_ how exactly do they calculate capital gains and
                       income tax when one starts withdrawing at retirement?
                       can one withdraw everything at one go?
                        \_ if you want to pay the highest taxes possible, yes
2004/3/2-3 [Politics/Domestic/California/Arnold, Reference/Tax] UID:12492 Activity:high
3/2     I'm a little confused.  Does it make any sense to vote Yes on 58 but
        no on 57, or vice versa?  What's the alternative to 57-- bankruptcy?
        Higher taxes?  Ending school lunches?
        \_ 58 can only pass if 57 does. I am not sure if 57 can pass
           without 58, but I think so.
           \_ You've got it backwards: !58 => !57
        \_ both are needed to pass to have any effect.  I wouldn't mind
           58 and 57 so much *IF* Arnie decided to raise just a bit taxes
           58 and 57 so much *IF* Arnie decided to raise just a bit taxes n
           and didn't cut car taxes.
           \_ What if he decided to only raise taxes for people in *your*
              tax bracket?  Would that be ok?
              \_ good point, and the answer is no.  this bond is about
                 as regressive as sales tax, where the wealthies pays a much
                 less portion of the burden than they should bear.
2004/3/1-2 [Reference/Tax] UID:12469 Activity:low
3/1     a few weeks ago someone posted recommending against TurboTax on the Web
        this year (even though they liked it in the past). What exactly is
        different/bad this year?
        \_ Search in ~mehlhaff/tmp/motd,v with your favorite text editor.
           \_ I'm trying to ask for more info than was originally posted, not
              to read the same info again, so the archive won't help. -op
              \_ Oh, sorry.
        \_ I believe it's got this goofy product activation thing which causes
            problems for some people (link for 2002-related thing):
2004/2/26-27 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:12416 Activity:nil
02/26   Brookings Institution on whether Bush's tax cuts should be permanent:
        \_ There you go: Dog bites man, no story; man bites dog, front page.
           \_ Huh?
        \_ It's on Go post there if you care.
2004/2/20 [Reference/Tax] UID:12325 Activity:high
2/20    I exercised my options last year. According to the etrade form, the
        sale price was $25,600, the option price was $13,7500, and the total
        gain was $11,850. Of the total gain, etrade already calculated taxes,
        social security, state, etc, which came out to be $5077.73. So
        actually I only got back around $6700. Here is my question. Since
        I already got taxed, do I have to report a net earning of $6700?
        The etrade form says "W-2 Income: $11850.00". If I tell them that
        I made extra $11850, wouldn't I get taxed twice?
        \_ Etrade already withheld your taxes.  You should report it as a
           W-2 income.
        \_ The very first question is:  Are they NQ options or ISO?  The tax
           ramifications are different for the two.
        \_ I've never dealt with any stock options, but I think you're
           supposed to report the full 11k income, but also report the
           $5k you paid in taxes  So you won't get taxed twice, but the
           $5k you paid in taxes may be adjusted depending on how much your
           other income was.
           \_ Yeah, what he said.
           \_ Ok, so I had a temp job and I made about $3000. My total
                income last year was $11,850 + $3000. Approximately how
                much tax will I have to pay back/receive? I'm asking because
                this is such an insignificant amount (I'm taking a leave of
                absence) and I'm thinking of not reporting the $11850
                income at all. I know this is not right but I will do it
                if I can get away with it.                      -op
                \_ Don't be a dumbass. File and you will get most of
                   the $5k you already paid back as a refund. The IRS
                   already knows you made the $11k. Don't think you can
                   outclever them.
                   \_ Actually, if you only made $14,850 last year and no
                      one else can claim you as a dependent, you'll get
                      all of it back.  File.  You're only penalizing yourself
                      if you don't.
                      \_ how do you know this?
                         \_ etrade calculated your tax and withheld assuming
                            you have certain level of income.  Since you made
                            almost no extra income, you're in a lower tax
                            bracket for the year.  Don't know if you'd get
                            all of it back as above said, since taxes laws
                            for stock options may be differenct, you should
                            get at least some money back.  It's in your favor
                            to report it correctly and get what you deserve.
                            And as someone said above, etrade reports your
                            income directly to IRS, so don't try to "get
                            away with it."
                            \_ In addition, it looks like you might have been
                               taxed at the "old" rate of 28%. It was changed
                               to 15% at some point last year. You might be
                               owed money thanks to BushCo.
                               \_ Buy lots of fire extinguishers to help
                                  offset the closure of your local fire
                                  department due to lack of funding.
                    \_ Wrong. Why do people who have no idea what they
                       are talking about love to confidently state their
                       opinion on the motd? Check out one of the tax
                       calculators on the web. You will owe something
                       like $600 in total tax burden. If you have paid
                       $5000 already, you will get $4400 back.
2004/2/20 [Politics/Domestic/Crime, Reference/Tax] UID:12320 Activity:low
        \_ interesting, there are lots of articles about the total
           slime (but probably Hero Of The Revolution to a strict
           100 percent Let Corporations Do Whatever The Fuck They
           Want In All Case, Common Sense Be Damned You Smelly
           Socialist Hippie free market guy) who runs the network
           of shadowy tax free industry lobbyist front groups
           behind and other sites, Rick Berman,
           NO NOT THE STAR TREK GUY, ok let's begin:
           So I find it fascinating that this guy, who is VERY well
           paid, in millions per year, to head a trio of non profits,
           that are directly funded by Phillip Morris, to cry
           and whine about the funding of PETA.   Give me a break.
           The deeper argument here is not at all about PETA,
           but why don't assholes like Rick Berman get pancreatic
           cancer, the world would be much better off.
           \_ also I bet Rick Berman was the inspiration for
              a lot of the really funny book "Thank You For Smoking"
           \_ oooh, you're so sexy when you wear your tinfoil hat and use
              "shadowy" to describe someone that any ninny like you can
              find out everything on using google.  sheesh.  even if berman
              is a total asshole and is better off dead that doesn't mean
              peta is anything but a bunch of cocksuckers and better off
              dead either.
          \_ kinney? is that you?
        \_ This petition is idiotic.  First they say PETA is engaged
           in all sorts of nevarious criminal activity, which may well be
           true, but then they say that this means that they shouldn't be
           tax exempt as a non-profit, which is what their petition if for.
           That's just dumb.  If they're criminals, call for them to be
           investigated as such, but unless they're atually in danger of turning
           into a for-profit corporation, this is unfounded.  When a cult
           religion decides to go nuts and kill a bunch of people, we don't
           go round saying they're not really a religion and take away their
           non profit status, we convict the leaders of crimes.
                \_ you know all those urls I posted detailing the background
                   of the slimebags behind, they weren't
                   that foaming at the mouth and were actually quite well thought
                   out, i think it's important to understand the context of
                   who writes this crap, i hate you selective motd censor.
                                           \- your petition has been heard.
           \_ I do not think you understand how the legal system operates
              in this or other law based country, and you are mixing
              sentiments, which I share, with legal tactics.  You go after
              the bad guys with EVERY legal arsonal.  Like you attack
              terrorists on financial front as well as military front
              (and yes if terrorists are using non-profit foundations then
               their tax-exmpt status should be revoked - that will cripple
               them faster).
               \_ Ok, mister legal scholar.  Name one case where this
                  "legal tactic" was effective.
                  \_ There are legion.  Some of the mafia cases were cracked
                     first with an IRS violation.  Illegal income are rarely
                     reported to IRS.  Usually it is easier to prove that you
                     failed to report an income than to prove that income comes
                     from murderous activities.  I can't recall any precedent
                     involving non-profit but it would be in the same vein.
                  \_ Which mobster was it that went down on a single IRS
                     conviction for failure to fully report his income yet got
                     away with untold numbers of other crimes including murder?
                     Was it Capone?
        \_ PETA is cool. It's Malthusianism taken to it's logical
           extremist conclusion. I wonder if people who are activily
           involved in PETA are clinically insane.
           \_ I've known some PETA people and they all seemed sane enough
              to me. One of them is now wanted by the FBI for bombing some
              animal research labs, though. Another one is a lawyer
              for Wilson and Sansini now though, so whattya know.
              \_ Now aren't you morally obliged to turn that bomber in?
                 \_ this is a different poster, but no one has seen
                    the guy in months, either in real life or online.
                    critical path was just full of freaks!
        \_ people eat tasty animals.
           \_ Anyone rememeber back in the day when was registered by
              the group People Eating Tasty Animals?  Probably back in 1997...
              \_ Yeah, those were the days, I remember them fondly.  WTF?!
                 Who cares who owned which random fuck domain 7 years ago?
        \_ I am a fruitarian and I believe vegetables have a life force
        and the peta people are killing innocents.. PETOV
              \- the nature conservancy as also been corrupted by liberal
                 hypocrites ...
                 [ might be a whacko organization but much
                 of this was unearthed [NPI] by the washinton post ...
                 i couldnt find the story in their "deep web"]. --psb
        \_ Soylent Green Fuel and Soylent Green Battery.
        \_ Meat is murder!  Salad is slaughter!  Jainism or bust!
2004/2/19 [Reference/Tax] UID:12311 Activity:moderate
2/19    So much for benefits of e-commerce:
        \_ the state gov'ts are desperate, but this is not yet enforced.
           If it is, there will be massive tax revolts.
           \_ Why?  Why should an online business not pay taxes?  It'd better
              if they simply started collecting taxes correctly, but still...
2004/2/17-18 [Reference/Tax] UID:29812 Activity:nil
2/17    I have used TurboTax on the Web for 6 years now.  I have to say
        2004's version sucks.  It skips many interview questions
        because it thinks it doesn't apply to me, and there is no way
        for me to force it to go through these missing sections.  And
        online helps sucks.  "What is the gross income test?" and "How do
        I claim tax credit for worthless stocks?" yield no search results.
        Word of advice:  Don't use TurboTax on the Web this year.
2004/2/16-17 [Reference/Tax] UID:29805 Activity:high
2/16    Where can I find information on how tax money is spent in different
        countries? For example, what % of the U.S. tax money goes to
        defense, home, commerce, etc? How about Russia? Japan? Canada?
        \_ <DEAD><DEAD>
2004/2/16-17 [Politics/Domestic/Gay, Reference/Tax] UID:12276 Activity:kinda low
2/16    I totally support gay marriage. I'm single and straight but don't
        have a gf, but I would like to have all the tax advantages of being
        married. My roomate and I discussed it and we think it would be cool
        that we sign marriage papers for the sake of tax benefits.
        \_ For many couples, there's a significant tax "marriage penalty".
           And are you sure you want to assume all your roommate's debts?
           You get married, that's what you do.
           \_ You haven't been paying attention, have you.
              \_ To what?  The elimination or reduction of the marriage
                 penalty will, at best, make being married not-a-penalty for
                 tax purposes.  It is never better and there are no laws
                 coming up to make it better.
                 \_ Right now, it it is a tax disadvantage to be married,
                    if both of you are working and making decent money.
                    Perhaps this will change, but it has not so far, in
                    spite of Republican promises.
                    spite of Republican promises to fix it.
        \_ If all married gay, there would be no kids to power the economy
           and pay taxes.  Since this would destroy our country, this
           should be discouraged.
           \_ wacky troll
           \_ Our economy is doomed once the prime ingredient, cheap oil
              goes away, anyhow:
              \_ ASPO!
2004/2/14-16 [Reference/Tax] UID:12262 Activity:nil
2/13    Ok it's that time of the year. How do I claim Lifetime Learning
        Tax Credit?                                             -grad student
        \_ It's one of the supplemental forms when using one of the
           1040 forms. Not sure if you can claim using one of the EZ
           forms. This saved my financial butt last year.
        \_ Don't fill out forms.  Use <DEAD><DEAD> to fill them out
           for you.  Just answer the questions and all the forms will be
           filled out automagically.  It costs money to submit your tax
           return electronically, but free to print them out and mail them
           in old school.  Super-easy and efficient.  - not affiliated
        \_ Is this a new thing?  Didn't know this when I was a grad 5 yrs. ago.
2004/1/31-2/1 [Reference/Tax] UID:12055 Activity:nil
1/31    Is the economy picking up? 4 job postings on the motd. Not quite 1998,
        but not bad either.
        \_ i was thinking the same thing.  of course, i've been hearing
           talking heads and economists say shit about economic recovery,
           but until job postings on the motd picked up i have to admit
           i didn't believe it.  I guess this relates to the above poll.
        \_ This despite Bush's tax cuts oppressing the poor!
           \_ No really, are you an idiot? [restored]
              \_ OMG!  WTF!  LOL!  No.  Are you?
        \_ because if they didn't hire the rest of us would just keel over and
           die and then they'd have to hire and have no one to train the new
           people.  having a job has been nice but it isn't 1998 nice.
        \_ Amazing it took this long considering how much money is being pumped
           into the economy via tax cuts and big federal spending increases.
           I guess it takes a long time to "trickle down" from defense
           \_ Bush' claim to fame is that this is one of the shortest
              recessions ever. nice troll though.
              \_ Actually neither are true.  The recession started during the
                 Clinton admin. and the official length of time is about the
                 same as any other since these things were tracked.  And no,
                 it wasn't a very good troll, just standard lefty noise.  As
                 a middile class person who got a useful amount of money back
                 on my taxes, I'd be really fucking pissed off if all those
                 "tax cuts for the rich!" got rolled back.
                 \_ See, that's funny, because I'm a "middle class person"
                    likely in the same upper five figure income bracket as
                    the rest of you, despite what Mr. I'm A Big Adult
                    seems to think.  And I got a whole $40 a month extra
                    out the tax cut.  Is that what you call a "useful amount
                    of money?"  Its half a good pair of pants!  Or a halfway
                    decent meal out!
           \_ It was a one time boost. Already the economy is starting
              to turn back down.
              \_ nothing goes straight up or straight down.  when it was going
                 down there were plenty of 'ups' along the way.
           \_ Uhm, a lot of us haven't gotten our first full refund yet.  If
              you earned a pay check you'd know that.  Come back when you're
              taller.  Thanks for joining us for today's grown-up topic.  The
              kids' topic for tomorrow is "pokemon or yu-gi-oh, which is right
              for you?"
              \_ Hey look, its Mr. I'm A Big Adult!  You're my favorite motd
                 asshole.  Seriously, you need a new line.
                 \_ When the kids leave, I'll stop using it.  I think Pokemon
                    is more your speed.  Would you disagree?  Are you more of
                    a Yu-gi-oh kid?
                    \_ Keep on trollin'...
                       \_ So you're a "Heart Of the Cards!" guy, huh?
                          \_ I think he's a Pokemon guy.
        \_ There was an article in the paper (either Chronicle or WSJ) that
           mentioned that there was this guy that either turns around your
           company or liquidates it. He moved from San Diego to Silly Valley
           because there is lots of liquidation business...and this was very
           recent. The big tech turnaround hasn't happened yet, and probably
           won't until the next big innovation happens. There are still too
           many ppl looking for too few jobs. If you don't have the skill set,
           experience, exceptional talent, and/or bow to a company's every
           wish, expect to be out of circulation for quite some time.
           \_ I read that article.  It was just his high hopes and free
              advertising.  He moved here years ago, not recently and it was
              from LA, not SD.
           many ppl looking for too few jobs.
2004/1/30-31 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:12038 Activity:kinda low
1/30    States that pay out more in federal taxes voted for Gore, states that
        take in more in welfare benefit than they pay in tax voted for Bush: (nytimes link)
        \_ 'Cos if you're looking for sense, don't ask an American voter.
        \_ Democracy is two Republicans and a Democrat deciding who is
           for dinner.
2004/1/21 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/SocialSecurity] UID:11869 Activity:nil
1/20    [18-hour rule for debated threads enforced: political thread restored.]
        Finally a tax cut the Republican's don't like:
                                          \_ The apostrophe doesn't mean "an s
                                           will follow"
        One that helps the middle class most, of course.
        \_ typical... the rich & poor are taxed the same amt of SS due to the
           $88k+ cap, so reducing SS tax helps all $80k earners the same
           dollar amount, but of course $6k is pennies for the millionaire
           while it's 2 months mortgage for normal folks.
           \_ If you're paying $3k/month mortgage and/or making $88k a year,
              here's a big fat fucking hint: YOU'RE NOT POOR!
              \_ And that cap used to be $70k not that long ago.
        \_ Yeah, let's kill social security sooner.  Funny how it isn't called a
           tax, but rather SS when it's supposed to be put into a 'lockbox'.
           But when we want to shift the tax burden even higher it's called a
           tax. -emarkp
           \_ Did Bush raid the "lockbox"? Yes, he did and he used it to
              handout tax cuts for the rich.
              \_ Sh. Maligning the Pres. isn't allowed in Del Paso Manor.
              \_ Pyramid scheme.
              \_ Last I checked, my SS rate was still the same. -emarkp
                 \_ Rate, yes, funds available, no.
                    \_ Are the funds available >= the funds needed? -emarkp
                       \_ Well they would have been, if they had not
                          all been spent. Good enough until 2038 at least.
                          \_ So you're claiming that we're deficit spending for
                             SS?  That is, that outlays of SS are higher than
                             collections?  If so, I'd like to see something to
                             back up the claim.  -emarkp
                             \_ No, I am claiming the opposite. Though the
                                outlays are projected to pass income in 2013
                                or so.
                                \_ So what precisely is your objection to moving
                                   SS money around if there's a surplus? -emarkp
                                   \_ I think the money should be used to
                                      pay off the debt, not pay off GWB's
                                      campaign contributors. Silly me.
           \_ I don't see why any of you give a shit about SS.  Not one of us
              is likely to see so much as a penny from it after paying into it
              for decades.  People are living too long, getting too much out,
              and not putting enough in to cover any of us.
                \_ Hear hear... SS will be bankrupt long before we retire,
                   probably after the substantially increase taxes and
                   retroactively tax retirement savings.
          "As critics have long noted, that means that someone earning [$87,900]
             pays the same Social Security payroll tax as Microsoft's Bill Gates."
           "For example, a filer earning between $40,000 and $50,000 pays 12.2
           percent of his income in payroll taxes and 8.5 percent in income
           taxes, according to a study by the Tax Policy Center.
           By contrast, a worker earning more than $500,000 pays 3.5 percent of
           income in payroll taxes, and 27.3 percent in income taxes."
           \_ Worse than that, the combined rate is higher for people
              making $87k/yr than it is for people making 88k-300k.
              Guess how much I make?
              \_ You do understand that federal income tax and social security
                 are wildly different things, right?  The only thing they have
                 in common is that they're deducted from your salary (SS even
                 deducts from your company equal to the amount from your salary,
                 so you're really getting twice the shaft).
                 \_ They seem the same to me. The federal government takes
                    a bunch of my money and spends it. What is "different"
                    about them?
           \_ You understand that people get the same amount out if they put
              the same amount in?  BG is not going to get more out of SS than
              someone who made exactl $88k every year.  If you think SS taxes
              are so unfair to the poor then let's let the max contribution
              rise all the way up and then we can pay BG a billion or two a
              year when he hits 67 (or whatever) because he'll have put so
              much in over the years.  That makes sense, right?
                \_ you're an idiot.
                   \_ thank you. now I know I've hit a nerve when that's the
                      only response to a factual description of how the world
              \_ You are wrong. Say two guys pay the same amount in and one
                 dies at 65 and other lives to be 100. They do not get the
                 same amount out. Your statement goes downhill from there.
                 \_ here's where I get to say "you're an idiot".  Must I also
                    explain why the sky is blue?  Please take your anal
                    retentive self and find a rock to crawl under.  You're
                    the only one here who didn't understand the very basic
                    gradeschool concepts being applied here.  In this case,
                    there is nothing the government can do if you drop dead
                    too early, however, it is obvious to any child that if
                    you live the same length of time you'll get the same amount
                    out as BG, assuming you're the same age, start drawing at
                    the same time and have been making at least $88k for most
                    of your working life.  There, I did it.  I fed the Mighty
                    Troll Of Anal Retention.  Have a cookie.
                    \_ Thanks for the cookie, but you are still wrong. There
                       are thousands of scenarios where people who pay the
                       same amount in get differing amounts out. Your payout
                       is based on your highest five years of earnings, so
                       someone who makes 30k/yr his whole life gets less
                       back than somone who makes 10k/yr his whole life,
                       except for that 5 year period where he made 100k.
                       Is this fair? I dunno, maybe you have an opinion.
                       There is no way to design the system that is not
                       "unfair" to somebody or other.
         \_ As an aside, I think the name "Social Security" should be changed
            to "Welfare for Seniors".  That way people wouldn't think it was
            a retirement plan, we wouldn't have this nonsense about privatizing
            it, and people wouldn't think that you should get out an amount
            proportional to what you put in.  If you're intelligent, lucky,
            or thrifty you can prepare for retirement far better than
            Social Security.  The reason I support SS is that I don't want
            to see stupid, unlucky, or spendthrift seniors starving living
            in poverty.  Finaly, naming it "Welfare for Seniors" would
            probably make people realize the stupidity of making SS a
            regressive payroll tax.
        \_ What's the rationale behind the government providing MANDATORY
           retirement plans to all US workers?  I can understand rationale
           for providing welfare type benefits(Redistrib. of wealth, etc.),
           but SS has the guise of a "retirement plan:" you pay in young,
           you get back when old.  Firstly, anyone with income above $50k
           should be able to provide for their own retirement, esp. with
           federal tax savings plans like IRA's, Roth IRA's, 401k's, etc.
           Secondly, anyone who is forced to live paycheck-to-paycheck
           belongs in the poor category eventually, and will end up on
           welfare or some other government freebie.
2004/1/20 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:11848 Activity:very high
1/20    What do you liberals think of the following:  a big chunk of the state
        budget is in pension funds for gov't employees.  How about we stop
        new enrollment in these state run funds for new govt employees and
        offer 401K plan instead?  Also give incentives for current employees
        to convert to 401K.  The idea is to scale back govt run programs.
        Empower each individual to think about his/her own retirement and let
        them manage their own retirement money instead of asking the govt
        to take care of this.  We can grandfather the program and keep
        everything the same for current employees to keep them happy. But the
        new teachers or prison guards or other civil service workers will
        only have 401K instead.  "Ask not what your country can do for you,
        but what you can do for your country."
        \_ Out of curiousity, can anyone speak to the tax incentives for a
           business for setting up a pension fund versus a matching 401k?
           Or give me a pointer for where I might read up on this.  I've
           been curious about the widespread disappearance of pensions.
        \_ Imagine it was this:  "A big chunk of the company budget is in the
           pension plan.  How about we stop offering a pension and in stead
           offer them a 401K.  Also encourage everyone in the pension to convert
           to a 401K.  The idea is to get the pension plan off the books."
           I guess I don't know how I feel about this.  What kind of
           'encouragement' will you give current and former employees to switch?
           The fact that the state, as an employer runs a pension for its
           employees doesn't really seem overly socialist, just standard
           business practice.
           \_ Imagine?  Those of us with jobs don't have to imagine.  What
              universe do you work in where people still get pensions?  Most of
              us don't even get 401k matching.  And more importantly, how do I
              get a ticket to your universe??  Why should government employees
              get special benefits the working stiffs don't?  Imagine that.
              The obvious method of conversion is offering 401k matching.  It
              is what the rest of us get (if we're lucky).  Pensions are not
              standard business practice anymore.  Not for a long time.
              \_ that's because "standard business practice" is "fuck the
           The fact that the state, as an employer
              \_ Get a better job. My mom's company has both a pension and
                 a 401(k) (which they match 6%). My gf's company has both
                 a pension and a 403(b) (but no matching). Neither work
                 for the government in any way, shape, or form.
              \_ Many govt. employees (like myself) are paid much less than
                 private sector salaries, live in constant fear of being laid
                 off due to the current fiscal crises, never get bonuses or
                 stock options, and do not get raises when there's a deficit.
                 It's quite a trade-off.
                      \- you dont have a 403b? i dont think the working
                         conditions at say the port of oakland is the same
                         at say lbl or ucb. --psb
                 \_ You think people out here don't have the same fears?  Our
                    fears are much much much greater than yours.  There have
                    been *millions* of jobs lost in the last few years alone
                    in industry.  How many government jobs in the same time?
                    Industry jobs can even go poof during good times.  And
                    I've yet to receive a single penny of bonuses, an option
                    worth more than the paper it was on, and it's been a long
                    time since anyone has seen a raise.  You get raises in
                    good times, eh?  Most of us only get raises by quitting
                    and finding a new job.  I've done government work.  You
                    basically don't.  I have very little sympathy.
        \_ If you're looking for ways to solve the current budget crisis, how
           about demanding the billions owed to us by the energy industry?
           \_ It's in court.
2004/1/19-20 [Reference/Tax] UID:11832 Activity:very high
1/19    Stock market is bouncing back so I'm polling people here with stock
        options and ESPP that are worth something.  What percentage is your
        vested stock options and ESPP as a portion of your total liquid
        assets?  I'm thinking of cashing out some of my options, but the
        tax implications are quite significant.  The percentage of my liquid
        assets in company's stock is about 50% right now. Quite a lot since
        it has gone up a lot in the past year.  I know I should diversify but
        I hate paying a shit load of taxes also.   Just wondering about what
        the rest of you are doing.  Thanks.
        \_ My opinion: do the AMT calculations and sell enough to put you just
           under AMT if AMT would have you paying more.  You should really talk
           to an accountant/tax expert if you have significant bucks floating
           around.  Find one now because by tax time they'll all be too busy.
        \_ You might want to look into, if you are interested
           in hedging your bets or just deferring taxes. Make you understand
           all the tax implications before you do it. I did not, but it
           worked out in my favor anyway, since Bush lowered the long term
           capital gains rate. -ausman
2004/1/17-18 [Reference/Tax] UID:11817 Activity:nil
        See how taxes have changed over time.  From this, it looks as though
        2001 taxes effectively shifted some burden from the very rich to the
        sort-of-rich, leaving the poor untouched.
        \_ actually if you look at that report, the super rick more than
           doubled their share of income, while their tax rates only raised
           by 50 percent.  Also that seems to be income tax alone.  Does that
           count for such things as capital gains or property taxes?  Stuff
           that has some pretty significant cuts over the years?
        \_ This chart does not include "payroll" tax, which is almost as
           large as income tax, and has regressivity. Nor any of the
           other taxes, which hit lower income people harder (percentage
        \_ Sorry OP, but it looks like people on both ends of the spectrum
        \_ Sorry OP, but it looks like people both both ends of the spectrum
           think your chart is a load of crap.  Maybe next time....
2004/1/16 [Reference/Tax] UID:11812 Activity:nil
1/16    Related tax thread. I bought this up before and I couldn't find a
        single convincing argument against it.  Everybody pays a base tax
        for all gov't projects and services.  Those who use that particular
        gov't service should pay more for the simple reason that they use it.
        E.g., everybody pays some base amt to build a bridge.  But the
        people who drive across it pays more in the form of a toll.  Same
        for education.  Everybody pays for public education.  But people
        with a lot of kids in public schools should pay more.  You get the
        idea.  I think this "pay more tax the more gov't service" you use
        is the only way to get the state and federal deficits under control.
        \_ this is one of the stupidest things I've seen on the MOTD.  -tom
        \_ The problem with "pay-more-use-more" is that it may be in the
           state's best interests for people to use services even if they can't
           afford to pay more.  What if people 'oops' and have another kid but
           can't afford to send him/her to school?  What about an indigent
           drunk bum?  They use tons of services and theres no way they can pay
           \_ There is a mechanism for this already, it's called garnishing
              wages.  Yes, sometimes someone would die or something or otherwise
              be unable to pay, which will result in some deficit.  However, I
              have this impression the resulting deficit will be far, far more
              manageable than now.
              \_ Saying you'll garnish their wages is no different from plain
                 old regular income tax.  If you just blindly increase their
                 tax, what happens if they can't afford rent or food?  It seems
                 like you're just advocating making the tax code way more
                 complicated in way that will make taxes over all much more
           \_ the base tax that everybody pays should be enough to cover
              these things. I'm not suggesting that the homeless pay for their
              homeless shelter. That's stupid and unreasonable.
        \_ Schools are a good counterexample.  Families have children typically
           long before their earnings peak, yet educated children will have a
           better chance of higher earnings and greater contribution to society.
           Hence it makes sense to give young families help to grow with help,
           so they can then help others later.
           That being said, the school systems in many places suck now, so it's
           not such a good example any more.
        \_ what you are suggesting isa regressive tax.  The poor end up paying
           a much higher percentage of their income to pay the taxes.  And it
           doesn't take into account that the wealthy get a lot of advantages
           out of having functional government services.  For instance our
           infrastructure and education system have MADE the country one
           where wealth is so attainable.  Make those paid by regressive
           taxes and it won't be the case.  Do you really want to live in
           a third world country?
           \_ I think the issue is this 'base amt' that I'm suggesting. If
              this base amt is enough to pay for 2 kids in public school, and
              you pay more if you have more than 2 kids, why would that
              destabilize society?  It would make people think twice about
              having 5 kids.
              \_ You are still making a regressive tax.  And in this case
                 the poor are maying the same amount (or more) for the
                 same services, services that end up improving the life of
                 the rich more.  Think about how hard it would be to
                 have the industrial base the us has if we didn't have
                 say, roads.
              \_ China had the same thing. The US called it a violation of
                 human rights.
        \_ progressive tax >> flat tax >> regressive tax
           As much as conservatives like the principle of an overall flat
           tax or regressive system, I believe the majority support an
           overall progressive tax system -- just not as progressive as the
           liberals would like it.  Your proposal is for a regressive tax
           system:  a fair sounding idea, but not humane in practice.  What
           do I mean by humane?  People (conservatives and liberals) believe
           if you're rich, you should pay more than the poor person.  Humane
           people want to provide a safety net for the poor or those who
           run into unexpected circumstances -- thus, the rich, having the
           extra buffer to pay, do pay.
        \_ To OP: If I want to beat you up and take your stuff because I
           think you're a dumbass, should you pay more because you're
           using the protection provided by the police?  :)
           Seriously, though, I think a flaw in your proposal is that many
           things are difficult to charge for fairly.  For example, there
           is a class of goods often referred to as "public goods" in
           economics which benefit everyone beyond just the user.  Some
           classic example beyond police protection and the military are
           roads, schools, enforcing environmental regulations, and
           emergency services.  I don't think your system would work for
           many public goods.
           \_ You're ascribing a level of rationality to the libertarian motd
              that simply does not exist.  They figure they'll protect
              themselves from criminals with their gun collection, fight off
              invaders with the local militia, and that all environmental
              concernes are part of a vast liberal conspiracy to undermine the
              free market.  Roads? who needs 'em?
              I'll just drive an SUV over the decaying dirt strips that used to\
              be roads.  Schools?  Fuck 'em.  I learned PERL from a book, not
              a school, and look what a useful member of society I am!
                \_ You are ignoring where a majority of Federal expenditures
                   go - Medicaid and Social Security.  These are
                   unconstitutional bureaucratic monstrosities that
                   misallocate funds and whose industries basically extort
                   rent from the economy.  This nation survived quite well
                   for 150 years without an income tax and socialized
                   medicine and retirement.  Our system has devolved
                   into capitalism for the rich and socialism for the poor.
                   Its obvious we are failing the poor.
                   \_ Do you have any idea what the poverty rate was
                      amongst the ederly before Social Security? Social
                      Security is the most successful povertly elimination
                      program ever invented. And no way is the "majority"
                      of federal expenditure on Medicaid and Social Security.
                      A plurality perhaps, not a majority.
2004/1/16 [Reference/Tax] UID:11808 Activity:nil
1/15    Related to the post below, one of my friends from Singapore says
        the government tries to mold the society using strict laws and tax
        incentives. For example, he says that well educated people have
        tax incentives for having kids whereas the less educated people
        (this is supposedly aimed at the Malaysians and others) have penalty
        for having kids. Is this really true, and if so, is it ethical?
        \_ What you have to understand about Singapore is that their
           situation is much different than ours. They're a very small
           nation surrounded by some not-so-peaceful-nations. Their
           survival depends having well educated people and a stable
           society so they develop laws centered around that. And like
           Israel, they also have a required National Service for men.
        \_ Ethics isn't the issue.  What sort of society do you think is going
           to do better in the long term: one which penalises the uneducated
           masses and promotes education or one which does the opposite such
           as ours?  Governments don't have ethics or morals.  They have goals
           and self interest.  Never make the mistake of thinking of any
           government in human terms.  Governments are not people.
           \_ Ah, the lucky ducky arguments...
2003/12/30 [Reference/Tax] UID:29738 Activity:nil
12/29   What's the tax rate for new car purchases in the Bay Area?  Thx.
        \_Depends on where you live.
          \_ Fremont.
2003/12/23 [Reference/Tax, Academia/Berkeley/CSUA/Troll] UID:29732 Activity:nil
12/23  Okay. Let's try this again before we all get coal in the old stocking.
       motd nuked. Play nice.
        \_ God bless us, every one!
        \_ Nah, I've got a hard-on for this $2,000 per average family tax
           increase the nuker keeps prattling on about.
2003/12/23 [Reference/Tax] UID:11571 Activity:nil
12/23   I just bought the cheapest CD burner I could buy at Fry's. Is it
        going to break inside of 24 hour's time?
        \_ If it breaks within 30 days, it doesn't matter.

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\_ that might have been funny if you hadn't deleted my calculator troll.  why
   don't you go send some commie messages to your friends using your TI-85,
   \_ Is Arvin Hsu REALLY a commie? That's what we'd like to know.
      \_ of course I am.  Fuk'n capitalist.  -nivra
\_ So, what you're saying is, you can't explain how the average family suffers
   a $2,000 per year increase in their tax burden if the Bush tax cuts are
   repealed, and you have no clue what kinds of chocolate are really good.
2003/12/23 [Politics/Domestic/Election, Reference/Tax] UID:11567 Activity:kinda low
12/22   The UN Tax?
        \_ Except for the gratuitous slap at Dean, this is pretty amusing.
           \_ look at the other articles on the site.  at least a third of
              them are bullshit "news" stories primarily focused on why Dean
              is part of some evil conspiracy or another.
              here's a direct quote from another article on the site
              "Any of these candidates who hesitates in even the tiniest way to
              declare unwavering support for our Commander-in-Chief in the
              face of another 9-11 terrorist attack will have demonstrated an
              unfitness and unworthiness ever to be President."
        \_ "...he would repeal the Bush tax cuts -- even though this would
            boost the average family.s tax burden by nearly $2,000."
           When did the richest 2% of our population become the average
           \_ Must we go through this one again?  Nevermind, just go back and
              retake Math P.  Thanks, troll.
              \_ Go for it, explain to me what the average family makes,
                 and how much the Bush tax cuts saved this imaginary family.
                 If it's $2,000 or so, I'll post my apology.  If not, I want
                 you to post yours.
2003/12/19-20 [Transportation/Car/RoadHogs, Reference/Tax] UID:11518 Activity:moderate
12/18   Most of people in California don't like the car tax. Just curious,
        do you guys support the repeal of that car tax at our current
        financial crisis?
        \_ One thing that was conveniently forgotten: 3 years ago, the car
           "tax" was reduced by 66% because we were flush with revenue from
           other sources.  Restoring those pre-boom levels can hardly be
           called a tax increase...  But it was a very effective marketing
           term.  As was the heretofore nonexistent term "Car tax." --scotsman
           \_ That's right.  I used to be paying $400, but now i am paying
              $250 for a car that is twice as much as my old car.
        \_ I guess I'm not most people. I think a tax based on the value of
           one's car makes a lot of sense. -- ulysses
           \_ You must really hate America.
           \_ I bet you'd love socialism, too. -- anonymous coward
           \_ We should base criminal penalties on the value of your car, too.
           \_ I bet you'd love socialism, too.
        \_ Hmm, we're spending way more than we're making....  Oh well, maybe
           it'll get better on its own....  Oops, it didn't.  I don't want to
           spend less, though....  I heard CA has one of the highest car tax
           rates in the country _even_before_ the tripling.
           \_ you heard wrong.
        \_ I would prefer not being taxed over being taxed, but I don't
           think it makes sense to get rid of a tax before figuring out
           where the money will come from or before getting rid of the
           items being funded by the tax.
        \_ Our current financial 'crisis' is due to over spending not lack of
           taxation.  After the state level morons cut a few billion in pork
           everything will be fine.
           \_ may be we can resolve the financial crisis at federal level
              by stop issuing bonds.  after the federal level morons cut
              a few hundred billion in pork, everything will be fine?
              \_ There isn't a financial crisis at the federal level but
                 yes there's a few hundred billion in pork that should be
                 cut and taxes lowered by the same amount.
                 \_ there isn't ??? hello the federal financial crisis is way
                    worse!  The fed govt' is already in amode of borrowing to
                    pay for the interest on its debt.  Can you say federal
                    debts over 10,000 per capita?   The only difference here is
                    there is already an established pattern of borrowing at
                    the federal level, while there is none such for the state
                    \_ No, the biggest difference is that the Fed can just
                       decide to mint money and inflate their way out of
                       any debt problem. The State cannot.
        \_ This is all really very easy.  Davis increased the # of
           gov't employees by 30% during his reign.  Fire them and cut the
           budget 10% across the board.
           \_ urlP
           \_ why didn't Arnold doing so?
              \_ probably the same reason your grammar sucks. laziness, or
                 perhaps sheer stupidity.
                 \_ if you are so smart, then, tell me why Arnie is not
                    firing state employees.
                    \_ what does knowing what goes on in arnold's head have
                       to do with being smart?
                    \_That's easy, fire people = less votes
           \_ How many of those 30% were school teachers, mandated by the
              voters? Not a rhetorical question, seriously interested in
              the answer.
              \_ I don't have the answer, but this is the general problem.
                 Voters have such little trust for the state legislature, that
                 we've passed measure after measure to control their spending.
                 As a result, decreasing the budget without breaking a law is
                 hard.  Other than school teachers, there are also the huge
                 pensions given to prison workers, which can't be taken away,
                 etc. -emarkp
        \_ Americans don't pay for the full social cost of driving anyway, and
           the car tax still doesn't come close to what Europeans and others
           pay in terms of gas prices, etc. The tax should be more of a user
           fee rather than money for local jurisdictions.
           \_ Europe is a lousy god forsaken place full of socialists and
              communists who never want to do an honest days work.  Using Europe
              as a benchmark is stupid and foolish.
              \_ I love how you there's basically no difference between trolls
                 and people being serious on the motd.
                 \_ What'd he say that isn't true?
           \_ Actually I think you have it backwards.  It is the US that pays
              a disproportionate amount of costs for a stable supply of oil
              in the Middle East.  It is the US military that provides
              security in the area (eg. Fifth Fleet).  Much like
              pharmaceuticals and host of the other products Europe is a
              parasite on the US - we subsidize their lazy social welfare
                 \_ Europe is a lousy god forsaken place full of socialists
                    and communists who never want to do an honest days work.
                    Using Europe as a benchmark is stupid and foolish.
                 and people being serious on the motd.
        \_ car tax on my 10-year old honda was tiny anyway ($65 for the total
           DMV registration for the year) - triple that puppy!  Punish the
           SUV buyers!
           \_ why single out the SUV owners?  Heck, why single out car owners
              when the real social cost is on the USE of cars.  A gas tax
              would be ideal here, and be far less noticeable than a several
              hundred dollar a year hit in registration fees.  Plus it will
              disproportionately hit the heavy gas users like SUV owners.
              \_ I prefer gas tax over car tax too.  The more you drive, the
                 more of the purden you pick up to maintain the roads.  Plus
                 that'll encourage people to carpool and take public transit.
                 BTW I drive an SUV.
              \_ Is it accurate to say that most expensive cars (= high car
                 tax) also have lower gas mileage?  E.g. sports cars, large
                 trucks, ...?  Still indirect, admittedly, but doesn't it
                 have roughly the same effect? (not the case with old vs
                 new cars, though)
        \_ car tax on my 10-year old honda was tiny anyway ($65 for the total
           DMV registration for the year) - triple that puppy!  Punish the
           SUV buyers!
              would be ideal here, and be far less noticeable than a several
              hundred dollar a year hit in registration fees.  Plus it will
              disproportionately hit the heavy gas users like SUV owners.
              \_ I prefer gas tax over car tax too.  The more you drive, the
                 more of the purden you pick up to maintain the roads.  Plus
                 that'll encourage people to carpool and take public transit.
                 BTW I drive an SUV.
                 tax) also have lower gas mileage?  E.g. sports cars, large
                 trucks, ...?  Still indirect, admittedly, but doesn't it
                 have roughly the same effect? (not the case with old vs
                 new cars, though)
                 \_ More expensive cars tend to have much worse gas mileage
                    because the vehicles are heavier, have more power, bigger
                    engines, more toys, etc.  Anyway, as someone with an
                    expensive car I only drive a short way to/from BART every
                    day I don't see why I should have to pay a huge tax on it.
        \_ It's always been high. What the tax paid for was covered by state
           taxes when they had enough in the kitty. With the econ down and the
           state can't cover, the taxes returned to their former high level. In
           the spending spree and 0% financing frenzy of the last two years,
           people have been buying lots of new cars (enough to float the US
           economy past a recession) for big bucks thus high vehicle taxes.
           It's the same sort of whining gas prices get "too high" and people
           who bought low MPG cars start crying or when people buy property
           and whine about high taxes. You're fucking rich enough to buy it
           stop whining about the relatively small taxes associated.
2003/12/17 [Finance/Banking, Reference/Tax] UID:11502 Activity:nil
2003/12/11 [Reference/Tax] UID:11407 Activity:kinda low
12/10   If you itemize deductions, you can deduct your total state tax
        paid, or just the amount withheld from your paychecks?
        \_ The amount withheld during 2003 for 2003, plus any payment (not
           total) you made during 2003 for 2002.  Any payment you made during
           2004 for 2003 will be deductible on your 2004 federal return when
           you file it during 2005.  BTW, personally I think it'd make things
           simpler if we just lower the fed and state tax rates by a little
           instead of making fed tax state-deductible and state tax
           \_ Thanks.  But why do they do this?  Why not just make your
              total state tax deductable?
              \_ Because you need to finish your fed return before you start
                 your state return, and you don't know your state tax amount
                 until you finish your state return.  So you can't deduct your
                 state tax of a year in the fed return of the same year.
                 \_ I think you are wrong. They do it because you should
                    only get a deduction for the atual year that you made
                    the payment in. If you paid your state taxes on Dec 31,
                    you would get the deduction.
                    \_ Do you indeed need to finish your fed return before
                       you start your state return? If so, then it could be
                       both reasons.
           \_ The fed tax is state-deductable too?  Does someone make this
              up for the purpose of giving CPAs job security?
              \_ Oops!  I made it up.  I just checked my 2002 state form and
                 fed tax was not state-deductible.  Sorry.
                 fed tax was not deductible.  Sorry.
2003/11/19 [Reference/Tax] UID:11131 Activity:moderate
11/17   Dean is supposed to be pro-worker/pro-union, but he wants to raise
        the retirement age to 70. how is that pro-worker? -dem
        \_ Well, it kinda screws the baby boomers, but in return you don't have
           to raise taxes on current workers as much to pay for baby boomer's
           returements.  It's kinda fair in a way.  The boomers paid low SS
           taxes because they only had to support the previous generation.
           If we want to give them the same benefits their parents got, the
           gen-X and later workers will have to pay a higher SS tax than the
           boomers paid.
           \_ there aren't as many genxers but there's a lot of echo boomers.
              let the echo boomers pay for their parents but keep my taxes
              low since all i got from the baby boomers was fucked.  -genxer
              \_ hmm... you like them old ladies do you?
              \_ You know there could never be an age-based tax like that. The
                 closest you could get would be raising taxes later... which is
                 probably what will happen.
                 \_ Yeah I know it but I can hope.  A constitutional convention
                    could change the rules to make it ok.  "And we hereby
                    decree that the genxers with the help of the feeble minded
                    drug addled, poorly raised echo boomers shall fuck the
                    baby boomers who did so much damage to this country and
                    gave nothing in return".  It could happen.  I have hope.
                 \_ fucking old people, leaving deficits for me. i say kill off
                    social security. damn reagan worshipping bitches.
                    \_ Eli, is that you?
                    \_ reagan?  what's he got to do with it?
           \_ There are trillions of baby boomers. So if it screws them, how is
                he gonna get elected?
              \_ He's not going to get elected anyway so it's academic.
                 \_ And he has a "A" rating from the NRA. Which makes him
                    easily the coolest Democrat.
2003/11/8 [Reference/Tax] UID:29627 Activity:nil
11/7    Here's a nice little story about a county kicking some senile old
        woman off the farm she's owned and lived on for 50 years over a
        questionalbe $572 tax bill.
2003/10/28 [Reference/Tax] UID:10825 Activity:nil
10/27   U.N. Collecting Taxes in Kosovo
2003/10/27-28 [Reference/Tax] UID:10823 Activity:nil
        \_ pretty insane huh?  I haven't seen blue sky in 4 days.  For
           full picture, go here:  -nivra
        \- it's ze END UF DAYS! -ahnold
           \_ Well, I guess when he takes over it really will be the end
              of the world.  Say your prayers everyone...
              \_ At least he won't be creating a fire tax, a death tax, a
                 your-home-got-burned-down tax, and a no-blue-sky tax.  I
                 didn't vote for him but it's still better than what we had.
                 \_ Yeah, no kidding.  Has anyone else renewed their
                    car registration yet?  Mine was $612.
2003/10/23 [Academia/Berkeley/Classes, Reference/Tax] UID:10746 Activity:kinda low
10/22   Stupid question.  We've dropped 150 billions on the War on Terror.
        Where are these 150 billion (in 2 years) come from?
        \_ Start with 260 million Americans.  Figure number of taxpayers,
           average annual income, average tax rate, ...
           \_ Good thing you dont run the country because it doesnt work like
              that at all.
              \_ sure
           \_ much of the budget is fixed. There isn't exactly an emergency
              "trust fund" that I am aware of, and that is why I am confused.
              \_ I think Bush might have thought the same thing.
           \_ 300 billion in 4 years -> about $4500 per family of 4.
              For Berkeley grads, probably like $7000 per family of 4 given
              that they usually earn above average income.
              \_ It would be except most Berkeley grads don't earn that much
                 above the average if at all.  Not everyone got an eecs degree
                 and went on to found a company.
                 \_ hmmm. i'd like to see the actual numbers.  the people
                    i know from cal all have some kind of middle class
                    job at least.  the people i know from highschool
                    mostly went to college, then came home to live
                    with their parrents and work in retail making
                    barely over minimum wage.
        \_ Treasury bonds and Social Security. The Feds prints up promissory
           notes which people (countries, corps, etc.) buy with a bit of
           interest. However, it takes a long time to sell $150B, so the Feds
           loan themselves the money from SS, and slowly pay back SS with the
           money trickling in from selling T-bonds. Oh, and yes, taxpayers are
           on the hook for paying off the T-bonds plus interest.
            \_ Yet, 70% of you stupid Americans approved of this.
               \_ You really think the Federal government runs on nothing but
                  personal income taxes?  What do you think they did before
                  we had income taxes?  And who is paying most of those income
                  taxes in raw $$$ terms anyway?  Hint: it isn't 70% of
                  Americans.  Carry on.
                  \_ Income taxes contribute 49.2% of the fed revenues.
                     And SS, 33.1%.
                     \_ Yes, and what percentage of people pays the bulk of
                        that 49.2% or that 33.1% due to the way income taxes
                        are distributed?
                  \_ no. but the people are taking most of burden.
                     \_ Yeah, you know who oughta be taking the burden?
                        Those OTHER people.
                        \_ Yeah!  Let's fuck those *other* people instead!
        \_ In short, a fucking huge, taxpayer support ponzi scheme.
2003/10/11-12 [Reference/Tax] UID:10595 Activity:kinda low
10/11   Someone posted this earlier regarding income tax:
           \_ Why is it an abomination?  It needs to more progressive,
              especially the SS payroll tax, but other than that I don't see it
              being worthy of that particular adjective.  Besides, John,
              aren't you in Europe, home of the VAT and the 45% marginal rate?
        No, I live in Switzerland, home of the VAT that's less than CA's (7.6%)
        the approx. 15-30% of income taxes (including local/state/federal and
        social security, such as it is), working trains, nice highways, and
        functioning schools.  You're thinking EU, which this country is not
        a part of (and hopefully won't ever be.)  -John
        \_ Can I move there? -- ilyas
           \_ No, you can't because you're a dirty foreigner and the Swiss
              would never let you in the country for longer than a reasonable
              length vacation.  You'd never be allowed to legally work and
              would be immediately deported if you managed to get a job and
              were caught.
              \_ I was in Europe once, so I am almost domesticated.
                   -- ilyas
           \_ Sure you can.  Just need a job and someone who's willing to
              sponsor your permit.  By the way, the reason I post all this
              stuff is the same as why I keep telling people here that no,
              you won't get shot in the US, and we don't eat spam.  -John
        \_ Switzerland is lower than the EU, but higher than the US:
           \_ (a) social security only counts as part of tax burden if it's
              not considered "yours", i.e. if you see it as a tax rather than
              a countribution, (b) the chart is skewed because the equivalent
              of a (voluntary) IRA in the US is state mandated here, but
              privately run (so even stupid people get some kind of pension)
              --I don't believe that's counted towards the US portion of the
              tax burden (don't forget that you can withdraw it as a foreigner
              leaving the country, or if you build a house or something),
              (c) the US has a vastly higher rate of companies moving offshore
               to declare taxes (why do you think rich people/companies move
              to Zug and not to Minneapolis?) (c) that's for overall GDP
              rather than income tax.  As I understand it, Japan has
              fantastically high income taxes, yet ranks below the US in this
              chart.  Explain?  -John
              \_ Overall tax burden is more important than any particular
                 tax rate. If the top tax rate is 90%, but only falls on
                 100 people, it is not significant to talk about it.
                 \_ Unless you're one of those 100.
        \_ no third-world immigration and tons of money/art stolen from Jews.
                 100 people, it is not particularly significant to talk
                 about it.
2003/10/6 [Reference/Tax] UID:10485 Activity:moderate
10/6    Does anyone else remember back a couple of years when they lowered the
        "car tax" by 2/3s?  And all the statements that this would probably
        have to be revisited in times of a shortfall.  Davis didn't "triple
        the car tax."  He gave relief when we could, and asked us to tighten
        when we couldn't.  How short memories are.
        \_ yep you're right, but that doesn't make a good sound bite
        \_ Yeah, just like "temporary" tax increases.
        \_ I remember. I also remember when sales tax was 3.5%. When does
           it end? --dim
        \_ I remember when the bridge was $1 and BART parking was free and
           it cost $2 to cross the entire length of BART.  I'm not sorry
           that the people finally got some of their money back.
           \_ BART parking is not free?  When did this change?  I think
              it still is free.
              \_ There are free and pay sections of BART parking.
                 \_ The original promise when BART was created was there would
                    never be a charge to park at BART.  Another broken
                    promise.  So now they charge and the lot where I live has
v                   promise.  So now they charge and the lot where I live has
                    1/2 to 1/3 as many cars in it as it did when it was free.
                    they gained a few $1/day parkers at the expense of many
                    more $5/day riders.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  I didn't
                    have to pay for parking because there's always room in
                    the free lot.  I just walk further now.
           \_ Oh yeah?  Well I remember when we had to walk to school, in
              the snow, uphill both ways!  And we liked it!
              \_ You had legs?  We didn't have legs.
        \_ Yeah, I remember this, too. No good deed goes unpunished.
        \_ i was bitching about the tax relief at the time.  Any tax relief,
           including this stupid car tax, is benefiting the wealthy.  I don't
           pay that much car tax on my $19k CR-V.
           \_ What are YOU complaining about.  I drive a 13.5-year old Civic.
              I still get 30+ mpg, too.
              I still get 30+ mpg, too.
              \_ Buy a new car you loser!  Help the economy!
           \_ Are you a complete idiot?  The registration fee (car tax) is
              regressive, like sales tax, etc.
              \_ Do you mean that it taxes poor people more?  How so?
                 It's definitely not progressive, but that doesn't
                 actually make regressive.
                 \_ Yes, it is.  A poor person buys a $15k car and pays a much
                    higher percentage of their income in tax than a rich
                    person buying a $85k car.  Anyway, this is all backwards.
                    Tax reduction don't benefit anyone.  The original tax was
                    designed to punish the wealthy in the first place and
                    getting rid of it just restores fairness.  Being rich
                    isn't a crime... yet.
                    \_ Fair is subjective. Those who benefit the most from
                       society bear the greatest interest in supporting it
                       via their taxes. That'd be fair. Rich fucks
                       complaining about taxes make me sick. Like they
                       would be junkies if the marginal tax rate was 70%
                       like it was before. Wow, you mean they might WORK
                       LESS? After making 40 million? Wow, what a fucking
                       bad thing it would be for them to spend time with
                       their kids or working with their community.
                       \_ Or producing jobs and growing the economy.  Yeah,
                             \_ Less tax on profits stimulate jobs...  Really?
                                Someone better call the economy and tell it
                                it's been stimulated.
                                \_ Indeed.  Say I'm a business owner.  Suddenly
                                   I'm making more profit on the same workforce
                                   and my production isn't slacking.  I'm going
                                   to hire more workers... why?
                          that would suck!  Tax the rich til they aint rich
                          no more!  The poor already get more in services than
                             \_ Or they simply leave the state.
                          they could possibly afford to pay the real price of.
                          Police, fire, emergency medical, 911, paved roads,
                          garbage collected, electrical and phone and housing
                          at rates *well* below market value, etc.  This is
                          the 5 second short list off the top of my head.  If
                          you're poor and not taking advantage of the free
                          education offered in this country to improve your
                          lot in life then I have absolutely no sympathy for
                          you.  I'm neither rich nor poor.  I work 40-70 hours
                          a week based on company need and it sucks and I don't
                          whine about how the gub'ment *owes* me anything or
                          that I'm *entitled* to anything.  When the hell did
                          we start refering to welfare and other social(ist)
                          programs as "entitlements" anyway?  What makes
                          anyone *entitled* to the money I've *earned* and
                          *worked hard* for?  Fuck, now I'm pissed.  I'm going
                          to vote recall now.
                          \_ Are you trying to say poor people aren't
                             entitled to emergency services? Wow. Yeah let
                             those poor people's house burn down, they
                             didn't pay enough taxes. What the fuck is
                             wrong with you? It's all about you!
                             \_ Good way to ignore everything I said and focus
                                on one tiny thing mentioned along the way.  I
                    isn't a crime... yet.
                                see no reason to go into further detail for
                                someone that's intentionally blind.
                          \_ Which states have the lowest taxes? Mississippi
                             and Alabama. Would you like California to be
                             like them?
2003/9/14-15 [Reference/Tax] UID:10192 Activity:moderate
9/14    What is the hourly rate of a decent tax attorney?
        \_ Any type of lawyer is going to charge you a minimum of 180/hr on
           up.  If they're charging less, you're a charity case or they suck.
2003/8/25 [Politics/Domestic, Reference/Tax] UID:29459 Activity:nil 52%like:29457
8/25    Blood money funds racism at Columbia.  Why does Berkeley do the same
        \- would you agree "american taxpayer money" in part funds the
           ~30,000 houses built on palestinian occupied territories? --psb
        thing for free?  We should charge for the institutionalised racism
        and hatred spewing from certain departments and professors.
        \_ nothing is free. every time one of us gets a grant to do some
           useful technical research the University charges overhead.
           your tax dollars at work.
           \_ and I'm sure the research never requires administrative
              \_ a million dollar grant does not require 400,000 dollars
                 of administrative support. it's a tax to support the useless
                 departments.  period.
2003/8/5-6 [Reference/Tax] UID:29239 Activity:high
8/5     Do I really have to give an extra 15% to the gubment for SE tax if I'm
        a contractor vs. W-2?  This was not in formulas previously posted
        to the motd. I'm suing!
        \_ extra 7.65%, dumbass.  And it's deductible.
           \_ i thought it was 15.3% -
              \_ Everyone has to pay 7.65%, SE pay it twice.
                 \_ or, to be a bit pedantic:
                    Everyone has to pay 15.3%, but employed people have the
                    first 7.65% taken out in the form of reduced salary which
                    is paid to the gubmnt by the employer.
2003/8/2 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:29216 Activity:insanely high
        How the Bush Tax Cuts really break down.
        \_  What an idiot.  You mean people who make $1 million+ get much more
            back than people who make less than $10,000?  Wow, what a surprise.
            Hey, what precisely is the average tax burden of someone making less
            than $10,000?  Moron.
        \_  Do yourself a favor and actually track down the statistics
            of who pays income taxes and the distribution of rates.  What
            you posted in partisan vitrol - it only reveals how
            irrational you are.
            \_ And do yourself a favor and track down who really pays
               social security tax, sales tax, etc.
                \_ Here ya go, somehow I doubt you care, you much rather
                   demagogue and assuage your liberal guilt:
                    This is Brookings Inst, so it is still left of center.
                    Exactly how do you think this country survived until
                    Wilson had the 16th Amendment passed?
                    One does not tax yourself into prosperity - in order
                    to increase economic prosperity we need to make
                    it cheaper to do business in America.  This entails
                    eliminating taxes and government restriction.
                \_ iraq, liberia, most of the former soviet union
                   have no ability to collect taxes and no government
                   restriction, you should move there.
                    \_ You only included federal taxes. This is state tax in CA:
                       One cannot "tax cut" youself into prosperity either.
                       Look at the countries with the lowest tax rates, they
                       are hardly examples of prosperity. I think we can agree
                       there is a golden mean, somewhere between nothing and
                       everything, that the State should take.
                        \_ Yes but you're making the common mistake of
                           seeing causality in cases where there is none.  There
                           are many countries with low taxes doing very well,
                           but one assumes a minimum degree of economic,
                           social and political stability before this is
                           applicable.  Monaco, Luxembourg, the UK (compared
                           to Germany and France), and Switzerland have at
                           least relatively low taxes and show higher degrees
                           of growth and investment than their neighbors.
                           Germany recently cut both business and personal
                           income taxes and noticed a strong surge in growth
                           and job creation.  -John
                           \_ The fastest growing economies in Western Europe,
                              Ireland, Norway and Luxemborg, are all high
                              tax states, at least for individuals. They all
                              have low corporate tax though, so there might
                              be something there.
                    \_ Don't forget to lower minimum wage!  Also, make sure
                        to let the largest corporations import their work
                        force and set up tax shelters so we don't have to
                        deal with those pesky unions and accountants.
                    \_ In order to prosper in America, we need to round up
                       all the scared little white men like you and castrate
                        \_ Hmm lets consider the contributions to modern
                           civilization.  I sense race envy.  Your very
                           presence in this country exposes your hypocrisy.
                           \_ How do you know?  Perhaps its a part of a
                              nefarious plot by the Elders of Zion to
                              infiltrate your country and impregnate
                              your women.
                              \_ Yes, but that's stupid, so I'm not overly
                                 \_ You are far to easy to troll, but then
                                    that may be because you too are in fact
                                    a troll.
        \_  Having done plenty of fact-checking on Ivins, I can't believe anyone
            listens to her anymore.  She's her own little New York Times.
            \- ivins is a dumb cow. she's certainly not politically
               insightful but the amazing thing is she's not funny.
               she and andy rooney should be tied together and floated
               out to sea. ALFRANKEN at least can be pretty funny. --psb
                \_ The Mobile Uplink Unit finds truth where others fear to
                   tread.  -John
2003/8/1-2 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:29208 Activity:insanely high
8/1     Regarding stimulating the economy, how about creating new
        infrastructures like super highways, subways, dams, and other
        things that we have not been building since the 30s and 40s?
        It will create a LOT of job opportunities for the poor. I mean,
        this whole tax cut thing does nothing for people who are laid off,
        and the only people really benefiting from it are the people who
        already have a lot of money or people who have stable jobs.
        \_ why work so hard when we'll get it for free soon enuf
        \_ And who's going  pay for this? local gov't? According to
           Davis we're broke. Anyway, the public works programs of the 30's
           have been largely discredited by economists as failed social
           experiments. Dams, btw, cause major ecological disasters for
           people living downstream. Also, remember that there's a long
                        \_ and upstream
           term cost to junk like subways and highways. If they're not
           maintained they break down, and it only makes sense to build
           this if there's a need for it.
                \_ Germany dithered for years about building the Transrapid
                   (look it up) citing ecological damage, economic necessity,
                   (their train system is in chaos compared to 10 years ago),
                   labor problems, bla bla bla.  The Chinese, meanwhile, told
                   Siemens to go ahead and just do it, and now have a working
                   super-high-speed rail corridor near Shanghai.  In the 1930s,
                   before people knew the damage dams did, FDR went ahead and
                   blew wads of cash on big prestigious projects, giving the US
                   a massive boost in electrification, as well as a ton of jobs
                   that helped kick-start the economy, critics be damned.  Now
                   for 10 points, what's the lesson here?  -John
           \_ Which economists? Milton Friedman maybe. Many (most?) economists
              disagree with your statement.
        \_ bush does not care about the poor or what's really good for
           the economy. fuck the republicans. All they want is $$$ for
           themselves. They don't give a fuck about people who gets laid
           off or otherwise have no money. Short of a revolt, there's nothing
           to be done. wait for the next election.
           \_ I think you should step forward and kill him to save us all.
              Afterwards I'm sure everyone will understand when they have jobs
              and stuff from the policies you implement such as...?
              \_ building infrustrature, pump $$$ into the economy (instead
                 of tax cuts, wars), there are a billion things to do.
              \_ How about tax cuts for the middle class?
              \_ remember how shitty the economy was when Clinton took over?
                 guess you are too young to remember those times. There ARE
                 things to be done. It's just Bush has his own agenda and is
                 not doing any of it. Rich people don't give a shit. Actually
                 rich people does not like booming economy because it makes
                 them less 'rich' compare to the rest of the people.
                        \_ Clinton inherited 2 quarters of 4% GDP growth,
                           lest we make up facts.  The first act of his
                           presidency was to RETROACTIVELY raise taxes.
                           This depressed economic for quite some time, to
                           the point his 1996 reelection was in doubt.
                           Don't let the facts get in the way of your
                 \_ I actually think you are right. "Old money" gets annoyed
                    when there are too many new millionaires sniffing around.
                 \_ Clinton didn't actually do anything.  It was all cyclical,
                    with some perception mixed in.  -John
        \_ here's an idea, instead of giving the poor people a break (e.g.
           creating jobs for them), how about substantial tax raise for the
           rich? I mean, 90% of US is owned by 5% of the US population
           anyways. Oh wait, they also control (via lobby, SIG, etc) our
           politicians. Nevermind.
        \_ You are amazingly stupid.  The rich who get more $$ in their cut do
           what with the money?  Put it in mattresses?  No, moron.  They invest
           it, create business opportunities, etc.  That creates jobs, without
           corrupt Gov't middle-men (re: The Big Dig).
           \_ All those Coach handbags, Cartier watches and Tiffany Diamonds
              don't really do much for the economy. I am not convinced
              "the rich" are any wiser investors than bad ole' gubment.
              \_ Ah yes, because no one is employed manufacturing, shipping, or
                 selling those things, right?  Enough with the class warfare.
                 \_ Amazing how tax cuts for the rich are called "returning the
                    people their money" while tax cuts for the middle class
                    are called "class warfare." You can tell when the other
                    side has no facts to back up their position. They have
                    no other choice but to turn to ad hominem attacks.
                    \_ Hello Mr. Pot.  Meet Mr. Kettle.  I didn't call tax cus
                       for the middle class class warfare.  The claim that rich
                       people spend all their money on luxuries is class
                       warfare.  How you can have a tax cut for the middle class
                       that does not benefit the rich more?
                       \_ Cutting payroll taxes for instance, since income
                          above $78k is not taxed. The claim that luxuries
                          do not stimulate the economy is not class warfare,
                          simply an observation that you do not have any
                          reply to except to charge "class warfare."
                          \_ you're a few years behind, dude.  Try 87k,
                             and that is because Social Security pays
                             based on how much you put in.  Hence, a max.
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