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2017/09/19 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
9/19    

2013/9/2-11/7 [Reference/Tax] UID:54736 Activity:nil
9/2     I'm young, and stupid. Does the IRS want reporting on 401K, IRA,
        Roth 401k/IRA? I am decades from retiring, and no plan to withdraw
        anything. But, I just realized that I haven't reported any of my
        retirement plans to IRS for several years, now wondering if I'm
        in big shit...
        \_ The account custodian (bank/brokerage/mutual fund) reports it to
           the IRS anyway.  Just start doing it from now on.
           Use TurboTax or a professional. Not a big deal like misreporting income
           or failing to pay tax.
           Use TurboTax or a professional. Not a big deal like misreporting
           income or failing to pay tax.
           \_ ok cool THANK YOU! You're right, it's not like I'm failing
              to pay taxes. I'm guess this kind of stuff is more important
              as I approach retirement in a few decades.
2013/3/24-5/18 [Reference/Tax] UID:54637 Activity:nil
3/24    Has anyone put money into annuities? Any good/bad stories?
        I'm thinking of putting my parents' money into it (they're way over
        59 1/2 so they quality) since it has significant tax advantages.
        \_ My parents just did, so I can't really say anything about the
           long term effects.  I'd say it sounds like a good idea just to avoid
           future problems with dimentia.
        \_ Do you have to be 59 1/2? Annuities are probably a Good Thing,
           but I would ladder into them in this low-interest enviornment.
2012/11/5-12/4 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/Election] UID:54521 Activity:nil
11/5    "Tax Policy Center in Spotlight for Its Romney Study":
        http://www.csua.org/u/y7m (finance.yahoo.com)
        'A small nonpartisan research center operated by professed "geeks" ...
        found, in short, that Mr. Romney could not keep all of the promises he
        had made on individual tax reform ....  It concluded that Mr. Romney's
        plan, on its face, would cut taxes for rich families and raise them
        for everyone else.'
        I guess Obama is right when he said during the debate that Romney's
        plan is "mathematically impossible".
2012/7/31-9/24 [Reference/Tax] UID:54448 Activity:nil
7/31    Is it possible to gift stock options or even cash to toddlers?
        Can they accrue interests? What is their tax rate?
        \_ Look up the gift tax rules. You can gift up to $13k/year
           to anyone.
           http://www.axa-equitable.com/plan/estate/gift-tax.html
           (you can gift more than that, but you are supposed to report
            it to the IRS and it will eventually reduce the size of
            your estate that passes on tax-free)
            \_ can I actually open up a bank account for an infant?
               How about someone who's not born yet?
               \_ I think you need a SSN.
                  \_ what proof do you need to get a spanking new SSN?
                     \_ http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+do+i+get+a+social+security+card
2012/3/7-26 [Reference/Tax] UID:54331 Activity:nil
3/7     "Michigan woman still collecting food stamps after winning $1 million
        lottery"
        http://www.csua.org/u/vp3 (news.yahoo.com)
        `"I feel that it's OK because I mean, I have no income and I have
        bills to pay," she said. "I have two houses."'
        \_ My first reaction was pretty hostile to her, but then, I
           thought about it some more, and, well, she did win the
           lottery fair and square, and she did immediately pay half
           million dollars in taxes from the lump sum payment, right?
           She'll likely be broke sooner than later anyway.
           \_ lottery is a form of tax for dumb people.
        \_ "UPDATE: The Michigan Department of Human Services announced
            yesterday that they have taken Amanda Clayton off the Michigan
            Bridge Card program. "
           Yay, responsive government!
2017/09/19 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
9/19    

2012/3/5-26 [Reference/Tax] UID:54327 Activity:nil
3/5     My dad is retired and has no income. My income tax bracket is
        pretty high. If I open up a joint high interest CD account with
        him and the INT-1099 comes, is it possible to file it under him
        100% to take advantage of the lower tax?
        \_ IRS says the interest is allocated according to who allocated
           the assets. Do you think it will generate enough interest to
           really matter that much? Even with $100K in there I doubt it given
           current rates.
           \_ do a little bit of math. It's not insignificant.
        \_ Are you married?  If not, maybe you can file as a head of
           household.  It's fair and square and the benefit is not
           insignificant.  For parent(s), you don't even have to live
           together, although they bother you about it.
        \_ You can just gift him the cash, if you can trust him.
           \_ Thanks, Andy Dufresne.
           \_ Depends on the amount. You can only gift $12K/year. If you are
              married you can gift $24K/year (you and your spouse).
              \_ Not true, you can gift as much as $1M without paying
                 taxes, but you have to file with the IRS if you gift
                 over $13k a year. I am pretty sure it will then count
                 against your inheritence deductible when you die but
                 am a bit fuzzy on that part.
                 \_ "Paying the taxes" is not the same as "owing the taxes."
                    \_ What does this mean? You can give someone up to $1M
                       without either owing or paying taxes.
2011/12/16-2012/2/6 [Reference/Tax] UID:54262 Activity:nil
12/16   If a couple contributes to their child's 529 Plan of $26000,
        is that amount tax sheltered (as in, your taxable income is
        reduced by $26000?)
        \_ No, but the gains are tax free when you use it later. It is
           similar to a Roth IRA, if you know how those work.
2011/10/14-30 [Politics/Domestic/President/Reagan, Reference/Tax] UID:54197 Activity:nil
10/14   "SimCain?  Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan resembles the tax code in SimCity"
        http://www.csua.org/u/uh9
        \_ "The Tax Reform Act of 1986: Should We Do It Again?"
           http://www.csua.org/u/uiu
           "Reagan built on their efforts and put forward a very detailed plan
           for tax reform in May 1985, based on several years of work by the
           Treasury Department, that identified a long list of tax provisions
           needing pruning from the tax code, along with supporting analysis
           and documentation.
           Today, Republicans like Mr. Cain put most of their efforts into
           devising catchy slogans and almost none into providing details of
           their tax proposals."
           \_ Maybe we can dig up Reagan's corpse and have him run for
              President as the Zombie candidate.
2011/10/10-25 [Reference/Tax] UID:54192 Activity:nil
10/10   My property tax breakdown is this in the LA county, how about yours?
        General tax levy all agencies: 1.000000
        City-Los Angeles                .038895
        Metro water dist:               .003700
        Commnty college:                .040310
        Unified schools:                .186954
2011/4/17-7/30 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:54087 Activity:nil
4/17    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_no_taxes
        "The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades
        ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all."
        And people are still complaining about taxes being too high.
        \_ yeah but only 3 out of the 5 people who aren't rich but complain
           are actually counted.
2010/11/19-2011/1/13 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:53989 Activity:nil
11/19   "Millionaires to Obama: Tax us" - Yahoo! News:
        http://www.csua.org/u/s1d
        \_ People to Millionaires:  "You can submit as much tax as you like!"
           http://www.fms.treas.gov/news/factsheets/gifts.html
           \_why pay more into SS if you are getting the same out of it as the other guy?
             \_ Your reading comprehension sucks.  If they want to be taxed
                more, they're free to pay more in taxes without forcing other
                people to do so.  I don't see anything in the original article
                about SS, do you?
                \_ That's about as clever as "if you don't like abortion,
                   don't have one" or "gays can marry, they just can't marry
                   people of the same sex."  Actually, it's not even that
                   clever.
                   \_ What the millionaires mean is: "Tax *other* millionaires"
                      \_ No, they mean tax all millionaires, including us.
2010/10/21-2011/1/13 [Reference/Tax] UID:54005 Activity:nil
10/21   Do no evil? More like pay no taxes:
        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-21/google-2-4-rate-shows-how-60-billion-u-s-revenue-lost-to-tax-loopholes.html
2010/8/23-9/7 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/California/Prop] UID:53934 Activity:nil
9/19    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/la-me-city-property-tax-table,0,5895218.htmlstory
        Poor cities pay more % of prop tax than wealthy cities.
        Compton pays 1.5% prop tax.
        \_ poor people also pay more for groceries. and taxes and in general
           everything.  It's why rich people stay rich.  I love $2 country
           club burgers!
        \_ Maybe it's because the average property value in poor cities are
           lower than those in rich cities, such that a higher prop tax % rate
           doesn't translate to higher proper tax dollar?  And maybe it's also
           because poor cities need to provide more service per capita than
           rich cities?
        \_ it's ok to make fun of the poor again. Just call them The Offline.
           remember you're at the top of Digital Darwinism, you're online
           with your iphone because the Digital God gave you the best genes.
2010/7/27-8/25 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:53900 Activity:nil
7/25    Is there a polite way to tell a recruiter "too busy at the moment
        but keep me in mind for future stuff."  Or  "not in that field at
        this exact moment but am switching positions over the next few
        months for your role, keep me in mind" ?  Thx.
        \_ You know what, recruiters have thick skins.  You won't hurt
           their feelings.  Go ahead, try, you can't possibly get them down.
           Tell them you have a job, and you'll keep them in mind next
           time you are unemployed.
        \_ I think you have it right there. Recruiters in general don't mind
           it if you are direct with them.
        \_ I had THREE different recruiters from Amazon at different
           quarters. Each time, I tell them "Sorry I have no interest
           in going to Seattle." The third time, I told them "I hate
           Seattle and if you want to attract real talent, setup an
           office in Silicon Valley. Stop bothering me." I finally
           got them to stop.
           \_ A co-worker of mine requested to be transferred from here to the
              Seattle branch of the company in the '90s so that he could avoid
              paying state income tax and maybe state capital gain tax on his
              huge stock earnings.
              \_ Word. Not to mention stupid CA laws.
              \_ I know a few people who moved to .ca just for that reason too.
2010/5/28-6/30 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:53846 Activity:nil
5/28    Libertarians: yes yes yes charities do work! Screw government
        and taxes, rely on charities!
        http://media.npr.org/assets/blogs/planetmoney/images/2010/05/giftsdebt.png
        \_hun?  What is your point here?? People haven't voluntarily
          donated a lot towards paying of our 13 trillion dollar fed. debt?
          This is directed at libertarians why?  (I can assure you that they
          are not surprised at this fact).  Do you think I should be
          donating to pay for your war/corporate welfare/etc.?  The
          gubmnt has stolen enough from my children without me volunteering
          more of their money.  Really, what the hell are you thinking?
          I don't get it.
        \_ Charity != voluntary overpayment of taxes
2010/4/19-5/10 [Reference/Tax] UID:53790 Activity:nil
4/19    "Tax Day rhetoric aside, Americans' bills are lower"
        "Americans paying less taxes this year despite Tax Day rhetoric,
        increases by struggling states"
        http://www.csua.org/u/qlk
        \_ Of course they are. Half of people don't pay any.
           \_ That would be true if the only tax that existed was the income
              tax.
2010/4/12-5/10 [Reference/Tax] UID:53782 Activity:moderate
4/12    My gf did her taxes. She was unemployed most of last year and only
        paid about $500 in federal tax. She is getting a refund of $1300.
        We are both rather annoyed at this. How can you get a refund of
        more than you paid in?! (This is a rhetorical question. I know
        how.) Another acquaintance of mine makes less than half of what I
        do, but her take home is only 20% less. Even though I put money into
        my 401k (to shelter the income) and have a mortgage interest deduction
        (she does not itemize) she just got a huge refund. I got a (little)
        bill. I paid about 15x in taxes what she paid. I cannot believe there
        are goobers who want to raise taxes. 50% of people aren't paying any
        as it is! You want to raise my taxes? Eliminate some bogus credits
        first! Those with more income should shoulder more of the bill,
        but these free rides are ridiculous. You can't have half of the
        country not only not paying taxes, but getting refunds on top of it!
        "The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal
        income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they
        would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government
        sends them a payment."
        \_ It's call the erosion the middle class.
        \_ I made several billion less than GE and apparently paid more
           US taxes than they did: http://tinyurl.com/y5tpaoy
           \_ Did you also put 323,000 people to work, paying payroll
              taxes for all of them and likely millions in sales taxes
              and other taxes? If you did then I'm in favor of refunding
              any income tax you paid.
        \_ It's called the erosion the middle class.
           Really rich makes the rules, or at minimum, controls how
           the rules are applied, so they don't pay all that much into
           the system.  No matter, the system is designed to fall
           apart eventually because with enough discouragement of the
           right thing to do, no one will do the right thing.  No
           empire lasts forever. As the joke goes, "make your time..."
           I only tolerate it because I think of it as paying for my
           Mom's benefits in a very indirect way.  If you don't have
           anyone in your family who can draw from the broken system,
           what can I say.  Switch to cash business, hide it away, and
           retire as soon as possible and become part of the leeches.
           I plan to retire fairly early and stop participating in the
           broken system, as much as I can, anyway.
        \_ Look what I found through Google:
           http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/1410.html
           "These findings raise serious questions about the future of
            the U.S. income tax system...."
        \_ If you include all taxes, not just income tax, everyone pays
           taxes. Overll tax rates including FICA and Sales tax are pretty
           flat above about the bottom quintile. Income tax is pretty
           progressive (high earners pay more) but most other taxes are
           regressive (poor people pay more, as a percentage).
                                                  \_ percentage of income, or
                                                     percentage of the
                                                     particular service or good
                                                     or whatever subject to
                                                     that tax?
        \_ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/business/economy/14leonhardt.html
           \- leonhardt should have also mentioned the giant mortage
              interest dedection [~$100bn]. do you think the OP is
              stupid or disingenuous?
              \_ Is that a rhetorical question?
           \_ Rebuttal to some points he makes:
              1. I wouldn't call myself "very wealthy". I think the perception
                 of who is "very wealthy" has changed. I am middle-class,
                 _maybe_ upper middle class if I lived somewhere less expensive.
                 Let's be realistic. People who make over $52100 are not
                 all "wealthy". Saying that $52100 is the statistical
                 middle class may be true, but you cannot live a
                 traditional middle class lifestyle on that salary in any
                 urban part of the country. That doesn't mean people who
                 make less should pay no tax and it doesn't mean that
                 people who make more should shoulder the burden of all of
                 the tax revenue. If you make $100000 per year you are not
                 John D. Rockefeller.
                 \_ You can live a middle class lifestyle on $52k/yr in most
                    of the country. Just not in expensive areas. That is quite
                    a bit of money in San Antonio, for instance.
              2. "It will have to raise taxes even more than it otherwise
                  would on everybody else. Or it will have to find deep cuts
                  in Medicare, Social Security, military spending and the
                  other large (generally popular) federal programs."
                  I would lobby for either of these options. I think some
                  deep cuts need to be made and I also think that people
                  in the bottom 50% need to start paying more than they do
                  now, even if that means the top 50% also sees an increase.
                  One cannot just raise taxes on the top 50%. Everyone has
                  to share in the pain and right now that's just not true.
              3. Focusing on payroll taxes is a distraction unless you
                 own a company. This is not money coming out of my (or
                 your) pocket. In fact, this is another way of saying that
                 the wealthy (who own the companies) are also bankrolling
                 other benefits for the poor. State tax is a red herring. Some
                 states have none at all and we can choose to move there if we
                 wish. Mortgage deduction is also irrelevant. If the bottom
                 50% had huge mortgage deductions they would still pay 0 (or
                 get a refund). It's just a way for homeowners to keep from
                 getting _really_ reamed compared to the bottom percentiles.
                 Without it the gap would be even worse.
                 \_ you're a (wordy) idiot.
                    \_ Nice rebuttal. You obviously have no counter.
                       \_ you obviously have no clue, so why bother?
                          \_ Pathetic.
                 \_ You don't understand what "payroll taxes" are. This is
                    another name for FICA, which everyone pays, though it is
                    only taxed on the first $100k or so of income.
                    \_ Everyone pays less than _half_ of. (Example: only
                       the employer contributes to FUTA). Further, money that
                       "you pay" (the other half) is mandated by law to be
                       withheld by your employer. Since it is mandatory
                       and it comes out of your paychecks (and not out of,
                       say, your capital gains on stock or other income
                       you make outside of your employment) you could make a
                       good argument that it's really your employer paying all
                       of it. This is slightly different from income taxes
                       (which you pay out of your salary also) because with
                       income taxes some people pay more and others pay less
                       depending on their situation. So that's money that, if
                       your tax situation allows, you may get to keep. Not so
                       with payroll taxes (unless you switch jobs in the middle
                       of a year and overpay). It's never really "yours" to
                       begin with unless you are an independent
                       contractor/business owner. For example, I cannot lower
                       my FICA withholding, invest it for the year, make a
                       profit on it, and pay the amount due at the end of
                       the year. So how is this money really "mine"? What
                       it is is money paid by my employer on my behalf.
                       \_ It's yours because it comes out of *your* salary.
                          When someone gives you a job offer and says you'll
                          be paid $100K/year, you will claim your salary is
                          $100K/year, it will go down as $100K/year on your
                          tax forms, but the amount you get to spend is
                          less FICA.  Sales tax is mandatory, too, that doesn't
                          mean it's money paid on your behalf by the business
                          you're buying from.
                          Returning to: you're an idiot.
                          \_ Semantics. It's your employer paying it. As
                             I said, you have no chance of retaining your
                             _half_. Sales tax is not at all mandatory in any
                             way. I can live a lifestyle in which I pay no
                             sales tax at all or I can end up paying 100%
                             of my salary in sales tax depending on my
                             situation and my choices. Not so with "payroll
                             taxes". Instead of calling me names, realize
                             that "you" are not paying these payroll taxes.
                             These are employer contributions in your name
                             under the guise of salary.
                             \_ Guess what: If you don't have a salary, you
                                don't pay payroll tax.
                                \_ True. This is just another way of saying
                                   that employers always pay for it. If
                                   you don't have an employer, you don't
                                   pay it. Ever. Not so with income tax or
                                   sales tax. The evidence is strong that
                                   this is a tax employers pay. Employees
                                   may pay it in legal terms, but the
                                   reality is that employers pay it all
                                   unless you are an independent contractor,
                                   which 90+% of people are not.
                                   \_ There is no such thing as "employer
                                      paying for ***" as they'll just pass
                                      the cost to the employee.  There is no
                                      such thing as free beer. !op
                                      \_ I would argue the opposite. There
                                         is no such thing as "employee
                                         paying for ***" as it is because
                                         of the employer that the employee
                                         has any money at all. Of course,
                                         the employer also relies on
                                         employees, but it's much easier
                                         to find a janitor to work at Microsoft
                                         than to found Microsoft.
                                         \_ Do you think your employer pays
                                            for your health care because it
                                            comes out of your paycheck?  How
                                            about unemployment?
                                            \_ How do you get the money to pay
                                               for it if not from your
                                               employer? And if you quit
                                               your job you will stop
                                               paying unemployment and
                                               _really_ start paying for
                                               your health care in earnest.
                                               \_ What kind of insane logic
                                                  is that?  You got the money
                                                  from your employer, therefore
                                                  your employer paid for it?
                                                  Your employer gives you
                                                  a *salary*.  That salary
                                                  belongs to *you*.  Deductions
                                                  from that salary are things
                                                  that *you are paying for*,
                                                  just as surely as if you
                                                  spent the money on a
                                                  cheeseburger.  -tom
                                                  \_ Some deductions, yes.
                                                     Others, no. You are
                                                     forced to pay for
                                                     unemployment insurance.
                                                     In fact, not only are
                                                     you forced, but your
                                                     employer hands the
                                                     money over for you. You
                                                     are not forced to buy a
                                                     cheeseburger. If my
                                                     employer took out $3
                                                     of my salary every
                                                     month and gave me a
                                                     cheeseburger instead
                                                     and I could not
                                                     change this then I
                                                     would say that my
                                                     employer bought me a
                                                     cheeseburger, not
                                                     that he paid me $3
                                                     with which I bought a
                                                     cheeseburger. I
                                                     might be vegetarian
                                                     and I don't even want
                                                     that cheeseburger. I
                                                     just want my $3 to go
                                                     buy a nice salad, but
                                                     no dice. So how is
                                                     that $3 mine? In the
                                                     case of health
                                                     insurance, I can opt
                                                     out of that and go
                                                     get my own if I wish,
                                                     but most employers heavily
                                                     subsidize health
                                                     insurance and if you
                                                     opt out you do not
                                                     get their subsidy in
                                                     cash, although I worked
                                                     somewhere where I did.
                                                     \_ Let me put it this way:
                                                        if tomorrow they
                                                        stopped requiring
                                                        employees to pay
                                                        unemployment taxes,
                                                        I'm pretty sure you'd
                                                        expect the money saved
                                                        to go to you rather
                                                        than your employer.
                                                        Because it's part
                                                        of your salary.  -tom
                                                        \_ I see your point.
                                                           Do you see mine?
                                                           If you quit your job
                                                           to live off of
                                                           your large
                                                           inheritance do you
                                                           still owe the
                                                           payroll tax?
                                                           How can that be
                                                           if you're the
                                                           one that owes
                                                           it and pays it?
                                                           It's a payment
                                                           on your behalf.
                                                           If it's no longer
                                                           mandated you may
                                                           see a gain at first,
                                                           but I would argue it
                                                           would be mostly
                                                           competed away
                                                           long-term as people
                                                           were willing to work
                                                           for just a little
                                                           more take home than
                                                           before even if
                                                           it means a smaller
                                                           salary. E.g., Joe
                                                           who made $50K and
                                                           took home $40K
                                                           (but now takes
                                                           home $50K) is now
                                                           finding his job at
                                                           risk from the new
                                                           college grad willing
                                                           to work for $45K (and
                                                           take home $45K).
                                                           The new equilibrium
                                                           will see some of the
                                                           windfall with the
                                                           employer and some
                                                           with the employee
                                                           calling into
                                                           question whose it
                                                           was to begin with.
                                                           \_ there's really
                                                              no question
                                                              whose it is.
                                                              The fact that
                                                              you can avoid
                                                              payroll tax by
                                                              not being on
                                                              payroll doesn't
                                                              mean that someone
                                                              else is paying
                                                              it.  You can
                                                              avoid sales tax
                                                              by not buying
                                                              anything, but
                                                              when you buy
                                                              something, you're
                                                              still paying
                                                              sales tax.  -tom
2010/3/5-30 [Reference/Tax] UID:53741 Activity:nil
3/5     A while back, I mentioned the possibility of hyperinflation in the US
        Looks like I'm not the crazy one:
        http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1969231,00.html
        \_ Stands to reason it will happen. We want a weak dollar to pay
           back debt with devalued dollars and we printed a lot of them.
           I invested a lot in TIPS.
        \_ Yawn. Right now the problem is deflation, not inflation. That
           article says that taxes are going to go up instead, and I tend
           to agree.
           \_ Taxes will probably rise, but inflation is inevitable given
              how many dollars we printed and scarcity of natural resources.
              I would (and did) bet heavily against deflation.
              \_ How do you explain Japan's two decade long experience with
                 deflation then? They printed lots of money, have ran massive
                 budget deficits, have a scarcity of natural resources and
                 have not been able to shake the deflation bug.
         \_ "As Washington ponders its taxation options, it might also wish
             to cast its gaze toward the NYSE and Nasdaq, whose companies add
             very little to the public till."
             Only if you completely ignore the payroll taxes and sales
             taxes these companies pay and the taxes their employees pay
             out of their salaries.
2009/11/2-9 [Reference/Tax] UID:53492 Activity:very high
11/1    Where the Bush tax cuts went:
        http://tinyurl.com/ybdo32e
        It sure would be nice to have that $2.3T back, wouldn't it?
        \_ If you pray hard enough, much of that wealth will be trickling down
           to everyone soon! Keep praying!
        \_ Since the money stayed with individuals like you and me we
           already "have it back". Or do you mean that you wish the
           government had kept $2.3T in wealth that belonged to the
           citizens?
           \_ anyone with HS education understands the point of the
              graph. The rich have the biggest dot, and hence they
              got way more than everyone else. The point of the
              graph is to conjure up knee-jerk actions from the poor
              and socialists alike. Did you graduate from Berkeley?
              \_ What the rich "got" was their own money! Good point
                 in your next-to-last sentence.
           \_ What did they do with it? It seems pretty clear that the people
              who got the tax break just blew it on a big housing bubble.
              \_ personal responsibility. self reliance. yadda yadda
                 yadda. Read Ayn Rand.
                 \_ to understand better how idiots think about the world?
           \_ No, what really happened is that Bush borrowed $2.3T from the
              Chinese and indebted future generations (like you and me) to
              pay it back and then transferred that money to his wealthy
              supporters. If the government had been running a surplus during
              that time, you might be right, but we did not, we ran huge
              deficits. I sure wish we hadn't borrowed all that money to
              pay for the Bush tax cuts, don't you?
              \_ Put another way:
                 Bush screwed the Chinese, because they aren't ever going
                 to see that money again. I can't pay it back and I'm
                 declaring BK, baby. Let's watch the Chinese try to collect.
                 The wealthiest Americans stole $2.3T from the Chinese.
                 They are so gullible. If I owe the Chinese $100K I have
                 a big problem. If I owe the Chinese $2.3T they have a big
                 problem.
                 BTW, these "future generations" who will pay the bill
                 back are the same "rich people" the money was "given" to
                 to begin with. "You and me" aren't going to pay it back,
                 because we don't pay that much in taxes anyway. Anytime
                 you can borrow cheaply and earn a higher return on the
                 money you borrowed you should do so. Consider this a
                 low-interest loan from the Chinese to wealthy Americans
                 who then invested the money. In that context it makes a
                 lot more sense.
                 \_ Who has gotten a higher return on their investment
                    lately? I don't think it was anyone investing in the
                    US real estate or equity markets. Though the dollar
                    weakness must make US Bondholders nervous as well.
                    We will all be paying it back, with higher taxes and
                    less services.
                    \_ You don't think anyone investing in the real estate
                       markets made money?! Don't let the recent crash
                       obscure how much money was made. What are those
                       T-bills paying lately? Also, I hate to break it to
                       you but we won't all be paying it back. Plenty of
                       people don't pay any (or hardly any) tax at all.
                       \_ Reductions in services are a form of payment.
                          \_ Depends on if I use the services or not.
                             \_ 1) The people who don't pay any tax at
                                   all tend to use lots of
                                   services (for example: buses,
                                   public schools, public health
                                   clinics, etc.) that self-satisfied
                                   over-priviledged geeks don't use.
                                2) Even if you as a self-satisfied,
                                   overpriviledged geek don't use those
                                   services, their reduction is a cost
                                   to the society in which you take part.
                                   A good public transportation system
                                   reduces traffic on the roads; a good
                                   public school system reduces crime and
                                   increases the quality of the labor
                                   pool, a good public health system
                                   reduces the incidence of communicable
                                   disease, etc.  -tom
                                   \_ Completely depends on which services
                                      are cut. Not every service provides
                                      some noble service to society.
                                      \_ OK, well, considering that
                                         education and health services
                                         represent over 80% of the
                                         state operational budget, where
                                         are the cuts going to come from?
                                         They're going to come from
                                         services the state's poor need.  -tom
                                         \_ We're talking about the federal
                                            government borrowing from the
                                            Chinese. There's a big part of
                                            the budget that could be cut
                                            which is defense.
                                            \_ Defense is the one government
                                               service that the rich enjoy
                                               more than the poor.  -tom
                                               \_ That's not necessarily
                                                  true, but if it is then
                                                  you just proved my point
                                                  about how "we" may not
                                                  pay back the money that
                                                  was borrowed and "the
                                                  rich" will.
                       \_ It is an interesting way to look at it. Let's see
                          who ends up getting their taxes raised to pay it
                          back.
                       \_ You must pay a lot less in taxes than me. "We" will
                          certainly be paying it back.
                          \_ I am not in the top 1% ($400K+), but if you are
                             then congrats and sorry to tell you that, yes, you
                             will be paying it back. I'm sure you don't
                             mind given all the money you made as a result
                             of the tax cuts, though.
                             \_ Not quite top 1%, but top 5% for sure. I am
                                still thinking about what I think of the govt
                                borrowing money on my behalf. It is true that
                                I did all right investing with it. I wouldn't
                                mind seeing my taxes go up, especilaly if it
                                went to something worthwhile, like the UC.
        \_ what'd be nice is a bit next to it showing the tax burdens
           and incomes as well for comparison.  We already know they pay a
           larger share of the taxes as well.
           \_ Overall tax burden is pretty flat from the 4th to highest
              decile:
              http://tinyurl.com/yjxoknd
              This includes all taxes, not just income tax, which is what
              the cheerleaders for the wealthiest like to focus on.
              \_ Does not include property tax, sales tax, or local taxes.
2009/10/1-8 [Reference/Tax] UID:53419 Activity:nil
9/30    It's 9/30 people! Wake up!
        Anyway, I have a lot of rewards points from my bank which I can
        redeem for cash and this got me wondering if I owe tax when I
        redeem points for rewards. Knowing the government, I do. Anyone
        know? I guess it depends on whether they are considered coupons or
        rebates versus income.
        \_ Blow it off like everyone else.  Get drunk.  Enjoy yourself.
2009/9/9-15 [Finance, Reference/Tax] UID:53350 Activity:nil
9/9     Tax question: I have lots of long-term capital gains and some
        short-term capital losses. I'd like to use the losses to offset
        the gains. However, since the long-term cap gains rate is lower,
        should I wait until I have some short-term cap gains to claim the
        loss? (I have no short-term cap gains right now.)
2009/8/6-19 [Politics/Domestic, Reference/Tax] UID:53249 Activity:kinda low
8/6     http://money.howstuffworks.com/5-great-depression-events-videos1.htm
        Excellent video of the Great Depression. Low corporate tax, little
        regulation... any of this sound familiar?
        \_ The Libertarians have surrendered the field.
           \_ just decided it wasn't worth arguing with y'all
              \_ it's ok you'll just be marginalized and then forgotten
                 like the Federalists
        \_ When's the next world war?
           \_ ask putin, or north korea
              \_ Putin is too busy having skin-to-skin contact with his horse.
                 \_ then ask his horse.
              \_ ask the Isralies
              \_ ask the Isralites
2009/7/5-16 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:53113 Activity:low
7/5     Job A is completely unrelated to Job B. Job A is my main job, and
        job B is what I do for fun but can't make a living out of [yet].
        Let's say job A provides me with 99% of my income. I just invested
        $20,000 for job B which currently makes only 1% of my income,
        but I hope to recuperate most of that in maybe 1-2 years. Is there
        any way deduct my tax rate that I make from job A using expenses
        from job B?
        \_ You can carry forward your Job B losses for 3-10 years.
           \_ why the nebulous 3-10 years? What determines that?
              \_ So that you look it up or talk to a tax advisor. motd is good
                 to point you in the right direction, but you really shouldn't
                 make tax decisions based on it.
        \_ you can also incorporate Job B and be a sole shareholder.
           I recommend Nolo Press.
           \_ I recommend you do not incorporate unless you like lots of
              expenses like taxes. For example a C corporation in California
              pays a minimum of $800 in franchise taxes. This is true if
              you do business in California, even if you incorporated in
              another state and even if you operate at a loss. I setup a
              corporation "just to learn how" for a hobby I did and it
              turned into a gigantic fustercluck. I am working to have it
              dissolved now. Please make it go away.
              \_ He wouldn't do a C Corp, he'd probably do an S Corp, which
                 avoids double taxation and other issues with S Corps. But
                 the Nolo books explain all of this.
                 \_ S Corps still pay the greater of ($800 or 1.5% of
                    net income) in franchise tax and are still double
                    taxed in California. Do not incorporate unless you
                    like paying money to lawyers, accountants, and the
                    government and the laws change seemingly each year which
                    means you will spend a lot of time figuring things out and
                    ignorance is not accepted as an excuse. It makes a lot of
                    sense to incorporate in some instances, but for a hobby I
                    wouldn't do it.
                    \_ wrong.
                       \_ 100% correct. Please to be highlighting the part
                          you think is wrong so that I may educate you.
2009/4/24-29 [Reference/Tax, Computer/SW/OS/Windows] UID:52907 Activity:low
4/23    Let's say I design a web site for my mom's friend who paid me $100
        for the job. I'm fine with paying tax on my extra $100 income as
        my side job. Can I deduct tax for buying a $2000 computer + monitor?
        Do I have to do the LLC thing, and is there anything else I have to
        do to deduct for buying equipments?
        \_ You can't deduct more than you made. But if you make $2K on the side,
           you can deduct $2K.
           \_ I don't think it's quite so simple.  I think you can only
              deduct the fraction of $2k that you've devoted solely to
              your side business.  I.e., you can't deduct your 95% gaming
              machine as a 100% business expense, but you could deduct
              5% of it.  In practice, I don't know how they could possibly
              enforce this, and I could be completely wrong about this:
              what I advise is that you look into this carefully and
              perhaps consult an actual professional.
              \_ They enforce it by auditing you.
                 \_ And how does that work?  "Of course I used this
                    computer 50% for work!"  "Did not!"  "Did too!"
                    \_ 50% maybe.  But if you deduct a 2k expense on
                       a 100 dollar job and you get audited they will
                       tell you you are full of it and make you pay.
                       It's blantent dude.
                       \_ No, you can lose money "consulting" for at least
                          three years before the IRS starts to get riled up.
                          They understand that new businesses often don't make
                          any money for a while.
        \_ My accountant wrote this to me: Expenses related to job are summed
           up, and if the total exceeds 2% of income, the "excess" amount is
           included in "itemized deductions". Also, you can only report the
           "business portion" (generally 60%) for tax purpose. And in the case
           of a computer, it has to be depreciated over 5 years.  So, it may
           not be as useful as you've heard." So I have no idea what the
           last portion of 5 years means...
           \_ it means you can only deduct 20% of the business percentage
              of the computer's cost each year.  So a $2000 computer used
              50% for business, you can only deduct $200.   -tom
2009/4/20-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:52877 Activity:nil 66%like:52873
4/19    Corporate profits yoy
        link:tinyurl.com/cr5a7w (blogspot)
        This means there should be MORE tax cuts for corporations!   -conservative
2009/4/6-13 [Reference/Tax, Transportation/PublicTransit] UID:52808 Activity:high
4/6     Alameda sales tax is now 9.75%. that's pretty rough. sales
        tax is regressive.  Some boneheaded Oakland city council member
        wants to raise Oakland sales tax even more, in this
        recession. - motd liberal
        \_ Yes, the sales tax, car tax, and income tax increases enacted by the
           state legislature are the largest in history, and massively
           regressive.  Add in the federal tobacco tax increase and the poor
           have been hammered.
           \_ I'm going to give the legislature a break on car taxes.  Arnold
              shouldn't have used that issue to get into office.
              \_ Irrespective of Arnold's tactics, a doubling of the VLF is
                 still a huge hit for many low-income families.
                 \_ Compared to all the other costs of car ownership
                    car taxes are pretty damn tiny, especially if you
                    own a junker.  (1.15 percent, or about 33 bucks/year on
                    a car that costs 3000 dollars)  In the mid/late 90s VLF
                    fees were about twice what they are now.
           \_ Regressive taxes are good.  Tax the poor right out of existence!
              It's their own fault for being poor!
                --  Typical conservative whackjob
                    a car that costs 3000 dollars, so an extra ~$16 a year.)
                    In the mid/late 90s VLF fees were about twice what
                    they are now.
                 \_ Car drivers are still massively subsidized by non-drivers,
                    who tend to be even poorer.
                    \_ I doubt it, since non-drivers are a small portion of
                       the population and have small incomes. I think you
                       could eliminate non-drivers from the country completely
                       and it would hardly affect drivers. What gets
                       massive subsidies is public transit.
                       \_ That's only true if you ignore most of the costs
                          of driving.
                       \_ Public transit gets less subsidy per rider than
                          automobiles do, actually. Many non-drivers are
                          old and not poor.
                          \_ Old generally means lower income. In 2000 87%
                             of the "driving age population" had a license.
                             (Driving age population basically excludes kids.
                             There is no upper age.) How much do you think
                             that other 13% is contributing? It's probably
                             much less than 13% of the tax base. There is no
                             way car drivers are subsidized by non-drivers.
                             \_ That doesn't mean driving isn't subsidized.
                                It just means that the subsidizers are often
                                also the drivers.  That both hides the true
                                cost of car ownership and makes it so it's
                                not cost effective to opt out.
                                \_ How do you subsidize yourself? You are
                                   being ridiculous now.
                                   \_ Say I have to pay a lot of taxes
                                      to build roads/clean up after cars/
                                      spend money on traffic enforcement/
                                      etc.  That's a subsidy.  Yeah I get
                                      services from it, but it hides the
                                      total costs of car ownership.  And
                                      total costs of car ownership.  And if
                                      I chose not to own a car I still have
                                      to pay thoses costs so there's much
                                      less incentive to use alternatives.
                                   \_ I think there is a strong case that those
                                      that drive less (or not at all) subsidize
                                      those who drive more. If something is
                                      subsidized so that users of it don't see
                                      the true cost, it tends to get over-
                                      consumed.
                             \_ Has a license does not mean has a car.  Has
                                a license does not mean drives regularly.
                                \_ No, but has a license = driver. Drivers
                                   sometimes walk, bike, or take public
                                   transit, too, but we're still drivers.
                                   Roads benefit everyone. Emergency
                                   services and firefighting, transport of
                                   goods, and even buses and bikes benefit
                                   by roads. However, not everyone benefits
                                   from public transit.
                                   \_ take the million-plus trips that
                                      go by public transit in the Bay Area
                                      each day and turn them into car trips,
                                      and you'll see how public transit
                                      benefits everyone.  -tom
                                      \_ No, that just benefits Bay Area
                                         commuters.
                                   \_ Everyone benefits from reduced congestion,
                                      cleaner air and fewer people injured on
                                      the highways.
                                         \_ Almost certainly my last post
                                            on this subject: Having a
                                            transportation network capable
                                            of moving lots of people from
                                            place to place in the region
                                            is a benefit to everyone.
                                            Employers, for example, are
                                            benefitted by having access
                                            to their employees.  Public
                                            transit moves more people per
                                            dollar or per unit of land use
                                            than roads do, which gives the
                                            overall infrastructure greater
                                            capacity at a lower cost.  -tom
                                            \_ It's only efficient if you
                                               happen to need to go exactly
                                               where public transit takes you.
                                               You have a point if you want
                                               to go from A to B, but not if
                                               you want to go from A to [A-Z].
                                               You can replace all roads with
                                               rail and build a thousand new
                                               train stations if you want to
                                               achieve the effect you desire
                                               but that seems horribly
                                               expensive given the roads are
                                               already in place and the
                                               logistics are nasty for cargo
                                               (which is why trucks are used
                                               more often than cheaper existing
                                               rail in many cases). We aren't
                                               talking about building some
                                               utopian society from scratch,
                                               but leveraging off of what
                                               exists and there is no way
                                               replacing roads with rail
                                               makes sense at this time in
                                               I'd say 98% of cases.
                                               \_ Have you ever been to
                                                  Europe?
                                                  \_ I have. I noticed the
                                                     startling existence
                                                     of roads.
                                                     \_ Far fewer than here,
                                                        per capita. How do you
                                                        think they do that?
                                                        \_ Mash 4 million
                                                           people into a
                                                           closet? Per capita!
                                                           How about per square
                                                           kilometer?? It's
                                                           about the same as
                                                           here.
                                               \_ Keep beating that straw
                                                  man, I'm sure you'll get
                                                  him at some point.  -tom
                                                  \_ Is that your new nickname?
                                   \_ Everyone benefits from reduced
                                      congestion, cleaner air and fewer
                                      people injured on the highways.
                                      \_ I would say that the cost/benefit
                                         ratio is high for the typical
                                         American who is not living in a
                                         crowded city. Why should they
                                         subsidize commuters in SF and NYC?
                                         \_ Who is this typical American who
                                            doesn't live in a crowded city?
                                         However, I think it's clear why
                                         those in SF and NYC should still
                                         pay for roads in middle America.
                                         Let me make this more clear: We need
                                         the roads. We cannot eliminate them.
                                         Claiming that they are subsidized
                                         (or not) misses this point. We have
                                         to pay for them. We do not need rail
                                         (distinguished from buses because
                                         buses also need the road) at this
                                         time in most of the country and
                                         even in the areas that we do we still
                                         need roads. It's a luxury that makes
                                         life better for some people. Like
                                         all luxuries, it should be paid
                                         for by those who use those services.
                                         You can argue that we should be
                                         building a rail infrastructure to
                                         handle future population increases,
                                         but you will *still* need the roads
                                         so that just means increasing total
                                         transportation costs. You will
                                         not get to a point where rail is
                                         free and all the roads are toll
                                         roads and even if you did you
                                         would just be shifting the costs
                                         around so that you'd pay for them
                                         with higher prices for goods,
                                         emergency services, and so on.
                                         You (the non-driver) will not be
                                         able to escape paying for roads
                                         unless there are no roads and
                                         that is unlikely in my lifetime.
                                         \_ No, we don't need all those
                                            roads. We could easily get by
                                            with 1/4 the road network. Why
                                            should urban commuters subsidize
                                            suburban commuters? You have no
                                            explaination, other than "we need
                                            it." We only need big interstates
                                            like I-5 and I-10, we don't need
                                            all the commuter beltways, like
                                            580 and 24. If we didn't have
                                            commuter rail, we would have to
                                            build even more freeways, which
                                            cost more per passenger than rail.
                                            \_ You needs roads almost
                                               everywhere because goods ship
                                               to/from almost everywhere
                                               and you need to be able to
                                               provide emergency access to
                                               almost everywhere (firefighters
                                               and ambulance). In fact, I
                                               would argue you need those
                                               local roads *more* than you
                                               need roads like I-5 and
                                               I-10, which could more easily be
                                               replaced by rail for transport
                                               of goods and people, too.
                                               Drive I-5 and you will see
                                               it's hardly used for local
                                               transit and transport.
                                               \_ There is no need to provide
                                                  goods and emergency access
                                                  to low density regions. I
                                                  lived in Wyoming and it would
                                                  be stupid to build paved
                                                  roads to every house. Why
                                                  should the taxpayer support
                                                  someones desire to live out
                                                  in the middle of nowhere?
                                                  \_ I agree except I suspect
                                                     you have a weird idea of
                                                     what "low density" means.
                                                     Everything not in the
                                                     largest cities is not "low
                                                     density". If you want
                                                     to argue against Alaska
                                                     highways (Bridge To
                                                     Nowhere) I am with you on
                                                     that, but not if you
                                                     are talking about
                                                     roads in places like
                                                     Stockton.
                                                     \_ It is fine to build a
                                                        small two lane road in
                                                        places like Stockton,
                                                        sufficient for goods
                                                        delivery (and what we
                                                        had in the 50's) but
                                                        that is not what we
                                                        have now.
                                                        \_ What was the
                                                           population in the
                                                           50's compared
                                                           to now?
                                                           \_ If the people who
                                                              want to use all
                                                              that extra
                                                              infrastructure
                                                              want to pay for
                                                              it, that is fine,
                                                              but if they don't
                                                              let it go back to
                                                              weeds, like
                                                              Detroit is doing
                                                              today. No use in
                                                              throwing good
                                                              money after bad.
                                            People who live in rural areas get
                                            all other kinds of subsidizes as
                                            well, which we should phase out.
                                            It is inefficient to live so widely
                                            spread out and rural people (other
                                            than farmers) don't really
                                            contribute that much to the
                                            economy. All those big yards are
                                            luxuries that you should not expect
                                            others to pay for. If we got rid
                                            of all those inefficient freeways
                                            and replaced them with more
                                            efficient transportation methods,
                                            prices would go down, not up, like
                                            you claim.
2009/4/3-10 [Reference/Tax] UID:52789 Activity:moderate
4/3     Tax on a pound of roll-your-own tobacco will go from $1.10 cents to
        $24.78 -- about a 2,200-percent increase. Large cigars jump from 5 to
        40 cents.  And a pack of cigarettes spikes from 39 cents to $1.01.
        \_ Who buys a pound of tobacco?
           \_ Uh, people you roll their own.  Like it says there.
           \_ Uh, people who roll their own.  Like it says there.
            \_ I know plenty of people who roll their own.  A pound is
               a fuckload of tobacco.
               a fuckload of tobacco.  A pack of drum is 40grams (tax of
               about 2 dollars) and makes about 2-3 packs worth of cigarettes.
              \_ I know plenty of people who roll their own.  A pound is a
                 fuckload of tobacco.  A pack of drum is 40grams (tax of about
                 2 dollars) and makes about 2-3 packs worth of cigarettes.
                 (Often more because people who roll their own tend to make
                 tiny ass cigarettes.)
                 \_ Who cares how many cigs a pound makes?
                    \_ Because $25/pound sounds a lot more unreasonable than
                       less than a dollar a pack.  Just the other day I spent
                       90k a pound of some medication!  Of course since they
                       are 5mg a pill, that's only 1 dollar a pill.  See,
                       context matters.
                       \_ It's the delta in the tax that's interesting. Fed Tax on
                          cigs more than doubled, but this is just insane.
                       \_ It's the delta in the tax that's interesting. Fed
                          Tax on cigs more than doubled, but this is just
                          insane.
                          \_ ...or it implies that the tax on a pound was
                             inordinately low before. -!pp
                             1 pound ~= 450 grams = 11.25 drums = 22.5-33.75 packs
                             1 pound ~= 450 grams = 11.25 drums = 22.5-33.75
                             packs
                             packs (thnx 80 col re-formatter!)
                             Tax increase per pack: $.39 -> $1.01
                             22.5-33.72 packs = $8.78-$13.16 -> $22.73-$34.09
                             1 pound = $1.10 -> $24.78
                             Sounds like they're bringing it in line. And since
                             the point of the tax is to discourage smoking,
                             it makes no sense to encourage a tax break for
                             it makes no sense to offer a tax break for
                             buying in bulk. This isn't competitive pricing.
2009/3/19-23 [Reference/RealEstate, Reference/Tax] UID:52732 Activity:high
3/19    Communist/Socialist House reps pass bill taxing bonuses at 90% for that
        portion of the bonus that pushes you over, for individuals, total AGI
        > $125K ($250K married) working at an entity which took >= $5B in TARP
        money.  A disgrace to meritocracy.  Cost of living in Manhattan is
        expensive you know??  It's a good thing it only starts for the 2009
        tax year!
        \_ ha ha you're stupid
        \_ I think it's not fair to be based on household income.  I think it
           should be based on the income of the person (married or not)
           getting the bonus.
        \_ It's an unconstitutional bill of attainder.
         \_ That's not obvious.
        \_ corrected again after reading the bill
        \_ It should have been 99%. Seriously, the people owed bonuses should
           become third- or fourth-tier creditors; if there's anything left
           to pay them after paying back the govt., fine. If not, tough.
           \_ "While the House legislation calls for a 90 percent tax, Rep.
              Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways
              and Means Committee, said he expected local and state
              governments to take the remaining 10 percent of the bonuses."
              http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/aig_outrage
        \_ what is your suggestion?  continue to let those free-market
           guys run the banks and continue their practice of leveraging
           35:1  ?  let me know.
        \_ Rent a cheap condo in Brooklyn and take a train to work. $250K
           is plenty to live in Manhattan too. Just find a cheaper place to live
           take the kids out of $30K/year private school.
           is plenty to live in Manhattan too. Just find a cheaper place to
           live take the kids out of $30K/year private school.
           \_ If 250K/year isn't enough for you to live in a nice condo
              in Manhattan you need to stop doing 10k of coke a month.
              \_ A 3 BR apartment is about $5-7K/month. $12K/month doesn't
                 seem like much with those prices. I think the guy who
              \_ A 3 BR apartment is about $5-7K/month. $12K/month (after
                 tax) seem like much with those prices. I think the guy who
                 said Brooklyn or Jersey was more on the money.
                 \_ And really, who can live on just 7k a month?
                    \_ Slippery slope. I bet you can live on a lot less
                       than you make, too. Most people can. Once you start
                       trying to define a "minimum livable wage" you have
                       already lost and might as well embrace communism.
                       \_ You are really bad at this reading comprehension
                          aren't you.  Are you the same person who was mad
                          because those dirty poor people don't live
                          on potatoes and milk?
2009/2/27-3/6 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:52655 Activity:low
2/27    CA unemployment increases from 9.3% to 10.1% for Jan
        \_ Good thing the legislature passed the biggest tax increase in
           history!  That should solve it.
           \_ because cutting taxes has done such a great job so far!
                \_ it has.. giving mortgages to poor folks did us in
                   \_ 100% horseshit.
              \_ Find me an economist who thinks raising taxes will help
                 grow the economy.
                 \_ States can't run a deficit AND because of our fucked
                    up initiative system CA spending is pretty locked.
                    There's not much choice.
                    \_ I guess States need some of the stimulus money then
                       because the Feds can run a deficit. Raising taxes
                       right now is stupid.
                 \_ Raising taxes might hurt the economy less than cutting
                    services would.
                    \_ Those are not the only two choices.
                 \_ Once again, 100% horseshit.
                    http://blogs.bellinghamherald.com/politics/?p=845
                     "Drawing upon economic theory, we believe
                     reducing government spending will have a more
                     deleterious effect on Washington s economy than
                     would increasing revenue. Although both cuts in
                     government spending and tax increases have the
                     potential to slow economic growth, cutting
                     government spending would likely have the most
                     immediate impact by directly reducing
                     consumption. Tax increases are less problematic
                     because individual consumers, especially those
                     with higher-incomes, are unlikely to reduce
                     consumption by the full amount of the tax
                     increase."  (First hit on Google.)  -tom
                     \_ You do realize that all but a small handful
                        of the economists who are urging for higher
                        taxes rather than reduced government spending
                        in that letter are government employees,
                        right? 100% horseshit indeed.
                        \_ You asked me to find you an economist who
                           thinks raising taxes will grow the economy,
                           and I found you 20+ on the first Google hit,
                           \_ Uh, no. Those 20+ economist merely *said*
                              raising taxes would grow the economy. Whether
                              or not they actually *think* it will is
                              completely different. As I pointed out, they
                              were arguing for raising taxes in favor of
                              cutting state spending. Just casually looking
                              at where these people worked, all but 3-4 of
                              them were easily identifiable as state employees.
                              Do you want me to spell it out for you?
                              \_ Well, gee, pretty much all the economists
                                 who say that raising taxes is bad are
                                 wealthy taxpayers, so I guess we can ignore
                                 their opinions.  -tom
                                 \_ Before you were just dense. Now you're
                                    making imaginary arguments.
                                    \_ How is it any more imaginary than the
                                       argument that we should discount
                                       economists who work for the
                                       government?  Economists who don't
                                       work for the government directly
                                       benefit from lower taxes; by your
                                       "logic," we should discount their
                                       opinions due to conflict of
                                       interest.  -tom
                           including several who are not government
                           employees.  So, yes, 100% horseshit.  Want to
                           try moving the yardsticks again?  OK, here are
                           some more:
                           \_ These economists are comparing raising
                              taxes versus cutting spending, which is not
                              really the issue. Cutting spending right now
                              would be suicide. The alternative to raising
                              taxes is not cutting spending. It's running
                              a deficit, which makes sense to do during
                              lean economic times. During a Depression is
                              not the time to balance the budget.
                              \_ Nice job moving the yardsticks again.  -tom
                                 \_ You have a really low hurdle for
                                    success if you want to take the
                                    original statement literally.
        http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/socialstudies.php
        \_ This article says nothing at all about taxes versus economic
           growth, but it does point out that federal spending as a % of
           GDP is higher than historical levels.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/business/economy/25leonhardt.html
                           Please discount those, too.  -tom
        \_ The guy in this article notes that the economy grew the fastest
           in the late 1990s when Clinton "briefly took federal taxes to
           20% of GDP". There is no correlation between the taxes being
           high and the <DEAD>dot.com<DEAD> growth. I think raising taxes during boom
           periods is a smart idea, but the taxes were not the cause of the
           boom. At the article points out, when you raise taxes on
           cigarettes, consumption decreases. When you raise taxes on oil,
           consumption decreases. You think raising income taxes will not
           decrease consumption? Herbert Hoover raised taxes during the
           Depression and it was a horrible blunder. Read up about it.
           Let's not do that again.
           http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/wm1835.cfm
           \_ Do you understand the difference between income tax and
              sales tax?
              \_ Do you understand the similarities?
2009/2/14-18 [Reference/Tax] UID:52575 Activity:moderate
2/14    GOP votes against biggest tax cut in history, after voting repeatedly
        for Bush's tax cuts for the rich.  The campaign ads really write
        themselves.
        http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_02/016863.php
        \_ but welfare is Communism!                    -conservative
        \_ These "Tax cuts" were bundled with over $500B in spending, and
           they aren't tax cuts they are payments. Getting the payment has
           nothing to do with paying taxes.  You can pay negative taxes
           and still get a payment.  Let's just be honest.
           \_ Does anyone actually pay negative taxes, including payroll
              and sales tax? Let's just be honest.
              \_ I believe so, I have a brother in law that makes ~22k,
                 had 2100 and change withheld and is getting back 7400 and
                 change. 7.650% SSI + medicare is 1683. 7400 - 3783 = 3617.
                 So yes people pay negative tax, but I can't tell you how
                 many.
                 \_ Wait, getting your withholding back counts as negative
                    taxes?
                    \_ Math is hard.
                       \_ So are details, apparently. Has your b-i-l received
                          a check on this? Who's paying him, the IRS? Is he
                          getting a deduction or a check?
        \_ I think the current tax system is way to complicated, and full
           of social engineering.  However, would it make sense to give a
           tax cut by say raising the brackets for 2008?  That seems like
           a tax cut than giving everyone $600 or whatever it is.
2009/2/4-10 [Reference/Tax] UID:52514 Activity:nil
2/4     So, if the state isn't going to give you your tax refund, file an
        amended return for 2008 applying the refund to this year, and adjust
        your current withholdings.  Don't deal with IOU's or delayed refund
        payments.
        \_ If you're still employeed, just stop paying tax from your paycheck.
2009/2/3-8 [Reference/Tax] UID:52502 Activity:nil
2/3     Does any democrat pay taxes?  Or is it just cabinet nominees?
        \_ Democrats are cheap and try to do their own taxes and
           that has a tendency to screw things up, whereas Republicans
           usually justs pay their accountants and "externalizes" problems
           to someone else (their employees). In this respect, Republicans
           are smarter, esp. with their money, as expected.
        \_ With a tax code so complex, can anyone avoid being a tax cheat?
           I inadvertengly screwed up my taxes at least twice in the last
           10 years.  One time I never got a W2 for a part-year job and
           forgot to figure in that income.  Another time I just screwed
           up.
           \_ Well, the latest one is nanny problems (uh, haven't we seen that
              enough that everyone knows you have to take care of that?).  The
              others are people who are involved with making the laws or make
              enough to have an accountant do the math.  And in Daschle's case,
              apparently he also claimed invalid charitable contributions.
              I've never managed that one.
              \_ The last one is < 1000 dollars.
                 \_ $298 in unpaid taxes + fines/interest.
                  \_ As I said, it's a fuck up.  Daschel this isn't.
              \_ I managed to screw myself out of $1K one year and the IRS
                 caught the error and mailed me a $1K check in August which I
                 then blew in Vegas. Good times. Anyway, IRS seems
                 reputable to do that.
        \_ It's interesting. When it comes to money, republicans wage
           wars costing billions and pockets millions, all legally.
           Democratics, like most frugal people, tries to save money
           by doing their own taxes, yet get burned because of a few
           mistakes here and there. How far ago back do tax records
           typically go? Did I fuck up my change for being a
           politician because I claimed an extra $200 charitable
           contribution on my tax forum?
           \_ statute of limitations on this stuff is 3 years
           \_ Wait, you really think Daschle does his own taxes?
        \_ Plug: support the FairTax.
2009/1/26-29 [Reference/Tax] UID:52470 Activity:nil
1/26    Tim Geithner, architect of the Bear-Stears rescue and tax hero,
        confirmed by Senate, 60-34.
        \_ Don't forget tax cheat!
           \_ tax HERO ... tax HERO ...
2009/1/9-14 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:52352 Activity:kinda low
1/9     Karl Rove's Factually Challenged Housing Revisionism
        http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/01/karl-roves-revisionism
        \- why exactly would anybody except anything from KROVE
           except an ideological ad? this is like "ford ad's
           american car quality historical revisionism" or Preacher Bob
           Jesusfreak's critiques of evolutionary theory.
           [not that i am not saying people shouldnt engage with KROVE
           or it's not interesting to read these links]. the dems
           can definitely learn from people like grover nordquist
           [interitance tax = "death tax" instead of "billionare tax"]
                                "billionaire tax" is far less _/
                                accurate than "death tax"
                                inheritance taxes affect people
                                with relatively small inheritances
                                \_ Technically, they're both misleading;
                                   it's actually an "inheritance tax."
                                   \_ Actually, as is usual for the MOTD
                                      you don't know what the hell you
                                      are talking about, but wouldn't
                                      think of letting that stop you.
                                      It is an ESTATE tax, which is
                                      "technically" different from an
                                      an inheritance tax.  If it was an
                                      inheritance tax besides being more
                                      fair and reasonable, it would also
                                      make the term "Death Tax" actually
                                      incorrect, as opposed to now, where
                                      it is (again "Technically") correct.
                                      -phuqm (the death tax supporter)
                                      -phuqm (death tax supporter)
                                      \_ And as usual, you manage to be
                                         informative AND an asshole.
                                          \_ aww shucks.  Now I'm going
                                            to feel all warm and fuzzy
                                             all day.
                                             \_ Mission accomplished.
           stuff like this "contains an egregious combination of false
           statements, crucial omissions and misleading assertions."
           should read "karl rove is a notorious liar" ... he isnt a fool
           so he cant believe any of this ... as for journalists and
           publication which present him ... we must ask about them
           "are they fools, unprincipled ideologues, paid hacks, or is
           something else going on". it feels good to come up with nice lines
           like "you are entitled to your opinions but not your own facts"
           but in cases like this a stark "kar rove is a liar" is more accurate
           and makes the point better. To wit, "false coyness" in lines like
           "Rove somehow fails to note the GOP controlled Congress from
           1994-2006, including the first 6 years of the Bush Presidency."
           if you havent analyzed the GSE article in the last Vanity Fair,
           you may wish to take a look.
           \- this is more like it:
             http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2009/01/stupidest-party-alivetm.html
2008/12/17-2009/1/2 [Reference/Tax] UID:52264 Activity:nil
12/17   http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aznONFlyupOI
        "Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which got $10 billion and debt guarantees
        from the U.S. government in October, expects to pay $14 million in
        taxes worldwide for 2008 compared with $6 billion in 2007.
        \_ Goldman Sachs cuts average pay 45 percent!!  ... down to $364K.
           lowest compensation since 2004.  oh the humanity!
2008/11/25-12/2 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/SIG] UID:52103 Activity:nil
11/25   Should churches be taxed?  Does freedom of religion mean that religion
        should be free as in beer?  --PeterM
        \_ Churches are non-profits. Should non-profits be taxed?
           \_ My contributions to the ACLU do not qualify for a tax break,
              why should contributions to a church qualify?
              \_ ACLU donations should be tax-deductible
                 http://www.aclu.org/supportaclu/taxdeductible/index.html
                 \_ Wish I had known that all these years...
           \_ In their capacity as a non-profit, they have certain rules to
              follow. In their capacity as a religious organization, they get
              a much better tax break and thus have more stringent rules to
              abide by. If they want to violate those rules, then they should
              not receive the special treatment they would be accorded if
              they obeyed the rules.
        \_ Should God be taxed?
2008/11/23-24 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:52082 Activity:moderate
11/22   I just checked my 401K and it is 1/2 of what it used to be. When
        is Bush's Economic Stimulous Package (tax return) going to help
        out the economy again?                          -Go George W Bush!
        \_ It's Clinton's fault.
           \_ ^Clinton^Obama
        \_ People who got the tax rebate were probably people who don't have
           much money, if any, in 401(k) accounts.
2008/11/20-27 [Transportation/Car, Reference/Tax] UID:52057 Activity:nil
11/20   "Far from vanishing, many of GM’s assets would be quickly purchased
        by competent foreign automakers eager to expand their capacity in what
        is the world’s largest auto market. Happily, the list of well-run car
        companies, from Toyota to Nissan to Porsche, is long."
        big FAT LOLZ there.  When GM closes up, GM's factories are going to
        go idle and rust and provide excellent opporunities for hipster
        dumbasses who love breaking into buildings to photograph our
        crumbling industrial past glory.  Those jobs are not coming back, EVER.
        \_ GM is a modestly profitable car company with a huge losing pension
           fund attached. In bankruptcy, they will be able to dump the
           pension liabilities onto the government and return profitable.
           \_ which I would argue this is a sure sign of incompetitiveness of
              USA as a whole.  Then again, if Pension were funded properly,
              shouldn't be a problem.  My guess is that during the go-go days,
              GM decided to use the pension contribution and count it as profit.
              GM decided to use the pension contribution and count it as
              profit.
              \_ No, it is mostly an artifact of the fact that we push health
                 care costs onto private employers, while that cost is borne
                 by The State for GMs competitors. Even offloading all the
                 pensioners healthcare costs alone would make GM profitable.
                 The GM management (and unions) decided to forstall a bunch
                 of labor issues in the 70's by increasing benefits, which we
                 are paying the price of now, but no one could have reasonably
                 expected health care costs to increase at 7%/yr for 30 years.
                 \_ not just the 70s and not just GM.  This happened with a lot
                    of city/county governmental orgs as well.  The contra costa
                    county school district is going to be bankrupt due to
                    quickly increasing pension/medical benifits for retired
                    quickly increasing pension/medical benefits for retired
                    staff.
                 \_ Of course, those evil socialist countries fund health
                    care by TAXES on corporations.  But we could never tax
                    corporations here, because that would make us
                    uncompetitive.  Or so goes the corpratist line.  -tom
                    \_ Right, because corporations here don't pay any taxes
                       ever. There's no way an evil corporation like
                       XOM would pay any tax.
                        \_ That statement is becoming more true every year.
                           In the 50s, 1/3 the federal tax revenue came from
                           corporations, today it's 7% and still dropping.
                           Assuming the corporists that run the government
                           continue their successfuly campaign to eliminate
                           taxes on corporations whenever possible, it's
                           conceivable that will go down to 0% in a decade
                           or two. -!tom
2008/11/12-26 [Politics/Domestic/Gay, Reference/Tax] UID:51924 Activity:nil
11/11   So if the LDS church bankrolled the Yes on 8 campaign, how the f can
        they keep their tax-exempt status?
        \_ Because LDS is a religion and gayness isn't?
        \_ Because they didn't endorse a candidate from the pulpit.
           \_ Way to go, useless distinctions!
              \_ *shrug* That's the way the law works. Now, if you really
                 want to get their funding cancelled or cost them a lot of
                 money, get an openly gay friend to apply for a job with the
                 \_ job? in church? ha ha ha
                 Church; when they turn him or her down, sue for
                 discrimination.
                 \_ Are you still banging Good But So Very Bad Mormon Mom?
                 \_ Or the gay people could start a gay religion and get
                    tax exempt status! How about that!
                    \_ The difficulty here is that the Mormons have a world-
                       wide congregation and a mandatory tithing system; it's
                       really difficult to compete, monetarily, with this.
                       Bogging them down in repetitive lawsuits is an easier
                       way to drain their resources.
        \_ AFAIK the LDS church didn't bankroll it, members did.  See the
           difference?
           \_ Technically there is a difference, but it's a useless
              distinction.
              \_ Someone donates to and serves at the salvation army, and also
                 donates to the yes on 8 campaign, therefore the SA should lose
                 it's tax-exempt status?  Riiiiight....
            \_ Is this really true? If so, this *is* a huge difference. It
               means that the MSM has been kind of slandering the Mormon
               Church as well.
               \_ Well, yeah.  You have to read the whole article, it's always
                  relegated to the end.
                  \_ Wait, what article?
                  \_ Yeah, what article?
                     \_ Not one in particular, I've read 4 or 5 newspaper
                        articles on the subject.  This has been true for all
                        of them.  That's all.
        \_ Which is political speech?
           "God hates fags"
           "Vote Yes on 8"
           The answer to your question determines whether a religious entity is
           tax-exempt or not
        \_ Sadly it was probably Mexican Americans, Black People, Catholics,
           Mormons, and people who think Gays Are Here To Gay Up Your Kids
           that voted for Prop 8.  It's hard to declare political war on
           such a huge voting block.
           \_ The LDS church wasn't just a voting block, they were the main
              funding source (around 80%) for the Yes on 8 campaign.
        \_ Isn't it that the LDS (or anyone that opposes gay marriage) would
           lose their tax-exempt status only if 8 didn't pass?
           \_ No, but the ads certainly implied that.
2008/11/11-26 [Reference/Tax] UID:51922 Activity:low
11/11   lulz, AMT ratfuck finally fixed:
        link:www.mercurynews.com/ci_10950780
        \_ "In San Mateo, we had someone who committed suicide over this."
           Well that doesn't seem like a smart move now does it?
        \_ No! I want rich people to pay!       -poor student/socialist
        \_ Yes! Bailout stupid people! It's OK to be "unlucky"!
           \_ Who else has to pay taxes on unrealized income?
              \_ the people responsible for it, obviously!
                 \_ No on pays taxes on unrealized income except for
                    (formerly) people who excercised options and held them.
                 \_ No one pays taxes on unrealized income except for
                    people who excercised options and held them.
                    You don't know what you are talking about.
                    \_ An exercised option isn't unrealized income, it's
                       non-cash realized income.  If you work for a company
                       that buys you a helicopter as part of your
                       compensation, you have to pay taxes on it, and if
                       you crash the helicopter, you still have to pay
                       taxes on it.  -tom
                       \_ It is today, but it's stupid to think of it ass
                          realized income. Unlike a helicopter, you can't do
                          anything with your stock other than sell, and at that
                          point it becomes realized.
                          \_ But your stock is making money.  Getting to
                             invest your money pre tax and not taking the
                             tax hit until you actually use the money
                             is a huge tax win.  That's why people being
                             paid in stock is such a great tax scam.
                          \_ You can vote with it. That can be valuable,
                             especially if you have enough stock.
                       \_ I am pretty sure that the latter part of your
                          statement is incorrect:
                          http://tinyurl.com/667xlb
                          If you crash a car in an accident, you can take
                          that as a loss, for example. IANAL.
                          Also, a helicopter is a tangible gain, while a stock
                          certificate is not.
                          \_ You can take the car/helicopter as a capital loss,
                             but you still have to report the income.  -tom
2008/11/10-26 [Health/Disease/AIDS, Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:51901 Activity:nil
11/10   lolz when your 401k is gone, heroin will look pretty attractive
        http://www.lectlaw.com/files/drg23.htm
        \_ Hardly, that crap's expensive!  Now, crank maybe...
        \_ shooting heroin leaves you VERY constipated.  seriously.
           sometimes when i shoot junk i don't have to shit for 2 weeks.
2008/10/30-31 [Reference/Tax] UID:51733 Activity:nil
10/29   I made a mistake on my day trade and I'm wondering how that affects
        my tax. Let's say I bought 1 share of X for $10 (call it X1) and
        another share of X for $14 (call it X2). When X went up to $12, I
        decided to sell X1 for a profit of 12-10=$2. However, Etrade
        executed my X2, meaning I have a real loss of 12-14=$-2. Let's say,
        hypothetically, that X goes to $16 and I sell X2 for a profit of
        16-10=$6. Is there a different tax scenario given the two scenarios?
        Sum of (12-14) + (16-10) = $4 (what actually happened)
        Sum of (12-10) + (16-14) = $4 (what I intended it to happen)
        \_ The IRS views transactions as first-in, first-out.  So they
           will take the second view.  If you've closed out both positions,
           it doesn't make a difference; if you still held one position,
           they would look at $12-$10.  -tom
           \_ So I can't write off the first one as capital loss of $2?
              Darn I was hoping I could do something clever. Oh well.
              Thanks tom that's pretty helpful.
           \_ Actually, you can designate which shares you sell but this
              needs to be done in writing and in advance of the sale. This
              is the "specific shares" method. There is also the
              double-category method where you have "long-term" shares and
              "short-term" shares. The "average cost" method is when the
              IRS decides long/short-term based on FIFO, but that is for
              mutual fund shares only AFAIK. Consult your tax advisor.
        \_ See how dumb this is?  Support the FairTax.
2008/10/23 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic] UID:51653 Activity:nil
10/23   say bye bye to 401ks. House Dems want to get tax it
        \_ Why are you repeating yourself?
2008/10/23-28 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:51646 Activity:nil
10/23   House Dems want to remove 401K tax-break, and use proceeds for more
        Social Secuirty.
        http://www.workforce.com/section/00/article/25/83/58.php
        \_ EXTERIOR: SPACE AROUND THE DEATH STAR.
           The three TIE fighters move ever closer, closing in on Luke and
           Biggs
           The three TIE fighters move ever closer, closing in on Luke and Biggs
        \_ What proceeds? It just means people will save less for retirement.
           If I contribute $100/month now I will contribute $70/month then
           (or whatever the math is) to make my take home about the same.
2008/10/17-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:51566 Activity:nil
10/17   Is corporate tax (tax for corporations) progressive? Does the rate
        encourage mom&pop shops, or is it equal regardless of corporation
        revenues? Shouldn't it encourage mom&pop shops more?
        \_ In CA at least, a small company is an S-Corp.  Partners in the
           company divide the net revenue based on percentage ownership and
           then add that to their other income.  This is the most common form
           of small company, so the rates are the same as personal (and hence
           just as progressive).
        \- the majority of corporations doing business in the US dont pay
           any corporate taxes, so there is a large diff between the de jure
           and de fact (effective) tax rates. you can google for the GAO
           and de facto (effective) tax rates. you can google for the GAO
           study on this which came out this summer. --psb
           \_ url?
           \_ Exxon paid $30B in 2007.
   http://seekingalpha.com/article/63131-exxon-s-2007-tax-bill-30-billion
              \- company's total tax liability != us corporate taxes. i believe
                 we are implicitly talkiing about us payments.
2008/9/25-30 [Reference/Tax] UID:51307 Activity:nil 72%like:51301
9/25    How much tax can you deduct from selling a PRIMARY residence at a
        loss?
        \_ It's a capital loss.  You can deduct up to $3K per year if
           it's not offset by capital gains.  (You can offset as many
           capital gains as you like).  You can carry forward capital loss
           from one year to the next.  Assuming it's not the home you live
           in, in which case the rules are different.  -tom
           \_ All true, and I think you can carry forward for 10 years (= $30k)
              \_ ALL WRONG. Will the IRS let you claim a write-off for the
                 loss? Nope. You can only claim a tax loss on investment
                 property. A loss on a personal residence is considered to
                 be a nondeductible personal expense for federal income tax
                 purposes. Most states follow the same principle. Double ouch!
                 http://www.smartmoney.com/tax-advice/index.cfm?story=20070405
                 \_ hey nimrod, the post originally said "selling property
                    at a loss" and didn't specify it was a primary home. -tom
2008/9/25 [Reference/Tax] UID:51301 Activity:nil 72%like:51307
9/25    How much tax can you deduct from selling a property at a loss?
2008/9/21-23 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic, Politics/Domestic/SocialSecurity] UID:51252 Activity:nil
9/21    700 fucking billion?  Really?  With no fucking oversight at all?
        What the fucking hell?  And people think the Democrats are tax and
        spend?
        \- Wall Street Welfare Kings in Pink Cadillacs having out of wedlock
           children with their mistresses in Mayfair!
2008/9/8-14 [Reference/RealEstate, Reference/Tax] UID:51107 Activity:nil
9/8     Dear landlord question. If my net flow is negative (e.g.
        rent - operation cost < 0), can I write off my loss for tax purpose?
        Say I work a 9-5 job and make $100,000K/year, and my total
        rent - operation cost is $20,000 loss, is my taxable income
        $80,000K? In addition, can I write off HOA+repair+advertising+etc
        in addition to my net loss, meaning a taxable income of
        $80,000K - (operating costs)?
        \_ Yes and yes, but you can only deduct $25k/yr. Losses roll over
           though. Depreciation reduces your basis though, so some of this is
           recovered when you sell. In some situations (AMT) you cannot use
           this deduction and there is a phaseout over $100k, so if you make
           over $150k you don't get to use it at all. Talk to a tax advisor.
2008/9/6-12 [Reference/Tax] UID:51072 Activity:nil
9/6     Lots going on with FNM/FRE bailout.  You'll hear about it soon in
        mainstream media, trust me.  A lot of shit was stuffed into those
        structures before the govt is going to backstop them.  Common shares
        are going to $0 - $2.
        \_ Bushinomics at work!
           \_ I understand Reaganomics (tax cut for everyone and wealth
              will trickle down from the wealth to the poor). What exactly
              is Bushnomics?
              \_ wealth trickles UP!1!  f4t4l1ty!!1
              \_ Borrowing from future generations to pay for tax cuts to
                 the wealthy. Looting the public till to give money to
                 politically connected defense contractors.
2008/8/22-29 [Reference/Tax] UID:50938 Activity:nil
8/22    I encourage you to switch at least half your 401(k) exposure to
        Treasury money markets at a local peak for at least a few years.
        Don't say you never heard this advice.  If you don't reallocate,
        at least do the proper research.
        http://market-ticker.denninger.net
        \_ have fun losing on inflation and taxes
           \_ ok dude.  good luck.
              btw, i am paying 15% of my salary into 401(k) (T money mkts),
              and am still building my down payment for a house
              \_ "downsides are already priced in"
        \_ I always take investment advice from half-baked libertarian
           syadmins. If this guy is so smart, he should be running his own
           hedge fund.
2008/8/11 [Reference/Tax] UID:50839 Activity:nil
8/11    I'm thinking about getting an iPhone. The data plan I'm thinking
        of getting is $129.99 700 any time minutes for 2 iPhones. I
        understand that I'll also have to pay a lot of taxes. Realistically,
        how much will I have to pay per month? $129.99 + (tax tax tax) =
        ???? Like $150? $180? I want to know the exact BOTTOM LINE
        price, not some "Oh it will depend on tax rate and service
        charge and usage" type of crap.
2008/8/1-5 [Reference/Tax] UID:50755 Activity:nil
7/31    http://preview.tinyurl.com/6dodgz
        Exxon profit slightly better than 1/3 of the taxes it paid!
        \_ How much subsidy does Exxon get?
2008/7/23-28 [Reference/Tax] UID:50664 Activity:nil
7/23    Your taxes will be going up significantly next year.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7MCohPgkXo
        \_ Does this mean Roth 401K (taxed now, no tax when withdraw) is
           a better deal than traditional IRA and traditional 401K where
           you're not taxed now but taxed later?
        \_ It is pretty funny that all the talking heads applauding
           deregulation over the last 5 years are now all complaining
           that the government didn't act soon enough.
           \_ Didn't act soon enough in what way?
2008/7/23-28 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:50662 Activity:nil
7/23    DNC:  gas tax dodgers
        http://www.9news.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=96282
2008/7/23-28 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Shopping] UID:50661 Activity:high
7/23    So tom, how does it feel to be rich?  You're in the top 10% you know.
        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121659695380368965.html
        \_ Where are the numbers for all the other taxes we pay, like
           payroll, sales, etc? Oh yeah, just ignore all the facts that
           don't advance your pro-inherited wealth ideology.
        \_ So, how does it feel to be an anonymous coward?  -tom
        \_ I'm not pro-tax by any means, but isn't it pathetic that the
           top 1% of the country earns double what the bottom 50% does? It
           would not necessarily be positive even if the chart showed the top
           1% paying 99% of the taxes if they also earn 99% of the income
           leaving the other 99% to fight over crumbs. Also, I'd like to see a
           similar chart which shows after-tax income.
           \_ Why is it pathetic?
           \_ No! The standard of living has improved for every segment
              \_ You think this is a Good Thing?
                 \_ No. I just don't find it very surprising. The bottom 50%
                    are economically rather useless. Supply and demand...
                    why would a single diamond be worth more than a ton of
                    normal rocks?
                    \_ I have more respect more American workers than that.
                       I could see if you said bottom 10%, but bottom HALF?
                       \_ Everyone in the bottom half is "below average".
                          And "average" isn't very good in this country
                          (or any other country, really). I'm not saying
                          they're worthless. But they aren't rare snowflakes
                          and they're probably not even trying that hard to
                          improve themselves, as long as they have their
                          food + home + sex.
                          \_ I actually think American workers have a
                             strong work ethic and are among the best in
                             the world. It's interesting that when foreign
                             management employs US workers they can
                             achieve amazing results that US management cannot.
                             I am not prepared to write-off millions of US
                             workers. Those workers made us the economic
                             engine we are today and by continually
                             outsourcing, placing low expectations on them, and
                             taking advantage of them, we are getting what we
                             deserve. I'd rather have 10 poorly educated
                             American workers with a work ethic over 10
                             over-educated Europeans workers who whine all
                             the time and expect lots of time off. BTW,
                             average and median are two different things.
                             I am not sure that 50% of US workers are
                             actually "below average".
                             \_ Spoken like a dumb patriot.
                                \_ Spoken like someone who knows how hard
                                   Americans work. Check out average
                                   work-weeks.
                             \_ They are the bottom 50% lowest paid people.
                                Why do you think they have a strong work
                                ethic? Who knows what they do?  Anyway,
                                there may be a lot of part time workers in
                                those statistics -- part time working parents,
                                or school kids with jobs. The top 50%
                                makes 88% and 12% for the bottom.
                                Without more data to go on, I don't see a
                                reason to get too excited. And I'm not
                                going to do a bunch of research right now.
                                \_ 1. I've actually been in the workplace
                                      and seen that salary does not
                                      correlate to work ethic
                                   2. Just look at the statistics for
                                      number of hours worked per week
                                   3. If you don't see a problem with half
                                      the country making 12% of the income
                                      then there's no hope for you anyway.
                                      You got yours, right?
                                   \_ 1. Work ethic isn't good enough. You
                                         can work hard but if you're stupid
                                         or otherwise not valuable it does
                                         not mean jack. There are billions
                                         of people on Earth and merely
                                         working N hours isn't very valuable.
                                         \_ I beg to differ. If you're willing
                                            to work hard there's a lot of
                                            inherent value in that even if
                                            you're stupid. Someone has to
                                            build roads, harvest crops, work
                                            the cash register, and so on.
                                            \_ But anybody can work that cash
                                               register. That's the point.
                                               There is no scarcity of bodies
                                               willing to do unskilled work
                                               for a few bucks. Therefore
                                               the value is low. Supply and
                                               demand.
                                               \_ Anybody can work it. Not
                                                  everyone has the work
                                                  ethic to show up on time
                                                  and do it for 8 hours
                                                  per day 250 days per year.
                                                  You can't say "well that's
                                                  without value". It is wasting
                                                  \_ If it had real value it
                                                     wouldn't be underpaid. duh
                                                     \_ You don't really
                                                        believe this do you?
                                                        The price pressures are
                                                        external to the US
                                                        markets. Think of
                                                        how much $$$ we could
                                                        save by outsourcing our
                                                        management for
                                                        lower-paid foreign
                                                        management instead
                                                        of saying that a
                                                        person making $9/hour
                                                        is overpaid because
                                                        someone in India can do
                                                        the job for $1/hour.
                                                        We could save more
                                                        by cutting that 88%
                                                        of earners versus
                                                        putting more pressure
                                                        on the 12% half.
                                                        \_ The companies are
                                                           run/owned by these
                                                           88%. You can't cut
                                                           them. The entire
                                                           point is they are
                                                           not drones being
                                                           told what to do by
                                                           somebody higher up.
                                                           They are the top.
                                                           Responsibility.
                                                     What world do you live in
                                                     which is full of fuckups
                                                     who can't even show up
                                                     to an easy job? Working
                                                     \_ The real world. I
                                                        can tell you never
                                                        managed low-level
                                                        employees before.
                                                     the Safeway cash register
                                                     is air conditioned and
                                                     they can take breaks.
                                                     You don't need one person
                                                     to do it 250 days a year
                                                     either, there are shifts.
                                                     \_ You need *someone*
                                                        there 250 days per year
                                                        when they say they
                                                        are going to be there.
                                                        Compare to Europe where
                                                        such employees make
                                                        more to do less.
                                                        \_ Why Europe? Try
                                                           a country without
                                                           a generous benefits
                                                           which make work
                                                           effectively
                                                           unnecessary.
                                                  a valuable resource in a
                                                  menial task that could be
                                                  doing something less menial
                                                  if big business realized it
                                                  and took advantage of
                                                  it. This is what US
                                                  management overlooks and
                                                  foreign management does not.
                                                  They know how valuable it is,
                                                  because they don't have that.
                                                  Addendum: Have you noticed
                                                  that as salaries have fallen
                                                  (due to global competition
                                                  and outsourcing) that jobs
                                                  that "anyone can do" are
                                                  being done poorly? I had to
                                                  call AT&T and I was ready to
                                                  praise God when I finally was
                                                  transferred to a CSR in
                                                  Atlanta versus an "anyone" in
                                                  India and the Philippines.
                                                  But supposedly this American
                                                  is overpaid and needs to
                                                  be outsourced when earning
                                                  her share of 12% of the
                                                  income in the country.  BS.
                                                  \_ No I haven't noticed
                                                     that. AT&T does not give
                                                     a shit about CSRs because
                                                     you're still their
                                                     customer and their
                                                     competition also has crap
                                                     CSRs. I pick low price vs
                                                     good CSRs every time. You
                                                     should pay extra for your
                                                     precious CSRs. Also: you
                                                     are assuming that CSR is
                                                     bottom 50% -- unfounded.
                                                     But hey, they need no
                                                     education and only need
                                                     to be able to communicate.
                                                     You have a weird worldview
                                                     if you think that alone
                                                     deserves top-50% income.
                                                     \_ It doesn't deserve
                                                        top-50% income.
                                                        What it deserves
                                                        is more than 12%
                                                        of the pie.
                                                        \_ Why? They mostly
                                                           are living just
                                                           fine, and better
                                                           than billions.
                                      2. see above
                                      3. It's not half the country, it's half
                                         the income tax filers.  Did you go
                                         to school?  I don't remember everyone
                                         having a strong work ethic. We're in
                                         a globalized economy where people's
                                         simple jobs of the past are more
                                         cheaply done by foreigners who are
                                         cheaper and more motivated. That said
                                         most people in this country still live
                                         very well even with low wages.
                                         \_ So your argument is that there
                                            are a lot of retirees and students
                                            skewing the statistics? I find that
                                            hard to believe. Regardless, those
                                            people need to survive, too.
                                            Just because someone is retired
                                            doesn't mean their income can go to
                                            zero.
                                            \_ We haven't talked about their
                                               income going to 0. We've talked
                                               about their share of the income
                                               pie. The pie is pretty huge.
                                               \_ All the more disgusting that
                                                  the top 5% get most of it.
                                                  \_ They create most of it.
                                                     \_ You don't really
                                                        believe that do you?
                                                        Are they valuable?
                                                        Yes. Are they
                                                        generating value-added
                                                        commensurate with
                                                        income? No. How many
                                                        CEOs rake in millions
                                                        while their companies
                                                        (and share price) go
                                                        into the toilet?
                                                        http://tinyurl.com/8n8ro
                                                        I would argue McNealy
                                                        gets a pass for what
                                                        he's done for the
                                                        company, but maybe
                                                        not. Do companies pay
                                                        for past success or
                                                        present results?
                                                        \_ But look at the
                                                           long term growth.
                                                           Long term economic
                                                           growth is phenomenal
                                                           and all the drones
                                                           benefit from this.
                        The drones do not benefit from  _/
                        this. The average wage for American
                        workers has not gone up since
                        the 70s. For workers with no
                        college degree, it has actually
                        gone down.
                        \_ I don't think wages tell the whole story. Would you
                           rather live with an average wage in an average town
                           in 1975 or now?
                           Does that wage figure include "supplemental
                           compensation" like health insurance, retirement
                           plans, and social security payments made by
                           employers?  Or the quality of health care? Or
                           technological advancements such as cell phones
                           and PCs?
                           This report is interesting:
                http://www.bea.gov/scb/pdf/2008/07%20July/D-Pages/0708dpg_d.pdf
                           Check out "Supplements to wages and salaries" as a
                           percentage of national income.
                           And consider:
                           Population went from 200M to 300M since 1970,
                           and the global economy is much more competitive.
                           \_ The gains have almost entirely gone to the top:
                http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2006prel.pdf
                              Look at the chart labled "Real Annual Income
                              Growth by Groups" I don't think that increases
                              in the cost of health insurance really should be
                              considered as increases in the standard of
                              living, though perhaps I would feel differently
                              if I was in bad health.
                              \_ Well, ok. But the population size has grown
                                 tremendously and a huge number are foreign
                                 born.  The economy has accommodated them
                                 and still grown.  By 2050, 1 in 5 of the US
                                 population is projected to be hispanic.
                                 This part is interesting:
                                 "The evidence suggests that top incomes
                                 earners today are not "rentiers" deriving
                                 their incomes from past wealth but rather are
                                 "working rich," highly paid employees or new
                                 entrepreneurs"
                                 Massive immigration and global competition
                                 depressed wage growth for the lower groups.
                                 Jobs that are more independent of this type
                                 of competition see big gains, like doctors.
                                 The best thing for the lower classes here
                                 would be to improve conditions in Mexico
                                 and have a lower population growth there.
                                 I guess this brings us back to the
                                 global inequality/barbarians in Rome theory.
                                 \_ I am in agreement with you.
           \_ No! The standard of living has improved in every segment
              of wealth and it's none of your business to implement
              progressive tax, that's COMMUNISM!!!      -libertarian
              \_ I said I'm not pro-tax. I don't necessarily think raising
                 taxes solves any problems. It just seems to make
                 government larger. It doesn't really help anyone.
                 However, what other ways can we address this inequality?
                 \_ Inequality has never been a problem throughout the
                    history of empires. The Roman emperors knew that long
                    time ago. As long as the populace has bread (beer+pizza)
                    and circus (football, plasma), there will never be
                    issues for the governing party.
                    \_ So how did that whole Rome thing work out for them?
                       \_ It worked quite well for a very, very long time.
                          The US is a young nation in comparison.
                          \_ How can you say inequality was not a problem with
                             a straight face when it caused the entire
                             Western civilization to collapse into
                             centuries of Dark Ages?
                             \_ My point is as long as people have bread
                                and circuses there will not be a problem.
                                panem et circenses.
                                \_ My point is that your point is wrong,
                                   because Rome fell and set the world
                                   back at least 500 years, if not more,
                                   as a result. So clearly there were some
                                   problems.
                                   \_ Your notion that Rome's fall was the
                                      fault just of "inequality" is silly.
                                      There was no one single thing. There
                                      were huge tribal migrations, plagues,
                                      climate changes (hey hey), cultural
                                      turbulence with Christianity and then
                                      Islam etc. Rome kept going in the east
                                      anyway... if the world was set back
                                      then that probably goes back to the
                                      fall of the Republic and onset of
                                      Christianity.
                                      \_ Especially since early Rome was not
                                         especially egalitarian, with slaves,
                                         very restricted citizenship rights,
                                         etc., but it flourished just fine.
                                         \_ Actually, inequality was probably
                                            the greatest contributor. Why?
                                            Because the barbarians wanted
                                            what Rome had and because Rome
                                            consumed more resources than it
                                            could honestly produce sustainably
                                            except through conquest (sound
                                            familiar?). It was only late
                                            in the game that the Romans
                                            started to grant citizenship
                                            to foreigners in an effort to
                                            prevent a total collapse as it
                                            became more and more difficult
                                            to defend the far-flung Empire
                                            from people ticked off at their
                                            inequitable treatment so that
                                            wealthy Romans could have
                                            gold-plated toilets. Inequality
                                            here doesn't refer to classes
                                            within Roman citizenry as much as
                                            it does inequality between Romans
                                            and the rest of the world,
                                            including occupied territories and
                                            Roman residents never granted
                                            citizenship.
                             \_ And here I thought it was the Barbarians
                                that sacked Rome.
                                \_ I can only shake my head in disbelief at
                                   this statement.
                                   \_ What, you think the Romans sacked
                                      themselves? It was the Visigoths, in
                                      410.
                                      \_ Forest for the trees, dude.
2008/7/19-23 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:50631 Activity:moderate
7/19    Hey tom, since you're employed by the state (and receive a 6-figure
        salary), maybe you shouldn't be the one arguing for higher taxes in the
        state?
        \- I'd be happy paying Denmark tax rates for safety, security,
           cleaniness, and all the good stuff in Denmark. Your brain has
           been classified as: puny and selfish
           \_ Having been to Denmark, I disagree.
              \_ Visitors to Denmark get access to social services too?
           \_ Considering that Conservatism reached a high water mark with
              the Bush/Rove/DeLay/Frist team, the only real question is can we
              expect 10 or 20 years of Liberal dominance. If it is 20, you
              just might get your wish.
              \_ It will never happen because Americans in general are
                 proud and self absorbed and don't see outside their
                 States let along their country.
                 \_ Why did the New Deal happen then? How about the JFK/LBJ
                    period that gave us a bunch of liberal advances, including
                    the Civil Rights act? Your knowledge of American history is
                    extremely poor.
        \_ Get a life.  -tom
           \_ You don't think it's relevant that the organization you advocate
              sucking more money out of my pocket pays you?
              \_ No.  -tom
                 \_ Oh, so when Exxon execs say global warming is a hoax, you
                    won't object?  Got it.
                    \_ Once again, you suck at putting words in my mouth.
                       Practice isn't making you any better.  You also should
                       consider outsourcing your attempts at analogies.  -tom
                    \_ Once again sucking at putting words in my mouth.
                       Practice isn't making you any better at that.
                       You also should look at outsourcing your production
                       of analogies.  -tom
                       \_ Hush tom, the grownups are talking.
                          \_ Not on the motd they're not.
                       \_ You know, Tom, the "you" you addressed isn't the
                          same person as the last person you said that to.
                          You'd be a lot more objective and less knee-jerk
                          if you didn't take the motd personally.
2008/7/10-13 [Reference/Tax] UID:50530 Activity:high
7/10    Prop 13 is always a big topic around here:
        "Back before Proposition 13 the revenues were cyclical, with
        years of big increases, then stagnant revenues," said Auerbach.
        'Now you get at least a small increase even when the real estate
        market slows down.'"
        \_ you only get a small increase because the amount you're getting
           is so depressed.  I'll take 5% average return over 2.2% consistent
           return any day.  -tom
           \_ Aren't you the one who wants to derive more revenues from
              property tax because it's more consistent than income tax
              and allows for better planning?
              \_ no, you must have me confused with your straw man.  -tom
                 \_ I distinctly remember someone making the argument
                    that relying on income tax revenue is bad because it
                    is not reliable. This was when I pointed out that tax
                    revenues are about the same now as they ever were.
                    Maybe there were multiple people in that thread and
                    you weren't the one to make that claim?
                    \_ it probably was a corporatist who made that argument,
                       if anyone.  The wealthy are not big fans of income
                       tax.  -tom
                       \_ So to be clear *you* support income tax as opposed to
                          property tax. Therefore, Prop 13 is great from
                          your POV as it comes closest to abolishing
                          property tax. You would support raising the income
                          tax rate if it meant abolishing property tax?
                          \_ They're different things.  Property tax is local,
                             income tax is state/federal.  If you were to
                             change property tax to local income tax, you'd
                             get landlords who live in places with no/low
                             income tax, so the city that provides the
                             services which support and protect that
                             property would have no income from it.
                             And my biggest problem with Prop 13 is
                             that it applies to corporations; there's no
                             reason corporations should get any breaks on
                             property tax.  -tom
                             \_ Ah yes, those *evil* corporations.
                             \_ my biggest gripe with prop 13 as it applies to
                                corporations is that corporate-owned property
                                rarely changes hands, making it a huge tax break
                                for them over time.   At least property owned
                                by a person is forced to change hands at the
                                end of that person's lifetime.
                                rarely changes hands, making it a huge tax
                                break for them over time.  At least property
                                owned by a person is forced to change hands
                                at the end of that person's lifetime.
                                \_ If they upgrade the property, it gets
                                   reassessed.  The corporation pays it's
                                   employees, so any tax savings the corp gets
                                   goes into personal income anyway.
                                   \_ Horse manure.  Prove it.  -tom
                                   \_ Pshaw. It goes into shareholder pockets.
                                      \_ Where it is taxed. I'm sure Tom
                                         would be fine with rents rising
                                         for poor people, though, when
                                         their landlords (often
                                         corporations) are forced to
                                         raise rents to recoup higher
                                         property taxes.
                                         \_ It's funny how this money transfer
                                            happens in only one direction.
                                            In the crazy corporatist world,
                                            lowering taxes on corporations
                                            and raising them on people is
                                            good for people, because people
                                            work for corporations so if
                                            corporations have more money
                                            they'll give it to people
                                            (despite lots of evidence to
                                            the contrary).  But lowering
                                            taxes on people and raising them
                                            on corporations is bad for
                                            corporations, because presumably
                                            the people will not use their
                                            money to buy anything that
                                            corporations make.  -tom
                                            \_ So I see you have no problem
                                               forcing the poor out of
                                               their homes.
                                               \_ uh, what?
                                                  \_ Eliminate Prop 13 on
                                                     corps. and watch
                                                     rents rise in response.
                                                     \_ whatever.
                                                        \_ As long as you
                                                           are okay with
                                                           poor people
                                                           thrown out into
                                                           the street in
                                                           the name of
                                                           higher tax revenues.
                                            \_ One problem with corp tax is it
                                               hurts the competititiveness of
                                               the company globally. Anyway,
                                               I think the FairTax would be
                                               preferable to either. There's
                                               no good way to try to separate
                                               the corp tax from individual
                                               tax, and what that balance
                                               should be. Why penalize or
                                               incentivize a corp vs. a
                                               personal business? Moving to
                                               a consumption tax fixes the
                                               problems. You tax the economy
                                               at only the one point: sale
                                               of goods and services. Then
                                               you tune the "prebate" for
                                               progressivity. And you promote
                                               saving instead of wasteful
                                               consumption. And it saves people
                                               tax prep cost, and rich people
                                               can't lawyer their way out of
                                               taxes if they buy stuff.
                                               \_ Sales tax is among the most
                                                  regressive taxes, and for
                                                  the wealthy, among the
                                                  easiest to avoid.  This
                                                  is definitely an example
                                                  of how for every complex
                                                  problem, there's a clean,
                                                  simple solution that won't
                                                  work.  -tom
                                                  \_ I like how you glibly
                                                     ignore all the details
                                                     and simply declare
                                                     a contrary view. How
                                                     do the wealthy avoid
                                                     sales tax? Are they
                                                     not going to live in
                                                     a house? Buy a car?
                                                     \_ Ignore what details?
                                                        All you've provided is
                                                        a statement of
                                                        ideology.  The wealthy
                                                        avoid sales tax by
                                                        buying stuff from other
                                                        countries.  -tom
                                                        \_ You just ignored
                                                           my house comment.
                                                           You ignored the
                                                           rebate aspect of
                                                           pro/regressivity.
                                                           Buying stuff form
                                                           other countries
                                                           doesn't avoid tax
                                                           except small scale
                                                           stuff. Look at EU:
                                                           they collect tax
                                                           on imported goods.
                                                           How do you get
                                                           "among the easiest
                                                           to avoid"? There
                                                           is no 100% anti
                                                           fraud solution
                                                           without Big Brother
                                                           tactics.
                                         \_ Trickle down economics is a
                                            crock of shit.
                                         \_ Shareholders are only taxed when
                                            they sell, and at advantages tax
                                            they sell, and at advantaged tax
                                            rates. Also, the tax basis of
                                            stock is adjusted upon the owners
                                            death, meaning that for the wealthy,
                                            it is often not taxed at all.
                                            death, meaning that for the
                                            wealthy, it is often not taxed at
                                            all.
                                            \_ Um. Shareholders are taxed
                                               when they receive the income.
                                               \_ Which income? Do you mean
                                                  capital gains? Dividends?
                                                  \_ Do you know what "income"
                                                     means? It's a pretty
                                                     well-defined term.
                                                     \_ Then you are wrong.
                                                        If I inheret GE stock
                                                        that my father bought
                                                        for $1/share and sell,
                                                        I pay no taxes on the
                                                        gain. "Income" means
                                                        \_ That's a capital
                                                           gain, which has
                                                           very little to
                                                           do with profits
                                                           (directly). Savings
                                                           from Prop 13 are
                                                           plowed into profits,
                                                           not share prices
                                                           unless you consider
                                                           something like
                                                           stock buybacks.
                        Where do you think those        _/
                        corporate profits end up?
                        Either in dividends or stock
                        price. This should be obvious.
                        Have you ever heard of
                        "retained earnings?"
                                                        a different thing to
                                                        an accountant than to
                                                        the IRS, btw. Do you
                                                        know the difference
                                                        between net income,
                                                        gross income and pro-
                                                        forma income? They
                                                        all mean different
                                                        things.
              \_ You do realize that if properties fall to a point where
                 they are below the artifically low amount they are taxed
                 for by prop 13 then you can get them reassesed and you
                 don't have to pay an extra 2% a year.  Prop 13 puts a
                 ceiling on tax rates but no floor.  So yes, the increase
                 is more perdictable but that's only because properties that
                 have been held onto are so below the inflation curve that
                 even a long period of recession isn't enough time to catch
                 up.  This Auerbach is talking nonsense.
                 \_ You mean Auerbach the LA County Assessor? I don't think
                    people generally worry about tax floors. What's the
                    tax floor for income tax?
                    \_ Tax floors would be the only reason taxes would
                       drop below current rates.  And that would happen
                       even post prop 13.  Two options, you can have
                       a random about of money between 100-200 dollars or
                       you can have 100 dollars.  Which do you pick?
                       \_ Which are you saying happens in which case? Why?
        \_ Property tax *is* a much more reliable source of revenue than
           income tax. Income tax actually goes down in a recession, while
           property tax just increases less. Pre Prop-13, property taxes
           made up a majority of the state's tax source, now it is sales
           and revenue taxes, both of which are cyclical. -!Tom
2008/7/8-10 [Finance/Banking, Reference/Tax] UID:50494 Activity:nil
7/7     Mother, age 70, is thinking about putting money into fixed
        annuity. I have absolutely 0 experience with annuity, and
        I'm guessing they should be better than CDs since compounded
        interest is tax deferred. Does anyone have old family members
        who have annuities? Are they good? Are there other products
        similar to annuities in terms of safety and slightly higher-than-CD
        interest rates?
        \- general/theoretical problem with annuities is it is a textbook
           case of asymmetric information/adverse selection. [FYI: The classic
           paper on adverse selection was by UCB Dept Econ professor GAKERLOF.
           In a bit of a coincidence, he co-won with JSTIGLITZ, the economist
           two threads up].
           \_ useless advice. why even bother to write it?
              \_ It's not advice.  It is an observation and some trivia.
                 I'm not going to give somebody I dont know financial advice
                 via the motd. BTW, if you know what "adverse selection" is,
                 it is pretty obvious there will be some suboptimal pricing.
                 (i.e. if somebody is selling you health/annuity-type
                 income insurance with limited medical info).
              \_ Have you not seen psb's posts before?
                 \_ I'm not the op, but psb's posts are usually in the
                    following format:
                    "There is an academic topic related to this"
                    "It is interesting, I've read a little bit of it"
                    <Stick some material and KEYWORDS in the thread>
                    "I am cool and smart and if you are like me, you'd
                     read it too."
                    (optional) ok thx
                    \- "Results 1 - 10 of about 97,600 for (annuity
                       "adverse selection"). BTW, yesterday [?] the FRESH AIR
                       program had a short discussion about annuities and
                       adverse selection (without using the term "adverse
                       selection" i believe), and sort of spells out why
                       individually negotiated annuities may be "a priori"
                       suspect due to overpricing.
2008/7/4-9 [Reference/Tax] UID:50471 Activity:nil 88%like:50469
7/3     Tax rebates go to porn:
        http://preview.tinyurl.com/55tyk6 [alleyinsider]
2008/7/3-4 [Reference/Tax] UID:50469 Activity:nil 88%like:50471
7/3     Tax rebates go to porn:
        http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/7/where-the-government-tax-rebate-checks-really-went-porn
2008/6/3-8 [Reference/Tax] UID:50142 Activity:nil
6/3     You are smart people. You know that the tax cuts have not fueled
        record revenues. You know what it takes to establish causality.
        You know that the first order effect of cutting taxes is to lower
        tax revenues. We all agree that the ultimate reduction in tax revenues
        can be less than this first order effect, because lower tax rates
        encourage greater economic activity and thus expand the tax base. No
        thoughtful person believes that this possible offset more than
        compensated for the first effect for these tax cuts. Not a single one.
        http://voxbaby.blogspot.com/2007/01/new-years-plea.html
        -Prof Andrew Samwick
        \_ But... but.. LAFFER CURVE.... neener neener I CAN'T HEAR YOU!
           \_ Mocking people works much better if you don't sound like
              a complete fucking retard.
              \_ I sound like a complete fucking retard in life, why
                 change here?
        \_ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Samwick
           Samwick is a heavy hitter and a Republican who served as chair
           of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, btw. Mankiw, who served
           after him would say pretty much the same thing.
2008/5/21-23 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:50021 Activity:nil
5/21    The Great Lie of Supply Side Economics:
        http://preview.tinyurl.com/5mjhk5
        \_ Econ as agenda!  I love that blog!
2008/5/19-23 [Finance/Banking, Reference/Tax] UID:49998 Activity:nil
5/19    I have lots of student loans, all of which are in deferment
        due to economic hardship (aka I'm too poor to pay them off
        now). If I have a little bit of money available each money
        ($100-200), should I contribute towards paying them off
        or is it better to contribute that money towards retirement?
        Thanks
        \_ Deferment as in you don't accrue any interest and you
           don't have to make payments, or deferment as you don't
           have to make payments but interest accrues?  Also,
           could you make the minimum payment if you were not
           on deferment?
                \_ Deferment meaning don't need to pay interest
                   but it does accrue interest. -op
                   \_ OK, if you start paying a minimal amount,
                      are they going to start demanding you
                      pay more and put you in a bind?  Last,
                      what, of any, of this is tax-deductable?
                        \_ Nope, I can pay off however much I
                           want at any time, and it doesn't
                           affect anything else. But, I don't
                           know about the tax question.
                           \_ The tax question is kind of
                              important to answer your
                              question.
                                \_ Well if it's anything like
                                   other student loans (and it
                                   should be), the interest
                                   accrued is deductible.
                                   \_ It's better than deductible.
        \_ OK, to summarize the deleted, the interest is tax
           deductable.  Next question:  if you save your $100-$200/m,
           can you make more than the interest on that $100-$200/m,
           when you discount that interest by your Fed tax rate?  I.e.,
           when you enhance that interest by your Fed tax rate?  I.e.,
           suppose your effective Fed tax rate is 15%, can you make
           >= .85x <student loan interest rate> on your $100-200/m?
           >= 1.15x <student loan interest rate> on your $100-200/m?
                \_ Or is this 1.0x?  Or .85x?
           If so, then you are better off keeping the money and
           building up a nest-egg--from which you can pay the loan
           later if the interest rate goes up, etc.
           later if the interest rate goes up, etc.  If you put the
           money into a Roth IRA, the question is can you make >=
           1.0x <student loan interest rate> on your $100-200/m?
        \_ If it's accruing interest then you should pay it. Otherwise you
           will be paying interest on interest, which is *BAD*.
        \_ It depends on what the interest rate is on your student loans.
           If it is less than 5%, you should certainly invest first, and
           delay paying your student loans for as long as possible. If it
           is higher than 12%, you should certainly pay if off (unless you
           have some higher interest debt, like credit card debt). If it
           is in between, it kind of depends on how good an investor you
           think you are. You should probably error on the side of caution. -GS
2008/5/16-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:49976 Activity:nil
5/16    "You'd be taxing success here," Kevin Casey, Harvard's associate
        vice president for government, community and public affairs complained
        in a quote that will soon be framed and hung in my office. "Over time,
        this would put us at a real competitive disadvantage, which would
        drastically hurt the Commonwealth."
        \_ ugh you again
           \_ You don't see the irony?
              \_ NO FUCKER.   TELL ME WHERE THE HUMOR IS.
                 \_ Clearly you were Harvard-educated... Okay, do you support
                    the current progressive tax system?
                    \_ ok dude do you really think we should start
                       taxing the endowments of universities?
                       \_ Okay, so you won't answer the question.  Why do you
                          think we shouldn't tax them?
                          \_ I find you uninteresting and boring, glenn beck
                             \_ You too e e cummings
                       \_ Yeah. Why should the ivory tower get a pass on
                          taxes?
                          \_ because they're non-profit.
                             \_ They are private and very profitable.  Their
                                non-profit status is a legal fiction.
2008/5/5-9 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:49881 Activity:nil
5/5     Comrade!  "Reasonable Profits Board"
        http://www.timesleader.com/news/20080429_29-KANJO_ART.html
        \_ I think the US did this before, but I don't remember the circumstances.
        \_ they were talkin windfall profits back in the 80's too.  question is
        \_ I think the US did this before, but I don't remember the
           circumstances.
        \_ they were talking windfall profits back in the 80's too.
           question is
           if you let the market ration the consumption back to the supply,
           the prices necessarily go up.  a lot.  Who gets the money from that?
           The people in control of the supply.
2008/4/17 [Reference/Tax] UID:49773 Activity:high
4/17    Obama wants to raise capital gains tax rates to make it more fair, even
        if that decrases revenue?
        \_ This was from the debate last night.  Please stop deleting it.
2008/4/15-17 [Reference/Tax] UID:49753 Activity:moderate
4/15    Happy Tax Day!  Don't forget, if you think taxes should be higher, you
        can send in more than CA/US says you owe!
        \_ I thin gas and diesel taxes should be higher for everyone.
        \_ I think gas tax should be higher for everyone.
           \_ McCain wants to reduce the gas tax in summer to "help motorists".
              That reduction will help for about, um, 4 weeks as the increase
              in gas prices swallow up the savings.  Stupidity is becoming the
              national pastime.
              \_ Deficits don't matter.
           \_ If you want to pay more tax, go ahead.  Leave the rest of us out
              of your destructive philosophy.
              \_ Deficits don't matter.
              \_ I don't want to pay more tax.  I want people to use less gas.
                 --- PP
2008/4/2-6 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:49648 Activity:nil
4/2     http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/04/should-drivers.html?nup=1&mbid=yhp
        "Yet motorists in Los Angeles County might be paying an extra 9 cents
        per gallon at the gas pump -- or an additional $90 on their vehicle
        registration fees. The purpose? It would help fight global warming."
        Yeah.  Let's do this here in the Bay Area also.
2008/3/28-4/6 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:49607 Activity:nil
3/28    Consumer confidence lowest in 16 years but BUSH'S TAX CUTS
        AND REBATES will rescue us!!!
        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23843931
2008/3/26-28 [Reference/Tax] UID:49570 Activity:nil
3/26    "But the trustees warned that financial pressures will begin much
        sooner when the programs begin PAYING OUT MORE IN BENEFITS EACH YEAR
        THAN THEY COLLECT IN PAYROLL TAXES.
         "For Medicare, THAT THRESHOLD IS PROJECTED TO BE REACHED THIS YEAR; it
        is projected to occur in 2017 for Social Security."
        [emphasis added]
        http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-social-securitymar26,1,6982890.story
        \_ We heard you the first time.  See a few posts down?
           \_ My point is that *this* year is when the problem starts.
        \_ So what? Bush has been borrowing trillions, what's a few billion
           more?
2008/3/25-28 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:49563 Activity:low
3/25    How much are you guys expecting from GWBush's tax rebates?
        \_ $0.  Combined income of my wife and me is probably over the limit.
           \_ So you're the wealthy?
        \_ $600, a whole lot of money for a poor grad student..
        \_ $1200 tax deduction, which, since we already overpaid through
           withholding, means a $1200 bonus to our refund.
        \_ $0.  My income is too high.
        \_ How do you figure this out based on your income?
           \_ More than $75K if single or $150K if married and you're
              probably getting nothing. I imagine most s/w engineers are
              getting nothing, like me.
              \_ 75K taxable income.  (Post 401k, post all deductions.)
                 And it doesn't go away at 75k, although it does go down
                 pretty fast.  If you have a house you probably will get
                 a refund.
                 \_ You mean if you have a MORTGAGE with a lot of interests
                    to deduct?
                    \_ Yes I did.  See you knew exactly what I meant.
                       \_ ...the fact that it is wrong notwithstanding
                 \_ No, it's based on adjusted gross income. No mortgage
                    (or other itemized) deductions.
                    \_ None of you have actually explained how I would
                       calculate it.
                       \_ Learn to use google.
        \_ Nothing. We make too much.
2008/3/24-25 [Finance/Banking, Reference/Tax] UID:49552 Activity:high
3/24    Opinion: companies that require tax-payer funded bailouts should pay
        for this privilege in advance as a kind of insurance. -- ilyas
        \_ So you advocate a business tax?  I don't think we need a new
           business tax.  I don't think we need bailouts either.  Let them
           take their lumps and retire with what they've already stolen.
           Ban them all from every working in finance again to prevent
           recycling these criminal idiots and let the markets recover
           without government tampering.  No bailouts.  No silly taxes.
        \_ No need for laws/rules, the free market will take care of it.
           Requiring anything extra will stifle competition and make
           US less competitive to other countries. No.
           \_ It's very simple, if you want free taxpayer money in case of a
              'catastrophe,' you need to pay the taxpayers a premium.  This
              isn't just about the latest financial meltdown, but also
              airlines, farming, etc. -- ilyas
        \_ Seems kind of redundant, given the presence of private insurance.
           So I guess what you're saying is that companies should not be bailed
           out. Which isn't very interesting but I agree.
           \_ I am prepared to admit that bailouts might be necessary in
              some cases, I just want to make the fuckers pay for this.
                -- ilyas
        \_ Yes, this is essentially what the FDIC is all about. It is obvious
           that these IBs need a similar level of regulation. What pisses me
           off is that the BSC shareholders are going to get billions from
           the taxpayers. I was okay with a $2 (fuck you) bailout, because
           I understand the risk to the financial system, but why $10?
           \_ I'm fine with the shadow banking system getting a bailout, so
              long as they're willing to submit to regulation and oversight
              (just like ordinary commercial banks).  If you want to operate
              with impunity, that's fine, but you shouldn't expect the
              goverment to swoop in and save your stupid ass when you mess up.
              \_ The purpose of the bailout wasn't to protect the company,
                 but to build confidence in our financial system and to
                 prevent from market melt-down. Ultimately, the goal is
                 to protect the American dollar, hence everyone wins.
                 \_ It is more prudent to protect the American dollar by
                    regulating dangerous behavior by financial institutions,
                    than it is to let them screw everything up and then
                    bail them out.  -tom
                    \_ I don't think anyone will disagree with you except
                       the it doesn't change the fact that dangerous behavior
                       already happened. It's as helpful as trying to preach
                       safe sex to people who already got a bunch of STDs.
                       \- "first you have at admit you have a problem^W^W^W^W
                          there was a bail out".
                 \_ What if there was no BSC bailout?  Exactly what dire
                    effects for all of us are we trying to prevent?  Dollar
                    devaluation, is that what you're saying?  I think that
                    would be temporary.  The broader macroeconomic policies
                    of the fed. gov't seem more important.  In a larger sense,
                    bailouts undermine the entire market.  The only real
                    accountability executives have is to their shareholders.
                    The only way to force that accountability is to make the
                    prospect of shareholders losing their shirts very real.
                    \_ There are real concerns of a domino effect; a BSC
                       failure would put liquidity pressure on all the other
                       institutions which hold BSC debt, which could lead to
                       more failures.  Complete meltdown of the financial
                       system is not outside the realm of possibility.
                       Still, bailing out BSC sucks.  -tom
                       \_ Yeah I mean, I would think they should let BSC die
                          ignobly, and even let a couple other dominoes fall
                          perhaps. Bail out when it actually does seem
                          necessary; let some smaller fish take over. I'm
                          skeptical of a term like "complete meltdown of the
                          financial system". I'm sure the most irresponsible
                          entities would like to trumpet themselves as being
                          key to the entire "financial system" and therefore
                          must be saved from their own mistakes. Just like
                          any corporate welfare is couched in noble terms.
                          \_ Yes, and this is exactly the problem with the
                             shadow system.  Without any regulatory oversight
                             or standards, who really knows what is lurking
                             behind BSC?  Maybe they really are the key!
                             Or maybe not...
                             I hate to drag out that hoary old quote from
                             Buffet about derivatives being "financial
                             weapons of mass destruction," but in this
                             case it seems warranted.
                    \_ Dire?  Think of all the yachts that won't be bought
                       that year!  My God!  Think of the yacht makers'
                       children!
                       \_ LANDLORD WITH A YACHT!
                     \_ Go read up on the panics the economy used to routinely
                        experience in the late 1800's, with unemployment in
                        the 20%+ range and bank runs and get back to me with
                        any questions.
                        \_ http://www.usagold.com/gildedopinion/greenspan.html
        \_ The Financial Times agrees with you, as do I. -ausman
           http://www.csua.org/u/l4i
                        \_ Why don't you point us to something? And also say
                           what your point is.
2008/3/22-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:49538 Activity:very high
3/22    So I just paid my taxes and for kicks I went ahead and calculated
        what my overall tax burden is, including all Federal income and payroll
        taxes and my state taxes and it is 35.6%. Anyone else care to share?
        \_ On what gross income?  And did you include your property tax and
           sales tax?
           \_ I am not going to post my gross income on the motd but it is high
              enought that I am subject to AMT. But my taxe rate on my take home
              enought that I am subject to AMT. But my tax rate on my take home
              pay is 35.6%. I am not including other taxes, but if I did, it is
              a few percent higher. Why don't you post your gross income on
              the motd?
              \_ It's still with the CPA. I started an LLC this year, so I'm
                 not actually sure what it is.
                 \_ Okay, I did a bit of math and our property tax rate is
                    3.5% of AGI and our sales tax rate is less than 3%, but
                    I am not exactly sure how much less, since I don't track
                    spending that well. I did subtract all the things that I
                    know I don't pay sales tax on and if the rest is taxed
                    at 8%, that gives me a 3% overall sales tax.
                    \_ So you don't buy that much stuff?  Most of your
                       spending is untaxed items?
                       \_ After taxes, mortgage, savings and childcare,
                          there isn't that much left really.
                    \_ Sorry, what kind of property tax is based on income?
                       I thought it was based on assessed value of the prop.
                       Or, if you are quoting as a percentage of your AGI for
                       comparison: that is totally under yer control, based
                       on the cost of your house and where you live.
                       Err, just wanted to point that out.
2008/3/2-3 [Reference/Tax] UID:49315 Activity:high
3/2     Question:  Can a married couple get TWO $417K conforming loans to
        purchase a new home together?  Let's assume they maintain separate bank
        accounts, can each put 10% (20% combined) toward the down payment, have
        good salaries, live together, and file a joint tax return.  Thanks.
        \_ No.
           \_ is this an impression based on experience, or something you know?
        \_ Single unit?  No.  If it is a condo you might be able to do
           something where you each buy a unit, but the conformingness is
           per unit, not per owner.  If you want to spend the 400-500 an hour
           a good TiC lawyer costs (which is really what you have in mind)
           just to have him tell you no, feel free.
2008/2/26-3/4 [Reference/Tax] UID:49267 Activity:nil
2/26    Nick Weaver on slashdot
        http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/02/27/0018224.shtml
        \_ Holy shit, people still use slashdot?
           \_ Some even use motd!
        \_ This is not totally correct. Maintenance fees are required for
           patents. Similarly, renewal fees plus proof of continued use
           in commerce is required to retain a trademark. There are also
           filing fees for both patents and trademarks. These fees are
           analogous to a "property tax," as that term is used by nweaver.
           Until 1992, the same was somewhat true for copyrights. Before
           the 1992 revision to the Copyright Act, a renewal was required
           for a copyright to enter its 2d term of protection.
           There is also the whole issue of "moral rights" that further
           complicates copyright.
        \_ Unfortunately most of the slashdot crowd's "solutions" to the
           "patent problem" will always result in big companies stealing
           the real inventions of little guys even more than they already
           do today.  The real answer is to grant patents only for things
           truly novel.  Any sort of fee/tax/money based thing will not
           have any effect on Big Company(c) but will crush the little guy
           every time.
           \_ I believe that nweaver's comments were directed more toward
              copyright rather than patent b/c patent terms are limited to
              no more than 20 years from date of issue. Removing automatic
              copyright renewal will remedy neweaver's concerns.
              Re patents - although a stronger novelty or obviousness std
              will help eliminate some "bad" patents, it will not really
              do much to reduce the litigation threat. One key improvement
              (or reform) that is necessary is to increase the number of
              examiners (esp. in software) and to improve retention. Another
              improvement would be to appoint judges with scientific training
              to the Federal Circuit and to districts with heavy patent case
              loads.
2008/2/24-26 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:49225 Activity:low
2/24    I'm about to buy a home in an unincorporated city, what are
        some of the ramifications of having a home in an unincorporated
        city? Does that men we're screwed if the road/sewage/water
        need repairs? What about tax and other ramifications?
        \_ I live in an unincorporated area. A lot of it depends on who
           provides your services. It's usually the county. If you live in
           a rich county it can be good. A poor county might mean you
           don't get good services. Taxes will be less. In my particular
           case, we get better police and fire services, worse roads
           and utilities, more freedom when it comes to building codes
           and ordinances (can be a plus or a minus), worse humane society,
           and worse library system.
           case, we get better police and fire services, worse roads, worse
           electric utility, more freedom when it comes to building codes,
           zoning and ordinances (can be a plus or a minus), worse humane
           society, and worse library system. No difference with schools in my
           situation (which again can be better or worse - some uninc.
           areas have their own school system and others use a nearby district
           and it can vary which is better). The sewer and water are handled
           by my county either way. In short, the bad part is that there's no
           one to complain to and the good part is that there's no one
           placing restrictions on you. If you like HOAs you might not like an
           unincorporated area. If you like more freedom you will. My
           county has more money and so a plus is that when we want
           something expensive all we have to do is convince our county
           supervisor. That means we can get expensive things a small city
           may not be able to afford if we can make a case for them. (A certain
           amount is budgeted by the county for our district and that is not
           true in incorporated areas where the county figures the city should
           pick up the cost.) Essentially, we have access to a bigger
           pool of funds to use on pet projects like redevelopment zones,
           parks, and libraries. (Even though our library system is worse
           than the nearby city that's just because theirs is really
           extensive. Ours is very nice for an area our size.) Over the
           years there have been many votes to incorporate or to be
           annexed to the nearby city and they have all failed, so the
           majority of people must like the status quo (probably don't
           want to pay the additional 0.25% property tax in exchange for
           being told what to do).
           \_ Thanks Unincorporate City Guru! It's very very useful!
              May I ask which county or city you live in?
        \_ The answer is: it depends. Who provides sewer, water, power
           and heating gas? Is there a chance your neighbors are going
           to get together and vote you all a tax increase to pay for
           more services? Read up on what a Mello-Roos is:
           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mello-Roos
           \_ Communities, incorporated or not, can vote taxes for
              themselves. It's not really relevant to the discussion.
              Mello Roos is tangential as well. Unincorporated areas don't
              necessarily have Mello Roos fees. I would guess most don't.
              \_ An area without water, electricity or sewer is much more
                 likely to vote a tax increase to fund those things than
                 an area that already has them.
                 \_ Sure, but what does that have to do with incorporated
                    vs. unincorporated? Absolutely nothing.
                    \_ You know of incorporated areas with no sewer, water
                       or electricity? In America???
                       \_ Yes. All you have to do is leave the cities. Go to
                          the central coast of CA for instance and you will
                          find homes which are part of a city but which get
                          water from a well and use septic for waste. Hell, La
                          Canada Flintridge just got a sewer system in the last
                          10 years and it's a wealthy city. The residents voted
                          to pay for it and some people got majorly screwed.
                          My boss had a $40K bill for his portion *and* he
                          had just installed a new septic system just a few
                          years before. Yes, it is an incorporated city (1976).
2008/2/10-11 [Reference/Tax] UID:49109 Activity:kinda low
2/8     What real people actually pay in taxes:
        http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0414/p03s01-usgn.html
        See table about halfway down. Note that the richest still
        pay less than 1/3 in effective tax rates (including sales and property)
        \_ It's ok! Hillary will bring back Socialism for all of us!
           Go Democraps!                                -Republican
           \_ People worth listening to don't use childish little schoolyard
              word plays.  When I see message board posters of any stripe
              doing that I immediately skip past those posts.  I hope you
              do too.
              \_ You've been trolled.
2008/2/5-7 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:49070 Activity:nil
2/4     Bush's tax cuts/rebates will have beneficial effects on certian
        industries like Phillip Morris, Anheiser Busch, and gambling
        casinos. Pick your stocks wisely!               -stock swami
2008/1/28-2/2 [Reference/Tax] UID:49027 Activity:very high
1/28    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22878539
        Bush vows to veto any tax hike. How does tax raise/status-quo
        affect me directly as a poor graduate student?
        \_ It doesn't. Eventually it gets paid for somehow regardless of
           nominal taxes. Too bad Bush doesn't veto spending hikes.
        \_ When you get a real job and watch half your pay check go to other
           people, you'll care.  Until then, no, taxes raises and hikes don't
           mean anything to people who don't pay them.
           \_ dimwit you are so full of shit.
              \_ I didn't write the above. --dim
           \_ Half?  That's a fairly ridiculous exaggeration. -dans
              \_ Not really. Property tax, sales tax, income tax (state
                 and federal), cap gains, SDI, FICA. I take home about
                 50% and that's not counting what my employer pays for me
                 (which may as well be in my pocket as far as my employer
                 is concerned).
                 \_ If you make 100K per year you'll pay about 20% in income
                    taxes.  Your short term capital gains tax rate is equal to
                    your income tax rate, your long term is less.  There is
                    now way in hell what your combined state income tax (a
                    no way in hell what your combined state income tax (a
                    couple points, worst case), sales tax, SDI, and FICA would
                    be 30% of your income.  Is property tax really that
                    outrageous?  Do you have some ridiculous AMT tax burden?
                    -dans
                    \_ Dude, you are totally out of it. Statements like
                       "There is now (sic) way in hell your [...] tax
                        would be 30% of your income" prove it.
                 \_ You say that you "take home about 50%." Does that include
                    your 401k contribution? I calculated my total overall
                    payroll and income rate last year and it was about 1/3 and
                    I am subject to AMT. At the highest possible rate, your
                    overall tax rate is 35% Federal + 10.3% state + 1.5% SDI,
                    which comes out to 46.8%. Close but no cigar. Are you
                    self-employed? If so, your tax rate might be higher.
                    \_ You totally neglected FICA, property tax, sales taxes,
                       use taxes, and "fees" like VLF.
                    \_ You totally neglected FICA, property tax, sales tax,
                       use taxes, and fees like VLF. You also ignored the
                       7.65% my employer is paying for me.
                       \_ Hell yeah, fuck all those taxes. Support FairTax.
                       \_ So now you are including taxes that other people
                          are paying? Yeah, if you include enough of those, I
                          am sure you can "prove" that your tax rate is over
                          100%! I not not include FICA, because it is eliminated
                          for income over $97.5k. The overall maximum rate is
                          only for those making over $1M. The rate for the $95k
                          guy is much less. Property tax, etc are not taken
                          out of your paycheck, so they do not effect your
                          "take home" pay, right?
                          \_ Yes, I include taxes other people are paying
                             for my benefit. My employer could give that
                             money to me and it wouldn't matter one whit
                             to them. Or, we could split it 50/50. The
                             fact that FICA has a cap doesn't matter. You
                             can't ignore it. Also, I consider "take home"
                             to be the amount I get to keep each year, not
                             the amount of my paycheck. I can take 59
                             deductions and get a huge paycheck, but I
                             don't get to keep any of that.
                             \_ You aren't listening very well to what I am
                                saying. Here are the calculations for a
                                $97.5k income with zero deductions (not very
                                likely, but an extreme case):
                                Income - $97.5
                                Fed income tax - 21411
                                State income tax - 6873
                                FICA - 7459
                                SDI - 693
                                That comes out to a 37.3% overall tax rate,
                                which is much lower than the theoretical
                                maximum. I calculated this from the tax tables,
                                btw. Why stop at FICA, if you are going to
                                start including your employers taxes? Why not
                                add corporate income tax as well? If he made
                                more money, he could pay you more, right?
                                [As an aside, I realized that zero deductions
                                 makes no sense, since this guy would at the
                                 very least be able to deduct his state taxes
                                 from his federal taxable income. Doing that
                                 lowers his federal income tax by 1924 and his
                                 overall tax burden to 35.3%]
                                \_ State income tax as stated by you = $6873.
                                   The standard deduction is $5350 for a
                                   single filer. The difference is not 2%
                                   in tax burden.
                                   \_ What do you think "zero deductions" means?
                                      Not everyone gets the standard deduction.
                                \_ The payroll taxes are not at all
                                   similar to corporate income tax, but
                                   feel free to include them if you wish
                                   since we get taxed twice on that income.
                                   \_ Don't forge to include the income tax
                                      that the gas station owner pays on his
                                      employees, since if he didn't have to
                                      pay that tax, he could give you cheaper
                                      gasoline.
                                      \_ Huh?
                                \_ Sales taxes can easily bring you over 40%.
                                   And property taxes should count, why not?
                                   If you live somewhere it's an expense that
                                   comes out of your paycheck in the end. - !op
                                   \_ My god. You're so dense it's not
                                      even worth reading your shit
                                      anymore                   !op !pp
                                      \_ :( awww. I guess you win.
                                   \_ We were discussing paycheck deductions.
                                      \_ No, only you were.
                                      Yes, I am sure that your overall tax
                                      burden can exceed 40%, since mine did
                                      one year, when I sold a bunch of stock
                                      and got bit by AMT and I didn't have
                                      any deductions. I don't think it is
                                      realistic to get to 50% and I would
                                      be amused to see your scenrio as to
                                      how it could be possible.
                                      \_ I think we are actually discussing
                                         overall tax burden. You are trying
                                         to stick with the literal paycheck
                                         but that's kind of dumb since the op
                                         clarified this already.
                                         I don't know if you can break 50%, but
                                         I guess I wouldn't be surprised if you
                                         could. What state has the highest
                                         income, property, and sales taxes?
                                         How much do corporate taxes affect
                                         people's tax burden, reflected in
                                         prices? How much might luxury taxes,
                                         gaz guzzler taxes, or other special
                                         purpose taxes affect someone?
                                         \_ What does "I take home 50%" mean
                                            to you? Like I said, I would be
                                            amused. Pull out your calculator
                                            and show us how it could happen.
                                            \_ To me, it means "take home
                                               at the end of the year".
                                               Like I said, I can play
                                               with deductions all over
                                               the place to affect my
                                               actual paycheck.
                                               \_ That's right, you have
                                                  deductions, so you don't pay
                                                  as much taxes as you would
                                                  otherwise. This is what
                                                  everyone does, which is why
                                                  the 50% line is BS.
                                                  the 50% line is unrealistic.
                                                  \_ I think he means you can
                                                     claim deductions for your
                                                     paycheck that are bogus.
                                                     What matters is what you
                                                     ended up actually giving
                                                     the govt after tax year.
                                               \_ That is not what take home pay
                                                  means to a normal person.
                                                  http://www.csua.org/u/kmh
                                                  \_ Your definition is
                                                     what I said and
                                                     includes even more
                                                     not related to taxes.
                                            \_ I earn $97000. I go over the Bay
                                               Bridge 9000 times and pay the
                                               toll. Done.
                                               Or if we include property tax
                                               all you need is a high value to
                                               income ratio.
                                               Whatever, I too would be amused
                                               but I'm not gonna do the work.
                                               \_ Amusing. It would actually
                                                  take 19700 times.
                                               \_ Amusing.
                                                  \_ I would bet there are real
                                                     people paying >50% overall
                                                     tax due to property taxes.
                                                     \_ Not very many of them,
                                                        which you would find out
                                                        very quickly if you did
                                                        the actual math. Most
                                                        people paying lots of
                                                        property tax have big
                                                        mortgages, and therefore
                                                        big deductions.
                                                        \_
                                                        1. Most people
                                                        paying lots of
                                                        property tax own
                                                        the property and
                                                        have no deduction.
                                                        2. The deduction
                                                        is capped at $1M
                                                        in debt anyway.
                                                        \_ Prove or demonstrate
                                                           evidence that 1 is
                                                           true.
                                                           \_ I am not sure if
                                                              it is and I
                                                              retract that.
                                                              My original
                                                              statement was
                                                              overwritten and
                                                              what I said
                                                              (which is true)
                                                              is that people
                                                              with expensive
                                                              homes tend
                                                              to make large
                                                              downpayments
                                                              (>50%) and
                                                              have smaller
                                                              deductions
                                                              in proportion
                                                              to property
                                                              tax than you
                                                              might think.
                    \_ Oh noes!  Even if you were right and it was *only* 46.8%
                       do you *really* think the gvt taking *almost& half your
                       income is somehow ok?  *shakes head*  Or are you just
                       living down to the anal retentive engineer stereotype?
                       \_ I'm not the op and I just want to say your
                          reaction and response make you seem as mature
                          as dans. You're acting like a complete moron
                          which doesn't help in supporting your case.
                          \_ My case is very simple: 46.8% isn't a whole lot
                             different than 50% when you're talking about my
                             take home vs. the gvt's take away.  If you can't
                             see that please return your diploma.  Thanks.
                       \_ No one actually pays that rate, that is just the
                          theoretical maximum. I would be perfectly happy with
                          that tax rate if some decent government services
                          came with it. The guy who is claiming that the
                          guberment takes half of his paycheck is simply
                          lying.
                          \_ Why do you say I am lying? We just proved we
                             could already be at 45% without even considering
                             all taxes paid like FICA plus, e.g., gasoline tax,
                             hotel tax, airport tax, etc.. Hell, property tax
                             can be another massive chunk, especially if you
                             own properties outside of CA like I do which I am
                             not renting out at the moment but yet still
                             pay taxes on. I am glad you are in a tax bracket
                             where you keep 80% of your income, but wake up.
                             \_ keep it up loser, you're just whining now
                                because you don't like to lose arguments.
                                \_ You have a weird definition of "lose".
                             \_ 45% is for a guy making $1M+ with no
                                deductions. FICA is an insignificant proportion
                                of that kind of income. $1M+ guy probably
                                doesn't spend it all, he probably invests
                                most of it. My overall tax burden is about
                                1/3 btw. I don't trust you to be able to
                                calculate your own, after what I have heard
                                you claim so far, sorry.
                                \_ It doesn't take $1M of income to spend 45%
                                   of your income in taxes.
                                \_ I see my pay check.  By the time the gvt
                                   is done taxing me I lose roughly half my
                                   pay check.  Is it 46%?  54%?  I'd say it
                                   doesn't matter and this whole thread
                                   between you two has gotten bogged down in
                                   hair splitting details.  If the number was
                                   33% (calculated any way you like), then I'm
                                   working for the gvt for the first 4 months
                                   of every year, not my family.  I don't start
                                   to earn anything for me until May 1st.  You
                                   think that's ok?  Anyway, the original point
                                   remains.  The grad student op has no reason
                                   to care until they get their first real pay
                                   check and see how much the gvt takes from
                                   it.
                                   \_ Do me a favor then. Take out your latest
                                      paycheck, add up all the taxes and then
                                      divide that into your gross pay and tell
                                      us for real what your actual tax rate
                                      on your income is. I will be waiting.
                                      \_ You're a moron. Withholdings are
                                         just withholdings.
                                         \_ Just answer the question, if the
                                            math isn't too much for you.
                                            math isn't too much for you. You can
                                            go back and get your 1040 out from
                                            last year if you want to give a
                                            more accurate answer.
                                   \_ The concept of "working for the
                                      government, not my family" is an
                                      ideological canard.  Your taxes are
                                      supporting your family; the school
                                      system, the infrastructure you use,
                                      the police and fire departments,
                                      and the military.  I'm sure this will
                                      start you off on a rant about how
                                      the roads have potholes and the schools
                                      aren't good enough.  So tell me; what
                                      is the right amount of taxation, if
                                      the current amount is too much?
                                      (For extra credit: attempt to prove
                                      that we're past the midpoint of the
                                      Laffer Curve).  -tom
                                      \_ I don't see the relevance of the
                                         Laffer Curve to this discussion.
                                         Maximizing government revenue is
                                         not a goal.
                                      \_ Why not give 100% to the government
                                         and let the government provide then?
                                         \_ I notice that instead of answering
                                            the question, you set up a straw
                                            man.
                                            There are some services that
                                            the government is better able
                                            to provide than private industry:
                                            infrastructure and security, for
                                            two obvious ones.  There are other
                                            services where the societal ROI
                                            is so obvious that it makes no
                                            sense to leave it to private
                                            industry: health care and
                                            childhood education, for two.
                                            With the exception of the military,
                                            the US and California are
                                            insufficiently funded in all
                                            those areas, which is why our
                                            infrastructure, health care,
                                            and childhood education are all
                                            quite bad compared to other
                                            industrialized countries; and
                                            by extension, why our pollution,
                                            crime rates, and life expectancy
                                            compare disfavorably.
                                            I am pretty certain that lowering
                                            taxes does not improve any of
                                            those areas.  -tom
                                            \_ Prove that gov't is better able.
                                               \_ Please.  Do you really think
                                                  a private entity could
                                                  have built the interstate
                                                  system?  Do you see private
                                                  entities lining up to put
                                                  in the SF-LA bullet train?
                                                  Are there *any* real-world
                                                  examples of private entities
                                                  providing comprehensive
                                                  infrastructure or security?
                                                    -tom
                                                \_ You went beyond massive
                                                   projects and mentioned
                                                   childhood education (why
                                                   stop there btw?) and health
                                                   care. And maybe that SF-LA
                                                   bullet train doesn't make
                                                   economic sense. Maybe the
                                                   interstate system should
                                                   have been a better rail
                                                   system. How are you so
                                                   certain that everything gov
                                                   does is great? Anyway,
                                                   it's pretty obvious that
                                                   some things are just way too
                                                   huge for there to be any
                                                   realistic competition and
                                                   that is where government
                                                   makes sense. Education and
                                                   health care are entirely
                                                   non-obvious however.
                                                   \_ I didn't say the
                                                      government inherently
                                                      does health care and
                                                      education better;
                                                      I said that the societal
                                                      ROI (for universal
                                                      childhood education and
                                                      universal health care)
                                                      are obvious.  -tom
                                                      \_ You also said it makes
                                                         no sense to leave it
                                                         to private industry.
                                                         Ok, I misinterpreted
                                                         your point. I'm just
                                                         debating here part
                                                         time so I'm a bit
                                                         distracted.
                                                      \_ If the government
                                                         doesn't do it
                                                         better then they
                                                         shouldn't do it.
                                                         \_ The government
                                                            *has* to do it
                                                            (provide universal
                                                            health care and
                                                            child education)
                                                            because private
                                                            industry won't.
                                                            Private industry
                                                            loves to cherry-
                                                            pick the easy
                                                            problems and
                                                            claim they solve
                                                            them better.  -tom
                                                            \_ Sorry, but
                                                               I disagree.
                                                               Private industry
                                                               does just fine
                                                               with both.
                                                               \_ where? -tom
                                                                  \_ Private
                                                                     school vs.
                                                                     public
                                                                     school,
                                                                     for
                                                                     example.
                                                                   \_ Private
                                                                      school
                                                                      doesn't
                                                                      provide
                                                                      universal
                                                                      education.
                                                                       -tom
                                                                       \_ Sure
                                                                  it does. It's
                                                                  just not free.
                                                                  It could be
                                                                  if the gov't
                                                                  handed over
                                                                  the $$$ they
                                                                  waste.
                                                                  \_ ah, so
                                                                    it's OK to
                                                                    tax to pay
                                                                    for school.
                                                                    Communist!
                                                                      -tom
                                                                    \_ Only
                                                                       okay to
                                                                       tax to
                                                                       support
                                                                       kids
                                                                       whose
                                                                       parents
                                                                       pay no
                                                                       tax. Most
                                                                       of us
                                                                       just get
                                                                       our own
                                                                       money
                                                                       back.
                                                        ______________/
                                                        That makes no sense.
                                                        How about this, we'll
                                                        have zero tax for
                                                        income up to $200K,
                                                        and 75% tax for income
                                                        over that, no
                                                        deductions.  People
                                                        who are taxed are
                                                        ineligible for public
                                                        school and health care.
                                                        Sound good?  -tom
                                                        \_ No, but only b/c I
                                                           find 75% rate
                                                           outrageous.
                                                           \_ So choose your
                                                              rate; tax
                                                              everyone over
                                                              $200K enough to
                                                              provide schooling
                                                              and health care
                                                              for everyone
                                                              under $200K.
                                                              Happy now?  -tom
                                                   \_ This is another straw man
                                                      argument, btw. "How are
                                                      you so certain..." How
                                                      are you so certain that
                                                      everything private
                                                      industry does is great?
                                                      \_ Well, private entities
                                                         generally give you an
                                                         element of choice in
                                                         where to spend your
                                                         money, unlike a pure
                                                         tax-funded government
                                                         program.
                                                         \_ We have choices
                                                            in a democracy too,
                                                            but they are just
                                                            determined
                                                            collectively.
                                                            \_ The 'fat hand'
                                                               in your choice
                                                               to intervene is
                                                               so much 'fatter'
                                                               in the gvt case,
                                                               that you are
                                                               either being
                                                               sarcastic or
                                                               disingenious.
                                                                 -- ilyas
                                                          \_ That's no comfort
                                                             at all.
                                    \_ I would be happy to pay much more, like
                                       50-60%, if it got me cradle to grave
                                       health care, education and welfare,
                                       along with clean safe streets, good
                                       public transportation and great parks
                                       and other public places, like they have
                                       in The Netherlands and Sweden. I think
                                       1/3 is fair, given how much the gov't
                                       has done for me in my life.
                                       \_ What has the gvt done for you that
                                          you think is worth giving 1/3rd of
                                          your life back to it every year until
                                          the day you die?  Would 1/4 be fair?
                                          Would 1/8 be fair?  1/20?  What about
                                          people the gvt has done less for?
                                          Should they pay less?  Is it fair
                                          that some people pay more and get
                                          less?
                                          \_ They (we really) fed me, clothed me
                                             and housed me when my family was
                                             poor. They gave me a free education
                                             when I was a child and then a job
                                             in the Army out of high school when
                                             I didn't know what I wanted to do
                                             and wasn't ready for college. They
                                             provided me an outstanding
                                             university education for less than
                                             1/10th what a private school would
                                             have cost me after the Army. They
                                             even gave me my first job after
                                             graduation, when I worked for the
                                             UC for a while. I benefit from
                                             knowing that I won't be starving
                                             and out on the streets when I am
                                             old. This lets me take more risk
                                             now, benefitting me (and society,
                                             indirectly). I am sure without all
                                             that government aid I got when I
                                             was young and needed it, I would
                                             not be as successful now. The gov't
                                             more than got its investment back
                                             in me as well. Is it fair? I
                                             don't know, is it fair that some
                                             people win the sperm lottery and
                                             some don't? Is it fair that one
                                             guy gets hit by a bus crossing the
                                             street and another does not? I
                                             think you are asking the wrong
                                             question. Life will never be "fair"
                                             but society as a whole benefits
                                             when we pool and share risk and
                                             when we have an educated populace.
                                             I think it is much more fair to
                                             tax a few people to feed the
                                             hungry than it would be to starve
                                             them. I am sorry that you don't
                                             feel the same way, but you are
                                             welcome to vote for politicians
                                             to implement your harsh vision of
                                             what a fair world would look like.
                                            \_ One thing I can say is that you
                                               don't know how your life would
                                               have been without this. You can
                                               speculate that you would have
                                               just starved. However, many
                                               people lived for thousands of
                                               years without a big helpful
                                               gov't and didn't always live
                                               like shit either. For example,
                                               the safety-net like constructs
                                               you love could conceivably be
                                               implemented by voluntary local
                                               communities/societies. There
                                               are/would be various forms of
                                               charity. You also don't know how
                                               the economy might look like
                                               without the current structure.
                                               Do you think an army is the only
                                               only possible job-provider?
                                               Could one not use loans to pay
                                               for university tuition, so you
                                               literally do pay someone back
                                               instead of handwaving and hoping
                                               for the best? Just some food
                                               for thought.
                                               \_ The devil you know, and all
                                                  that.
                                               \_ I might be able to imagine it
                                                  more clearly if you could
                                                  provide me with some real
                                                  world examples of societies
                                                  that had organized themselves
                                                  that way successfully. Surely
                                                  in human history there must
                                                  be some, right? When and where
                                                  were they?
                                                 \_ Why must there be? Were
                                                    there societies just like
                                                    the USA before the USA?
                                                    Not everything has been
                                                    done before, there are new
                                                    technologies and ideas,
                                                    and old ones that have
                                                    never been tried.
                                                    But think of any primitive
                                                    human tribal society. They
                                                    didn't generally throw the
                                                    old people to the wolves.
                                                    It seems like big gov't
                                                    wants to replace the role
                                                    of families and actual
                                                    human support structures.
                                                    What about my point about
                                                    the army and university?
                                                    Another problem here is
                                                    how you indenture yourself
                                                    for life, involuntarily. It
                                                    is not enough to say you
                                                    benefited. A slave benefits
                                                    from his master's food.
                                                    \_ So you want to replace a
                                                       system where the poor and
                                                       disabled have the right
                                                       to an existence as part
                                                       of the social contract
                                                       with one where they have
                                                       to depend on handouts
                                                       given at the whims of the
                                                       wealthy. And you think
                                                       that this is both going
                                                       to work and provide the
                                                       poor with more dignity.
                                                       Like I said, show me an
                                                       example of this ever
                                                       happening and I might not
                                                       be as skeptical. I don't
                                                       think a strong welfare
                                                       state eliminates the need
                                                       for family, though I can
                                                       see how it might lessen
                                                       the bonds a bit.
                                                       Oppresion tends to build
                                                       strong communities
                                                       amongst the oppressed
                                                       but that is hardly an
                                                       argument in its favor.
                        Handouts don't only come from the wealthy.   _/
                        Right to existence != right to others' property.
                        Unless it is a child's support from his parents.
                        I don't think there is a right to food, shelter, and
                        medical care. All those things require the work of
                        others; how can you have an inherent right to that?
                        Most rights we talk about are freedoms against others
                        doing something to you, not rights for them to do
                        something.
                        Being poor != oppression.
                        Entitlement handouts erode personal responsibility and
                        accountability.
                        Private charity organisations are widespread. There's
                        no reason to assume that they would not work. They
                        might work better than the current government programs.
                        I don't make any claim about dignity levels as that is
                        subjective and irrelevant.
                        In a country where there is not enough to go around,
                        you clearly cannot have a right to food. Therefore that
                        right is inherently nonsensical.
                        \_ I disagree with your notion of rights, simply stated.
                           Mine are much closer to the UN Declaration of Human
                           Rights or FDR's "Four Freedoms" than your Cato
                           Institute flavor. None of your wealth exists in
                           isolation of society and most of it is actually
                           generated by the social fabric. To imagine otherwise
                           is wrongheaded and naive. In those societies where
                           there was only private charity, starvation and
                           disease were (and are) rampant, so yes, there is
                           \_ Irrelevant... different times, different tech,
                              different wealth.
                           plenty of reason to think that this model of taking
                           care of the disabled, elderly, orphans and other
                           helpless members of society would be insufficient.
                           The only differnce is, you think it is fine to have
                           people dying of hunger on the streets and I do not.
                           \_ You must think it's fine also. You aren't
                              donating all your assets to feed hungry people
                              in other countries. In any case, you are creating
                              a false dichotomy. There are other ways to
                              address chronic poverty than chronic handouts,
                              and there are voluntary forms of handouts.
                           And how would you know anything about poverty? Have
                           you ever been poor? You seem like the type who was
                           born on third base and thinks he hit a triple,
                           frankly. The evidence that handouts erode personal
                           responsibility is thin. In Europe, class mobility
                           is higher than here.
                           \_ You are crazy if you think Europe has more
                              class mobility.
                           \_ Handouts are pacifiers which diminish people's
                              drive to fix the underlying problems.
                              \_ Prove it. Did your attending a publicly
                                 funded college make you dependent?
                                 \_ Most of us paid fees. If we had paid
                                    2X as many fees (unsubsidized) I don't
                                    think much would be different. In
                                    fact, Cal is headed in that direction.
                                 \_ why, then do countries which have more
                                    handouts have fewer underlying problems
                                    than the US?  Your stance is ideological
                                    and not based in reality.  -tom
2008/1/24-31 [Reference/Tax] UID:49004 Activity:nil
1/24    Someone please help me understand how the tax rebates work. I just
        don't have time to look into it. From what I read, these are
        rebates and not handouts. Meaning, these are just tax dollars that
        would ultimately be refunded anyway next year. Am I wrong about
        that? If I am right, then why will it cost the government any
        money? If I am wrong, please explain how it works.
        \_ It's a handout to people with less than a certain income.
        \_ They are called "rebates" but they are actually handouts, because
           "Workers who make at least $3,000 but don't pay taxes would get
           $300 rebates."
           \_ Understood, but that's probably a small class.
           http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080124/ap_on_go_co/economy_stimulus
        \_ if you make more than $85K adjusted gross income, you get nothing.
           if you're married and have three kids with combined income < $150K,
           you get $2,100.
           \_ I read that, but aren't you just getting $2,100 of your own
              money? Or is it $2,100 you wouldn't get back otherwise?
        \_ What's flawed about this is the 100B comes from... LOANS, adding
           more to deficits that we will have to pay for sooner or later.
           Ah, the wonders of never ending deficit.
           \_ Yep, the only way this matters is if the gov't cuts spending,
              then keeps the Bush tax cuts permanent.
           \_ government handouts financed by increasing federal debt. Theyd
              get the same result by telling taxpayers to just go spend an
              extra $300 on their credit cards.
           \_ Cool, we can vote ourselves money from the public treasure.
              Let's keep voting for the candidate promising the most!
              Let's borrow money from China to give handouts to consumers to
              buy products from China to lend us the money again. Oh well,
              it's just paper.
        \_ you still get your normal tax refund.  this is "bonus".
           \_ Are you sure about that? So these work differently from the
              $300 Bush rebates handed out N years ago?
              \_ ack, not quite sure now actually
              \_ pretty sure.  weren't the $300 rebates "bonus" as well?
                 i think the confusion is about those who never paid even
                 $300 in taxes not getting $300.
              \_ No, the bottom rate got lowered that year, so that your taxes
                 were actually $300 less. They sent you that money right away
                 but then deducted it from your tax refund. The new "rebate"
                 is planned to be a similar thing: it is basically a one
                 year tax cut (for those who pay taxes) and just a check
                 (probably a boost in EIC) for those who do not.
                 \_ So this is a rate cut for which tax year? 2008? And
                    instead of receiving the refund in 2009 they will mail
                    it out in advance?
2008/1/17-23 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/California/Prop] UID:48962 Activity:high
1/17    Bond insurers go foom.  MBI/ABK down 31%/51% respectively.
        \_ What is this, Bloomberg?
           \_ are you kidding? we're better than that.
           \_ Geez, just http://finance.google.com, you can see it.
              \_ I think he's asking why lame financial headlines are
                 being posted here.
                 \_ Yes, exactly. If you want to start a disucssion about the
                    state of the economy, that is fine, but up to the minute
                    stock ticker info is not going to do it.
                    \_ Oh, I'm pretty sure this is housing bust gloating. -pp
                       \_ As I explained to my desperate-renter-wants-to-be-a
                          -home-owner-waiting-for-big-housing-bust coworker:
                          As a home owner I don't care at all what housing
                          prices do except on two days: the day I buy and the
                          day I sell.  All the ups/downs in between mean
                          nothing to me.
                          \_ That's fine, but it's obvious your co-worker DOES
                             care, because he wants to buy, and wants a good
                             deal.  So why even say this to him?
                             \_ Because he's an ass.
                                \_ You have it backwards.  The guy was
                                   sending gloaty email links and smothering
                                   lunch chats with bad housing news smirking
                                   at the home owners.  I simply explained to
                                   him the way I and likely many other home
                                   owners view the ups and downs of housing
                                   prices.  Are you one of the bitter-renters?
                          \_ I'm a renter who wants to be a home owner, but
                             do not yet know much about owning a home.  Does
                             the housing price fluctuations affect your
                             property tax?  (Don't you pay a percentage of
                             increase in value?  What about if the value
                             decreases?)  Also, I'd imagine it would matter
                             if you ever need to take out a new load against
                             your home.  Feel free to clue me in.
                             \_ In CA, price fluctuations aren't really an
                                issue because of Prop 13. If valuations
                                fall below the assessed value, then yes
                                your tax can be lowered. However, since
                                increases are capped at 1% per year and
                                the rate of appreciation generally is more
                                than that, it is rare that homeowners worry
                                about it. It is safe to assume that your
                                property tax is ~fixed here in CA.  Other
                                states do things differently.
                                \_ I would not be surprised to see Prop 13
                                   modified in the next decade.
                                   \_ No one is going to push to have other
                                      people's taxes raised.  If anything they
                                      will push to have their own lowered.  But
                                      I seriously doubt anyone really has any
                                      clue what their neighbors are paying
                                      anyway so this whole line of thought is
                                      just silly.  What are your neighbors
                                      paying in property taxes?  Do you know?
                                      \_ Yes, I know. Just look on
                                         http://propertyshark.com. People push to have
                                         other people's taxes raised all the
                                         time, you just aren't paying attention.
                                         What do you think Hillary's campaign
                                         promise to raise the top rate to 39.6%
                                         is?
                                   \_ I would. Homeowners are a big voting
                                      block. Who would vote to change it?
                                      \_ Everyone who bought a home after 1999,
                                         once they realize they are paying 10x
                                         in taxes than the neighbor who bought
                                         in 1977, for the same services. I don't
                                         think it will go away, just reindexed
                                         to inflation, not inflation minus 1.
                                         \_ They won't ever know what their
                                            neighbors are paying.  And if the
                                            taxes hurt that much they'll want
                                            theirs lowered, not their
                                            neighbor's raised.
                                         \_ That's how it works. You pay
                                            more today to get a break in
                                            the future when you are
                                            (presumably) retired. I don't
                                            have a problem that my
                                            neighbor who moved here in the
                                            1940s pays less tax than I do.
                                            He bought his house for less,
                                            too. I can't worry about that.
                                            \_ Nobody cares if they paid less
                                               when they bought the house.
                                               That's just pure strawman.
                                            \_ You can worry about whatever you
                                               like. My neighbors on each side
                                               own many rental properties. Even
                                               combining them all, they probably
                                               pay less in property taxes for
                                               much more city services than I do
                                               Why should these multi-
                                               millionaires get subsidized by
                                               everyone else? In the long run,
                                               taxes should keep up with
                                               inflation (or even GDP), unless
                                               you want service levels to fall,
                                               which is what has happened to
                                               CA over the years. The voters
                                               are slowly coming to realize
                                               this fact.
                                               \_ Ah here it is: class warfare
                                                  jealousy and envy.  They pay
                                                  less because they were smart
                                                  enough to get in early.  You
                                                  are now locked in at your
                                                  current rate and your future
                                                  neighbors will want to know
                                                  why you pay less than them.
                                                  Think your taxes should rise
                                                  to their level just as you're
                                                  retiring?
                                                  \_ If property tax exists for
                                                     a reason, then it should
                                                     be raised if it needs to
                                                     be raised. I don't see
                                                     how you justify your
                                                     position. If you extend
                                                     the idea into the future
                                                     for all possible market
                                                     scenarios you see that it
                                                     is unsustainable. The
                                                     focus should be on keeping
                                                     the overall rate low, not
                                                     arbitrarily locking rates.
                                                     Capping the amount it can
                                                     rise per year would seem
                                                     prudent, but not making
                                                     that 0. It's not just
                                                     about fairness but market
                                                     efficiency: in my
                                                     experience people become
                                                     really "attached" to their
                                                     low tax rates.
                                                     \_ We effectively cap
                                                        property tax rates
                                                        because people should
                                                        not be taxed out of
                                                        their homes.  This is
                                                        still the U.S. the last
                                                        I checked where the
                                                        people are more
                                                        important than
                                                        government revenue.  If
                                                        the gvt needs more $$$
                                                        they should cut the
                                                        pork and increase
                                                        efficiency.  I've
                                                        worked for both state
                                                        and federal gvt for
                                                        many years.  There is
                                                        tons of room for pork
                                                        cutting.  They make
                                                        large corps look like
                                                        models of efficiency.
                                                \_ No, they pay less than me
                                                   because they were born a
                                                   generation earlier than me,
                                                   and then rigged the game in
                                                   their favor, not because they
                                                   were "smarter," as you claim.\
                                                   Property taxes should pay for
                                                   the city services required
                                                   to support them. Consistently
                                                   charging less than inflation
                                                   guarantees that this cannot
                                                   happen. Why should others
                                                   have to pay the tax burden
                                                   shifted to them? Who should
                                                   pay taxes instead of the
                                                   homeowner? Streets, schools,
                                                   police and fire protection
                                                   are not free. And even if you
                                                   did cut city services, the
                                                   anomaly of early owners
                                                   gaming the system in their
                                                   favor still remains. Why do
                                                   mostly wealthy older home
                                                   owners deserve a tax break at
                                                   the expense of everyone else?
                                                   I think the idea of a tax
                                                   break for an owner occupied
                                                   residence with a low income
                                                   senior citizen in it is great
                                                   but this not what Prop 13
                                                   does.
                           That's still not an argument for prop 13. Cut _/
                           pork, great, benefit everyone. So what.
                           \_ Prop 13 only caps property tax rates if you
                              hold on to the house. If you sell, which
                              most people do, the rates catch up. Property
                              tax revenues are plenty high and do a job
                              tax revenues are plenty high and do a good
                              job of beating inflation. BTW, it's easy to
                              find out what your neighbor pays for tax if
                              you want to know. Why should you care?
                              Should a family of eight pay more property tax
                              than a single homeowner? They use more services.
                              It really sucks to live in a state where the
                              tax is not capped. In many states property
                              values doubled or tripled in the last few
                              years. Would you like your tax to go from
                              $3K to $9K a year just because speculators
                              are moving the market? How can anyone plan
                              and budget for that? It has nothing to do
                              with the cost of services tripling either.
                              No, I think CA got it right. If the state
                              needs more revenue then tax income.
                              \_ Adjusting Prop 13 so that property taxes
                                 go up with inflation after purchase, instead
                                 of inflation minus one, would not cause
                                 of two percent a year, would not cause
                                 anyone's tax to go from $3k to $9k in one
                                 year. Go fight that Straw Man somewhere else.
                                 \_ Whose definition of inflation and why?
                                    They are already keeping up with inflation.
                                    $10.3 BB before Prop 13 = $35 BB in 2006.
                                    (calculated from CPI).
                                    Actual amount collected in 2006 = $38 BB
                                    From Howard Jarvis:
                                    "Despite Prop 13's restrictions,
                                    today's government in California
                                    collects the same 16% of personal
                                    income in taxes, fees and assessments
                                    that it collected before Proposition
                                    13 passed. Today, the government in
                                    California collects and spends per
                                    capita in constant dollars -
                                    that is, incorporating population
                                    growth and inflation growth -
                                    more than it taxed and spent per
                                    capita in 1978."
                                    What has changed is the distribution
                                    of taxes:
                                    1977:
                                    Schools: 53%, Counties 30%, Cities 10%,
                                    Other 7%
                                    2006:
                                    Schools: 38%, Counties 26%, Cities
                                    18%, Other 18%
                                    Any homeowners, like Tom, who feel
                                    they aren't paying enough property tax
                                    are free to write a check out for
                                    more. It's easier to steal money from
                                    other people instead, though.
                                    \_ Right and all you have done is steal
                                       money from other taxpayers to reward
                                       homeowners for voting for you. The
                                       overall tax burden is the same, it has
                                       just shifted away from property tax, to
                                       one that is less reliable (mostly
                                       sales and income). Jarvis lies with
                                       statisics, btw, since the per capita
                                       inflation adjusted property tax burden
                                       has gone down. You forget the per capita
                                       part in your calculation there. Here,
                                       \_ Presumably the increase in
                                          population is a major driver in
                                          "inflation" so it is accounted for.
                                          \_ No.
                                       I will present you with a logic problem:
                                       Since the overall state spending per
                                       person has stayed the same since 1970
                                       \_ So why are the State's infrastructure
                                          and schools falling apart? Sounds
                                          like poor spending decisions. IOW,
                                          where's the problem then if
                                          there's plenty of money already?
                                          Why abolish Prop 13 to give the
                                          government more?
                                          \_ That is a good question, but
                                             Prop 13 doesn't have anything
                                             to do with it. "Three Strikes
                                             You're Out" is one reason.
                                             You're Out" is the biggest reason.
                                             The State is spending much more
                                             on prisons that it used to. The
                                             rest of the answer is not worth
                                             going into as a tangent on the
                                             motd. You abolish Prop 13 to:
                                             1) eliminate the boom/bust that
                                                goes depending on revenue
                                                so closely aligned with the
                                                business cycle and
                                             2) shift the tax burden back to
                                                the users of the services
                                                where it belongs, instead of
                                                poor schmuck third party
                                                \_ What poor schmuck third
                                                   party is that? Everyone
                                                   uses the services. As
                                                   for boom/bust, I think
                                                   abolishing Prop 13 is
                                                   the wrong way to go
                                                   about that. You know
                                                   that what will happen
                                                   is that everyone will
                                                   pay higher property
                                                   taxes and overall burden
                                                   will also go up,
                                                   because the State can't
                                                   stop spending like
                                                   drunken sailors.
                                                   \_ I already established that
                                                      per capita real spending
                                                      has been constant, so give
                                                      up with the drunken
                                                      sailors theme already. I
                                                      would prefer to see other
                                                      taxes, like sales tax, go
                                                      down as property tax went
                                                      up.
                                                   \_ Where is your evidence
                                                      that the State spends
                                                      like drunken sailors?
                                                      As best as I can tell,
                                                      inflation adjusted per
                                                      capita spending has been
                                                      near constant, with a dip
                                                      after 1977, but then an
                                                      increase in the 90s, so
                                                      that we are back to where
                                                      we were in 1970 (and less
                                                      as a percentage of GDP,
                                                      the traditional way to
                                                      measure tax burden).
                                                      we were in 1970.
                                              link:preview.tinyurl.com/386grn
                                                      (PDF)
                                                      \_ We are spending
                                                         the same, but doing
                                                         less with it. If
                                                         we had to do as
                                                         much as before,
                                                         then we'd have to
                                                         spend a lot more.
                                                         That's why people
                                                         want to raise
                                                         taxes - the
                                                         amount of money
                                                         we used to spend
                                                         isn't cutting it.
                                                         My solution is to
                                                         figure out what
                                                         we're blowing
                                                         money on and stop
                                                         it. Then we won't
                                                         have to choose
                                                         between services
                                                         and high taxes.
                                                         Throwing more
                                                         money at the
                                                         problem is not a
                                                         solution. Revenues and
                                                         expenditures are same
                                                         as ever and yet the
                                                         infrastructure is
                                                         deteriorating. The
                                                         Throwing more money
                                                         at the problem is not
                                                         a solution. Revenues
                                                         and expenditures are
                                                         the same as ever and
                                                         yet the infrastructure
                                                         is deteriorating. The
                                                         problem is we're not
                                                         spending where we need
                                                         to, not that property
                                                         taxes ar too low.
                                                         taxes are too low.
                                             \_ While you're busy trying to
                                                prove that it's better for
                                                people if you tax people
                                                instead of corporations, why
                                                don't you also try to prove
                                                that US corporations don't
                                                benefit from the public
                                                education system.   -tom
                                                \_ I'm just responding to
                                                   the person who wants
                                                   to tax based on
                                                   services used. A single
                                                   person also benefits
                                                   from public education,
                                                   but where do you draw
                                                   the line on which
                                                   services you use and do
                                                   not use? Therefore,
                                                   it's better to just
                                                   charge everyone (including
                                                   corporations) the same.
                                       (in real dollars) and the proportion
                                       of tax revenue from property tax has
                                       declined, then the per person amount
                                       of (real) property tax has _____.
                                       A) Declined
                                       B) Increased
                                       C) Can't tell from information provided
                                       D) I don't know
                              \_ Q: Why should we care? A: because we pay tax.
                                 S: most people sell  A: not if they can help
                                 it because after a while that tax base is too
                                 big of an economic advantage to pass up, so
                                 it dicks with normal market forces. My family
                                 benefits a lot from prop 13 but it also
                                 complicates things because it adds this weird
                                 disincentive for them to sell their property.
                                 They just hang on to stuff because they are
                                 more profitable for rentals. I hate when gov't
                                 tax schemes dick with markets.
                                 Q: like your tax to go from $3K to $9K a year
                                 A: There are many ways to prevent someone's
                                 tax going 3-9k in 1 year besides locking their
                                 tax base completely.
                                 \_ It's not locked. It adjusts 2% per
                                    year plus whatever happens from sales.
                                    That seems reasonable. If you are in
                                    favor of a cap you are in favor of
                                    Prop 13 and the only question is what
                                    the cap is. Most states have no cap at all.
                                    \_ What the cap is makes a huge difference.
                                       2% beats inflation, so in some place
                                       where the home market was flat the base
                                       goes down in practical terms. 10% would
                                       basically be acceptable to me. I'm not
                                       really in favor of a cap, I'm just
                                       saying I wouldn't really complain if
                                       it was at least matched to inflation.
                                    \_ I am actually in favor of a cap, because
                                       I can see the advantage of giving
                                       homeowners more predictability over their
                                       tax bill. But it should be inflation and
                                       I think it should be retroactively
                                       adjusted back for homeowners since 1978.
                                       Okay, I know the latter will not happen.
                              \_ The real scam of Prop 13 is that it was sold
                                 to people based on the story of the aging
                                 grandmother taxed out of her too-valuable
                                 house, but the major dollar beneficiaries
                                 are corporations, who own more valuable
                                 real estate and turn it over less often.  -tom
                                 \_ To prevent corporations from getting any
                                    tax benefits we should make sure to put
                                    all the people on fixed incomes into the
                                    streets.  Great plan.  Very humanitarian.
                                    Perhaps you have a newsletter to which I
                                    can subscribe?
                                    \_ nice strawman.  Hint: You could have
                                       a law that taxes corporations
                                       differently than homeowners.  -tom
                                 \_ Then again corporations are not
                                    sending kids to school or using public
                                    services to the extent that private
                                    parties do when compared to property
                                    parties due when compared to property
                                    valuations, plus corporations provide
                                    jobs which increases the tax base.
                                    Corporations pay plenty of tax as it is.
                                    Corporations play plenty of tax as it is.
                                    If you make the business environment
                                    more unfavorable to corporations then
                                    you also hurt individuals, most of
                                    whom work for corporations and pay
                                    property taxes out of their earnings.
                                    \_ That's an ideological stance not
                                       backed by any real proof.
                                       \_ Proof that corporations don't send
                                          kids to school? They are paying for
                                          a service they don't directly use.
                                          Please explain why corporations
                                          should pay a different property
                                          tax rate from individuals. What
                                          about a property that switches
                                          from commercial to residential
                                          and back? It's silly to base
                                          property taxes based on use,
                                          unless the use causes for instance
                                          some egregious environmental harm.
                                          Corporations pay plenty of
                                          dollars in taxes as it is, but
                                          they get swept under the rug
                                          because they are "payroll taxes"
                                          when people like to focus on
                                          income taxes. How about we don't
                                          tax earnings and then dividends,
                                          too?
                                          \_ The assertion that it's better
                                             for people if you tax people
                                             instead of corporations is
                                             unproven and unsupported by
                                             evidence.  I would argue that
                                             it's silly to cap property tax,
                                             but if you're going to use
                                             Grandma's House as an emotional
                                             argument for Prop 13, it makes
                                             no sense to give corporations
                                             the same tax break as Grandma.
                                               -tom
                                             \_ Maybe grandma is a shareholder.
                                                You have the mentality
                                                that it's okay to screw
                                                over corporations because
                                                they are faceless entities, but
                                                the reality is that we are all
                                                shareholders and customers
                                                of corporations. When you
                                                raise tax on corporations
                                                then who do you think will
                                                pay for that? It's not
                                                like money gets magically
                                                created. Now, I do agree
                                                that one major difference
                                                between a corporation and
                                                a person is that the
                                                corporation will live forever
                                                and never has to transfer
                                                property if it doesn't
                                                wish to. (It would be nice
                                                to know how often this
                                                really happens.) So maybe
                                                corporate property tax can
                                                reset after some period of
                                                time (e.g. 99 years)?
                                                \_ Who will pay for it?  The
                                                   corporation.  That's why
                                                   you tax them.  Taxes placed
                                                   on corporations don't come
                                                   directly out of people's
                                                   pockets any more than
                                                   taxes placed on people
                                                   come directly out of
                                                   corporations' pockets.
                                                   Chevron had $17 billion in
                                                   profit last year; you
                                                   really think it needs to
                                                   be protected from property
                                                   taxes?  -tom
                                                   \_ The corporation will
                                                      pay for it with the
                                                      dollars its
                                                      customers pay, which
                                                      will probably be a
                                                      regressive tax in a
                                                      lot of instances.
                                                      You don't think
                                                      Chevron isn't going
                                                      to try to pass the
                                                      costs along to its
                                                      customers? While it may
                                                      not be successful in
                                                      doing so, you're deluded
                                                      if you think they
                                                      are just going to
                                                      take the money out
                                                      of profits (which
                                                      also affects investors
                                                      like you and me and
                                                      probably everyone
                                                      with a pension and/or
                                                      401k). Or Chevron might
                                                      trim costs by laying
                                                      off employees.
                                                      Whatever happens,
                                                      you are redistributing
                                                      wealth from Chevron's
                                                      customers to the State.
                                                      You think this is a
                                                      good thing when the
                                                      State's budget is as
                                                      healthy as it has
                                                      been over the past
                                                      35 years?! Throw
                                                      more money at the State?
                                                      \_ Your connection to
                                                         reality is strongly
                                                         correlated with my
                                                         interest in continuing
                                                         this discussion.
                                                         Goodbye.  -tom
                                                      \_ The State's budget is
                                                         healthy?
                                                         \_ Yes, the State
                                                            just has a
                                                            problem living
                                                            within it.
                                                          /
                        If your income jumped up and then
                        went down year to year, it might
                        be hard to adjust to it.
                        \_ Oh please. What the State does is spend every
                           dime the minute there is a surplus.
        \_ http://csua.com/2007/10/31/#48495
        \_ I hope this is a lame financial headline and that's it -op
2007/12/21-29 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:48849 Activity:nil
12/21   Anyone recommend a good accountant in SF? Mine moved to corporate
        accounts and dropped me -- I expect to pay $500-$1000 for tax prep
        and they need to know AMT/.com bubble stock issues.
2007/12/18-20 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:48832 Activity:moderate
12/18   Can anyone explain why so many Republicans keep claiming that tax
        cuts raise government revenue, even when they know it is not true?
        http://www.csua.org/u/ka9 (WashPo)
        \_ Because in a high-tax environment, it's true?  Tax RATES aren't the
           same as tax REVENUE.
                \- yes, "everybody" acknowledges this may have been true
                   in say the eisenhower era, but it's disingenuous to imply
                   this holds true today.
                  \_ Well the relationship between tax rates and GDP growth
                     isn't an exact science either.
                     \- "we dont know what 'causes cancer' ... how can you
                        say smoking is bad for you?" "evolutionary theory
                        cant explain fainting goats ... so it's 'merely'
                        a theory just like ID is a theory."
                        \_ You are a tool for two exciting reasons!  Firstly,
                           science is powered by scepticism, so it is never a
                           vice.  Secondly, you seem to think economic
                           causal theories are as well understood as an
                           extremely well-studied medical special case.
                             -- ilyas
                             \_ when was the last time you took a shower?
                                anyone ever asked you that?
                             \- no, it is more like second guessing a
                                jury verdict .. it could be wrong, but
                                substituting your opinion when you dont
                                know any of the details of the case and
                                havent heard the arguments is crazy.
                                so maybe decrasing tax rates increases
                                revenue down to 10% MRT, but if 95% of
                                the econ profession believes revenues go
                                negative somewhere between 80 and 40%, it's
                                seems some linear combinaion of arrogant and
                                dumb to decide those arent the numbers you
                                \_ 'linear combination of arrogant and dumb',
                                   that's a good one.  I think I'll borrow it.
                                   -dans
                                will operate with. even if there are a couple
                                of smart guys here and there who (sincerely)
                                disagree. i am not saying it is TRUE, i am
                                saying it is what you must operate on unless
                                you have some extremely heavyweight reason
                                why you dont. peter duesberg might have some
                                "heavyweight" reason to disbelieve the
                                HIV->AIDS theory but for Thabo Mbeki to
                                disbelieve it require some explanation
                                other than "well as a world famous biologist,
                                in my opinion, here are the flaws in the
                                science ...". There are some questions where
                                there are truely split opinions among
                                experts ... like say on the mechanism of
                                planet formation [http://tinyurl.com/37oy55]
                                [rumor is you are an expert on "the stars"?]
                                but supply side econ not such an example as
                                applied to the US today. you also seem to be
                                unaware of the different quality of certain
                                econ predictions. there are econ predictions
                                about certain equillibium conditions that
                                are not speculative because there are clear
                                forcing functions [arbitrage] ... so while
                                there might be lots of competing theories
                                about the level of exchange rates [CIP, UIP,
                                PPP etc] the cross exchange rate parity
                                prediction is a strong one.
                                (one more thing: yes science is powered by
                                scempticism, e.g. the H PILORI example, but
                                these pols and motd posters arent DOING
                                SCIENCE, they are running for office or
                                trying to justify a policy. they arent being
                                sceptical. they are usually lying and some
                                some small number there may be some other
                                expedient explanation.). -danh (the planet)
                                \_ That last bit is 'high priest thinking.'
                                   You don't need to be Doing Science to be
                                   a sceptic.  Criticism isn't a privilege of
                                   the knowledge producing class.  Now it is
                                   true most criticism/scepticism of any given
                                   theory that DOESN'T come from scientists
                                   themselves will generally be silly or
                                   misguided.  However, this isn't always so,
                                   and it is very important that there remain
                                   outside channels for challenging the current
                                   status quo in science.  This is because
                                   science, for a number of reasons, is
                                   particularly susceptible to 'mafia effects.'
                                     -- ilyas
                                   \_ This is all well and good, but it's
                                      orthogonal to the point that supply-side
                                      economics is believed to be bunk by the
                                      economic establishment, and while it may
                                      not have the imprimatur of of the COBE
                                      experiment, it's pretty damned good
                                      science. -dans
                                      \_ That's pretty funny considering what
                                         "imprimatur" means. -lewis, nihil obstat
                                         "imprimatur" means. -psb
                                         \_ imprimatur: Official
                                            approval; sanction.
                                            I guess I just can't do funny.
                                            -dans
                                            \_ Historically from the Pope
                                               giving out an official decree.
        \_ See also http://csua.org/u/kaa (New Yorker)
        \_ It's called faith based government -- tax cuts raise government
           revenues because we believe they do.  Tax cuts also cure cancer
           and bring endangered species back to life.
           \- IMHO: "they" do it because "they" can get away with it.
                 \_ Post a link to your blog, windbag.
              so the question degenerates to "why can they get away with it?"
              well aside from "there is a sucker born every minute" [e.g.
              people who believe stupid rhetoric about "death taxes" or
              "double taxation" etc] type explanations [and remember, in
              america in 2007 we have three people running for president
              who can say "i dont believe in evoluation" and not be sent
              who can say "i dont believe in evolution" and not be sent
              packing on the hayseedmobile], i believe there are two
              pathologies in american journalism that leads to the pols
              not being called on this: 1. fear of having "access" cut off
              if you say "candidate X is either a moron or a liar". 2. many
              journalists are experts at "journalism", not a subject area.
              so they are trained in things like "objective/neutral view
              points", "presenting both sides" rather than having subject
              matter expertise and being able to render judgements. now they
              kind of research they may be good at is "digging up connections,
              influence, following the money" ... or maybe digging up gossipy
              thigns like who'se campaign is in trouble when they present the
              things like whose campaign is in trouble when they present the
              election as a horserace ... but they are not good at evaluating
              substance in areas like climate science, economic science etc.
              those are trickier areas than say evolution where the two
              postions are morons and scientists ... so they probably do
              positions are morons and scientists ... so they probably do
              ok there. now the nice part of "america 2007" is the blogosphere
              contains many people who are not journalists but ARE subject
              matter experts. these people are much better at holding the
              journalists and pols feet to the fire. but of course they dont
              generally have the giant podium the MSM journalists have.
              of course some exceptions: paul kurgman has a big podium
              of course some exceptions: paul krugman has a big podium
              [but he isnt a journalist. i know many journos kvetch about
              the blogosphere, but to the complain about giving a plum
              column to a non-journo? i am glad the NYT gave it to PK and not
              some random liberal journalist.]. james suroweiki also an
              exception. i think his finance coverage is really good. one
              reason the e'ists science coverage is decent is they look
              for "science people" who have some writing talent, rather than
              a journalist to has some interest in science. i guess the one
              thing that might be worse than the "silly objectivism" of
              some journalists might the the ones that forget they are
              journalists, like gary taubes' pronouncements about "fat
              research".
              \_ Why don't you ever post your name, unreadable screed guy?
                 -jrleek
                 \_ If you don't know that's partha, you have better things to
                    do than motd.   How exactly is it unreadable?
              \_ Massive wall of text, lost interest and skiped  the rest
                            \- supply side economics -> wall of voodoo
                 about 10 lines in.  This is the motd, not a novel.
                 \_ You are too short for this motd thread....
        \_ I don't care if higher taxes raise or lower government revenue
           over time.  My goal is not to maximize government income.  My
           tax goal is to pay as few taxes as possible while getting the
           minimum government services required to run the country smoothly
           and safely.  (And I didn't need an unreadable 2 page rant to
           explain).
           \- "what do people owe each other" merits a longer answer than
              say "what is your favorite color". a personal statement of
              perference is a different beast than the search for the
              explanation to a normative or empirical question. you have
              have offered a 6line reply, but "your tax goal" provides
              neither insight into accuracy of supply side economics nor
              its "cost free" adoption by all the R candidates.
           \_ I think this is a good and admirable goal (and one that I
              share) but I think we should have that discussion honestly,
              not lie to the voters and claim that tax cuts are "free"
              which is where the Republican Party is now.
             \_ Ron Paul doesn't say this. It's not "the Republican Party"
                it is those particular men who say this.
                \_ Okay fair enough. But it is stated as true by all the
                   other candidates. There is some economic sanity left
                   in the Party, but you have to admit it is in the
                   minority these days.
        \- Brad de Long [ucb dept econ] heavily covers the gap between
           economists and pols on supply side econ. of recent postings,
           see this "straight from the laffer's mouth" article:
           http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/12/justin-fox-on-a.html
2007/12/2-6 [Reference/Tax] UID:48729 Activity:nil
12/2    Beowulf is really cool but... how did these fearless sea fairing
        vikings (Beowulf) who killed dragons and monsters turn into
        furniture making pussies (IKEA) in a matter of few hundred years?
        \_ Beowulf was a Geat, not a Swede. And the time scale is a
           milennium, not a few hundred years.
        \- OP: ignorant about who is Beowulf, ignorant about Swedish history,
           and ignorant about the tax scam that is ikea.
           \_ tax scam?  i've never heard that before.  wassup?
2007/11/27-30 [Reference/Tax] UID:48702 Activity:low
11/27   I have a lot of used, but clean and high quality clothing. It's
        not Prada or anything, but lots of name brands like Express are
        included. I usually donate this to charity, but is there a good
        way to sell it? Is selling stuff like that worth your time on
        eBay or Craiglist? There's probably a couple thousand dollars worth
        (retail price).
        \_ My wife takes stuff like this to Buffalo Exchange first and then
           gives the rest to Goodwill (and gets a receipt for tax deduction
           purposes). -ausman
        \_ If you have a high enough tax burden, you could donate the clothes
           and write them off, getting full value for the clothes for the
           writeoff.
           \_ Can I really write them off at full retail value?
              \_ sure, if you don't get audited.  -tom
                 \_ I seem to recall that last year the IRS was threatening
                    to audit suspicious goodwill donations much more
                    aggressively, due to the number of people abusing the
                    deduction in this manner. -jrleek
              \_ http://www.goodwillpromo.org
        \_ My wife takes all of our used clothing to Buffalo Exchange first
           and then donates the rest to Goodwill. Goodwill will give you
           a receipt for their fair market value (not new value) that you
           can use to write off taxes. -ausman
           \_ Does Buffalo Exchange actually buy anything or is it a waste
              of time? They seem picky about what they will take. I
              usually donate to Salvation Army, because Goodwill in my
              area is difficult to deal with (they get more donations than
              they can handle and they act like it).
              \_ Sure they're picky, they only buy what they can sell at a
                 markup, but my wife has made some money there.  They usually
                 only take a little of what you bring it, but it's more than
                 you get from goodwill.  -jrleek
2007/11/19-26 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:48657 Activity:very high
11/19   Warrent Buffet says that the inheritance tax / death tax is a good
mm
        thing.  No surprise since his company makes a fortune buying up
        properties sold to pay for the tax.
        http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/vernon/050824
        \_ The problem with death taxes: when I earned the money, I was taxed
           on it.  Now it's mine.  I should be able to do what I want with it.
           Taking it from my estate upon death means giving it to other people
           who had absolutely nothing to do with earning it.  Giving it to my
           family & friends means giving it to people who physically,
           emotionally, and/or financially helped me earn it.  For example,
           a man who spends all his time working has less time to spend with
           his family.  It cost the family something.  When dad/husband is
           dead, the least they should get is the money he earned for them
           while away from them.  Neither the government nor any strangers
           getting 'entitlements' are entitled in any way to his earnings.
           They already got their cut when he earned it.  I have no interest
           in hearing from the ultra wealthy about their solutions for the
           country which always seem to involve things that don't hurt the
           billionaires or their families in any way.  Buffet is obviously
           a great investor but he is in no position to dictate social or
           tax policy for the Little People.  He should stick with what he
           knows: investing in successful companies other people built.
           \_ You say you should be able to do what you want with your
              money and not be taxed on the transfer. When you buy goods from
              a merchant, you pay sales tax, even though you've already paid
                \_ not all states have a sales tax.  i also have a choice to
                   buy elsewhere or not at all.  death is mandatory.
              taxes on the money you used to pay the merchant (presumably).
              Wealth is taxed more or less whenever it changes hands; why
              should it matter if the transfer is due to death instead of a
              voluntary transfer? And if you think the government didn't
              help you earn that money, you need to brush up on both your
              civics and your economics.
                \_ the government helped.  they got paid the first time.
                   i see no reason to pay them a second time when my family
                   hasn't been paid the first time and it cost them a lot
                   more than it did some random government chosen recipient
                   through random vote-buying 'entitlement' program.
                   if you want to tax the rich, just go for it and create a
                   straight wealth tax.  go tax buffet a few billion a year
                   (i think 10% is fair) just for having money.
                   \_ Good luck getting your ideas implemented into law.
        \_ Would you prefer to return to hereditary aristocricy? This guy
           is another rich guy doesn't want to pay his fair share of taxes
           and would rather that someone else pay it for him. What else is new?
           \_ The important thing isn't income disparity (which is increasing)
              but lifestyle disparity (which is decreasing). -- ilyas
              \_ What does this even mean?
                 \_ What it means is that income differences matter less and
                    less.  There was a thread on this in the past.  Personal
                    computers, cell phones, reliable cars, electronics, etc.
                    are getting cheaper and better all the time, which means
                    the poor in America can afford many of the same 'bits
                    of lifestyle' as the rich.  This is why a straight
                    income comparison is misleading, the rich spend more and
                    more of their surplus on 'brand differentiation' not
                    quality. -- ilyas
                    \_ Not so sure of this. Look at the crappy food the poor
                       eat. The lead-based toys and other cheap Chinese imports
                       from Wal-Mart. I know some wealthy people and their
                       lifestyle is not really extravagant, but the
                       eat, their lead-filled toys, and other cheap Chinese
                       imports from Wal-Mart. I know some wealthy people and
                       \_ It's a free country, people are free to eat and
                          play whatever/whenever. Ultimately, people are
                          responsible for their own actions. If they want
                          to smoke to death or play with lead laden toys,
                          that is their choice.
                          \_ Sure, but there are a lot of people who
                             cannot afford a healthy lifestyle even if
                             they want to live one. This isn't about
                             choice, but about opportunity. The poor eat
                             far more often at McDonald's because of the
                             price and they pay for it with their lives.
                             Many would probably prefer organic grassfed
                             beef burgers, but it's not an option for them.
                             \_ Like I said, this is a free country, if the
                                rich can afford more options, then they will
                                pick the better options. So what? It's been
                                like that way since the dawn of mankind.
                                How are you going to "solve the problem"
                                for the poor? Communism? Socialism?
                                More regulations?
                                \_ You're arguing against your own strawman.
                                   I didn't say we need to do anything about
                                   it. I am just disputing the assertion that
                                   lifestyle disparity is decreasing even as
                                   income disparity increases.
                             \_ I dispute that notion about McDonald's.
                                McDonald's is not cheap when compared to
                                home cooking using modest ingredients.
                                For example, just cooking rice/potatoes/
                                any commodity staple, cheap veggies,
                                and some cheap meat from Safeway is going
                                going to be healthier and cheaper than
                                McD's in all likelihood. However McD's is
                                fast. Maybe some of the poor have no time
                                to cook, because time is a luxury. But
                                I think it's mostly their own laziness:
                                most people can do better than McD's.
                                (You don't even need meat, of course.)
                                \_ You're very wrong. I cannot make a
                                   double cheeseburger for myself for 99
                                   cents even if I use the worst
                                   ingredients I can find. Yes, I can eat
                                   plain white rice for cheaper, but that
                                   misses the point. My girlfriend and I
                                   cook a lot - more than most people -
                                   and it's always the same or more
                                   expensive than eating fast food. Sure,
                                   the quality is better, but it costs more.
                                   It's cheaper than a good restaurant
                                   meal, but not by much. Restaurants have
                                   economies of scale that I can't match.
                                   Maybe if you have 9 kids you start to
                                   get close.
                                   \_ In terms of actual food value the
                                      rice is better, so it's not missing
                                      the point.
                                      Anyway, the 99 cent cheeseburger
                                      uses frozen, crappy meat and not a lot
                                      of it, and ultra cheap buns that are
                                      mostly air anyway. The cheese is process
                                      cheese. If you make your own you would
                                      spend more because you'd use better
                                      things, but you don't have to. There's
                                      nothing else on that except condiments.
                                      I think you can pretty easily make meals
                                      that have more "food value" than those
                                      burgers per dollar. If you really
                                      wanted you could also cooperate with
                                      other poor families to create that
                                      "economy of scale" thing.
                                      \_ We're not talking about "food
                                         value". I am using McDonald's as
                                         an example of the type of fast
                                         food that the poor eat and
                                         comparing it to the type of fast
                                         food that the wealthy eat. If
                                         you want to talk about cooking at
                                         home, then the wealthy can live even
                                         better. Your argument is "Don't
                                         eat fast food at all" which misses
                                         the point of the comparison. BTW, I
                                         would be very unhappy if I ate plain
                                         rice every day and I would harm myself
                                         or others.
                                        \_ We're not? I am. You said: "poor
                                           people eat McD's because of the
                                           low price... pay for it with
                                           their lives... would prefer
                                           organic grassfed". I'm just
                                           saying that if they wanted to
                                           they could eat tasty alternatives
                                           that are healthier, or for not
                                           much more, cook their own
                                           hamburgers. I'm not saying
                                           not to eat fast food. I'm saying
                                           that it's a choice.
                                           Many millions of people eat
                                           "plain rice" every day.
                                           \_ If you tried to subsist on a
                                              diet of only rice, you would die.
                                            \_ That's not what I suggested in
                                               my original reply.
                       their lifestyle is not really extravagant, but the
                       quality is much better. Are you one of those people
                       who thinks a handmade leather Italian shoe and a
                       machine-made shoe made in Mayalsia out of rubber
                       are equivalent because they provide equal utility
                       and the main difference is 'brand differentiation'?
                       The wealthy live better and tend to live "smaller"
                       in that they care more about things like
                       environmental toxins and political issues in
                       faraway lands. The poor just want the cheapest shoe
                       possible, regardless if it will turn their toes green.
                       Important products that everyone used to have, like
                       organic food, are now only affordable to the wealthy.
                       Those products are more important to a good quality
                       of life than the fact that LCD televisions are now in
                       reach of the common man.
                       \_ It's true that some things that were more available
                          in the past like organic food or hand-made furniture
                          are less available/more expensive today, but you are
                          being disingenious by ignoring the VASTLY LARGER
                          number of things that were invented and
                          made affordable to the general population.  Again,
                          it's true that premium brands tend to be better made
                          (although not always, for instance luxury car brands
                          tend to be less reliable than hondas/toyotas).
                          I am merely saying that the gap in lifestyle has
                          been shrinking for the last 100 years.  If you are
                          truly concerned about 'the gilded age' trends,
                          you need to look at lifestyle, not income.  Of
                          course, 'lifestyle differences' are much harder to
                          quantify and talk about, we are not talking about
                          numbers in a bank account. -- ilyas
                          \_ In general, a bigger bank account means a
                          \_ In general, a bigger the bank account means a
                             better lifestyle. A much bigger bank account
                             means a much better lifestyle. I don't think
                             this has changed very much. I know where
                             you're coming from (a king in 1400 lived less
                             well in many ways than we commoners today)
                             but I don't see a trend where this disparity
                             has really changed much over the last, say,
                             40 years at least. In fact, the gap seems to
                             be widening if you look at statistics like
                             home ownership.
                             \_ Yes, of course income is strongly and
                                positively correlated with lifestyle quality.
                                My claim of decreasing lifestyle gap comes from
                                the observation that mass production,
                                specialization, and other capitalist
                                institutions result both in innovation
                                (invention of additional ways to improve
                                lifestyle), and efficiency (current lifestyle
                                improvements strongly tend down in price).
                                The only way for the lifestyle gap to be
                                increasing is if the number of qualitative
                                lifestyle changes was increasing faster due
                                to inventions than existing lifestyle
                                to inventions faster than existing lifestyle
                                was trending down in price.  But there is
                                little evidence for this.  Innovations
                                to differentiate products for wealthy
                                consumption seem to favor premium brands as
                                value-in-itself, various 'intangibles'
                                (like hand-crafted assembly), and health
                                and environmental consciousness.  These things
                                are valuable, but that the rich increasingly
                                turn to these things is hardly evidence of
                                a widening lifestyle gap. -- ilyas
                                a widening lifestyle gap.  (I would
                                be surprised if long term home ownership
                                trends weren't strongly positive, btw). -- ilyas
                                \_ How about looking at home ownership or
                                   at the number of dual income families
                                   compared to, say, the 1950s? Even in my
                                   own family in the 1970s, neither my mom
                                   or dad had a college degree and they
                                   worked entry level jobs. They still had
                                   a house in the suburbs, two brand
                                   news cars, and sent the kids to private
                                   school even though my mom took 5 years
                                   off work to help with the kids. That
                                   still happens in parts of the country,
                                   but the fact that it's much less common
                                   now is evidence that the gap is
                                   increasing, since the rich live as
                                   well as ever and yet the middle class
                                   lifestyle is eroding.
                                   \_ http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/ownerchar.html
                                        -- ilyas
                                   \_ Home ownership has been trending up
                                      since the 50s (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/ownerchar.html
                                      \_ But if you look at the numbers
                                         you'll notice that it's the
                                         over65 segment which rose even
                                         while more and more families
                                         became dual income households. I
                                         think that is significant. I also
                                         don't think dual incomes have as
                                         much to do with social norms as
                                         with the need to make ends meet.
                                         I think you acknowledge that
                                         there is greater income disparity.
                                         I think it is patently obvious that
                                         what follows is a lifestyle disparity.
                                         You can't point to a shrinking
                                         disparity because of this
                                         nebulous 'brand differentiation'
                                         without more data that I haven't seen
                                         you produce.
                                         \_ So that's it?  That's your
                                            evidence?  All this is evidence of
                                            is that housing costs rose faster
                                            than effective income.  You need a
                                            lot more comprehensive argument to
                                            counteract the vast evidence for
                                            my conclusion (for instance look
                                            at the availability of consumer
                                            electronics since the 70s, or
                                            car quality, or power/price of
                                            personal computers, or a thousand
                                            other things).  There is more to
                                            lifestyle than a house, that's why
                                            I say you need to average over
                                            everything.  -- ilyas
                                            \_ Most households spend over
                                               50% of their net income on
                                               housing, so it's a lot more
                                               important than anything else.
                                               You can say that electronics has
                                               gotten better since 1970, but
                                               how does it follow that the
                                               disparity between the quality of
                                               the lifestyles of the rich and
                                               the poor has gotten smaller?
                                               I don't think the standard
                                               of living now for the lower
                                               classes in the US is higher
                                               than ever, but it certainly
                                               is for the wealthy. QED,
                                               unless you want to make the
                                               argument that the lower
                                               classes (or even middle
                                               class) are living better
                                               than ever. From my observation,
                                               I wouldn't say the middle class
                                               lives a better lifestyle than
                                               the 1950s even we now have
                                               a lot more gadgets and the
                                               average car is nicer than it
                                               was.
                                               \_ Your notion of 'better'
                                                  is strange and confusing.
                                                    -- ilyas
                                                  \_ Here's an idea to
                                                     help you understand: Look
                                                     at household debt now
                                                     versus at some point in
                                                     the past. Having more
                                                     useless crap doesn't mean
                                                     we live a better life.
                                                     \_ So cars, personal
                                                        computers, the internet,
                                                        home electronics,
                                                        medical advances, etc.
                                                        are 'crap?'  Gotcha!
                                      The number of dual income families has
                                      apparently been trending up since the
                                      50s, but that in itself is not
                                      evidence of a 'squeeze' (but changing
                                      social norms for women).  Neither is
                                      your anecdote.  -- ilyas
                                      your anecdote.  Even changing percentages
                                      for specific expenditures like housing
                                      or healthcare is not, in itself,
                                      evidence of a squeeze.  (This is why
                                      lifestyle is difficult to talk about,
                                      you have to average over everything).
                                        -- ilyas
                                      \_ So you admit that people are working
                                         longer hours, getting paid less and
                                         having to commute more, but in the
                                         face of all this, you claim that their
                                         lifestyle has "improved." How about
                                         the fact that crowding has increased
                                         over the last decade? Food insecurity?
                                         \_ Is it true the vast majority of
                                            "food-insecure" adults are
                                            overweight?
                       \- panem et circensus. lcd televisions in the reach
                          of the common man keeps people from boredom
                          and involved in petty politics and/or
                          revolutions. lcds and football games are like
                          the romans bread and circuses. feed 'em so they
                          dont starve, and keep 'em entertained...and you
                          wont have to worry about public unrest. it was
                          true in roman times, and it's at least as valid
                          today. panem et circensus
                          \- ps b i am gay
                          \- ps i am gay
                          \_ This is not psb's voice, btw.
           \_ There is so much wrong with this I'm having a hard time starting.
              1) False dichotomy
              2) Are you saying we don't have a hereditary aristocrisy?  I
                 guess the Kennedys don't exist?
              3) Anyone with enough liquid assets can easily get around this
                 by:
                 - setting up a non-profit and donating money to it
                 - appointing their children as the board of directors and
                   compensate them quite well
              4) I've just started my own business.  The death tax would force
                 my kids to sell off my share.
              \_ Who do you propose to pay the tax burden instead? How long
                 has America had an inheritance tax? This guy (and you) all
                 made money knowing full well what the rules are, why should
                 we change them in the middle of the game to favor you even
                 more? And isn't the first $5M untaxed anyway? Why should a
                 bunch of people who did nothing to deserve a windfall benefit
                 at the expense of everyone else?
                 \_ Here's a key concept:  It's not your money to take away.
                    If I can't give my property to my children, I don't own it.
                    It's one thing to fund the government, it's another to be a
                    communist. -op
                    \_ I notice you have not answered the first question, nor
                       are you able to do so. You claim that anyone who is in
                       favor of any taxes whatsover is a communist? You are
                       a lunatic. I do not have conversations with crazy people.
                       a lunatic. I do not have conversations with crazy
                       people.
                       \_ I don't like to have conversations with stupid
                          people.  I said "funding the gov't is one thing".
                          That means I understand the need for taxes.  However,
                          once you say "why should he get money?" you're a
                          communist.
                          communist. -op
                          \_ So who are you going to raise taxes on instead?
                             I am always amused when far right wingers claim
                             that the position supported by an overwhelming
                             majority of Americans is extremism.
                             \_ It's not amusing when far left wingers do it?
                                \_ If you can give me an example of that
                                   happening, I guess I would let you know
                                   if I thought it was funny or not. If you
                                   mean people like ANSWER, yeah I think they
                                   are pretty funny.
                             \_ It's a bad question.  The question isn't "who
                                should we take from", it's "if we remove this
                                tax, what do we do".  Firstly we should
                                eliminate the programs that are simply wealth
                                transfers.  That'd take care of about 60% of
                                the federal budget. -op
                                \_ So you want to eliminate Social Security
                                   so that the wealthy don't have to pay
                                   estate tax. I see.
                                   \_ They're 2 separate issues.  SS is going
                                      away anyway, but yes, I'm in favor of
                                      eliminating it.  Yes, I'm in favor of
                                      eliminating the death tax.  The first is
                                      not to provide for the 2nd. -op
                                      \_ Which "wealth transfers" are you
                                         talking about then? There is no way
                                         that "wealth transfers" are 60% of
                                         the federal budget, unless you
                                         include SS in that 60%.
                                       http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm
                                         You can quibble about the percentage
                                         of debt payment that should be
                                         considered devoted to "past military"
                                         but those numbers are all up to date
                                         and accurate. Military + VA + debt
                                         is already half the budget. Do you
                                         call things like the Dept of Homeland
                                         Security a "wealth transfer"?
                                         And the death of Social Security has
                                         been predicted many, many times, but
                                         so far, she is still beating strong
                                         and overwhelming popular.
                                        \_ Who says it's so popular? Are
                                           payroll taxes popular?
                                           \_ 70 years of persistance in the
                                              face of Conservative attempts
                                              to eliminate it speak to its
                                              popularity. You could also google
                                              for a poll, if you really wanted
                                              an answer.
                                            \_ Slavery persisted a long time
                                               too. I could google for one,
                                               but I thought you might already
                                               have had a source in mind. But
                                               no, it was just something you
                                               pulled from your ass.
                                               \_ You really believe that
                                                  answers the point?  Social
                                                  Security enjoys upwards of
                                                  70% support in any poll you
                                                  could find.  In addition,
                                                  GWB's plan's disapproval
                                                  never dropped below 60%.
                                                  You seem to be something
                                                  pulled from an ass.
                                                  --scotsman
                                                  \_ that's the 70% of people
                                                     who plan to get a lot more
                                                     out of other people's
                                                     pockets than they'll ever
                                                     pay in who have no plan
                                                     for their own retirement.
                                                     that sort of number not
                                                     only does not impress me
                                                     but worries me that this
                                                     country is turning into a
                                                     nanny state socialist pit.
                                                     \_ If you don't like
                                                        democracy, leave.
                                                        \_ Should I quote the
                                                           line about
                                                           democracy being
                                                           great until people
                                                           figure out they
                                                           can vote themselves
                                                           goodies?  The motd
                                                           is full of uber
                                                           geniuses today.
                                                           \_ Quote all you
                                                              want, you undemo-
                                                              cratic, elitist
                                                              thug.
                                                 \_ I don't know but 60% is not
                                                    "overwhelming". GWB's plan
                                                    is not the only alternative
                                                    to SS. SS as implemented is
                                                    broken and regressive.
                                                    \_ It is when approval
                                                       never got above 35%.
                                                       never got above 33%.
                                                       GWB's plan wasn't about
                                                       "fixing" it.  There are
                                                       broken portions, and
                                                       changes need to be made,
                                                       but the pp spoke of
                                                       eliminating it.  That's
                                                       an idea that you can't
                                                       sell to this country.
           \_ I love that "his fair share".  Define fair share. -op
              \_ Arbitrarily: 50%.
           \- The only question worth asking about the Renew America columnist
              is "is he stupid or does he think you are stupid" ... i.e. "is
              he stupid or is he disingeuous?". If you arent interested in
              speculating on that Q, not worth reading.
                 \_ So everyone should pay 50%? -op
                    \_ From each according to his means, to each according to
                       his needs.
        \_ I am a democratic and I am opposed to the death and
           inheritance tax. It should be my god given right to give my
           hard earned money to my children without tax. Take 50% of
           that away is just robbery, plain and simple.
                \- Grover Nordquist just got his wings.
           \_ You haven't done much research on this subject, have you?
           \_ Odds are that if you're not the uber-rich, you will be able to
              give your money to your kids with a minimum of tax.
              \_ And if you are the uber-rich, you will certainly be able to
                 give your money to your kids with no tax at all!
                 \_ How? If so, what the fuck is the inheritence tax
                    for? The not so rich father that didn't know better?
                    \_ It has been argued that inheritance taxes on the rich
                       exist as incentives for those worthies to donate
                       heavily to charities.
                       \_ But the real reason is "because we can"
                          \_ That's right, the same people who fought tooth
                             and nail against godless communism are now
                             taking rich people's money because they can.
                             See you in the food lines, comrade.
                             \_ Oh boo hoo, everyone has to pay taxes and
                                it has been thus since Roman times. Forgive
                                me if I don't shed a tear for you.
                                \_ That's a fascinating argument.  All sorts
                                   of shitty things have been true since Roman
                                   times.  Death, for instance.
                                   \_ I think we should bring slavery back.
                                      It's the natural order, has been since
                                      Roman times.
                                      \_ I agree.  MANIFEST DESTINY!!!
                                   \_ Yes, we should outlaw death too. That
                                      will work. Why not move someplace where
                                      is no functioning government and therefore
                                      no taxes? I think Somalia is a libertarian
                                      paradise. You can have all the guns you
                                      want, too.
                                      is no functioning government and
                                      therefore no taxes? I think Somalia is
                                      a libertarian paradise. You can have all
                                      the guns you want, too.
                                      \_ Dailykos talking points!
                                    \_ You are an idiot.
                 \_ Please give some examples of this happening.
                    \_ Cf. Gallo
                       \_ http://www.csua.org/u/k15 (PBS)
                          Are you referring to this? It says here that
                          they paid their taxes, but over a number of years.
                          Do you mean something else?
                          \_ Check out the Straight Dope article. You're right,
                             they didn't avoid the tax entirely, but they've
                             reduced it significantly.
                             \_ By what percentage was their tax reduced? I
                                am not being contentious, I am just curious.
2007/9/19-22 [Reference/Tax] UID:48112 Activity:nil 56%like:48106
9/19    Tax-Fre
        get around the tax mess and get super rich. Be happy.
        http://finance.yahoo.com/retirement/article/103293/Tax-Free-in-the-Rust-Belt
2007/9/19 [Reference/Tax] UID:48109 Activity:nil
9/19    Tax-Fre
The focus of s opening edition is breasts, and there are plenty of women eager t\
o get some real issues off their chests. Kate Lawler, Big  winner and presenter\
RI:, finds out what it is like to have larger breasts; viewers get a insight int\
o the life of the woman with s biggest breasts; and one brave soul takes us into\
 the taboo world of chest and nipple hair, explaining why she is prepared to reveal all.

Glamour model Jordan is reputed to boast a 34FF chest, but even hers is dwarfed\
by the breasts belonging to 42-year-old professional singer Jenessa. Bra-makers\
to the Queen, Rigby and Peller, have measured Jenessa at an incredible 36L, but\
she still squeezes herself into a 36-38JJ bra! She has to wear custom-made bras\
50 a pop, gym and aerobics sessions are fraught with danger and she worries abou\
t embarrassing her son when she goes swimming.

TV presenter Big  winner Kate Lawler has the opposite problem to Jenessa. Her tw\
in, Karen, has a DD cup, but s chest is much smaller. In s programme she talks a\
bout the advantages and disadvantages of her size, has her breasts digitally enl\
arged, experiments chicken  in her bra and goes corset-shopping with Karen. Kate\
 has been considering a breast augmentation for the past five years filletswith\
tonightKateBrotherand at BritainSEof Brotherformer Wednesdaye in the Rust Belt.\
Be smart, understand how to legally
        get around the tax mess and get super rich. Be happy.
        http://finance.yahoo.com/retirement/article/103293/Tax-Free-in-the-Rust-Belt
2007/9/19 [Reference/Tax] UID:48106 Activity:nil 56%like:48112
9/19    Tax-Free in the Rust Belt. Be smart, understand how to legally
        get around the tax mess and get super rich. Be happy.
        http://finance.yahoo.com/retirement/article/103293/Tax-Free-in-the-Rust-Belt
2007/9/9-10 [Reference/Tax] UID:47963 Activity:nil
9/8     How much tax payer's $$$ is Steve Fosset going to cost?
        \_ Less than an hour of the Iraq war, you can bet on that.
2007/8/31 [Recreation/Dating, Reference/Tax] UID:47852 Activity:nil
8/31    Yesterday  I bought a bra. 34GG. And of course, specialty items
        cost more. After tax I shelled out $80 for the darn thing, but I
        have uncovered about four inches of skin I haven't seen since early
        puberty. The lady at the store tried to get me to buy this
        contraption she called a "Custom Fit Bra", which to me looked like
        the old fifties maidenforms. I looked like I had traffic cones
        under my shirt, it was a nasty pale pink with yellowed
        lace at the edges, there was NO, repeat NO elastic in the whole
        garment, and before tax the thing was $94. I felt trussed up and
        like I was about to poke someone's eye out. Pushy sales lady kept
        harping on the fact that this torture device was featured on
        Oprah.  "You'll love it," she said, "It's the most comfortable bra
        you'll ever own. Oh, and the cups round out after a few washings."
        Not for me, thanks. Sell it to Madonna.
2007/8/30-9/3 [Reference/Tax] UID:47826 Activity:moderate
8/30    which one of you was pimping the FairTax?
        Noted bastion of socialism the Wall Street Journal
        says it is a Scientology plot:
        http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010523
        \_ The summary isn't quite right, but I'll take good ideas from any
           source. But a national sales tax is hardly a new idea. Oh, and the
           article makes some pretty insightful criticisms, thanks for the
           link. -emarkp
           \_ Which point is insightful?
              \_ Primarily the exposing of the smoke and mirrors on the
                 estimates.  Claiming it's 23% when it's really 30%, and
                 pointing out that gov't agencies would be paying taxes on
                 things they aren't now, which would increase costs, etc. I
                 still think it's an improvement over the IRS. -emarkp
                 \_ The 23 vs 30 is an old hat red herring. Many people bring
                    it up but it's been covered a lot already. Do they have
                    to repeatedly rebut the same old arguments? It is
                    linked from the front page of http://fairtax.org (under "learn
                    about the fairtax"). The government tax issue is also
                    irrelevant; the tax paid shows up in the tax income.
                    The government ALREADY pays itself taxes when it buys
                    stuff; the companies selling to it pay income tax (and
                    government employees pay income and payroll taxes.)
                    Here is an old rebuttal arguing against many of the same
                    exact points:
          http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=news_myths_factcheck
                    http://xrl.us/5hcg
                    This guy's article is really weak. There are reasonable
                    arguments to be made about the fairtax but most of this
                    guy's points are not.
                    \_ The comment about the 23% in that link is laughable,
                       because while it's true that income tax is
                       "tax-inclusive" sales tax is not.  So when the average
                       Joe hears 23% sales tax, he thinks of the current state
                       tax and adds 23 points.  This increases my dislike
                       because I think it's deceptive. -emarkp
                       \_ Who cares what the average Joe thinks? Use your
                          brain. It's not deceptive. Does the average Joe
                          have any clue at all anyway? No. Joe is watching
                          TV. By using the 23% number, it forces this issue
                          to be discussed. If they simply used 30% then
                          average Joe would still be deceived. How is he
                          to interpret that in comparison with income taxes?
                          (This is why I don't have much hope for this plan.
                          It's so difficult to even get to the point where
                          we're talking about the same thing, even in a
                          neutral environment of educated people. At the
                          level of politics it will be impossible.)
        \_ Uh that sounds plausible? I haven't had time to read the articles
           yet but in the interest of fairness I would at least take a look
           at the http://fairtax.org rebuttal: http://urltea.com/1d1v
           I guess you can just say anything and get it published in the WSJ.
           Ok I read it. Almost every point is irrelevant or false.
           \_ The rebuttal doesn't address the 23% vs. 30% issue.
                \_ As a neutral 3rd party learning about the "fair tax" for
                   the first time, it was *very clearly explained* about
                   the difference between the 23% vs 30%.
                   \_ It's still deceptive.  When you hear that the sales
                      tax in CA is 8.25%, how much do you expect to spend
                      on a $100 purchase?
                      \_ They usually refer to it as the "FairTax rate".
                         Since it is a proposal to replace the income tax
                         you need to use the same accounting. It's only
                         deceptive if you hear a soundbite and don't
                         actually learn about the plan.
                         \_ It's deceptive and intentionally so.  It's about
                            marketing, not accounting.
                            \_ Yes it is about marketing. It's not deceptive.
                               It's about marketing against income tax.
                               Let's just disagree and drop it.
              \_ See above.
        \_ Anything that starts out with scare tactics about it being created
           by the Scientologists (it wasn't, they had their own similar
           sounding but different idea and are not related to the fairtax
           people) isn't worth reading.  That the WSJ couldn't figure out
           who was responsible for what when they went on the war path just
           makes me sad for the state of journalism in this country.  They're
           *supposed* to be the best and probably are which says too much about
           how lame the rest of them must be.  I don't know much about the
           fairtax but it didn't take more than 5 minutes to figure out this
           article is FUD and just flat out wrong on several points.
           \_ To be fair, that was on opinion piece from the WSJ.  Not
              journalism.  I still respect WSJ's journalism. -op
              \_ Journalism is, by definition, opinion.  What is it that
                 journalists do for a living?  They present a narrative
                 for the world.  Journalism isn't grounded in anything
                 that would make this narrative privileged.  -- ilyas
                 \_ If you're too dense to differentiate between the
                    way the fuck out there on Pluto WSJ Opinion page, and
                    their news reporting, I have lost all faith in you.
                    \_ 'Facts' exist, but it's not possible to talk about
                       them without a lengthy 'pre-processing stage.'  No
                       one bothers to establish common ground for a
                       discussion about 'facts' anymore.  Certainly not
                       journalists, they are hostage to their business
                       like everyone else. -- ilyas
              \_ Soon they will be part of the Murdoch empire and just as
                 full of crap as the rest of the stuff he makes.
              \_ I don't care if it was an opinion piece.  They published it
                 in their paper and I expect basic *facts* to be correct.  If
                 their opinion piece writers can't get publicly available
                 *facts* right then what's the point of having ops in the
                 first place?  I expect a highly respected paper like the wsj
                 to at least spend the same 5 minutes fact checking something
                 so inflamatory that I spent to find out it was just 100%
                 flat out wrong.  This isn't the sacramento bee, its the wsj.
                 \_ Have you ever read the WSJ opinion page?  Basic facts
                    need not apply.
                    \_ I regularly do.  It isn't often that something so
                       inflamtory *and* easily checked is right there at the
                       inflammatory *and* easily checked is right there at the
                       top of the op screaming FUD!!! at you.
                       \_ I think that woman who writes about central and
                          south america all of the time, I'm too lazy to
                          up here name, spouts lies all of the time but
                          who cares, it's just south america.
2007/8/22-23 [Reference/Tax] UID:47711 Activity:moderate
8/22    I don't mean to keep spamming about this but I wanted to reply here:
          \_ You make an interesting case
             for "FairTax".  With 50 states, this
             could be prototyped by having 1 state
             shift from an income tax to a sales
             tax to see what happens.  A lab
             experiment, in effect.  Or you could
             do comparisons with countries which
             use a tax system similar to proposed.
             (or between states...)
             Last, we could phase in a fed. sales
             tax by 10% per year, and phase out
             income taxes at the same rate, ...
              \_ I think the problem with this is you end up with both
                 systems at once. That's exactly what the plan intends
                 to avoid (via repeal of 16th amendment). Politics being
                 what it is, you can't phase out the income tax in parts.
                 It's too complex and there are too many forms of it.
                 And how do you make sure it goes away and stays gone?
                 Plus I don't believe you could see benefits from a
                 halfway system. It would be worse than without: you'd
                 be adding to the complexity rather than simplifying.
                 We do have states to compare. But no country in the
                 world has a FairTax-like system. They have VATs on top
                 of income taxes.
                 \_ Yes, having both systems in place at once will be
                    clunky, but most businesses already have sales tax
                    handling built in, so it won't be a horrible burden.
                    And a gradual phase-in *will* allow the actual
                    consequences--intended and otherwise, to be
                    measured, and a reverse route to be taken if
                    the change is bad.  Also, the whole federal income
                    won't be dependent on a new untried system.
                    Just like the opponents of abortion, the advocates
                    of "fair tax" might find they get more traction
                    if they don't push for "all or nothing".  --PeterM
                    \_ Both together would be *more* complex than today. So you
                        \_ Only moderately, and most wouldn't feel the burden
                           because the new tax system *is* so lightweight.
                           No matter what, there will be pain in conversion,
                           why not spend some pain to reduce the *risk* that
                           the new system (any new system) brings?  And you
                           *can* reduce tax compliance cost by simplifying
                           the damn income tax at the same time.  --PM
                       get no drop in tax compliance costs. To really judge it
                       probably requires a reasonably long observation period.
                       And if the systems are muddled together it will be
                       hard to measure the real effect, when so many other
                       things affect economic performance.
                       You can obviously do a "trial run" at the logistical
                       level of collecting the taxes (have businesses "fake"
                       collecting the sales tax and submit the monthly returns
                       etc. for 6 months or whatever). You could gather
                       some statistics about that.
        \_ One reason you can't do a state-by-state "test" shift to another
           tax system is it would encourage too many people and corps to mess
           around with where they reported their incomes vs. their costs and
           current tax loop holes so you'd create an even bigger mess.  I don't
           know if the FT is good for the country or not but I don't think you
           can gradually shift to something that requires dramatic changes
           across the board to see the expected/desired results.
           \_ Btw, you don't always need to do a 'test' to figure out the
              result. -- ilyas
                \_ Ilyas, I still think in my gut that the middle class
                   is going to get screwed by the so-called Fair Tax, but
                   the counter-arguments to my objections are enough to
                   make me unsure that the middle-class screwing will
                   actually occur.  That said, I'd like more than a vague
                   feeling of fear, uncertainty, and doubt as an argument
                   against a specific proposal to clean up the mess that
                   is our tax system.  A 'test' isn't the only way to know,
                   but doing a test will certainly make trying the new
                   system a lot more palatable to everyone.  --PeterM
                   \_ Thanks for being honest.
                   \_ I just meant "read my thesis." -- ilyas
2007/8/22-27 [Reference/Tax] UID:47706 Activity:nil
8/22    who is cheapest domain registrar?

                       some statistics about that.
        \_ One reason you can't do a state-by-state "test" shift to another
           tax system is it would encourage too many people and corps to mess
           around with where they reported their incomes vs. their costs and
           current tax loop holes so you'd create an even bigger mess.  I don't
           know if the FT is good for the country or not but I don't think you
           can gradually shift to something that requires dramatic changes
           across the board to see the expected/desired results.
           \_ Btw, you don't always need to do a 'test' to figure out the
              result. -- ilyas
                \_ Ilyas, I still think in my gut that the middle class
                   is going to get screwed by the so-called Fair Tax, but
                   the counter-arguments to my objections are enough to
                   make me unsure that the middle-class screwing will
                   actually occur.  That said, I'd like more than a vague
                   feeling of fear, uncertainty, and doubt as an argument
                   against a specific proposal to clean up the mess that
                   is our tax system.  A 'test' isn't the only way to know,
                   but doing a test will certainly make trying the new
                   system a lot more palatable to everyone.  --PeterM
                   \_ Thanks for being honest.
                   \_ I just meant "read my thesis." -- ilyas
2007/8/21-22 [Reference/Tax] UID:47689 Activity:insanely high
8/21    Seriously, what's wrong with the FairTax plan? psb and others
        I'd like to see a real criticism without vague accusations of
        "it's regressive!" It seems like a complete win-win situation
        for everybody. I was concerned about the possibilities of
        fraud and evasion, but when you really analyze it there should
        be less of this than under the current system. Since the overall
        tax on the economy is about the same ("revenue neutral") when
        you consider it's businesses that pay the wages that currently
        get taxed under income taxes, in the long run the cost of goods
        should remain similar, while our exports would gain a
        competitive advantage.
        I'm no expert and I'm open to an honest rational explanation.
        \_ screw you rich flat tax assholes.
        \_ I didn't know what the FairTax plan *was* without looking
           at Wikipedia, and wouldn't you know, Wikipedia also
           provides the information you wanted from psb et al.
           \_ No. Wikipedia's articles have a mostly neutral presentation.
              What I want to know is where the hostility comes from.
              Because I don't understand it. What particular economic analysis
              do people think points to FairTax being a bad idea? Was that
              analysis open to review? I see a arguments in the wiki entry
              analysis open to review? I see arguments in the wiki entry
              that contradict what the FairTax plan proposes. (i.e. straw
              man arguments)
              I just read this: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Story?id=3428541
              The statements by people opposing the plan are completely vague
              and nonspecific. Look at Giuliani and Romney's answers.
              The liberal think-tank quote they got is totally vague,
              just saying "it shifts burden to middle class". That is false
              as far as I can tell. I guess I'll vote for one of the
              Republicans that support it.
              \_ It's a consumption tax.  Generally the more you make the
                 less of a percentage of your income you spend.  So the less
                 you pay taxes.  And since that means you save more you make
                              \_ "So the less percentage you pay taxes."
                 even more money.  Yes eventually you might spend some of that
                 money, but in the meantime you have had a tax shelter for
                 years.  Consider that 1. people spend a lower percentage
                 of their income when they make more and 2. you need the same
                 revenue as before, that means any sort of flat consumption
                 tax will need to shift (percentage-wise) the tax burder to
                 the lower wage earners.  It's why sales taxes are regressive
                 and raising the sales taxes hits the poorest segments of our
                 society the worst.
                 \_ You're right as far as you go, however, FairTax
                    specifically provides for tax rebates to the poor,
                    making it not-so-clearly regressive.  You didn't
                    address that point, and since you did not, your
                    criticism of the FairTax proposal is invalid. I
                    happen to agree with you that *despite* the rebate,
                    the middle class is going to get screwed, but I
                    can't really substantiate that in any quantitative
                    way.  --PeterM
                    \_ A rebate may help the truely poor, but that actually
                       just shifts the burden even more to the middle class.
                       Unless the rebate is so large that it is going to
                       just lead to a broken tax system that doesn't work,
                       which may very well be the goal of the "FairTax"
                       (what a stupid, misleading, name) plan.
                       \_ No, because they get the rebate also. First you
                          need to define middle class, and show why the
                          analysis presented by the FairTax web site is
                          incorrect (showing that the poor have less burden
                          while the middle class is about the same as now.
                          Here's the thing: if these rich people stockpile
                          money, so what? Eventually it will be spent. Or if
                                          \_ #f -dans
                          not it will be invested in the economy, creating
                          growth. Plus the economics indicate that the
                          \_ Also #f -dans
                             \_ I love your reasoning.
                                \_ The statements are trivially false.  Thank
                                   goodness you're smart enough to see that
                                   too. -dans
                          plan would overall boost the economy.
                          And under the current system, capital gains taxes
                          are lower than regular income taxes. Plus we
                          have IRAs and 401ks to let people save tax-free.
                          The system will just be *massively* simplified.
                          \_ Hint: too much savings can be just as big
                             a problem for an economy as not enough. See Japan.
                             \_ I don't know if "see Japan" is useful... didn't
                                they have a structural problem with lack of
                                and/or difficulty for entrepreneurs? We are
                                so far from saving too much that I hardly think
                                that's a worthy fear. Middle class people are
                                probably not very savvy with their finances and
                                more likely to have money sitting in a non-tax
                                advantaged places like bank accounts. I don't
                                think having a bunch of poverty-stricken
                                seniors is a good plan. Meanwhile the existing
                                wealthy people would have their savings taxed
                                even though they already paid income tax on it:
                                sounds like a wealth tax to me.
                    \_ So you believe that on a sort of religious basis?
                       \_ I would say intuition rather than religion.
                          I'll gladly change my mind if I see convincing
                          analysis and hard numbers.  That is not
                          a religious conviction.  --PeterM
                          \_ Payroll tax is eliminated and a family gets
                             $20-30k of spending tax free. That sounds pretty
                             good to me. Plus boosting the economy as a whole
                             benefits everyone.
              http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_faq
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distribution_of_the_FairTax_burden
                        \_ Thanks for these URLs.  I'm convinced now that
                           the middle class is going to take it in the ass
                           while the rich will get a break.  The poor also
                           will get a break.  I'm not in favor of screwing
                           the middle class.  Look at 1st URL, #49.
                           I don't believe for a minute that the "fair tax
                           effective rate" is going to be lower for everyone
                           to the extent claimed--and it isn't going to
                           end up lower for the middle class, who will
                           end up worse off.  --PeterM
                           \_ Where do you see data indicating middle class
                              gets screwed? #49 claims that it is lower across
                              the board. I can't tell you if that's true or
                              not but I wouldn't simply dismiss the
                              possibility. Everyone is supposed to get a break.
                              The retail sales base is larger than the income
                              tax base.
                              (pdf) http://urltea.com/1a80
                              http://urltea.com/1a85
                                \_ I specifically addressed your objection, my
                                   reasoning is that the tax has to be
                                   revenue neutral.  So the money is going
                                   to have to come from somewhere, and
                                   the graphs show lower taxes across the
                                   board.  While that may happen in time
                                   (that is hard to know), at the outset
                                   the tax burden has to be equal.  Now,
                                   you may have a point about the tax base
                                   being larger, but I do not see why that
                                   should be, given that a large consumption
                                   tax would act to limit consumption and
                                   reduce the tax collected.  --PeterM
                                   \_ Everyone would also "have a bigger
                                      paycheck" which encourages consumption.
                                      Partially there will also be a shift
                                      in costs to the business, allowing
                                      them lower prices than otherwise.
                                      them lower prices than otherwise (both
                                      because they don't pay corporate tax,
                                      and because they no longer have to
                                      deal with paycheck taxes for their
                                      employees).
                                      Adminstrative costs: lower by $100s blns.
                                      The tax base expands because you capture
                                      everyone who buys anything, with whatever
                                      money, not just labor income (e.g. it
                                      taxes existing wealth and capital gains
                                      ultimately at a much higher rate than
                                      today).
                                      Another problem is in the current
                                      system, many lower income households
                                      pay more "payroll tax" than income
                                      tax. So replacing that with a sales
                                      tax shifts the burden off them to
                                      higher income brackets.
                                      Plus the rebate is given even to
                                      retired people who have no income.
                                      Additionally the current system
                                      involves tons of complex writeoffs.
                                      That reduces the income base.
                                      \_ You make an interesting case
                                         for "FairTax".  With 50 states, this
                                         could be prototyped by having 1 state
                                         shift from an income tax to a sales
                                         tax to see what happens.  A lab
                                         experiment, in effect.  Or you could
                                         do comparisons with countries which
                                         use a tax system similar to proposed.
                                         (or between states...)
                                         Last, we could phase in a fed. sales
                                         tax by 10% per year, and phase out
                                         income taxes at the same rate,
                                         resulting in a 10-year changeover,
                                         during the middle of which we could
                                         turn in back if we didn't like it.
                                         The income tax could be greatly
                                         simplified along the way, 'cause it
                                         would matter less and less.  I
                                         realize states are not analogous
                                         and that burden on business will
                                         increase, but as people have said,
                                         businesses already collect sales
                                         taxes.  --PeterM
              \- well since you named me specifically, i'll make a short
                 comment. my view is "even vaguer" than "it's regressive".
                 my answer is "the world is complicated and people who say
                 it can be magically simplified are either 1. clueless about
                 the complexity or 2. up to something". if you want to
                 \_ .ch has a very simple tax system (compared to the us).
                    I hope you aren't suggesting the us system is
                    'complex for a good reason.'  -- ilyas
                 discuss in greater length, wall something when i am
                 around. in this case, for the commentators, i think the
                 are mostly in category #2 because they say such stupid
                 things like "we can get rid of the irs" [and dont mention
                 replacing it with state level collection and enforcement].
                 the heart of the tax code is "what is income" ... that's
                 where most of the instructions go. computing the tax owed
                 via tax brackets rather than a single division isnt that
                 big a deal. and corporate taxes [of which i know little]
                 is also complicated for a reason. some of this is bogus
                 [like claiming various pieces of IP have low values in
                 some contexts and high value in other contexts, playing
                 games with transfer prices etc] but parts of it is legit ...
                 depreciation, investment etc. --psb
                 \- this is going out on a limb but i basically think
                    flat tax proponelegit ...
                 depreciation, investment etc. --psb
                 \- this is going out on a limb but i basically think
                    flat tax proponents come on two flavors:
                    --weathly people who realize they will get off way easier
                    --upper middle class people paid via W-2+withholding who
                      realize this doesnt leave much scope to cheat compared
                      to their self-employed friends and the lower upper class
                      people whose employers collude to reduce taxes or can
                      hire tax lawyers etc
                    --psb
                    \_ See, that's a pretty cynical and hostile attitude.
                       Yet you admitted you don't base this on reasoning about
                       the actual plan or economics but on "the world is
                       complicated and The Man is trying to manipulate you".
                       That doesn't cut it with me.
                       \- my level of interest in "cutting it" with some
                          random anonymous person on the motd is pretty low.
                          i pointed you in the direction of my complaints
                          which you are free to persue or not, but ignoring
                          the specifics i list and focusing on "hostility"
                          or "cutting it" is silly.
                          \_ Ok so you basically think the plan won't actually
                             be less complex. Right? That's absurd... the
                             number of "filers" is reduced 90% or whatever.
                             Granted that saying "abolish the IRS" is somewhat
                             disingenuous but the underlying point appears
                             valid. To most people the IRS would no longer
                             be an entity they deal with. And the current
                             tax code has WAY more complexity than simple
                             "brackets". Hey I thought you were interested
                             in issues like this, Mr. Economist reader. I
                             guess I've learned what I wanted to learn.
                             \- i didnt say the current system is good.
                                i think the current system has massive
                                problems. same goes for say school vouchers.
                                the point again is what makes the current
                                system complicated is the detemination of
                                income and the flattax can either avoid this
                                question [making the the complicated simple]
                                or if it does address this, then this is the
                                heart of the proposal ... the problem isnt
                                tax brackets.
                                \_ Why not make taxes trivial for the
                                   90% of filers?  According to you,
                                   that's an impossible motive for someone
                                   who wants tax reform.  Which really says
                                   more about you than the US. -- ilyas
                                \_ Well clearly there is still some complexity
                                   involved on the business side. But
                                   businesses are already equipped to handle
                                   this. The "fair tax" proposal isn't
                                   based on the principle of flat tax
                                   being more fair than progressive tax. That
                                   is irrelevant IMHO.
                                   As for motives, besides the filing hassle
                                   (at cost in time, money, and privacy) there
                                   is the possibility of increased economic
                                   growth and competitiveness, plus
                                   transparency: wouldn't it be nice to see
                                   the federal tax rate right there at the
                                   store or gas pump, in its entirety, and
                                   see it go up and down instead of the
                                   current incomprehensible mess with many
                                   different tax sources and nobody really
                                   knows who pays what?
              \_ Those websites are pretty egregious examples of how to lie
                 with statistics, but I really don't think you are going to
                 be convinced no matter what I say, so what does it matter?
                 \_ I could easily be convinced, which is why I posted.
                    But I'm learning that a lot of people apparently are
                    just scared of change or something and intuitively think
                    it can't work. Isn't the income tax unnecessarily complex
                    and invasive of privacy? Don't all the analyses agree that
                    those near the poverty level benefit 100% from this plan?
                    \- what to do about the poor isnt the problem.
                       it's what to do about income to the wealthy:
                       wage incomes, return to capital incomes, complex
                       time structure of income, income in different
                       juristictions, state-federal issues, wealth and
                       property issues, large multiplier effects/higher
                       sensitivity etc. read e.g. Daivd Cay Johnson.
                       \_ Why is income the problem if we are talking
                          about eliminating personal income tax?
                          \-^income to the wealthy^the wealthy
                          \_ What is stop the wealthy from taking income here
                             and just shipping it overseas for all of their
                             purchases, dodging tax entirely?
                             \_ The point here is that they will not have a
                                large incentive to do so because prices will
                                not be significantly different than they are
                                now. This is because corporations will not
                                be paying income tax. For most purposes it
                                will not be practical to do this kind of
                                thing. Even if it happened, that would
                                have to be weighed against evasion practices
                                in the current system. Additionally, this
                                system would tax consumption by foreigners
                                here (e.g. tourists). Not sure how large
                                that is though.
                                Note that corporate income taxes affect
                                a product's lifecycle at every stage of
                                business; each of these adds cost to the
                                final product. And dealing with payroll taxes
                                for employees is an additional cost borne
                                by every company in a supply chain.
                                Also note that this represents an inherent
                                disadvantage for US products in the global
                                market. Here, they compete against foreign
                                imports whose parent companies are exempt
                                from income tax or VAT on exports. Abroad, they
                                have foreign VAT applied, on top of the
                                "embedded cost" of US corporate tax.
2007/8/9-13 [Reference/Tax] UID:47567 Activity:high
8/8     IRS tells guy who caught the Bonds ball you now owe 200k
        http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-bonds-ball&prov=ap&type=lgns
        \_ The dude won a $600K+ ball.  He owes taxes the income.  How is
           that so strange?  You pay taxes on gambling income and lottery
           winnings too.
           \_ The ball has no measured value until it's sold.  Why should he
              pay taxes now?  Oh, and the guy who claims there's a tax
              liability isn't the IRS, it's a (surprise) lawyer. -emarkp
              \_ probably under the AMT laws, just like the dot
                 com folks in the early crash days, who owed taxes on their
                 options' value at time of grant, rather than their later
                 real value (or more accurately, lack thereof).
                 \_ Which are stupid laws as well. -emarkp
                    \_ Some parts of the constitution and amendments are
                       stupid as well. What is your fucking stupid point?
                    \_ [pointless off topic rude stupid troll purged]
                    \_ What if, instead of paying you cash, I pay you in a
                       magic card, that you can use to get cash at any time,
                       that gives you intrest on the income you have on the
                       card, and that you can even use as collateral to borrow
                       money off of.  Should you have to pay taxes on that?
                       \_ No, we should move to the http://fairtax.org system, and
                          eliminate personal income taxes. -!emarkp
                          \_ I think the only problem with fairtax is the
                             rebate.  But it would be an improvement, and would
                             have the advantage that the gov't doesn't know
                             what everyone is making. -emarkp
                             \_ Consumption taxes are incredibly regressive,
                                rebate or no, and if you really believe they
                                will do anything but be a giant tax burden
                                on the middle class you are a fool.
                                \_ Well, with that kind of argument, who can
                                   respond!  We have tons of regressive taxes.
                                   So what.  Imagine the wealth freed from
                                   dealing with tax forms and laws, etc.
                                   Oh, and if you're going to complain about
                                   regressive taxes, are we going to get rid of
                                   the confiscatory tax on cigarettes?  What
                                   about the Lottery?
                                   -emarkp
                                   \- "The state lottery is a public subsidy
                                      of intelligence" --WVOQUINE@harvard.edu
                                      of intelligence" --WVOQUINE@HARVARD.EDU
                                   \_ Sin taxes: ok if moderate, especially
                                      if for things that cause a significant
                                      harm to public health.  I do think
                                      cigarette taxes have gone way past
                                      a reasonable limit.
                                        \_ Even with the so called "confiscatory"
                                           tax, are smokers paying for their own
                                           medical expenses?
                                      Sales taxes: ok if low or moderate.  Yes
                                      they are regressive, so keep them fairly
                                      low.
                                      Lottery: Not quite the same thing at all.
                                      Noone makes you pay the lottery.  That
                                      being said I really don't like goverments
                                      having a lottery monopoly.
                                      \_ Does it matter that you're not forced
                                         to buy a lottery ticket?  Funds are
                                         used for public spending, and the vast
                                         amount of lottery tickets are bought
                                         by low-income people.
                                         Why are "sin" taxes okay?  Who are you
                                         to declare what public policy is
                                         toward sin? -emarkp
                                      \_ No one makes you pay the BMW either.
                                \_ No! YOU are the one who is fool.
                                   It's fair is what it is, saves ordinary
                                   people from dealing with massive bureaucracy
                                   and removes the incomprehensible system of
                                   writeoffs and loopholes that the rich
                                   already exploit. Encourages saving and
                                   earning income, and discourages wasteful
                                   consumption that liberals are always
                                   complaining about. If, after all this, you
                                   still want to take wealth away from the
                                   rich then there are other means: just
                                   directly tax their property and such,
                                   or set up some special total wealth tax.
                                   The truly rich are few in absolute numbers.
                                   90+% of people shouldn't have to deal with
                                   income tax. Also:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distribution_of_the_FairTax_burden
                                   Consider the payroll tax. Consider all the
                                   401k/IRA and flexible spending account BS.
                                   If you think a fairtax with rebate is
                                   "incredibly regressive" you need to show
                                   numbers. Also, with no income tax, the
                                   "death tax" makes a lot more sense: it's
                                   no longer double-taxed.
                                   \_ Ok, I'll let the rest of your blather
                                      stand but this double-tax bullshit has to
                                      go.  We tax people when money transfers
                                      from one individual to another.  For
                                      instance if I pay someone to clean
                                      my house, the maids income is taxed,
                                      even though I had to pay taxes on the
                                      income I made to pay her.  If I go and
                                      buy something from a store the store
                                      pays taxes on their profit, even though
                                      my money was taxed.  There is no "money
                                      only gets taxed once" rule and anyone
                                      who says that estate taxes are double-
                                      taxed is either an idiot or medicious.
                                      taxed is either an idiot or mendacious.
                                      Which one are you?
                                      \_ Wow, look at that big word.
                                         Short answer: I shouldn't have brought
                                         it up. Really it should not be taxed
                                         either when there is no income tax.
                                         Ultimately someone has to spend the
                                         money and it will get taxed then.
                                         I appended that about the death tax
                                         without thinking about it. (Feel free
                                         to dance in glee at this point.)
                                         I could, however, argue that in the
                                         current scheme, inheritance isn't
                                         a "new production". It isn't being
                                         given in exchange for goods or
                                         services. So it is "double taxed" in a
                                         way that your examples aren't. But
                                         I really don't care about this issue.
        \_ The reason politics is such a mess is because people aren't willing
           to be scientific about politics.  I think the reason is, there
           is a low cost for believing stupid shit in politics (some economists
           view beliefs are a 'good' that people 'purchase'), but a fair bit of
           psychological benefit (belief as 'tribal markings' for instance, or
           beliefs which reinforce convenient internal attitudes) .  In other
           domains (medicine, engineering, etc) the penalty for believing
           stupid shit is high, so people were forced to turn to science to
           make their bridges stay up so to speak.  This analysis applies
           to some other areas, but the discreet lexicographer does not
           name them... -- ilyas
           \_ I've learned everything I need to know about politics from the
              motd: "My guy is Good!  Your guy is Evil!"  What could be more
              scientific than that?
           \_ Are you still a libertarian drawing a government paycheck?
              \_ Libertarians are not opposed to all government so it is not
                 hypocritical of a government employee to be a libertarian.
              \_ I no longer think 'big political theories' are productive.
                 What ends up happening is you spend most of your time worrying
                 about coherence and thinking about silly edge cases which make
                 no practical difference.  These days I rely on 'political
                 intuitions' and mostly concern myself with what direction
                 the current state of affairs must move to get better.
                 Similar insight in SVMs: only points close to the separating
                 hyperplane matter.  -- ilyas
2007/8/3 [Reference/Tax] UID:47524 Activity:nil
8/3     Here's a good idea, tax the ethnic studies dept!
        http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID={C36D653C-804B-4E35-96A0-501F3DC84FC9}
2007/8/2-3 [Politics/Domestic/911, Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/SIG] UID:47511 Activity:nil
8/2     these personal plates are totally awesome
        http://www.tax.ok.gov/plates/GWOT_apr07.jpg   Fight terrorism!
        http://www.tax.ok.gov/plates/sp008.html  Choose life
        \_ http://www.tax.ok.gov/plates/sp079.html  NRA
        \_ http://www.tax.ok.gov/plates/sp138.html  Square & Round Dancers
        \_ http://www.tax.ok.gov/plates/sp004.html  Adoption
        \_ http://www.tax.ok.gov/plates/sp006.html  Neuter your pets!
2007/8/1-3 [Reference/Tax] UID:47496 Activity:kinda low
8/1     My ADP paycheck this period shows I have $200 less Social Security
        Tax deducted from my paycheck (from ~$250 down to ~$50), as well as
        a new item "Rsrefund" which gives me another extra ~$200. My total
        pay this period is ~$200+~$200, or $400 more than my any other
        periods. Why is this happening? I don't want to call ADP in case
        they realize it and revert my extra $400 pay.
        \_ There is a maximum income that is subject to SS tax, somewhere
           north of $90k. Did you hit that?
           \_ As a matter of fact, I believe I did! This is GREAT! Thanks
              guys I was getting a bit worried.                 -op
           \_ Specifically, it's 97.5K this year.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payroll_tax#Social_security_and_Medicare_taxes
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payroll_tax
              (Hey urltea nazi, you're only saving 2 characters by replacing
              this URL.)
              \_ Your url isn't the same one I shortened, you are missing
                 the bits after the #.
              http://urltea.com/147c
              (wikipedia.org)
              \_ speaking of regressive taxes.
           \_ $90k.  That's about how much fits in a fridge, isn't it?
             \_ If you are hitting $97.5K in July you shouldn't have financial
                problems.
                \_ I don't. I'm just happy to get more back.
                   \_ You make $160K+ per year and you don't know about
                      this? How can that be?
2007/7/5 [Transportation/Car, Reference/Tax] UID:47179 Activity:very high
7/5     "All we really want is to get paid and get laid."
        http://www.csua.org/u/j35 (Yahoo Business)
        \_ "How much money buys happiness? A wide body of research suggests the
           number is approximately forty thousand dollars a year." Uh, the
           poverty line in SF is $60K/year. Maybe 40K a year will buy you
           everything you need in hick states.
           \_ No the poverty line is not 60K.
           \_ Maybe you don't need what you think you need.
              \_ Start with $40k.  Tax it (fed, state, sales, etc): $25k.
                 Subtract rent for $1k/month dump: $13k.
                 Subtract $1k/month for Food+utilities+life misc: $1k.
                 Cool.  You now have $1k in your pocket at the end of the
                 year.  Way to live the good life.  How's that retirement
                 plan going?
                 \_ 1. You are way off on your taxes.
                       \_ Ok, give us your numbers then.  All taxes.
                        \_ 30K or so.  Sales tax isn't fair cause it's
                           not part of your rent and you are counting that
                           into the daily living expenses.
                           \_ Ok fine sales taxes are in other things.  Adding
                              5K/yr back isn't that much. I had you in a
                              $1k/month rental.  That rental could easily and
                              fairly be a lot higher, it would still be a dump
                              and you'd be at the same post-rent level.
                    2. 40k in the city, you are going to need to budget, yeah.
                       If you are spending 1k/month on general stuff you
                       are probably overspending.
                       \_ Food+utilities+clothes+transport+whatever else you
                          do with your life not adding to $1k?  Ooookkaaaayy.
                          \_ Dude right now I'm at about 1K/month for life
                             expenses.  I get out.  I do stuff, I eat out
                             at nice places.  1K/month is plenty for general
                             happiness.  That goes double when outside of
                             the Bay Area.  You do realize that people outside
                             of the BA buy houses with incomes around 40k.
                             \_ So how's your retirement plan going?  What
                                happens if you lose your job and it takes a
                                month to find a new one?  3 months?  6+ months?
                           \_ You know that median income in the Bay Area is
                              less than $40k/yr, right? Somehow most people
                              manage to get by on an income you think is
                              impossible.
                              \_ The other person below says it is $60k.
                                 \_ Median per capita income is $30k, household
                                    (family) income is $62k.
                                    http://www.csua.org/u/j3d
                    3. Yeah, living in the second or third most expensive
                       area in the country you probably need to add a bit
                       to the numbers given in a fluff journalism piece.
                       \_ I wasn't the one who said you could do it in SF for
                          $40k.  I was only responding.
                          \_ 40k is journalism fluff for no frills middle
                             class.  Not having to worry how you will pay
                             rent.  Not having to worry about every dollar
                             you spend.  It doesn't mean being able to buy
                             anything you want.
                             \_ I didn't say it did.  I don't know where you're
                                going with this line of reasoning.
                    4. One of the points of the article is that having that
                       extra money, while nice, generally doesn't make
                       people happier.  It buys people nice toys but that
                       doesn't really lead to long term happiness.
                       \- having to worry less about "if my car/kid needs
                          $2k/$10k in repairs" does make life better.
                          \_ I've lived for a long time on a lower middle
                             class wage.  You know what, I didn't spend my
                             time worrying about what if my car broke down.
                             The only real sacrifice that I had to make that
                             ever bugged me was lack of health insurance for
                             a year, and that was something I porbably could
                             have gotten if I was willing to make a few cuts
                             in my spending.
                             \_ If your car or your leg broke you would have
                                worried a lot more about it.
                                \_ As I said, health insurance worried me.
                                   The car, on the other hand, was a <5K
                                   beater.  It got me from A to B.  If it
                                   needed 5K in repairs I would have just
                                   gotten another car.  That I could afford.
                                   \_ So you have no health insurance, a
                                      broken leg would ruin you and when your
                                      car breaks you're wiped out.  Maybe
                                      that's ok when you're 23 and can live on
                                      a friend's couch for a while or your
                                      mom's basement but that's not living.
                                      We haven't even talked about marriage or
                                      kids and you skipped my comments on
                                      retirement.  I don't think working until
                                      the day you die is living.  Maybe that's
                                      ok for you, but count me out of that
                                      plan, thanks.
                                      \_ As I said before, lack of health
                                         insurance WAS something that bothered
                                         me.  It just wasn't something I dealt
                                         with.  Instead I let it bug me until
                                         I got a better job that had health
                                         insurance.
                                      \_ Median household income in the Bay
                                         Area is $62k. That is how most people
                                         have to live. Count yourself blessed.
                                         \_ You read the part where we're
                                            talking about $40k in SF, not $62k
                                            in the Bay Area, right?  Also, the
                                            above person says it is below
                                            $40k.  Can you two get together on
                                            this?  I'm not going to respond to
                                            two drastically different numbers
                                            at the same time as if both were
                                            true.
                                            \_ Do you know the difference
                                               median and average?
                                               \_ Sorry, should have said median
                                                  fixed.
                                            \_ In the City of SF, median
                                               household income is even lower.
                                               Don't get confused between
                                               per capita and household income.
2007/6/25-28 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:47055 Activity:moderate
6/25    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/06/25/charitable.giving.ap/index.html
        Americans are very generous.
        \- that is a really lousy article. it's a very fair criticism
           that comparisons of just things like foreign aid from the
           govt isnt fair to the US where there is larger private sector
           donating, it is equally true you have to consider the lower
           taxes here, and some other issues relating to tax policy ...
           if somebody donates a huge amount of money to avoid taxes,
           it needs to be thought of a little differently [read about the
           history of HHMI]. this is another case of an article where it's
           unclear the facts add up to the conclusion suggested [as the
           OP writes, "americans are very generous"]. what should have been
           the biggest piece of news in there is how much "charity" is
           sucked up by religious orgs.  certainly a lot of this goes to
           good ends like church run hospitals [10-20% of community
           hospitals in the US are Catholic church operations] but a lot
           relig donations are sort of parochial, so to speak. also the
           large fraction of the donations going elite educational and
           \_ Parta, seriously, I could care less about the homeless people
              who are causing my property to depreciate. However, I've
              donated hundreds of dollars to Classical 102.1 KDFC. Am
              I an elitist? Do you hate me?
              \- no, i just think there is a difference say volunteering at
                 your kids school and say doing a doctors without borders
                 kind of thing. obviously i am not saying volunteering at
                 your kids school is bad, but a different phenomena is
                 going on.
           medical establishments and elite cultural orgs isnt really
           consistent with the "giving to the poor" conception of
           charity. [and reglig+elite educ/medica/culture is something like
                \_ Au contraire, mon frere!  Going back well into early
                   Europe, pretty much *every* artist, 'doctor', 'scientist',
                   and other 'elite' was only able to produce or research
                   because they had some rich benefactor.  You think all that
                   art was produced on the government dole?  Or by selling to
                   'The People' in the market square?
                   \- no, i'm generally opposed to public funding of the arts.
                      btw you also need to acknowledge the govt had a role
                      via their decision to enforce IP. to get middle class
                      novelists for example, you need to have copyright
                      enforced.
           60-70% of the total, i believe]. at least some amount of this
           number is no doubt more of a testiment to the creativity of
           tax profressionals here rather than a reflection on inherent
           generosity. note that there have been some studies looking at
           attitudes changing toward in attitudes toward social welfare
           as there is more mixing of population groups, so the benefits
           are less likely to go toward "people like me", e.g. some
           europeans are beginning to reconsider the high level of the
           social safety net in the face of high levels of brown immigration.
           \_ Wow, partha, you are a real shithead.  The issue of 'optimal
              giving' (e.g., if I want to go good, and I am willing to think
              about it, where should my money go) is completely orthogonal
              to 'generosity.'  I wouldn't give money to most 'conventional
              charities' you probably wouldn't have a problem with, like
              the Red Cross because I think they are a very inefficient use
              of my money.  The vast majority of people have a 'generosity
              impulse', but they aren't really willing to think very hard about
              their money and true causes of problems in the world.  It's true
              that the results they achieve with their
              money aren't as good as they could be, but it sort of seems like
              you are calling into question the morality of their act, which is
              in very poor form.  I am curious if, parallel to you taking a dump
              on the possible motives of Americans who give you might also
              have a spirited defense of the rest of the world (which gives
              a lot less).  I was also most amused by the importance you
              place on historical conceptions of charity as 'alms for the
              poor.'  I wonder if you will have moral objections to
              intentionally improving outcomes by 'counterintuitive means' (or
              objections to calling such things 'charity.') -- ilyas
              objections to calling such things 'charity.')  Sometimes
              Franklin's view is more appropriate than Mother Theresa's.
                -- ilyas
              \_ I believe he already addressed the "citizens of other places
                 don't give as much" when he said their taxes are higher which
                 implies they give through their government so are morally
                 excused from giving personally.  Anyway, we know all rich
                 people are automatically evil oppressors so it doesn't matter
                 if they give to charity or not.  They must be doing it for
                 evil and selfish reasons.
                 \- if i had to summarize my main point:
                    donating $500m in paintings to a museum != donating
                    to "help people". lumping them together clouds the
                    statistics. as i said, the facts dont add up to the
                    conclusions. we can probably say things like "one reason
                    the higher educ institutions are so good here is there
                    sucess getting private donations". by no means would i
                    "dump" on america by saying "but that's only because
                    of lousy public funding it is necessary." although
                    things like tax policy has consequences [like what is the
                    per capita spending at saratoga high school vs. an east
                    sj high school etc].
                    BTW, i think "american generosity" gets the short shrift
                    by not considering the "uncaptured" returns from
                    medical research [antibiotics, vaccines etc], and
                    agricultural reasearch ["green revolution"], but to
                    think about this issue sophisticatedly, there are
                    offsetting negatives as well.
                    \_ Charity is ineffective because determining effects is
                       hard.  I wouldn't even go so far as to say donating
                       to a museum isn't 'helping' -- I just don't understand
                       what 'helps' well enough.  I do know a lot of african
                       charity is extremely counterproductive. -- ilyas
                       \_ Some software is counterproductive.  Therefore,
                          we should stop using software.
                          \_ Where did you get the idea that I am claiming
                             charity is a bad thing or should be stopped?
                             Did you even read my other post?  If there's a
                             normative undercurrent to what I am saying at all,
                             it's that what people should be concentrating on
                             isn't SPENDING but understanding effects, and
                             understanding how complex systems evolve.  In
                             some sense donating is easy, but your conscience
                             shouldn't rest just because you donated to
                             something recently. -- ilyas
2007/6/7-10 [Reference/Tax] UID:46877 Activity:nil
6/7     I'm moving and have lots of empty binders that I used in school.
        Other than throwing them out, is there any place I can donate them
        to? Thanks.
        \_ Do you have any friends that are teachers?  I have a friend who
           throws parties at her house where the "cover charge" is
           donation of school supplies.
        \_ I "donated" mine to my employer by quitely putting them into the
           office supply cabinets, because I was too lazy to find a non-profit
           organization to donate them and get a tax deduction receipt.
           organization to donate them and get a tax deduction.
2007/4/23-25 [Reference/Tax, Politics/Domestic/California/Prop] UID:46415 Activity:very high
4/22    What exactly is the "maler-roos" on new properties? Why is the
        property tax rate close to 2% instead of 1%?
        \_ A little history on CA tax:
           1978: Reaganomics advocates-- "Tax cut is good for everyone! "
                Prop 13 of 1978 will cut slacks for existing land &
                property owners, allow self-reliance, force government fat
                to be cut, and kick start trickle-down economy!
                \_ Were you here in CA in 78?  Your version of how this
                   went down has nothing to do with reality.
           1979-1981: Uh, we fucked up. We lost so much revenue that we no
                longer have money to fund government fat like public parks,
                new transits, new bike lanes, and public schools.
                \_ New bike lanes?  I'll bet they stopped funding linux too!
                   Schools got as much/kid then as now.  It is *how* it is
                   spent that matters, not the total number.  And the *how*
                   is that it is being pissed away on excess administation
                   and fake special programs while the bulk of students get
                   crap education.
                   \_ reference for school spending, please
                      \_ CA state budget is higher than ever before.  40% of
                         budget is mandated to be spent on schools, which was
                         not true in 1978.  Do math.
                         \_ Your claim was based on $/kid; please provide a
                            reference.  (Extra credit if it's adjusted for
                            inflation.)  -tom
           1982: Henry Mello & Mike Roos-- It's ok! We'll double the
                cost of property tax for *future* homeowners and since
                they're not here to speak for themselves, the Mello-Roos
                Community Facilities Act will get passed easily and save
                all of our problems!
                \_ Because forcing old people on fixed incomes to sell their
                   homes so they could eat is always a good idea and the
                   morally right thing to do.
                   \_ This is, and always has been a red herring.  The largest
                      beneficiary of Prop 13 tax cuts is not old people on
                      fixed incomes, but corporations.  If we really cared
                      about old people, we could have made Prop 13 apply
                      only to residences, but that's not what it's about.
                      Corporations not only own more valuable property, they
                      also resell property less often.  -tom
                      \_ I ask again: were you here in CA in 78?  I was.  There
                         were for sale signs everywhere.  People were leaving
                         the state young and old because they couldn't afford
                         their property taxes.  If corporations got a free ride
                         along the way, so be it, they weren't the ones who
                         voted on it, nor were they the ones who came up with
                         the idea.
                         \_ People were leaving the state because of complex
                            reasons. Property tax was simply one of the
                            many components. Trying to fix the root of the
                            problem by adjusting proprety tax is like
                            the Feds trying to stabilize an extremely
                            complex & globalized economy with 10000 of
                            knobs and switches with this single knob
                            called the interest rate knob. It's absurd.
                            \_ Were you here in 1978?  I was.  When your
                               neighbors tell you they are selling because
                               they can't afford it and it's the same story
                               in the newspapers, tv, everywhere, I'd go for
                               that long before I'd accept your "well there
                               was other stuff too but I won't mention any of
                               it, just claim that your thing is absurd".
                               None of this stuff is a big secret.  Apply
                               browser.
                               \_ You keep repeating this unverified claim
                                  that you were here in 1978.  Who are you?
                                  How old were you in 1978?  How does your
                                  anecdotal evidence outweigh all other
                                  input to this discussion?  -tom
                      \_ Real estate is not a large part of expenses for
                         most businesses. It's labor, of course. For most
                         corporations it's in the noise and they are
                         depreciating the properties anyway. Many of them
                         lease, too. Do you know what the average property tax
                         rate was before Prop 13?
                         \_ Throwing a lot of stuff at the wall there, aren't
                            you?  None of it sticks; if corporations don't
                            mind paying more property tax, Prop 13 is totally
                            stupid, since it gives them more tax benefit than
                            it does homeowners.  And whether corporations
                            buy or lease their space, they receive the benefits
                            of the lower property tax.  Non-residential
                            property taxes *dropped* by 5% from 1991 to 2001,
                            during the largest increase of property values
                            in CA history.  -tom
                            \_ Who gets more of a benefit?:
                               Me, saving $2K of my, say, $100K salary or
                               a corporation saving $50K of their, say, $100
                               million revenues? I think it's clear I do.
                               I am not sure I understand your last
                               sentence. Are you saying total revenues
                               dropped? You do realize that the commercial
                               property market was not part of 'the
                               largest increase in property values',
                               right? It's very possible that commercial
                               property taxes might rise even as residential
                               home values fall. In fact, I predict that.
                               \_ You really have no idea how much corporate
                                  real estate is worth, do you?  Property
                                  taxes on a big commercial building go
                                  into the millions of dollars.  So, you
                                  saving $2K get hurt because you lose more
                                  than $2K worth of services due to Prop 13
                                  and the relief it gives corporations.  Plus,
                                  cities then do things like raise sales tax
                                  (CA: highest in nation), which, guess what,
                                  you pay!  -tom
                                  \_ How much do you think commercial real
                                     estate is worth? The most expensive
                                     skyscrapers sell new for a few
                                     hundred million dollars. Most
                                     buildings are far less. So even if I
                                     own 100% of the TransAmerica building
                                     (whose property taxes are paid for by
                                     many tenants and not just one) then
                                     the property tax is still only a
                                     couple of million per year. How much
                                     in revenues is generated there? Your
                                     typical industrial building is only
                                     worth a few million, which is at
                                     most 10x a house, and yet revenues
                                     are likely much more than 10x higher.
                                     As for sales taxes, CA's are not that
                                     much higher than anywhere else.
                                  \_ No matter what the corporations pay in
                                     taxes it will get passed down to the
                                     consumer.  And corporations doing well
                                     isn't necessarily the horrible thing you
                                     imply considering how much retirement
                                     money is invested in these same corps and
                                     how many people they employ, etc.  The
                                     anti-corpo screed is insufficient to make
                                     an honest claim that prop 13 was bad for
                                     the people of california.
                                     \_ It's clearly bad for everyone who
                                        doesn't own property in CA.  It's
                                        very likely bad (negative total
                                        ROI) for residential homeowners.  It's
                                        not even clear that homeowners pay
                                        less tax, overall, due to Prop 13.
                                        It's clearly good for major commercial
                                        real estate holders.  -tom
                                        \_ It reduces carrying costs for
                                           real estate holders, which
                                           means they can charge less rent
                                           and/or develop the land more
                                           intensely. I am guessing that this
                                           is a net benefit to the economy in
                                           terms of taxes. Imagine if
                                           property taxes were back at 20%
                                           like they were. Who do you
                                           think would be doing business
                                           here? What would the tax base be?
                                           Low property taxes are even
                                           good for people who don't own
                                           land, because they (renters and
                                           consumers) carry the costs
                                           anyway, as alluded to above.
                                           \_ Corporations don't just "pass on"
                                              costs. They charge what the
                                              market will bear, no more and
                                              no less. It is important to
                                              understand the difference between
                                              the two ideas. -ausman
                                              \_ I understand economics, but
                                                 property tax is a fixed
                                                 cost. It will be paid
                                                 even if the land lies
                                                 fallow. (In fact, for
                                                 this reason high property
                                                 tax encourages sprawl,
                                                 since the cost of holding
                                                 land is high.) There can
                                                 be no market at all and
                                                 yet the taxes are still
                                                 due. This is different
                                                 from most expenses. The
                                                 tax represents pretty
                                                 much the baseline cost of
                                                 holding the property. If
                                                 an owner were to lease
                                                 for less than the taxes
                                                 owed, he'd rather just let
                                                 the property go rather than
                                                 take a loss on it to hold it.
                                                 So when the tax increases, so
                                                 does this "minimum rent".
                                                 E.g., I have to rent my
                                                 house for ~$400/month just
                                                 to cover the property taxes
                                                 - $700/month if I just
                                                 bought it. This is *with*
                                                 Prop 13 if I paid *cash*
                                                 for the house.
                                \_ BofA building just sold for $1B:
                                   http://www.csua.org/u/ijt
                                   \_ Which is too expensive and unusual,
                                      as the article says. The most expensive
                                      building in LA just sold for $600 million
                                      and most of the office towers are ~$300M.
                                      But even using this ($1B) figure, it's
                                      still just $10M/year in tax. I pay
                                      ~4% of my income in property tax. If
                                      I bought my house new it would be
                                      ~8%. So the equivalent in revenues
                                      is still around $200M/year. I am
                                      guessing that the businesses housed
                                      there will have more than $200M in
                                      revenues per year for the operations
                                      based in that building. I am
                                      guessing a *LOT* more, given the
                                      (presumably high) salaries of people
                                      working there. Actually, doing the
                                      math in the article (1.3M sq feet @
                                      $75/foot) shows they are hoping to
                                      lease it for $100M/year, which means
                                      10% of the rents would go to property
                                      tax. Using my own house as an
                                      example, I pay ~$24K/year rent and
                                      $4K/year in property tax so my
                                      burden is higher. Why would you want
                                      to eliminate Prop 13 when it helps
                                      me more? (Being I have a higher tax
                                      burden.) Now factor in that most of
                                      the corp tenants (other than the landlord)
                                      are probably paying much less as a
                                      percentage of revenues in property
                                      taxes. If you double property tax
                                      then my burden goes to, say, 33%
                                      (where it was in the 1970s) and the
                                      landlords goes from 10% to 20%. Who
                                      will be more hurt by that? BofA or me?
                                      Now, if you want to eliminate Prop
                                      13 for commercial buildings (as some
                                      propose) that is something else
                                      entirely.
                                      \_ "You're talking a lot, but you're
                                         not saying anything."
                                         \_ Prop 13 benefits homeowners
                                            more than businesses. That's
                                            the gist. To say otherwise is
                                            ridiculous and to repeal it
                                            completely would be ludicrous.
           1990-2007: Future homeowners paying 2X property tax-- Why the
                fuck is my property tax bill near 2X my parent's rate?
                \_ The rates are known before you buy your house and directly
                   impact the sales price.  If property taxes were lower the
                   house base price would be higher.  Your monthly wouldn't
                   change.
        \_ Google will find you more info under "Mello-Roos"
        \_ The Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 was a reaction
           to 1978 Prop 13's cutting of property tax for existing home
           owners while not cutting back on government spending.
           In layman's explanation, Prop 13 in 1978 cut taxes while gov
           fat remained so money had to come from elsewhere. Thanks to
           rich people like you, your 2% prop tax (w/ Mello-Roos)
           benefits everyone else, including those who are only paying
           1% tax on nice (but older) homes. Thanks rich guy!
           \_ This is not true. Mello-Roos is a special assessment that
              applies mostly to new development, to pay for things like
              sewers, roads and schools in new areas. The beneficiaries
              of the tax pay the tax.
              \_ Yes, it is true that the beneficiaries of the tax pay the
                 tax. In theory, that is absolutely correct.
              \_ To some extent. In the future, the bonds will be paid
                 off and future owners of the same house may not pay
                 the tax despite being beneficiaries of it.
2007/4/19-21 [Reference/Tax] UID:46372 Activity:nil
4/19    W-4 withholding question.  For those who are married with combined
        salaries of 2 x $100K, about how many allowances do you put on your
        W-4?  It seems like the computation method on the back of the form
        omits the deduction of state taxes, and I end up putting down 0
        allowances and withhold an extra $9K.  Let's say there is no mortgage
        interest deduction or significant investment income.  Thanks.
        \_ Call an accountant or just run the numbers through turbo tax.
           \_ ran it through turbotax, it says 4 allowances for me, 2 for her.
              but i figure there are married couples here who did this before
              they bought a house and wanted to verify ...
              i'm also surprised the w-4 instructions could be so wrong.
              \_ Remember it's a gov't agency.
2007/4/19-21 [Reference/Tax] UID:46368 Activity:nil
4/19    Rights are being eroded left'n'right, cameras are everywhere, net
        traffic is being scooped and analysed in bulk, pensions are long
        gone and social security isn't far behind while taxes are scheduled
        to go up further, the borders barely exist, there's only one
        political party but it has two names, and the insane rantings of a
        psychopathic killer are being broadcast which will only enourage
        others of similar nature to attempt to 'get their message out, too'.
        But at least they finally kicked Sanjaya!  Whew!
        \_ Small victories, my son, small victories.
2007/4/16-18 [Reference/Tax] UID:46318 Activity:nil
4/16    Why is the tax filing dealine 4/17 not 4/16 this year?  (Not that I'm
        complaining about that one extra day. :-) )
        \_ DC has a holiday today. Boston does too.  Since the filing centers
           will be closed, the IRS decided to just back it off another day.
           \_ What holidays are in DC and Boston that don't fall on 4/16 in
              other years?
              \_ According to Wikipedia, Emancipation Day is a D.C. holiday
                 every year on 4/16. Since 4/15 is usually not a Sunday or
                 a Saturday, this doesn't affect tax filing.
                 \_ Thanks!
2007/4/13-15 [Reference/Tax] UID:46296 Activity:nil
4/13    This year I had to pay a bit more in taxes than I liked.  Can someone
        reccomend a good tax advisor who would do something like back-and-
        forth consultation over email for a reasonable fee?
        Mainly looking for ways to reduce my earned income tax liability.
        \- i suspect trying to do something like this via email, at least
           initially, is the wrong approach.
2007/3/27-29 [Reference/Tax] UID:46109 Activity:nil
3/26    I bought a Prius last year thinking I'd get $3150 tax credit. Well
        as it turns out I'm *eligible* to get up to $3150 tax credit, and
        in reality it turned out to be much much less thanks to my
        mortgage deductions. Oddly enough, if you make over $750K/year
        you'll get the entire $3150 credit. This is the apotheosis of
        Republican tax policy.
        http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/01/26/EDGC7N75RT1.DTL
        \_ Welcome to the bizzaro world of AMT.
2007/3/19-22 [Reference/Tax] UID:46019 Activity:low
3/19    My itemized tax return will end up to be about $5000. In fact I've
        been getting $4000-$6000 very consistently for the past couple of
        years. What's the best way to get less taxed (per month) so that
        my yearly return will be near $0? The idea of the government
        holding ~$5000 of my money for a whole year is kind of weird.
        \_ Increase the number of deductions on your W4. -ausman
           \_ I increased it from 2 to 3 and the amount was insignificant,
              maybe $500-600 or something? I'm not sure. I'm just not
              seeing a big difference. What's up?
              \_ Look at the worksheet. It tells you how many to claim
                 for every xxx dollars in deductions you expect.
        \_ I actually claimed '12' in my W4 (yes, you can even go higher if you like)
           and that seems to bring it down. Play around with the scenarios, increasing
           from 2 to 3 isn't enough - try '6', '7', etc.
        \_ I actually claimed '12' in my W4 (yes, you can even go higher
           if you like) and that seems to bring it down. Play around with
           the scenarios, increasing from 2 to 3 isn't enough - try '6',
           '7', etc.
        \_ I claim 9 federal/6 state. <--- home owner.
2007/3/18-20 [Reference/RealEstate, Reference/Tax] UID:46006 Activity:high
3/18    I will soon be graduating after many years of grad school, with
        a job with a reasonable salary lined up. What strategy do you all
        in the "real world" take to save money? I'm planning on taking my
        monthly income, pay out rent/utilities, put a certain amount or
        percentage in my savings, and then keep the rest in my checking
        to play with. Is this reasonable? I know advice like this needs
        to be individualized but I just want to make sure I'm not way off.
        Thanks.
        \_ Short GOOG!
        \_ Pay off any high interest debt first, then start maxing
           out your 401k now. Retirement seems like a long ways
           away now, but believe me, you will be happy in 10 years
           that you started saving for it now. Build up a three month
           emergency fund and put it in a short term CD or savings. Then
           figure out what you want next. Is it a home? If so, start
           saving a down payment and put it in something relatively safe,
           like a CD. When you have enough saved up, start thinking
           something with a little more return, like short term Munis.
           If you are looking more for an early retirement, open a brokerage
           account and start investing in the stock market. There are plenty
           of market junkies on soda who can give you advice on stock
           picks. -ausman
           \_ Good advice, but I am not sure I agree with 'maxing out your
              401k'. Yes, invest in your 401k. I don't think putting
              $15K/year into it is all that wise, though, unless you
              are making well over six figures. A 25 year old making $70K out
              of school should probably not be putting 20% of his gross into
              retirement with possible student loans and (as you say)
              saving for a house. I would put 'maxing your 401k' farther
              down the list of priorities. Put as much into your 401k as
              you need to in order to get all of your company's match, but
              I wouldn't start with more than that.
              \_ Owning a house is maybe a better retirement investment than
                 you may think.  Once you own your house your rent/mortgage
                 is gone and all you have is upkeep, tax, and utilities.
                 Once my house is paid off, my biggest single need for income
                 is gone and I can live with much less income.
                 \_ How do property taxes compare with rent?
                    \_ Depends, of course.  For me, property tax is
                       about 12% of the mortgage.
                       \_ Annually? Remaining mortgage or simply value of
                          your home? I pay $1k per month in rent; what value
                          house could I own that would cost me about the same
                          in property taxes?
                          \_ It's percentage of entire mortgage payment.
                             interest and principal.
                             Annually or monthly, what difference does it make?
                             I gave you a percentage.  You could own approx.
                             $1.2M of house and pay $1k/month here (not CA).
                          \_ In CA, property tax rises are capped (Prop 13),
                             so the amount you pay in property tax is
                             dependent on how long you've owned the house.
                             It's also dependent on where you live.  But
                             $1K/month is way, way more than most people
                             pay in property tax.  -tom
                             \_ Good to know. Thank you both.
                             \_ In CA, property tax is about 1% of the
                                purchase price (annually) and is capped
                                at 2% per year raises after that.
                 \_ Homes aren't really that great an investment, the last
                    decade or so notwithstanding. You would actually do
                    better to rent and put the savings in the stock market,
                    if all you want to do is make money. -ausman
                    \_ Only if you ignore the concept of leverage and the
                       tax advantages of real estate. Of course, leverage
                       is a two-edged sword and it can beat you up
                       something fierce in a down market.
                       \_ No, even including the tax advantages. Over the
                          long run, real estate goes up about 1% more than
                          inflation. Pretending that real estate is a risk
                          free investment is stupid. You can leverage your
                          investment in the stock market too, if you don't
                          care about risk. -ausman
                          \_ Tax advantages like $500K tax free, not
                             interest deductions. I never said real estate
                             is not risky as an investment. However, go
                             try to borrow $500K to invest in the stock
                             market with $0 down and see if a bank will
                             make that loan. However, in real estate it is
                             done all of the time.
                             \_ http://www.csua.org/u/i9r (Rueters)
                                "Countrywide Financial Corp., the largest U.S.
                                mortgage lender, on Friday told its brokers to
                                stop offering borrowers the option of
                                no-money-down home loans, according to a
                                document obtained by Reuters."
                                No one will be doing this for much longer.
           \_ Second that paying off high interest debt (i.e., credit cards &
              student loans that aren't deferable). If your loans are
              deferable, get ready for them by putting the money that would
              have paid towards paying them off in a CD so that you get the
              interest anyway. 401Ks are great, but consider a Roth IRA or
              other such that would allow you to contribute pre-tax and use
              for a house without penalties. Also, check and recheck your
              income tax wthholding; now that you're likely to owe taxes, it's
              a good idea to know what you're going to owe next April 15.
              Whether you feel like loaning the US Gov the amount in advance
              (i.e., max out your withholding) or owing on the date is up to
              you. Good luck. --erikred
              \_ I am kind of assuming that this person lives in the Bay Area,
                 where it can be ten years or more before they can afford
                 a home, so waiting to start saving until the first house
                 is bought would be a mistake. Also, I think you should grab
                 as much of the tax deduction from contribution to your
                 retirement as you can possibly afford. I am not actually
                 expecting this person to max out their 401k, but if they
                 did, that would really give them a leg up. A Roth IRA can
                 have slight tax advantages, but it depends on all sorts of
                 complexities like what your expected tax rate will be in
                 retirement and the difference from a 401k is really slight,
                 so I didn't want to get into that. -ausman
        \_ I also recommend max'ing out your 401K. Also, put 4/5K into a
           Roth IRA every year.  You may also wish to consider max'ing out
           any ESPP program you are eligible to participate in. Most ESPP
           programs give yout 15% below the lowest closing price of the
           opening/closing day price of the stock, so you make an easy 15%
           percent - tax by dumping the day of the purchase.
2007/3/1-3 [Reference/Tax, Transportation/Car/Hybrid] UID:45849 Activity:nil
3/1     If you bought a Prius in 2006 don't forget to subtract $3150
        for the credit! Get all the forms and info here:
        http://www.toyota.com/prius/tax.html#fedtaxdeductions
2006/12/23-26 [Reference/Tax] UID:45491 Activity:moderate
12/23   How does the Blue Angels pay for itself? Tax?
        \_ They're part of the Navy/Marine Corps, and as such are funded
           through the Department of Defense.
           \_ That's interesting. Maybe they should be part of the
              Department of Entertainment instead of Defense.
              \_ Did you just discover that the government wastes money?
                 That's nothing new, and this is hardly the worst offense.
              \_ Their official purpose is to serve as a recruiting tool.
                 Are you contending that they are ineffective in that role?
                 You may also be interested in one of the Army's recruiting
                 aids -- they sponsor racing teams (NASCAR, NHRA, motorcycles:
                 http://www4.army.mil/racing/flash.html
                 \_ Does the Air Force benefit from it for free?
2006/11/8-9 [Reference/Tax] UID:45262 Activity:moderate
11/8    Oh great... all the measures and all the propositions passed.
        Urge to kill... rising.
        \_ Oh, you were in favor of letting convicted child molesters live
           near elementary schools?
           \_ Thank you to all the urban areas that exported their child
              molesters to rural areas!  We really appreciate it.  Now where
              did I put that shotgun?
           \_ I'm opposed to making these people wear a GPS for life.
              That's ridiculous. Are we not even pretending to rehab
              people anymore? If you're a teacher and boff a 17 year old
              student then you wear a tracking device for life?
              \_ For me, this depends on what genders you and your student
                 are.  I'll scream either "Rape!" or "Hot!" accordingly.
                 \_ I guess my point is that if these people are still so
                    dangerous that they need 24/7 monitoring then maybe
                    we should not let them out. However, I think this law
                    is mostly based on hysteria. I am fine with most of
                    the bill, but not the monitoring. It seems like a
                    violation of civil rights, very Orwellian, and EXPENSIVE.
           \_ Regarding that prop, I believe it adds a lot of expense for
              no actual safety benefit. Plus I agree with the above poster
              that it's an appeal to emotion and hysteria. Every semi-urban
              area is reasonably close to a school and/or children. Why are
              you in favor of letting convicted child molesters live?
              \_ Exactly. Shouldn't we also be tracking anyone with
                 a felony conviction then? I'm more concerned about
                 violent criminals with long rap sheets. I'm concerned
                 about molesters, too, but why single them out?
        \_ except all those that you know, didn't
           \_ sorry I saw stuff yesterday projecting them all winning, but
              the bonds are still bad.
        \_ Who cares.  Only the bond measures passed.  The tax measures like
           the stupid added parcel tax failed.  Good.
           the stupid added parcel tax and the ridiculous cigarette tax all
           failed.  Good.
           \_ Do you know how much the passed bonds will add to our annual debt
              service?
              \_ ^^^
              \_ ~2.8b in payments every year.
2006/10/24-26 [Reference/Tax] UID:44945 Activity:nil
10/24   How does property tax affect the value of homes? Is there a good
        correlation between a state's property tax rate and its averaged
        assessed home values? For example I've heard that Texas's proprety
        tax is over 2X of CA but equivalent home values are approximately
        less than 1/2.
        \_ More expensive homes don't cost (significantly) more to provide
           services for than cheaper ones.  Therefore if two different areas
           both need to collect $X in taxes to provide services, and the homes
           in one area cost more on average, the area can afford to tax at a
           lower rate and they'll still collect $X.  Duh.
        \_ No, there is not. IOW, California real estate is not expensive
           simply because property taxes are on the lower side. For
           example, Connecticut's property tax is just over 2% and yet
           property values are higher than Texas.
        \_ *IF* all else being equal, higher property tax rate will mean lower
           home sale values because it increases the cost of ownership,
           which (in Alameda county) will mean lower assessed values.  But in
           reality there are too many other varying factors which obscure the
           picture.
2006/10/7-10 [Reference/Tax] UID:44720 Activity:nil
10/7    Poll:
        tax is too high, cut it:
        services suck, raise tax:
        services suck, tax revenue is wasted, fix waste, lower taxes: .
        see world only black/white: ....................
        poll is stupid, weak troll, better done on a Monday when tax payers
        are actually reading the motd: .
2006/10/6-7 [Finance/Banking, Reference/Tax] UID:44705 Activity:low
10/5    Are recreational vehicles tax deductible?
        \_ http://csua.org/u/h4p (detnews.com)
        \_ if you live in it as your primary residence, like a house
2006/10/4-6 [Reference/Tax, Finance/Investment] UID:44676 Activity:low
10/4    Just FYI, the Dow has hit an all-time high.  In this crappy Bush
        economy, damn him.
        \_ 1. median income went down.  2. average income only increased by
           something lik 0.3% while the inflation is running around 2-3%.
           3. housing price is dropping and interest is raising.
           For those who is making less than $200,000 a year, life is actually
           kind of sucks.
           \_ My life doesn't suck.
        \_ And it only took 7 years...
           \_ Try 5 years.  And recall what happened in those 5 years.
              \_ Jan 2000 - Oct 2006..  Nearly 7 years.  Also, using the DOW
                 as your measure for "the economy" is.. stupid.
        \_ As soon as that brings in taxes that cancel out the huge tax cuts
           and let us stop deficit spending like irresponsible college students
           I'll be impressed.
           \_ The tax cuts just weren't that big.  The poor don't pay income
              taxes, the middle class get soaked of course and the truly rich
              never paid income taxes of any note.  It's a nice idea though.
              Imagine if Mrs. Kerry actually paid the same percentage on her
              taxes that normal people do and didn't have a zillion loopholes.
              \_ The cuts weren't just in income taxes...
              \_ So if they weren't big, then they should already have been
                 cancelled out and we should have budget surpluses and be
                 able to start paying off the Debt.  Right?  (Not talking about
                 mid-year surplus B.S.)
                 \_ Gosh, because spending went up?  Waaaay up?  naah.  I'd
                    still like Mrs. Kerry to pay the same percentage of her
                    income in taxes that normal people do.
                    \_ And I'd rather that she pay a high percentage
                       commensurate with the increased value of the benefit
                       she gets from having a society that doesn't burn down
                       her house for hoarding wealth. -Dem
2006/9/20-22 [Reference/Tax] UID:44459 Activity:nil
9/19    Has anyone purchased an engagement ring from Amazon? Recommended
        or not? Apparently there's no tax on it so it seems like a
        good idea.
        \_ what you don't love her enough to pay tax on her ring?
           \_ If she's a libertarian, paying taxes is hardly an act of love.
           \_ "I saved on taxes so I could afford to get you a nicer ring"
2006/9/15-19 [Reference/Tax] UID:44394 Activity:nil
9/15    Has anyone bought foreclosure properties? How about tax sale
        properties where the government sells the property to cover
        taxes not paid but not the amount of remaining loan?
        \_ I have not.  My (very distant) understanding of it is that there
           are so many people out there bidding on these properties trying to
           get rich quick that you're really unlikely to get a good deal
           on one.
           \_ I've bought HUD repos in LA, they were more numerous there.  I
              don't know that this area had any real supply.  In my experience
              the deals went away not because of get-rich-quickers, but because
              home buyers started showing up and they were willing to pay much
              closer to the actual market value of the home, which i was not
                                                -crebbs
              closer to the actual market value of the house.  -crebbs
              \_ Most people don't want HUD homes, not even for investments.
                 Like with anything else, you can get a good deal if you
                 spend the time looking. You will be up against a lot of
                 pros with a lot of cash who will know what they are doing.
                 When I found something worthwhile I didn't get it. If you
                 persevere you ultimately will, though. Don't think that
                 it will be easy, though. I heard you are better off buying
                 *before* it is foreclosed on - when the person is in
                 trouble. You can give them some cash to solve their
                 problems in exchange for a great deal on the house. The
                 hard part is identifying those people in advance, although
                 there are lists of people behind on their mortgage. You'd
                 have to cold call or send flyers, though.
2006/8/22-24 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:44093 Activity:nil
8/22    This is not a critical tax question so I'm not going to ask my
        accountant. At any rate I used to claim "2" on my tax W2 and had
        always gotten money back (a few thousand dollars a year) every year,
        thanks to itemizing tax & owning my parents' properties in my name.
        This year I decided that I'd get more money back immediately and
        pay tax later, and decided to put down "3" instead of "2". However,
        I'm still getting taxed at around 34% which is the same tax rate as
        before! Below is the breakdown of my current tax:
        Federal: 18.4% of my pay
        SS Tax:   6.18%
        Medicare: 1.44%
        CA Tax:   6.69%
        CA VDPI:  0.78% <-- BTW what is this?
        Medical:  0.57%
        Does this sound about right? Are you CA single dudes making 6
        digits also getting taxed around 34% claiming "3" instead of "2"?
        \_ Changing your withholding by 1 won't make a big change.
        \_ See IRS Publication 15, Circular E.  This has the formula
           on how much each witholding does exactly.  Assuming you are
           paid semimonthly,  each witholding means ~$137 of your salary
           won't be taxed.  So assumes you are at 35% bracket, you'll get
           ~$48 more a pay check.
        \_ CA VPDI is voluntary plan disability insurance.  It is similar to
           SDI which is state-run.  BTW, you can claim itemized deduction on
           SDI but not on VPDI.
2006/7/13-18 [Reference/Tax] UID:43664 Activity:nil
7/13    So I have a silly question regarding 401K pre-tax vs. after-tax.
        Suppose the tax rate now is x, and that in 20 years it'll be
        increased to say, 1.2*x pay for our failing Busheconomy and our
        expensive Iraq War. If I have 401K pre-tax then in 20 years I'd have
        to pay 0.2x more tax than now right? Would it make sense to do 401K
        after-tax instead if you strongly believe that the tax will increase
        in the future?
        \_ There is no way to do after-tax with a 401k, but you can do
           a Roth IRA. The other question is what your tax bracket/income
           might be then, even if each bracket pays higher taxes.
        \_ http://www.smartmoney.com/retirement/401k/index.cfm?story=which401k050609
           Be sure to check out Roth 401K (hybrid of RothIRA and 401K):
           "...For one, no one can predict with certainty what tax rates will
           be in the future, though the general consensus is that they're
           likely to rise to help the government offset growing budget
           deficits and pay for Social Security and Medicare. That's one
           reason why people in the top tax brackets have indicated their
           preference for the Roth 401(k)"
           \_ The Trush Translation:
              "No one can predict the tax rate in the future, but one thing
              many people agree is that we're in a big shit thanks to the
              failing experimental Busheconomy and the experimental
              BushIraqWar and the experimental BushCare and experimental
              BushSecurity plans. Every single one of the experiments failed,
              all of which we'll all have to pay for dearly in the future.
              So that's why people who are smart have indicated their
              preference for the Roth 401K."
           \_ If your employer offers this. Mine doesn't. Does yours?
              \_ Nope. I even asked HR to provide it. -ausman
        \__ So I have a bunch of money in a roll-over IRA. Can I convert
            this to a roll-over Roth IRA and pay the taxes now?
            \_ You need to check out your own situation, but this is
               possible in many situations.
2006/6/8-13 [Politics/Domestic/California, Reference/Tax] UID:43323 Activity:nil
6/8     GOP loses bid in Senate to eliminate inheritance tax.  Two GOPers
        (Voinovich/Ohio, Chafee/RI) voted against, four Dems voted for.
        BTW, the credit which covers $1 million for gifts and $2 million
        for inheritance is per-person.  So your parents can gift out $2 mill
        to the kids and $4 mill out of the estate, for $6 mill total, or
        $24,000/year to each kid without counting against the gift and an
        unlimited amount for tuition, medical expenses, PACs, and charities
        \_ That's fine and all except it does nothing for the people who got
           there by working hard instead of riding their IPO stock up.  The
           inheritance tax kills family owned businesses.  When the parents
           die the kids can't keep the business running because they have to
           pay taxes on the value of the business which is a non-liquid asset,
           so they have to sell to pay up.  It isn't that hard for a family
           run business that's been around for decades to be worth that or more
           on paper but have near zero cash.
           \_ The "family owned business" is the distraction.  There are
              relatively few legitimate hard-luck cases like this
              compared to the amount of wealth turning over to
              relatives.  And haven't you ever heard of a "loan"?  You
              can use that to pay taxes and pay it back over time.
              I bet the interest is even deductible as a business
              expense.  Second, the parents, if they're not stupid,
              can put the business in a trust and shield it from
              inheritance tax.  The real deal here is that the Bush
              administration and their republican cronies are
              skewing things in favor of the wealthy, setting up
              hereditary aristocracies.  --PeterM
              \_ And what is wrong with that? Are you jealous?
              \_ A distraction?  Small businesses employ what percentage of the
                 American population?  Off the top of my head, it's something
                 like 40%.  Please correct that if you have a better number but
                 it is not a trivial number.  And no, trusts don't work like
                 that.  If they did then everyone would do it and we wouldn't
                 be having a discussion about it.  And I don't even know what
                 to say about the idea of dinging the kids with having to get
                 a loan to pay taxes on the transfer of the family business.
                 Why exactly should some bank make big bucks on the parent's
                 deaths?  I'm left speechless.  The truly wealthy don't pay
                 these taxes because their money is off shore.  You think the
                 Kennedys or the Bushs pay these taxes?  Fat chance.  The
                 truly wealthy don't follow the same laws the rest of us do.
                 \_ If the concern is really for the small business owner,
                    the proper response is to raise the threshhold, not to
                    eliminate the tax.  The fact that proposals to raise the
                    threshhold are shot down by Republicans exposes their
                    true motives.  -tom
                    \_ The threshhold has been raised many times over the
                       years.  What are you talking about?
                       \_ "[I]nstead of seeking a compromise that
                       might win over a handful of crucial Democrats,
                       [Frist] is pushing for a permanent repeal of the
                       estate tax.
                       Though Republican aides say Mr. Frist has not
                       closed off the possibility of a compromise, the
                       senator has pointedly refused to schedule any
                       floor time for debate about alternatives in the
                       event that his own effort fails."
                       Oh, and by the way, the estate tax affects less than
                       2% of estates even at today's levels.  -tom
                       \_ And?  Mr. Frist is not "Republicans" and as I said,
                          the number has increased several fold over the years.
                          Why should he compromise anyway?  Better to kill a
                          bad law entirely than make yet another confusing
                          tax mess full of loop holes for the rich.  As Diane
                          Feinstein said, "Death should not be a taxable
                          event".
                          \_ Yeah, that's brilliant, to get rid of loopholes
                             for the rich, let's just stop taxing them
                             entirely!  My point is that the Republicans
                             are trying to protect the extremely wealthy,
                             not the hard-working small business owner.
                             Thank you for making my point.  -tom
                             \_ My point is that the Republicans are NOT
                                trying to protect the wealthy, but to assist
                                their friends and family members. Thank you
                                for making my point you fucking idiot
                \_ "A study by the CBO shows that in 2000 only 1659 farms
                    and 458 small business were liable for the estate tax,
                    almost all of which had sufficient liquid assets to pay
                    it. The rest can stretch their tax payments over many
                    years." -The Economist 6/10/2006. I am curious, since
                    you think the extremely wealthy should not have to pay
                    tax, who would you tax in their place? -ausman
                    \_ There is no reason for tax if everyone is self
                       reliant. The reason we have tax today is because
                       negros don't work hard and we have to pay for their
                       social security and welfare. Forget tax and forget
                       social progrems, let the beast starve.  -conservative
                       \_ If this is a troll, it's in poor taste.  If it isn't
                          then, uhm, wow.
                          \_ If you made it to Cal you're most likely smart
                             enough to not preach hardcore self-reliance,
                             racist and conservative messages, so this must
                             be a troll.
                             \_ Well, yes, that's probably right...but my time
                                on motd has made me realize that I can't take
                                that as a given.
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