Would You Support A Value Added Tax?

I participate in the National Journal's weekly bloggers (and DC Insiders) poll. Here was this week's. On the poll question I will be asking you - "Are you open to supporting some version of a value-added tax?" - my answer is:

"'Some version'? Sure. Especially on luxury items."

Let's VAT tax yachts, 5 star hotels, expensive cars, million dollar homes (especially vacation homes), caviar, champagne, private jets. That sort of thing. I even have a name for it - the "Cadillac Tax." Whaddya think? Take the poll.

Speaking for me only

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Are you open to supporting some version of a value-added tax?
"'Some version'? Sure. Especially on luxury items." 39%
Yes. 16%
No. 35%
Maybe. 7%
Other 1%

Votes: 71
Results | Other Polls
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    Slippery Slope, imo (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 03:53:02 PM EST
    I think that once the VAT is out of the bag both the rich who get whacked and the corps that sell the high end items will lobby to pass the tax on everyone.

    What is fair is fair, would soon be the refrain from the luxury tax. Of course we do not hear any of that refrain when those earning millions now and pay no income tax:

    The McCourts, who own the Los Angeles Dodgers (so she says; he says he's the owner and she's not), jointly pocketed income totaling $108 million from 2004 through 2009, according to documents Jamie McCourt recently filed in the couple's divorce case in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

    On that sum, they paid zero federal and state income tax.


    It is a problem though: how to get many of the rich to pay their fair share. And if I thought that a luxury VAT would remain just that, I would have no problem with it.

    Except that isn't the kind of VAT they are talking (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by masslib on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 03:54:30 PM EST
    about.  I can not believe the feeble Democrats in office today are once again willing to short change the middle class.  There is no talk of such a limited VAT as you espouse here.  It's really disheartening that the best the Democrats can think of to pay off these wars is a VAT.  Let me tell you even if they implemented the dramatically limited VAT you describe, how long do you think it would be before they were expanding it to other more common consumer items?  We don't need more regressive taxes.  I mean, how about instead of a luxury item VAT, we implement a small asset tax on people who hold assets of 5 million or more a year, at .5%?(an old Robert Reich idea).  Until the Party of the middle class up there in Washington can get themselves to tax hedge funds as regular income, I really don't want to hear a flipping word about a VAT.

    I'm all for a European-style VAT just give us a European-style health care system and a European-style safety net to go along with it.  

    Which Dems? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:11:02 PM EST
    I've only heard about Volcker suggesting this, and a buncha dimwit commentators nodding sagely.  Are there actual elected Dems. who think this is a good idea?

    Nancy Pelosi was "open" to the idea (none / 0) (#13)
    by masslib on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:13:49 PM EST
    last fall.  I keep hearing little rumblings.  I hope I am just being paranoid.  

    Oh, gee (none / 0) (#72)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:24:52 AM EST
    Masslib, not much of a basis for saying, "I can not believe the feeble Democrats in office today are once again willing to short change the middle class."

    They'd be insane to consider this seriously, particularly now.  I asked particularly because Fox News has been pimping this heavily, for obvious reasons.  Let's not help them out!


    Well, I keep hearing VAT, VAT, VAT... (none / 0) (#94)
    by masslib on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 11:27:48 AM EST
    Then I pop over here and see a post on VAT.  We'll see.  My own Senator recently expressed openness to the idea.  I don't think I'm helping them out.

    I phrased it badly (none / 0) (#98)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:17:31 PM EST
    What I mean is that Fox is pimping the idea that those horrible mean tax-and-spend Democrats are going to impose a VAT, just like they're pimping the phony claim the gov. is planning to hire 16,000 new IRS agents to serve as a health insurance mandate gestapo, etc.  Spreading panic about all the horrible things the Dems. are going to do to "the folks" is their meat and potatoes.

    I think they are trial ballooning the (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:10:12 PM EST
    idea....hmmmmm, so is BTD?  And he has been gone a lot lately too and we don't really know where to :)

    No, It's a Camel's Nose in the Tent (none / 0) (#19)
    by msaroff on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:35:30 PM EST
    Also, I would lobby for a Tobin tax on financial transactions first.

    How about a European style (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:14:26 PM EST
    permanent unemployment rate of around 10%?

    That is their current rate (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:20:25 PM EST
    and I wish it was ours since our REAL unemployment rate is around 16% or greater....the United States has nothing to be proud of where this subject is concerned.  

    Shadow Government Statistics site says 22% is more (none / 0) (#144)
    by jawbone on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 08:09:44 PM EST
    like the real numbers for unemployment.

    The U6 number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is about 17.5%, but the site's blogger sees that as an undercount:

    The SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.  

    Blogger feels governments like to undercount unpleasant statistics since it behooves them to have better numbers to better manage public perception. Maybe so....

    European numbers include everyone wihtout a job, btw, including underemployed.


    Oh I think we have that now... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by masslib on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:21:37 PM EST
    However it is a misnomer to blame European employment woes on their social programs.

    Fair enough (none / 0) (#52)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 07:33:32 PM EST
    but what is causing their embedded 10% rate  if it isn't taxes pulling money out of the econonmy?

    Sorry Jim (none / 0) (#82)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:45:16 AM EST
    But that is not their embedded unemployment rate.  Credible linky to your proof that isn't the Drudge Report please.

    What? (none / 0) (#142)
    by Watermark on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:55:21 PM EST
    an (none / 0) (#141)
    by Watermark on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:54:29 PM EST
    "I mean, how about instead of a luxury item VAT, we implement a small asset tax on people who hold assets of 5 million or more a year, at .5%?(an old Robert Reich idea)"

    Because it would be expensive to collect and wouldn't collect a 100th of the revenue?


    I mean, let's remember these are the people (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by masslib on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 03:56:44 PM EST
    who couldn't pass a tax on botox to pay for their health plan, I find it utterly nonsensical to believe they would pass such a limited VAT.  

    Oh, absitively they won't do it (none / 0) (#8)
    by ruffian on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 03:57:38 PM EST
    That's another question!

    But (none / 0) (#9)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:00:36 PM EST
    They would have called it the Nancy (Pelosi) and John (Kerry) tax.  They couldn't have that.

    Call it a Cadillac War Bond tax (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by ruffian on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 03:56:46 PM EST
    set to expire when when Iraq and Afghanistan war funding is reduced below a certain threshold. Sign me up.

    Hmmmmm (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:50:59 PM EST
    How fast could Americans begin to care about the wars under way with their names on them?

    WAR BONDS? (none / 0) (#48)
    by norris morris on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:46:39 PM EST
    This Afghan mess is only at Plan A and it's a disaster with Obama embarrassing Karzai openly that makes it difficult to tell Karzai privately and what the consequences are. Where's the beef?

    Are there any consequences?  There is no Plan B, unless it's to send more troops everytime McCrystal talks.  Afghanistan is a corrupt regime and there seems to be no way but a stalling efort to stay there forever.  This is Bush ala carte.

    War Bonds?  For I war we can believe in? Give us a break. To help the Afghan people who detest us?
    To shore up more billions on Iraq?

    No one in our government has explained the vision Obama holds and its objectives -that makes these two break the American bank incursions necessary or logical. Or even capable of producing....WHAT??

    War Bonds are for a war that the citizens of America can unite about and invest in our war efforts.  Can you see this happening? Really.


    No (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:25:53 PM EST
    I tend to only support inherently progressive taxes. That means income, mostly.

    I like your style (none / 0) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:49:16 PM EST
    There are perils to taxing the rich (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Buckeye on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:34:59 PM EST
    to help common folks or pay for the size of government.  The 1990 luxury tax for example was supposed to generate $31 million taxing everything from expensive cars, to jewelry, to planes and yachts.  The actual revenue generated was only $16 million because the rich simply bought less of this stuff...especially yacths.

    As the rich bought less, jobs were lost.  The boating industry in Massachusetts and Maine lost 25,000 of them.  The government also lost $24 million in unemployment benefits and lost tax revenue.  In other words, the government lost money on the tax.

    The boating business in New England was still so bad in 1999 that a subsidy was proposed to help the rich buy yachts to bring back jobs to these towns devasted by a loss of industry.

    For the cost, paltry revenue, and loss of jobs (especially in the already troubled real estate sector if vacation homes are taxed), a luxury tax may sound popular, but would do more damage than it would help.

    In an economy, everyone's fate is inextricably linked.  You cannot tax a business, sector, product, the rich, poor, middle class, etc. without it impacting everyone.  There are better ways to pay for government and deliver a more equitable tax system.

    Conservative talking points (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by waldenpond on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:10:57 PM EST
    Yes, the poor beleaguered wealthy.  ;)

    It is simpler to tax the rich directly and not the corporate system as it will be gamed and the negatives will be pushed on to the middle class.


    The difference being (none / 0) (#45)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:31:38 PM EST
    they actually tried this narrowly-targeted tax, and it hurt a lot of working class people who lost their jobs.....The repeal was swift and without controversy.....

    When you target just one or two industries, you drive away business--as opposed to broad-based taxes which effect everyone equally and do not give a competitive advantage to the non-txed industries.....

    Democrats are known for the reverse--narrowly targeted tax cuts--for steering dollars into a particular industry based on public policy grounds that the industry needs the help.  There is no reason to believe that the opposite--steering money away from industries--would happen with a direct tax that affects only a couple of industries....


    "would not happen" (none / 0) (#46)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:33:01 PM EST
    But I have no problem (none / 0) (#47)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:35:53 PM EST
    with letting the Bush tax cuts expire and going back to the Clinton tax rates....The top marginal rate would go up about 5%....

    The Clinton tax rates have proven successful--balanced the budget and allowed tremendous economic growth.....


    Tax Rates (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by norris morris on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:50:52 PM EST
    This trembling bunch of democrats can be expected to do the least for the middle class.

    Clinton's tax cuts?  Obama is not Clinton, alas.


    How does taking money out of the economy (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 08:28:09 PM EST
    cause growth?

    I have never understood that.

    In fact, the Clinton tax increases caused a double dip in the Bush recession and extended it 18 to 24 months.

    Drastically lower energy prices and the technology boom drove the economy.


    What's this "taking money out of the (5.00 / 0) (#95)
    by masslib on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 11:29:37 AM EST
    economy" business.  LOL.  Taxes in, spending out.  Tax revenue doesn't just sit there in limbo.

    Ah, you said pithily (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:21:57 PM EST
    what I tried mightily to say with so many words below....

    No, it goes many places (none / 0) (#115)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:11:16 PM EST
    but job creation through business creation isn't very high on the list.

    So you say (none / 0) (#121)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 05:06:27 PM EST
    Many disagree with you.....Tax cuts result in trickle down benefits....because you say so....

    Tax cuts are cuts for everyone who pay (none / 0) (#132)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 06:52:12 PM EST

    If you don't, then you still get money back...


    What a perfect conservative response (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:21:00 PM EST
    Why is your post the perfect conservative response?  This is why:

      1.  Primarily, the victory of ideology over facts; indeed, the creation of facts to fit ideology.

      2.  The triumph of deductive reasoning (which starts with a faulty assumption) over inductive reasoning.

      3.  The primary assumption upon which all else is based is beyond questioning--here assumptions about taxes....

      4.  Oversimplyfing the argument of progressives.

    I discuss these points below.

      Item # 1.
    There was no double dip recession under Clinton--or no double dip in the Bush recession under Clinton, as you put it.  The evidence here is clear and undisputed.  The recession began and actually ended before Clinton took office.  Many Republicans actually touted this at the time.  I remember in 1992 watching the unemployment rate actully drop the two months prior the 1992 election.  Under Clinton, there was no recession--it was always unambiguous postive growth.  The GDP was consistently going up and experienced at least a 2.5% increase every year.  How you can distort that data into a recession is beyond me.

    See here for the GDP data.

    The unemploymenat rate was consistently dropping under Clinton.  When he took office, the unemployment rate was 7.3%, and was 4.1% when he left.  

    Here are the unemployment rate data.

    So, you are completely wrong in your data.  

       Items #2 & 3.

      You start with the premise: Taxes always take money out of the economy.  Well, as actually stated, this is a tautology:  taxing people does take money out of the economy.  But you stretch this tautology into something more--the implied premise that raising taxes always hurts the economy.

    From this premise, all your reasoning flows.  You deduce how the economy must have responded given the fact that increasing taxes always hurts the economy.  

    Inductive reasoning is the reverse.  What do the facts actually say.  Create a theory to fit the facts....Instead of finding, or cherry picking, facts to fit the pre-ordained theory--which you did when said that there was a double dip recession under Clinton.

    The problem with your tautology of "taxes always take money out of the econony" is that, although it is a cute attempt at word play, you are assuming that taking money out of the economy via taxation always results in poorer economic growth.  The problem is that you have ignored all kinds of other variables.  Such as the interest rate. Such as spending--which puts the tax money back into the economy.   Such as productivity increases.  Such as investment spending.  Such as consumer spending.  Such as wage growth.  Such as inflation.  Such as trade data.  Such as by how much did the marginal tax rates go up.  You have telescoped the entire financial world into one variable--a rise in taxes; and it does not matter even if they go up only slightly, the conclusion is always the same:  a rise in taxes always hurts the economy.....That is an ideological assumption, not an empirical one.....

    This emphasis of ideology over facts is perhaps best highlighted by conservatives' failure to remember that Reagan raised taxes--at the time a very large tax increase.  Bet you forgot that.....

     Item # 4.

     In my post to which you respond, I was arguing that the economy did great under Clinton and the increase in taxes did not harm the economy.  That is a different argument than the increase in taxes caused the growth.

    It is beyond dispute that the Clinton tax increase did not harm the economy.  It basically balanced the budget.  This fact explodes the notion that raising taxes will always harm the economy.

    And, there are those who would argue that raising taxes did lead in part to the growth during the Clinton years.  Raising taxes helped balance the budget, which helped to keep interest rates low (which any good monetarist would say is the key variable), and which gave people confidence in our overall financial health, which set the stage for the tech boom.  But I need not go there to explode conservative myths about taxes.  The data showed that Clinton raised taxes and the economy improved thereafter.  These events are correlated even if there is no causal link.  That correlation alone destroys conservative dogma about taxes....

    And becasue the data is so harmful to conservative economic dogma, conservatives create new fictional data to support that dogma--just as you invented a fictional, double dip recession under Clinton.  


    Unemployment Data (none / 0) (#106)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:40:59 PM EST
    I am not sure why my link above does not work.  But here are annual unemployment rates on January of the following years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

      1993:  7.3%
      1994:  6.6%
      1995:  5.6%
      1996:  5.6%
      1997:  5.3%
      1998:  4.6%
      1999:  4.3%
      2000:  4.0%
      2001:  4.2%  


    Presumptive something or the other... (none / 0) (#116)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:25:30 PM EST
    My argument was that the economy under Clinton boomed because of cheap energy and a technology creating millions of jobs.

    Taking money out of the public's pockets has to hurt the economy. If people have less they will spend less.

    Now you may want to claim that the rate of increase continues, but did it continue at a lower than otherwise rate and did it slow and fall at a earlier point than otherwise?

    And if interest are kept low only by a balanced budget our prime should be in the 30% range.

    What we are discussing here is theology. You believe we can tax ourselves to prosperity, I disagree. I give you Kennedy, Reagan and Bush 2.

    And I am sure you have some story on how none of that happened.


    And if you want to talk about the (none / 0) (#117)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:29:46 PM EST
    92-93 time frame....

    Look at this.


    Still positive growth (none / 0) (#120)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 05:02:41 PM EST
    Unemployment was still in the 5% range....And, so what?  You think you really know what caused the fluctuation...Must be a tax increase in there somewhere.

    And, still with the taking money of out people's hands has to hurt the economy....That's just a given?  

    Well, what if the tax revenue is spent too?  Then the money goes right back out....  You are just looking at one side of the equation.  Sure if you tax and do not spend and run a surplus, money comes out of the economy. But that is not what happened is it?

    And as to Kennedy.  That was a top tax rate of 90%, with major loopholes....But what about 1945-1964?  (The JFK cut from 90% to 70% took effect in 1964.) Was that such a terrible run?  Cherry picking, are you?  The Middle Class in this country was built on 90% marginal tax rate--with loopholes.

    See, you have to prove that every tax increase hurts the economy for your theory to be true.  Every single one.  That's theological.  I say some tax increases are good, some are bad.  It all depends....

    Reagan.  It was the deficit spending.  Classic Keynesian economics.  Big defense spending and cuts in taxes causes deficit spending....

    And Bush II?  You have got to be kidding me.  The economy was rebounding in 2001 before 9/11.  The tax cuts did really great in 2008.

    What about FDR?  We spent our way out of the Great Depression.  First, via the New Deal and then via WWII.  Then after the War, we had the greatest expansion of the Middle Class.....

    And, you really can't explain why the Clinton tax increase failed to hurt the economy.  Well, I am sure you will come up with some goofball theory....But the fact remains the economy did fine with the tax increase.  You do reach optimal growth at a certain point where inflation takes over.....I don't think we could have had a better economy under Clinton--inflation was low.

    You deal in absolutes.  The world is black and white.  Taxes are always bad.   This is typical conservative thinking.....The reliance on absolutes can be personally comforting but is lousy in the real word.....


    No. (none / 0) (#134)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:00:21 PM EST
    WWII brought us out of the Depression.

    Now that you've started yelling...

    Please try and be factual. I haven't said all taxes are bad. It is the amount that bothers me and the number of people who have no skin in the game. They are apt to make very bad citizens.

    And one more time. The economy expanded under Clinton in spite of his tax cuts because of low energy prices and a technology boom.

    And believe it or not the world existed after 9/11 and the economy sucked.

    You know, I don't think you have the vaguest about the real world as far as the economy is concerned so let's just agree to disagree. No need to suck bandwidth.

    And pray that Obama doesn't do any more damage.


    Well what was WWII economically? (none / 0) (#137)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:11:26 PM EST
    It wasn't a tax cut, was it?  It was spending, a lot of government spending.  Astronomical spending that forever changed our economy and government....The percentage of the GDP taken by the Federal Government forever changed--and has not ever changed back--not even under Reagan.

    It is as if you have conjured up this category of "WWII" that is different from spending.....Military spending is not government spending?

    What WWII tells us is that the New Deal was too small.

    I have lived in the real world, private sector for a long time....decades....I get it.....


    The real world (none / 0) (#140)
    by jondee on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:26:12 PM EST
    Who could forget the real world?

    The one in which ID is as viable a scientific theory as the theory of the evolution of species; in which the effect of human activity on climate change is nil; in which military spending has nothing to do with "big government" and excessive taxation..

    That real world.



    GDP=C+G+I (none / 0) (#122)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 05:26:34 PM EST
    You are focusing on the C for consumer spending.  Or maybe the I for investment.  But what are you missing?  The G for government spending.

    Your mistake is very basic....Raising taxes is only part of the story.  You need to know about the G.  The G could include highway projects with private contractors that pay a lot in wages...So, it does go back to the C.


    both multiply as they ricochet through the economy.

    According to Greg Mankiw, professor of economics at Harvard University, the multiplier effect of increased gvt spending is between 1.0 & 1.4.

    iow for every additional $1.00 the gvt spends our GDP increases by $1.00 - $1.40.

    The multiplier for tax cuts (or increases) are about 3.0.

    iow, every $1.00 of tax cuts increases our GDP by $3.00.


    I would shy away from (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 06:11:48 PM EST
    thinking of the multiplier as a constant....

    I think it all depends....The Bush tax cuts in 2008 (or was it 2007) didn't do much....


    No argument at all. (none / 0) (#127)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 06:16:01 PM EST
    I shy away from just about any "constant" regarding the economy, it does all depend.

    It really is all theoretical - yer chooses your poison and takes yer chances...


    I would agree (none / 0) (#128)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 06:21:39 PM EST
    except we have some pretty good ideas about what would (or could) happen if the Clinton tax rates were to be reimposed because the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire....

    Maybe the economic table is not set the same way as in 1993-2000 but it's the closest real data we have....With economics it is hard to test one's hypotheses.....


    I wish I shared your confidence. (none / 0) (#129)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 06:30:54 PM EST
    Correlation not causation (none / 0) (#133)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 06:54:07 PM EST
    What I meant is that the Clinton rates should not hurt the economy....They might not necessarily help....It all depends....

    If we are facing inflation, then sucking up some cash a la' the Clinton rates, the government selling its stake in GM and AIG, the banks paying back the rest of the TARP money, and the Fed  selling some bonds, could be very helpful.  It is all in the timing....

    But deploy that strategy too soon, and we could have trouble.

    I think inflation at the back end is the greater risk right now--as jobs seem to be coming back.


    Jobs coming back? (none / 0) (#135)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:04:57 PM EST
    Did you see the latest? Plus CA is now at 12.6%.

    Let's raise them taxes and really have a mess.

    Wasn't it Hoover who raised taxes during a recession?


    True, the return to the Clinton rates (none / 0) (#138)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:16:36 PM EST
    should wait until we are out of the woods....But the Bush tax cuts are not set to expire for awhile....

    As to the jobs numbers, the trend is good and will hopefully continue....



    The trend is good? (none / 0) (#148)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:50:18 AM EST

    And doesn't the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010?


    On the other hand, (none / 0) (#131)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 06:48:20 PM EST
    reverse engineering your Google search (tax, multiplier, spending) leads to this entry in Wikipedia on multipliers:

    In congressional testimony given in July 2008, Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Economy.com, provided estimates of the one year multiplier effect for several fiscal policy options. The multipliers showed that increased government spending would have more of a multiplier effect than tax cuts. The most effective policy, a temporary increase in food stamps, had an estimated multiplier of 1.73. Making the Bush tax cuts permanent, had the second lowest multiplier, 0.23. A payroll tax holiday had the largest multiplier for tax cuts, 1.29. Refundable lump-sum tax rebates, the policy used in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, had the second largest multiplier for a tax cut, 1.26.[2]

    So, McCain's economist, Mark Zandi, says the mulitplier on tax cuts is no more than 1.73 and spending increases have generally a greater multiplier; while Christina Romer, who advises Obama, said in 2007 that the tax multiplier (as summarized by the harvard prof you link to) is 3.

    The problem is there are so many variables.  A tax cut down from a marginal rate of 90% would seem to have a larger multiplier than a tax cut from 39% to 33%.  It all depends on where the economy is....


    Reagan's tax cuts (none / 0) (#124)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 05:56:32 PM EST
    He cut the top marginal rate from 70% to something in the 30s as I recall.  But he closed a lot of loopholes.....

    So did taxes really go up or down as a percentage of GDP?

    This chart shows that federal government revenues as a percentage of GDP didn't change very much under Reagan....It was in about the 17% range, where it had basically been since about 1947, with some fluctation up or down a point or two. It did go to about 19% under Carter (as it appears on the graph by just eyeballing it.)  

    Interesting, though, under the boom times of Clinton, Federal Revenue went up to over 20% of GDP.  Less deficit spending would do that.

    Here is another link to the chart.

    Bottom line:   The vaunted Reagan, tax cuts and all, barely put a dent, if at all, in the amount of the nation's economy taken by the Federal Government.  

    Reagan is a myth.


    All I know is what I read in my pocketbook. (none / 0) (#136)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:11:14 PM EST
    So did taxes really go up or down as a percentage of GDP?

    And my taxes went down. So did everyone else I knew.


    Ah, you go by anecdote (none / 0) (#139)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:18:44 PM EST
    and ignore the data.

    How Reaganesque of you....


    Nope (none / 0) (#147)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 07:45:44 AM EST
    When someone starts telling me that taxes weren't reduced under Reagan... and the subject is FIT.... and then starts writing about gross receipts vs whatever I get the feeling that the other person doesn't deal in reality.

    Of course I am known to be hard headed about things I have lived through. History has a way of being distorted.

    And this makes neither of us a bad person.


    So collect $16 million in tax revenue (none / 0) (#90)
    by Buckeye on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 09:35:32 AM EST
    and lose $24 million in lost income taxes and unemployment benefits is a liberal talking point (since showing its futility is a conservative talking point)?  I hope not or we are doomed.

    Exactamundo. (none / 0) (#36)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:40:15 PM EST
    This excuse is constantly given out (none / 0) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:52:44 PM EST
    as the reason why we can't tax the rich more, and with each year that it gets traction the gap between the haves and the have nots gets deeper and wider.

    Rings true to me... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:07:24 PM EST
    but taxes as is have consequences too...it is all in deciding which tax mehtod causes the least negative consequences to people, the economy, and adequately funds the nation's collective needs.

    Best my knuckleheaded arse can come up with is 50 bucks a head plus Social Security & Medicare/Medicaid....50 bucks a head should be enough to run the fed, with the states and localities taking a larger role in some sectors...at least they are closer to home and a little easier to hold accountable....bigger ain't better for many necessary government services, imo.


    47% paid no taxes (none / 0) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 07:34:38 PM EST
    Now that is a gulf.....

    Federal income tax (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by waldenpond on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 08:15:21 PM EST
    47% are freeloaders!!!!

    Let's clarify... 47% paid no federal income tax.  Inconveniently, 75% pay more in payroll taxes.  Then there is MCR.  Oops and state and local taxes.  Leeches.


    Payroll taxes? (none / 0) (#56)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 08:24:46 PM EST
    Do you mean Social Security? An insurance and retirement plan that each individual funds for themselves? Medicare tax? Do you mean a medical insurance program that each individual funds for their retirement?

    Are those the taxes you are talking about?


    I pay more than 30 percent (none / 0) (#73)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:28:31 AM EST
    of my income in taxes of one kind or another on a very small income.

    You would like me to pay more?


    Those who advocate more taxes (none / 0) (#75)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 05:54:22 AM EST
    should set the example and pay more.

    Funnily enough (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:20:47 PM EST
    my father did that voluntarily.  But he made a lot more money than I do.

    I see nothing wrong in advocating that those who make more money should pay more in taxes.


    Well, let's see... (none / 0) (#96)
    by masslib on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 11:31:41 AM EST
    Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security are by far the biggest domestic expenditures of the federal government.  Indeed, that and defense make up over 80% of government spending.

    That is because they barely (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 08:29:34 PM EST
    make enough to live Jim.  Why is that?

    If you want to put more people on welfare, just (none / 0) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 09:32:33 PM EST
    say so. But don't pull the "Oh they had to pay social security/medicare."

    That is money they, or their dependents, will get back.


    I admire your optimism. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 09:50:05 PM EST
    Maybe and maybe not (none / 0) (#70)
    by cawaltz on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 11:24:50 PM EST
    Considering they are talking about raising the age again and lowering benefits I wouldn't be so sure of that.

    A survivor benefit is $250. I put alot more than that into the system and considering my genetic stock that's all my kids would get for my contribution if they raise the age much higher. (Not a single grandparent survived to 70).


    No (none / 0) (#77)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:15:07 AM EST
    The surviving spouse draws based on what the other paid. Children under 18 draw. People who never paid in draw.

    The $250. is to bury the dead spouse.

    It is not a full up retirement plan, but an insurance. Not to be blunt but insurance plans are based on some people dying before others.

    Drop by your local office. They will be glad to explain everything.


    children in college can also draw, Jim, (none / 0) (#85)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 08:40:02 AM EST
    up to, I think, 23.

    I might be mistaken on the upper age limit though.


    Not unless they reinstated it (none / 0) (#86)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 08:46:52 AM EST
    Reagan killed that the year before I was headed to college dragging around an absent and dead mother since I was seven years old that left an enormous hole in my life and my support system.

    My mistake, childhood (none / 0) (#89)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 09:00:08 AM EST
    disability pays until 22 if enrolled, not survivors benefits. Looking things up is my friend.

    For the record (none / 0) (#102)
    by cawaltz on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:23:35 PM EST
    Spouse and I don't qualify for social security. I'll get a railroad pension, as will he.

    So technically, I won't be getting bumpkiss out of my contributions if all goes well.

    I daresay my "spouse" would make it to 70 either. My mom has outlived both of his parents. Although he did have a great around until her 90s so I guess he could hit the genetic jackpot and carry her genes.


    Have you been paying into Social Security? (none / 0) (#113)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:07:33 PM EST
    Heh (none / 0) (#59)
    by cawaltz on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 09:14:40 PM EST
    The top 20% owned 93% of the financial wealth in this country in 2007.......and you seem to be suggesting that it's the employees of a BK franchise(or Walmart employees or substitute any other WORKING CLASS person who is part of that 47%)that aren't paying their fair share and causing the problem? That's pretty humorous.


    You tax the haves and have mores- not the have nots. Forgive me if I'm not weeping  over the idea of Paris Hilton having to forgo another diamond doggie collar because she has to pay taxes unlike the cashier working at the local Kroger. How completely unfair!(tongue firmly in cheek)


    New magic figure is that a family of 4 (none / 0) (#61)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 09:41:16 PM EST
    pays no FIT on income up to $50K... I'm guessing that is using all the tricks (to steal a Phil Jones expression)so I'll just stick with my $38K figure..

    Now. Is that "fair?" My comment didn't address that, just noted what was going on.

    Presently the top 5% pay 95% of the FIT.

    What I do know is that pre-retirement I could have saved a lot more if I hadn't been paying such very high taxes.

    Was that fair?

    Only as long as I don't need the money I didn't but could have saved for something like Medicare payments which Obama is gonna take $500 billion from to pay for insurance for...

    Is that fair?


    That would be because (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by cawaltz on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 11:13:10 PM EST
    the top 5% own well over their fair share of the wealth in this country.

    When the bottom 47% actually have amassed some wealth then we can tax them too. However as long as the top 20% own over 90% worth of actual wealth then I think it's perfectly reasonable to tax them.

    By the way, who lied to you and told you life was "fair"? Is it "fair" that some people are born into wealth while others are born into poverty? Is it fair that a CEO who screws up a company gets a golden parachute while the workers in that company end up with a pink slip? Is it fair that a person saves their whole life gets a disease and ends up losing everything in an effort to preserve their life? Lots, and lots of things are "unfair." When we get rid of all inequities in life I might buy the "unfair" arguement. Until then I expect those that have benefitted and reaped the rewards from capitalism to pay the bulk of the costs in maintaining it.


    Life ain't fair (none / 0) (#78)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:37:08 AM EST
    I was born so handsome and smart but poor...


    At what point do you think people should be paying their fair share, and what is "fair?"

    Middle class people pay 50% of their earnings in taxes and "fees" of one sort or another. Many are two income households in which they do the 5AM to 7PM 5 days a week, or more, and then do the "Soccer Mom" and "Little League Dad" on Saturday and Church goer on Sunday.

    How do you think they feel when they see the pie being cut thinner and thinner and other people paying less and less.

    It says, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    It doesn't say, "Life Liberty and someone else will pay your part so you don't have to."

    If that sounds cruel, so bet it. You are not going to get a responsible citizen group until everyone takes ownership. And you do that by paying something.



    I think it is perfectly (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by cawaltz on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:27:55 PM EST
    "fair" to ask the top 20% who own over 90% to pay more.

    in other words wah wah wah (none / 0) (#107)
    by cawaltz on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:47:18 PM EST
    life is unfair. Like I said let me know when we can completely take inequities out of life. The guy making millions at the top of the food chain works less than the guy who holds down two jobs to pay his rent and transport costs(That's right plenty of those 47% have TWO jobs also and the only way they can afford to put junior into soccer camp is a scholarship. Heh but I'm supposed to boohoo because someone who can afford luxuries like extracurricular activities for their kids has to pay  more? nuh uh). I'm not gonna feel bad. $38,000 is under a median wage in the US. If you have a problem with them not paying taxes. Take it up with their employers for paying them less. I'll even start you off with some names to address  your remarks to: Walmart, Burger King, McDonalds, Target(pick a service sector job). People who make barely enough to survive have no business being taxed so some mythical upper ,middle class yuppie can afford ballet AND soccer lessons for junior as well as that vacation home in Maine. Sorry.

    For every mythical sad story you can come up with. I can come up with one as well. I live in the heart of those making under middle class wages.


    Like I said (none / 0) (#114)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:09:34 PM EST
    if you want more folks on welfare, say so.

    The difference (none / 0) (#143)
    by Watermark on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:58:08 PM EST
    is that Mass. had a highly mobile labor market to compete with. If they pass a tax, jobs move to other areas. The federal government is much more shielded from such race to the bottom effects.

    No to a VAT (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Manuel on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:03:30 PM EST
    but I'd support a net worth tax ( a fraction of a percent ) for net worths over some amount.  This would be similar to the fees managers charge to manage money and way below what hedge fund managers charge.  It would be a fair price for the wealthy to pay for a system that on the whole protects their interests well.

    Mhmm, that's like that Robert Reich (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by masslib on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:05:28 PM EST
    asset tax idea I post above.  I agree.  That's a worthy, progressive tax idea.

    What happens to the elderly who have high (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:20:50 PM EST
    net worth due to home values but low income?

    Remember Prop 13?


    Homestead exemption (4.50 / 2) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:49:44 PM EST
    At what age? (none / 0) (#54)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 07:38:19 PM EST
    And how about cars, boats, furs, jewelery, hunting equipment... You know, all the stuff that the elderly has accumulated over a life time that get's put into net worth.... Including checking and savings accounts and stocks and bonds and IRA, etc....

    Limit it to liquid assets (1.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Manuel on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 11:10:04 PM EST
    And set the treshhold high enough.

    So there goes the retirees stocks, bonds, (none / 0) (#79)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:40:12 AM EST
    checking accounts, savings accounts, jewels.. anything that can be converted to cash at your local pawn broker...

    Many mutual fund owners (none / 0) (#91)
    by Manuel on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 09:45:57 AM EST
    are already paying large fees that destory their returns.  And again, the vast majorit of taxpayers would be exempt from this tax.  Your argument echoes the argument against estate taxes.

    Not really. (none / 0) (#112)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:05:15 PM EST
    The inheritance tax is on dead people.

    No (none / 0) (#119)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:43:27 PM EST
    An inheritance tax taxes the beneficiaries of an estate.  An estate tax taxes the personal representative of the decedent.

    What exactly do you consider (none / 0) (#97)
    by masslib on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 11:33:14 AM EST
    high net worth?  

    I would support (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by Cassandra7 on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:09:47 PM EST
    a truly progressive income tax.  Particularly one that included all income as income.

    The luxury only tax (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:17:59 PM EST
    on such things as boats, etc., I think was tried a few years ago.....A lot of (blue collar) people who work in marinas lost their jobs and the tax was repealed....People who repair, paint and clean boats; people who sell food in marinas; people who work in boat factories...

    To own a boat is personally foolish.....you can go down the to the marina and see all the boats that no one uses except once or twice a year....But there are lots of people who work in the marinas.....

    I'd stick to an income tax.....

    Senate says NO (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by waldenpond on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:18:52 PM EST
    With a large bipartisan majority Thursday, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution expressing opposition to the U.S. adopting a value-added tax.

    The resolution, proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), passed by a 85-13 vote. The vote is a rebuke to Paul Volcker, a former Fed chairman who serves on President Barack Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

    The Hill.

    How about (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Rojas on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 10:34:50 PM EST
    we tax pathetic corporate types who have absolutely no value added?

    Had to vote maybe... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 03:32:41 PM EST
    I'm down with a vat on luxury items to help dig us out the hole, we gotta dig out sometime...but only after the feds show an inclination for prioritizing and reducing spending, and general fiscal responsibility....otherwise it is just more money down the toilet.

    I want my amendment (none / 0) (#14)
    by cawaltz on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:18:03 PM EST
    that allows me to opt out of this because I disagreed with Iraq and disagreed with our expansion in Afghanistan and I'm morally opposed to unnecessarily killing people. ;)

    Looking for that exemption... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:58:26 PM EST
    on all current federal taxes myself.

    As for a luxury-only vat, unless premium Roor bongs are included I'm not gonna be effected anyway...but out of respect for luxury-lovers I must demand fiscal responsibility and fiscal prioritization first.


    If we had some real jobs (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:48:00 PM EST
    and a real middle class making a real living wage kdog.....we'd be most of the way there this frickin minute.  And if corporations actually paid taxes too....well we'd be all the way there wouldn't we because who made all that money we paid out for Iraq and Afghanistan?  It wasn't the fricken soldiers.

    Corporations never pay taxes (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:11:59 PM EST
    They merely act as a government agent and collect them from their customers.

    Since they have the same rights now (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:15:56 PM EST
    as human beings, when do they start paying real taxes on their profit?  Say like Exxon?

    Well, since the owners pay taxes on their (none / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 07:29:35 PM EST
    regular income, and on their investment income and then the corporation pays taxes on its profits.... I say they already do.

    I think that we have the second highest corp tax in the world.


    Only on paper (none / 0) (#74)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:49:16 AM EST
    Come on.  Can't you do better than this rancid old GOP talking point?  There are so many loopholes and incentives and subsidies, the effective corporate tax rate is one of the lowest in the industrialized world.

    Good grief.


    Got a link? (none / 0) (#76)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 05:55:10 AM EST
    I don't know... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:02:19 PM EST
    there is no limit to what these cats in Washington can spend...they've got more hair-brained schemes than Ralph Kramden when it comes to spending other peoples money....even if we had working class living wages and the tax revenue to go with it.

    then maybe, but as an additional sales tax? No.

    We don't have an existing national sales tax. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by masslib on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 03:55:24 PM EST
    Irrelevant. (none / 0) (#11)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:09:44 PM EST
    The only way that a VAT on strickly luxury (none / 0) (#10)
    by coast on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:04:43 PM EST
    items would work is if you maintained the income tax as well.  NOt enough revenues could be generated from such a limited tax.

    Include everything (none / 0) (#15)
    by Lora on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:22:17 PM EST
    Establish a factor (say 5, for example).

    Then establish an "average price" of every item.

    Any item that costs more than 5 times the average for that item gets a VAT.

    I'm sure it could easily be computerized.  Along with the bar code, a VAT code would print out as well.

    I don't trust any of the people we have to (none / 0) (#16)
    by cawaltz on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:22:34 PM EST
    do this right- so I guess you can put me in the oppose category. Then again I just watched the health care cluster-and judging by it I'd almost wish what they were proposing was cutting their salaries and going back to the naming of the park benches(since that is what they seem to excel at) as a way to balance the budget.

    Absolutely. (none / 0) (#20)
    by seabe on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 04:35:50 PM EST
    They are essential to a thriving welfare state. However, like Yglesias, I am skeptical that we need one if we raised money through a large carbon tax instead.

    Other liberals don't like them because they're regressive, but they don't have to be.

    If anything, the Heritage Foundation and most every right-winger doesn't want one, even though they should; it's their idea of how taxes should be run. No, they know that with one, the welfare state will NEVER go away. Oh sure, it's hard to take away now, but they're still trying right now. I doubt they'd go after it as much if we had one. Maybe they'd turn into European conservatives and accept it.

    Since a carbon tax (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:18:23 PM EST
    will hit the poor the hardest, how can any progressive be for that?

    Oh, I know EICTC.

    We'll give it back to them every 4/15.



    Would non-U.S. passport holders (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:24:35 PM EST
    be able to get a VAT tax refund at U.S. airport of debarkation?

    The only VAT tax that works (none / 0) (#50)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:55:14 PM EST
    is the sin tax--alcohol, tobacco, etc....

    We could legalize drgus and add them to the list....

    I gather the VAT tax "works" in Europe. (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 09:51:55 PM EST
    Isn't confined to luxuries.  VAT tax imposed on clothing, including shoes, hotel room charges, etc.

    Correct (none / 0) (#66)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 10:22:36 PM EST
    Sure, if it is across the board (none / 0) (#103)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 12:24:56 PM EST
    and not targeted at one or two industries....

    The context here, however, is a VAT on only some goods....and that type of selective VAT has only worked as a sin tax.


    in every international market, including the US and Europe.

    Due to Europe's VAT (I think it was a flat 10%) we in the US distributor sold a lot of goods directly to European customers, thereby taking sales and jobs - and those sale's VATs - away from the European distributors because we could undersell them even with the added cost of shipping the goods from the US and whatever import duties were imposed.


    increase to a very very hefty tax on (none / 0) (#93)
    by ZtoA on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 11:16:59 AM EST
    porn. Then watch bible belt conservatives complain.

    Umm... (none / 0) (#109)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 02:23:05 PM EST
    nobody pays for pron anymore, its all free on the intertubes.

    What we could do is legalize and tax prostitution....thats some big bucks.


    And, we could also tax (none / 0) (#110)
    by MKS on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:02:22 PM EST
    us some contraband.....

    You know, that would be the trade off for legalization.....Put it in the category of be careful what you wish for....


    ZtoA and KDog thank you both for the laugh! (none / 0) (#150)
    by Freewill on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 01:34:11 PM EST
    nobody pays for pron anymore, its all free on the intertubes.
    What we could do is legalize and tax prostitution....thats some big bucks.  

    This sounds like a win-win for Senator David Vitter if he would sponser something like this!


    That was the funniest visual, I can't stop (none / 0) (#149)
    by Freewill on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 01:26:56 PM EST
    laughing. Thank you!

    OT. Breaking: NCAA bars writing (none / 0) (#64)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 10:01:42 PM EST
    on eye black.

    Just what exactly is a (none / 0) (#65)
    by ZtoA on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 10:16:38 PM EST
    luxury? A car? how expensive? Jewelry? how expensive and what about the artists who make original jewelry? Art? Wine from our own vineyards and winemakers? Are French sparkling wines to be taxed more than our own? And at what price point?

    Maybe there is a better way to get the very wealthy to pay. Taxing extremely intelligent accountants?

    Btw, how many times do we get to vote?? I'm in an extremely nasty mood post paying a bunch of tax with an extension, more $ than I wanted and STILL have to file --so cheating on a vote might be just what I need.

    heh (none / 0) (#81)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 07:44:30 AM EST
    Taxing extremely intelligent accountants?

    We already do that.

    The only fair tax is a sales tax, collected at point of sale and clearly shown on the sales document. The VAT is NOT a sales tax.

    Another tax that is somewhat fair is a Flat Tax.

    Fair and progressive do not mean the same thing.


    Pay based on consumption (none / 0) (#83)
    by BTAL on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 08:32:52 AM EST
    Fairtax.org with the modification of killing the monthly "pre-bate".  

    Of course, it depends on the definition (none / 0) (#87)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 08:47:53 AM EST
    of 'fair.'

    If fair means everyone pays the same rate, your argument is correct.

    but everyone would need the same starting point, so I guess we'd have to redistribute all of the wealth to make sure everyone has the same starting point.

    If 'fair' on the other hand, means that those who get more, whether through inheritance, or through their own efforts, pay higher rates to support a common good,  then a graduated taxation rates, progressive, of course, would be in order.


    Life doesn't provide the same starting point (none / 0) (#108)
    by BTAL on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 01:41:09 PM EST
    for everyone.  

    Enact the FairTax, eliminate the IRS and everyone pays based on their spending choices.  All labor is rewarded/compensated without the govt's fingers in the transaction.


    Their spending "choices"... (none / 0) (#118)
    by masslib on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:31:07 PM EST
    LOL.  Food, clothing and shelter are necessary for survival and take up nearly every dollar of working class wages.  Whereas wealthy people spend a much smaller proportion of their income on the necessities and then are afforded spending "choices".  There is nothing "fair" about regressive taxation.

    Guess the next liberal talking point will be (none / 0) (#123)
    by BTAL on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 05:47:02 PM EST
    that food, clothing and shelter are all now unalienable rights granted by the Creator.

    Class envy and warfare is a loosing proposition for the citizenry and the country.  Each according to their needs... History has proven how that concept works.

    I've never been given a job nor earned a dollar from a poor person.  

    Flame away.


    Right well sell that to TR. (none / 0) (#130)
    by masslib on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 06:42:38 PM EST
    Im just trying (none / 0) (#146)
    by jondee on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 02:19:36 AM EST
    to imagine the sort of shriveled, petty-mindedness thats required to hold resentment toward working people who think they shouldnt have to worry about how they're going to cover their basic food, clothing and shelter needs.

    Define common good (none / 0) (#111)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 04:03:38 PM EST
    And that's the rub. You can't, I can't, Kdog can't and we try to resolve the issue through elected officials. In the meantime we claim it's fair to take 50% of some folk's money so that others pay nothing...

    Long term that is a formula for disaster.


    How About (none / 0) (#71)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 11:51:09 PM EST
    Currency, securities, legal services, private education, architecture, health care, lawn care, professional sports, pool care, country club membership, private security services, financial services, accounting, book keeping, tax advice, and real estate.

    Well (none / 0) (#92)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 10:52:11 AM EST
    A bit slower than most "progressives" in figuring it out, but I guess the poor linking skills are offset by the quicker minds... lol

    "Tax anyone but me" (none / 0) (#145)
    by diogenes on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 09:30:06 PM EST
    I guess anyone would support that.  It's called looting.

    Let's VAT tax yachts, (none / 0) (#151)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 09:28:24 PM EST

    A tax on yachts was tried not that many years ago.  It devistated the yacht building industry and threw a lot of blue collar boat builders out of work.

    All in all it appears to have lost more in income tax than it brought in.