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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Let me get this right (831 comments)

The cost of assembly is still present in the cost of finished goods, so buying parts and then paying the assembly cost would still be an effective way of circumventing your proposal unless there's some economy of scale that makes it considerably more expensive to assemble on your own.

In any case, I wasn't saying that a progressive consumption tax is impossible. Merely that the best implementation I can think of involves a wholesale abandonment of economic privacy. I'm sure there are other ways of doing it, but they all have their own flaws that are worse still.

10 hours ago
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Ho-lee-crap (245 comments)

Are you trying to be deliberately disingenuous? You're asking a Danish national why a Danish company shoudn't source work in Denmark if it means less money for a country 1/3 of the way around the globe?

I'm trying to be deliberately disingenuous in the same sense that Socrates was. I'm asking a person of indeterminate nationality why it is objectively better for a shipping company to source work from Denmark than from South Korea.

Have you ever given a family member money? If so, why? That would seem to be valuing the interests of your family over the neighbors you've never met. Do you have a rational basis for doing so?

Rarely, I have, because they asked and I found it appropriate. I've also done the same for friends and for strangers as well. I have not given money to neighbors who I've never met, because they didn't ask me. However, I don't believe I'm valuing interests of people who I've met over those whom I haven't; it's just that people I haven't met yet couldn't have asked me for money (by definition). Is there a reason why you don't consider this to be rational?

10 hours ago
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Ho-lee-crap (245 comments)

Supporting local business tends to increase local business, increasing local business. This is good for business.

Doesn't supporting nonlocal businesses tend to increase nonlocal business? Isn't that also good for business? Is there a reason why you seem to be valuing local business over nonlocal business?

Do Korean shipyards get their ship parts shipped by Maersk?

I don't know. Do Danish shipyards get their ship parts shipped by some South Korean shipping company? I'm not sure how this is relevant.

11 hours ago
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Ho-lee-crap (245 comments)

It's rational to support the culture and the people you grew up with, that share your values, and that you work and live alongside.

Okay, so, since it's rational, then you won't have any trouble showing the reasoning behind this statement. Right?

13 hours ago
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Ho-lee-crap (245 comments)

I'm not sure how that's relevant. Are you suggesting that Danish people aren't rational?

yesterday
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Ho-lee-crap (245 comments)

But it's still outsourcing tasks to the other side of the world, when they could very easily have been solved at home in way that would have been beneficial to both A.P. Møller-Mærsk and Denmark as a whole.

But wouldn't that have been harmful to South Korea? You seem to be valuing the interests of Denmark over the interests of South Korea. Do you have a rational basis for doing so?

yesterday
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Let me get this right (831 comments)

You need to read about the "prebate" aspect of the Fair Tax. It eliminates the regression that concerns you.

Nice attempt at dodging my point.

The "prebate" does nothing to affect what percentage of income is spent by the wealthy. The wealthy do not spend their money, and since the Fair Tax is a consumption tax, an overwhelming majority of their gains in wealth (that is today at least subject to some nominal income and capital gains taxes) would go unspent (and untaxed). Under the Fair Tax, the tax burden shouldered by the wealthy would decrease. It would decrease very significantly

If the tax burden on the wealthy is decreased (for the reason I again explained), and the tax burden on the poor is not increased (because of the "prebate" that you try to distract me with), then the logical consequence is that either the tax burden on the middle class is increased or tax revenues are decreased. Since the Fair Tax is being proposed as a way to fully fund the government, the only possible outcome is that the tax burden on the middle class is increased. If you're arguing that the "prebate" is somehow going to help the middle class enough to ensure that their tax burden is not increased, explain how the shortfall in tax revenues from the wealthy will be made up.

I'm calling you out on your attempt to distract from the main issue. Under the Fair Tax, the wealthy see a huge reduction in their tax burden. That's why it's regressive. There's no amount of "prebate" will change that. Your disdain for the currently-broken tax code is causing you to support one that, although simpler, would cause much worse outcomes for our society.

yesterday
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Let me get this right (831 comments)

Splitting large purchases into a set of smaller purchases seems to be a trivial way of avoiding the "progressive" part of your proposal.

3 days ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

NoImNotNineVolt Re:2,266,800 (406 comments)

While I appreciate the explanation of discrepancy, I'd just like to add:

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

3 days ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

NoImNotNineVolt Re:You don't know, do you? (406 comments)

When even those who are critical of the uber-wealthy are still five orders of magnitude too conservative with their estimates of how badly wealth is distributed, it seems that all hope is lost.

3 days ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

NoImNotNineVolt Re:You don't know, do you? (406 comments)

The billions of dollars which make up assets of the 0.01%

Trillions of dollars which make up assets of the 0.000125%.

The aggregate wealth of the 400 richest Americans (Forbes 400) is $2.2T, and they account for only 1/80th as many people as you expected.

Yes, it really is that bad. Hard to fathom, but numbers don't lie.

3 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (831 comments)

Well said, and my apologies for misunderstanding.

3 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Let me get this right (831 comments)

What does "fund the government" mean?

Collect revenues equal to or in excess of receipts.

And how does a high income tax promote wealth equality?

It doesn't. I don't believe I argued that it did.

Is this some vindictive punishment against the wealth, who be definition are evil?

Is what some vindictive punishment against the wealth[y]? A high income tax? Wouldn't a high income tax be more of a "vindictive punishment against" anyone who generates income? Why are you singling out the wealthy? They're impacted exactly as much by a high income tax as is anyone else who generates income. Also, why are you defining the wealthy to be evil?

By destroying innovation and driving away high performers away?

Are you claiming that a consequence of a high income tax is the destruction of innovation and the driving away of high performers? I'm not sure what this has to do with anything I've said, but I'm not sure how tax policy can directly "destroy innovation". Also, you're conflating "high performers" with those with high incomes. While it's likely that a high income tax will drive high income individuals away (to what extent is highly debatable), I don't see why it would have any impact on "high performers".

France's 75% income tax rate plus its wealth tax is doing that quite well.

Just like the USA's 90+% income tax rate did that between 1944 and 1963? Funny, I thought that more of a golden age in this country...

I suspect that you are confusing taxes (inputs) with government policy (outputs), and you fear that a consumption tax by itself won't raise enough money to fund the government policies that you want.

I was very clear in what I said. And what I said isn't what you're attributing to me. I fear that the Fair Tax that you propose "allows the truly wealthy to further decrease their already-too-low (in my opinion) tax burden", which is incidentally exactly what I said. I explicitly stated that my concern was not with funding the government, but instead the promotion of an equitable distribution of wealth. Protip: reading what I write is a better way of determining my stance than manufacturing your own suspicions.

I will point out that the current US tax system is kind of flat. High earners are in a higher tax bracket but have more opportunities for tax breaks. The overall effect is that everybody has about the same marginal tax rate after $50,000. And what does this added complexity buy us?

The current tax system does not meet my criteria for a good tax either. However, the Fair Tax is worse still, as it's not even "kind of flat", it's outright regressive.

If you further up the thread you can see that I support a consumption tax, a flat income tax with a negative income component.

Yes, otherwise known as the Fair Tax. This is a regressive tax that decreases the tax burden on the wealthy, since only a negligible proportion of their income goes towards consumption. It does not increase the tax burden on the poor, due to the negative income component. The logical consequence is that the tax burden on the middle class is increased (assuming that revenues are maintained).

3 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (831 comments)

It is not decreasing the burden on the middle and upper classes. If anything, the lower to middle middle class will see a slight decrease. The upper middle class will be about the same as they are now. The upper class, however, will see an increase because the many loopholes and deductions that allow for them to have a lower effective tax rate than the middle class would be eliminated.

How is it that the upper class, which spends only a negligible proportion of their income, will see an increase in tax burden? Consider that today, nearly all of their income is subject to taxation (albeit at a lower rate), whereas under the Fair Tax, only a tiny proportion of their income would be (a proportion smaller than what they already pay in tax today)? Even if they saw a 100% Fair Tax rate, they'd be spending less on taxes than they are today, since currently a larger proportion of their income goes to taxes than to spending.

So now that we've determined that under the Fair Tax, the tax burden on the wealthy will significantly decrease, can you explain who will be paying the difference if not the middle class? It's evident that the poor won't be paying much at all, so again, I ask you, where will the money come from?

Let's say Buffet's secretary makes $60,000/yr and is in a family of 4. Deduct the $36,000 from that for the poverty level plus 25% portion and she pays tax on $24,000. She is being taxed on 40% of her income. Say one of his managers makes $200,000 with a family of 4, after removing the poverty level, she is taxed on $164,000 on 82% of her income. Buffet, making millions would be taxed on virtually all of his income. But the reality is that everybody gets the same poverty level allowance, so everybody gets the same break.

No, see, Buffet is making millions. Billions, really. But the Fair Tax doesn't tax him on a single penny of that. It's a tax on consumption, not income. Buffer doesn't spend billions. He doesn't spend shit. He lives in a house he bought in 1958 for $31,500. The last car he owned was a 6 year old 2001 Lincoln Town Car (which he sold on eBay in 2007). His spending is probably on par with his secretary's spending, so they'd both be paying comparable amounts of tax. But she makes $60,000/year, and he makes billions. Under the Fair Tax, Mr. Buffet's effective tax rate would amount to a rounding error. You keep talking about income as though that was what was being taxed; it's not. You keep assuming that people spend all their income; the wealthy don't.

That is also the main reason such a proposal is unlikely to pass -- the upper class is the ones that politicians cater to and it is unlikely they will go for a plan that increases their taxes, no matter how fair it might be. (It also explains the overwhelming support for the "fair" tax by the upper class, because it actually reduces their tax burden further).

The main reason this is unlikely to pass because not everyone is blind to the fact that the wealthy don't spend more than a negligible proportion of their income and would therefore be virtually exempt from taxation under this plan. Society cannot afford to grant 20% of income to 1% of the population and then have that money go untaxed.

3 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Let me get this right (831 comments)

Feel free to provide reasoning for why you think my post was "very simply a bunch of crap", because you haven't yet. None of your claims contradict what I said (even if they were true).

With a consumption tax, it's up to you how much you are taxed.

Sure, in that you can choose to forego any spending, eventually starving or dying of exposure. With an income tax, it's also up to you how much you are taxed. After all, you can just forego employment and avoid receiving any income. You make some insightful observations.

It rewards saving and investing much more than our current tax system.

It doesn't reward saving or investing; it penalizes spending. It depresses demand for goods and services. In other words, when you tax consumption, you discourage consumption, and that's likely to only slow economic growth, especially when the economy's growth is already bound by sluggish demand.

It would also get rid of the inequity between income tax and capital gains tax, which benefits the wealthy a great deal.

It would also replace this inequity with greater one: the inequity between the proportional spending of the poor and the wealthy. The poor spend all of their money, and therefore all of their money is subject to the Fair Tax. The middle class spends an overwhelming majority of their money, and therefore an overwhelming majority of their money is subject to the Fair Tax. The wealthy spend a negligible fraction of their money, and therefore a negligible fraction of their money is subject to the Fair Tax. That would benefit the wealthy even more.

It would boost the economy immensely, and eliminate several forms of double taxation we "enjoy" now.

See my previous statement about the economy. Regarding double taxation, you're not clear about why it would be desirable to eliminate it. Is it inherently better to apply one big tax instead of two small taxes? Why?

It would also eliminate the IRS, and government snooping into every aspect of our economic life - that is a huge win as well.

I'm not sure where this Fair Tax revenue would be remitted if not the IRS, or who would handle enforcement. Presumably you advocate for the creation of a new department to replace the IRS? Why? Regarding the elimination of "government snooping into every aspect of our economic life", I believe the benefits of this aren't worth the socioeconomic cost of such a regressive tax policy.

(Not to mention the billions saved on tax preparation and related activities...)

Saving a fraction of a percent of GDP doesn't justify the destruction of the middle class.

3 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (831 comments)

How is that increasing the burden on the middle class? It actually balances the burden between middle class and wealthy so that Warren Buffet's secretary no longer pays more taxes than he does.

It's increasing the burden on the middle class because it's decreasing the burden on the poor and on the wealthy. Tax revenues aren't going to appear out of thin air, they're going to have to come from the middle class. The Fair Tax would effectively eliminate any taxes paid by Mr. Buffet, as he only actually spends a tiny, negligible proportion of his income, and that is the only portion of his income that would be taxable under a consumption tax. Proportionally, his secretary spends a much greater share of her income (nearly all of it), so unless she's hovering very near the poverty line, a larger proportion of her income would be going towards taxes.

3 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Let me get this right (831 comments)

Let us say assume (which I will grant is a huge assumption) that everybody will pay about the same in taxes – what is the advantage of a sales tax over a income tax? Well, what makes a good tax?

You seem to be arguing that the purpose of a tax is singular: to fund the government. You explicitly state that taxes should not distort the economy. I'd argue the opposite, that it is equally important that taxes do indeed distort the economy, merely in a desirable way. Specifically, that they promote an equitable distribution of wealth. While the Fair Tax may meet your criteria for a good tax (that it funds the government), it most definitely does not meet my criteria for a good tax (that it is highly progressive), as it allows the truly wealthy to further decrease their already-too-low (in my opinion) tax burden.

3 days ago
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Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Telsa's lobbiest crashes (291 comments)

So that's why Chris Tucker's net worth is negative $11.5M? I thought it was tax issues...

4 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

NoImNotNineVolt Re:Let me get this right (831 comments)

Middle class, n., the social group between the upper and working classes, including professional and business workers and their families.

They're "already-hurting" in that their income (median household income) has been declining (in real terms) since the 1980s.

4 days ago

Submissions

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All-in-one Digital Credit Card

NoImNotNineVolt NoImNotNineVolt writes  |  about a year ago

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) writes "Coin, a Y Combinator-backed startup, has started accepting pre-orders for a device as slim as a standard piece of payment plastic that can hold eight credit, debit, and gift cards in its dynamic magnetic stripe. Paired with the Coin smartphone app via Bluetooth low energy, card details can easily be swapped in and out of the device. A minimalist user interface on the device itself allows the owner to toggle between the loaded cards and then swipe just as they would their ordinary card. All card details are encrypted (both on the device and in the smartphone app), and the device's on-board battery is expected to last for two years of typical usage. No support for chip&pin (EMV) yet, so this may have limited utility outside of the USA. They expect to start shipping in summer of 2014."
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