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Thread: Stephen King: Tax Me, for F**k’s Sake!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I have to head out, but one of the things that is important to distinguish is where a particular person is earning $24,000. In the United States, I believe that that income is at the poverty line, particularly if the person has dependents (children). In that scenario, every dollar counts, and I believe that people at that income level not only are not taxed at a federal level, but are also given an earned income tax credit to help raise them out of the poverty level. But as others have said or implied here, that amount is probably more than offset by amounts they are paying in sales and local taxes.

    We need to care about the $24,000 earners because people at this level are a huge percentage of the population and in the United States we have these egalitarian standards about equal opportunity and getting something out of the fruits of your labors. Having a huge number of impoverished and justifiably angry people in this class is destabilizing. It can tilt a country away from democracy and even into anarchy or continuing insurgencies. You can see it throughout history when a very small portion of the population owns the vast majority of the wealth, while the rest of the population is barely getting by. It has happened in Russia, Central America, Southeast Asia, and other places, and there is nothing to say it won't happen here if the slide continues.

    That was really well put. You made clear that it comes down to the basic infrastructure of the country and system. Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    Ok that makes it clear. The system is basically set up that rich get richer based on ways they can manipulate things. Thanks for being kind and explaining it. It's always been something that confused me.
    And that's why I get so frustrated with the 'class warfare' argument, it's nonsense and is exactly what the right has been waging for 30+ years on the rest of us. Real wages for low and middle class Americans have only increased 16% and 25% over 30 years - that certainly hasn't kept up with the cost of healthcare, education or anything else, but the wealthiests wages have almost tripled. So yes, the system is gamed and 99% of have been getting screwed.

    I do not think all wealthy people are corrupt, I do think there is A LOT of corruption, but it's systematic mostly, which is harder to correct. I think that's why so many conservative continue to vote for Republicans when it is absolutely against their economic interests.

    The curious thing I have to question is with all the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Koch brothers (and others like them) have paid to game the system (and by the by absolutely destroy as much of the earth as they can get their hands on), how much the 4% tax increase would have cost them in comparison?

    ETA: Hey Greys, some of need and like to pontificate and write taxi-politi-festos. It's my god given right. And just to finish it off with a total misunderstanding of the 1st Amendment...Don't Tread on My Freedom of Speech!
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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    I'm not getting why we should care whether or not it has an impact on the person making the $24,000 a year. Yes it does have a harder impact but why is that something anyone should care about?
    Yeah why should anyone have a sense of social justice or give a fuck about those doing it tough. Your statement basically advocates the abolition of all charity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by faithanne View Post
    Yeah why should anyone have a sense of social justice or give a fuck about those doing it tough. Your statement basically advocates the abolition of all charity.
    I do understand personal and ethical reasons for doing so. I was looking for economic reasons, which I think MG answered very well.

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    We are sliding toward a third world economy and erasing the gains in our standard of living, economic growth, and upward mobility achieved during the 20th century.

    If you wonder why you should care about the person making $24K, how's this? Unless you are in that 1%, you will be amazed at how quickly you can lose your middle class life and slide into the ranks of the barely getting by or not making it in the US. All it takes is a serious medical problem, the death of a spouse, job loss, or similar event. You will find that even though you work as many hours as your parents ever did, that you won't be able to give your kids the security you grew up with or the leg-up that you yourself had.
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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    I actually looked up the second one as per MG's question. I have no idea if it's good or not and figured if it was crap they'd debunk it.




    The information you've posted is very helpful. But there's one part that I can't really get past. That's the way the topic is always discussed with percentages rather than actual cash.

    How is it fair that a billionaire pays millions of dollars in taxes and a regular joe pays thousands. I try to understand the "ethical patriotism" angle but at the end of the day what makes it fair for someone who is rich to pay more cash than someone who isn't rich? I can understand someone who pays millions of dollars in tax returns being frustrated at being asked to pay more.
    Because that is how you make it fair, mathmatically. The actual numbers mean diddly shit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CornFlakegrl View Post
    Because that is how you make it fair, mathmatically. The actual numbers mean diddly shit.
    No kidding...

    5/18/2011 10:59 AM ET
    |By Michael Brush, MSN Money
    CEOs got a big raise; how about you?

    Coming out of a bruising recession, the average CEO got a 24% pay raise. The average worker? Just 3.3%. What does the widening pay gap mean for investors?



    Related topics: stocks, Viacom, Oracle, Whole Foods Market, Michael Brush
    CEOs got a whopping 24% pay hike last year as corporate profits soared with the recession's end, more than making up for two years of declining pay.
    The average worker? Not so much. Those lucky enough to still have jobs saw their pay inch up a meager 3.3%, which might have been enough to cover the rising prices of gas and food.
    That difference in raises for CEOs and working stiffs is the latest turn in a trend that's been nagging CEO pay critics for years. That's the ever-widening gap between those at the top and their underlings, which is creating a superelite in the U.S. -- and not helping investors or the economy.


    Consider these gaps between some of the highest-paid CEOs of 2010 and workers in their industries:

    • At Viacom (VIA.B 0.00%, news), CEO Philippe Dauman got an impressive $84.5 million last year, or 1,990 times what the typical Viacom worker got. This assumes his workers make the $42,500 a year, on average, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the typical pay for employees in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media.
    • Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle (ORCL +0.58%, news), got similarly regal pay of $70 million last year. That was 750 times the $93,470 earned in 2010, on average, by computer software engineers, according to the BLS. Ellison, unlike a lot of CEOs, actually took a pay cut last year, but he still pulled down $1.35 million per week -- a sum it would take the typical computer software engineer more than 14 years to earn.
    • John Hammergren, the CEO of drug company McKesson (MCK -1.06%, news), was paid $54.4 million last year. That works out to $210,000 a day, assuming a normal workweek. That's almost three times the $74,590 that a medical scientist earns in a full year, according to the BLS. Hammergren's 2010 pay was 732 times the average pay for those workers.


    Michael Brush



    Overall, CEOs at S&P 500 companies were paid $11.4 million on average last year, up from $9.2 million the year before, according to the AFL-CIO. In contrast, average workers saw their annual pay go up to $33,121, from $32,049 in 2009, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank. So the pay gap of CEOs over workers shot up 20% last year, to 344 times an average worker's pay from 287 times.
    Back in the 1980s, this pay gap was just 40.
    The problem with all this? It's bad for business and bad for shareholders, a lot of business experts say.
    Pay gap details are due

    To be fair to the CEOs I've listed, you can find many just-as-stark comparisons between CEO and average-worker paychecks at the AFL-CIO executive pay watch website. And those I named might pay their workers more than the average rate. But they aren't saying. The companies mentioned in this article declined to offer specific numbers for their workers instead of the industry average.
    CEO pay inequities

    View more MSN videosGo to CNBC





    The Dodd-Frank financial reforms approved last year will require companies to give investors specific data on the salaries of executives versus those of typical workers. But regulations for that part of the law are just now being considered, and a lot of companies are fighting the release of these specifics.
    Viacom did respond that about $54 million of the $84.5 million Dauman earned was a one-off payment linked to a long-term renewal of his employment contract. The company says that more than 80% of his pay is in long-term equity awards aligning his interests with those of shareholders, and that Viacom stock was up 33% last year compared with a 13% gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX +0.57%).
    How the gap is bad for business

    Let's take a closer look at some of the problems this growing pay gap represents:

    • One big one is that the gains in corporate profits last year that were used to justify those huge CEO pay hikes often came at the expense of workers. Profits soared in large part because of layoffs during the recession.
    • Another is simply the sense of unfairness created by the widening gap in CEO pay compared with pay for regular workers. Everyone tightened belts during the recession; everyone worked harder. Why do only executives see a payoff? "People just find this outrageous and unfair, that certain people would be valued so much more than others," says Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies.
    • Perhaps more important, there's a solid argument that these kinds of huge pay gaps are bad for the economy, say Anderson and other pay critics. One of the founders of modern management science, Peter Drucker, suggested the maximum ratio between top management pay and worker pay should be no greater than about 25-to-1. Any more than that and it's "difficult to foster the kind of teamwork and trust that businesses need to succeed," says Rick Wartzman, the executive director of the Drucker Institute.

    To put it another way, when the pay gap is too wide, employee morale and productivity decline, says Brandon Rees, deputy director of the AFL-CIO Office of Investment. Plus, turnover can increase, which is also bad for business. A big part of the problem is that when rank and file pay levels are too low compared with the pay at the top, workers no longer feel like stakeholders in a company. Not only do academic research and analysis by the Brookings Institution bear this out, but we can see it in the real world.
    The case of Whole Foods

    Though Whole Foods Market (WFM +1.25%, news) has made exceptions for recently promoted executives, the grocery store chain generally limits the pay ratio between regular workers and top executives to 19. It also gives stock options to workers after three years on the job. Less than 10% of options has gone to executives.
    "We have a very egalitarian culture," says Mark Ehrnstein, a Whole Foods vice president. "We believe that when companies have that huge disparity in pay, it creates corrosiveness between leadership and team members. Our focus on creating an egalitarian culture absolutely contributes to the well-being of our company."


    CEOs got a big raise; how about you? - 1 - executive pay - MSN Money


    It's a long article, I only posted the first page of it.

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    Monk...maybe you should stick to the rivers and lakes you are use to!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    We are sliding toward a third world economy and erasing the gains in our standard of living, economic growth, and upward mobility achieved during the 20th century.

    If you wonder why you should care about the person making $24K, how's this? Unless you are in that 1%, you will be amazed at how quickly you can lose your middle class life and slide into the ranks of the barely getting by or not making it in the US. All it takes is a serious medical problem, the death of a spouse, job loss, or similar event. You will find that even though you work as many hours as your parents ever did, that you won't be able to give your kids the security you grew up with or the leg-up that you yourself had.
    I have already spoken/posted regarding the difference of standards of living between (eg) the US & the EU. We all have a long way to go before we reach third world status, for example, the US spends more on porn per year than the GDP of some Africa countries, and I think that we can agree that Africa can be 3rd world.

    I do think that the US is going to have to change its mindset on every-home-a-pool/dishwashers/4000sq ft houses/2-4 new car families/energy-heavy appliances/gas-hungry cars/etc. however making these adjustments hardly takes you into the 3rd world. I speak as someone who lives in a country that in the 1940s/50s has a standard of living when the US had a standard of living that was THREE times more at that point, the gap has only got bigger in the intervening years. There is a massive gap between the US & the EU in terms of income & standards of living. The change will be a shock, but it (IMO) is about less waste & more thriftiness. Plus, due to the US economy shifting, we are facing the same squeeze, from a much lower standard of living, so I guess you'll forgive me if I'm not feeling much sympathy about some of this.

    I'm not unsympathetic however a lot of non-American economies have been effected by this where we don't have the cushions that the US have.
    Look at GB & Spain, still in recession; the political upheaval in Greece, etc. as countries we're nearly bankrupt & not in a position to rely on savings etc.



    I found this list based on no later than 2011, interesting.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_...nal)#section_1

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    Quote Originally Posted by CornFlakegrl View Post
    Monk you need to research a little bit more here. Do you really think a percentage (and it's a small one) of overspenders caused near global financial collapse? Really?

    Yes some people lived beyond their means but who gave them the mortgages / lines of credit to do so? And do you know why the banks were handing out money to people who could not pay it back? Because they were selling those mortgages to wall street who in turn sold them to investors around the globe (including other banks and countries!). Shady, weak, destined to fail deals that the banks and wall street created, sold and then skipped off with the profits, leaving the risk with the investors.

    When the invesments failed, which was inevitable, it was a collapse heard round the world because ERRBODY had a piece and so everybody lost. The market crashes, innocent people lose years of their retirement investments, lose the real value in their homes that they payed for, lose their jobs, etc.

    If this had just been some folks living beyond their means, it would have been very contained. The failure would have been spread evenly over domestic banks who could have handled the losses. This was much, much worse because banks and wall street got greedy. Go ahead and judge those that lived beyond their means but seriously, save your real anger for the assclowns who played russian roullette with the economy.



    damn. /rant. sorry.
    *applauds* I don't understand what people are NOT getting.
    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    yeah, those asshats that we the people bailed out, yet they continue to fuck us either because they think we're dumb or because we have no choice in the matter.
    exactly.
    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Originally Posted by southernbelle
    I don't believe that some people being required to pay a higher percentage than others does equate to "everyone paying their fair share." In "Effective Government Tax Rates Under Current Law: 2001-2014" the Congressional Budget Office indicated that the bottom 40% pays only 6.1% in taxes. The top 40% paid almost 85% of taxes, with the top 10% paying around 58% of that.


    You could look at it another way - the bottom 40% of the country have only 1.2% of the financial wealth, but pay 6.1% in taxes. Why aren't they paying taxes that are more in correlation with their wealth, or percent of the pie?

    Conversely, the top 10% of the country owns 71% of the wealth but pays only 58% of the taxes. Why aren't they paying a percentage that is more proportionate to their ownership of wealth in this country?
    THIS! If you have a bigger percentage of the wealth, why would you not pay a higher percent of the taxes?
    Quote Originally Posted by Novice View Post
    I have already spoken/posted regarding the difference of standards of living between (eg) the US & the EU. We all have a long way to go before we reach third world status, for example, the US spends more on porn per year than the GDP of some Africa countries, and I think that we can agree that Africa can be 3rd world.

    I do think that the US is going to have to change its mindset on every-home-a-pool/dishwashers/4000sq ft houses/2-4 new car families/energy-heavy appliances/gas-hungry cars/etc. however making these adjustments hardly takes you into the 3rd world. I speak as someone who lives in a country that in the 1940s/50s has a standard of living when the US had a standard of living that was THREE times more at that point, the gap has only got bigger in the intervening years. There is a massive gap between the US & the EU in terms of income & standards of living. The change will be a shock, but it (IMO) is about less waste & more thriftiness. Plus, due to the US economy shifting, we are facing the same squeeze, from a much lower standard of living, so I guess you'll forgive me if I'm not feeling much sympathy about some of this.

    I'm not unsympathetic however a lot of non-American economies have been effected by this where we don't have the cushions that the US have.
    Look at GB & Spain, still in recession; the political upheaval in Greece, etc. as countries we're nearly bankrupt & not in a position to rely on savings etc.



    I found this list based on no later than 2011, interesting.
    List of countries by GDP (nominal) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    a. who told you about my porn?

    Secondly, and most importantly, I am a single mom. I am salaried at about $65,000.00 per year. My home is paid off, my vehicle is paid off. I do not have a credit card - haven't had one in about 12 years. My only bills are utilities (electric, cell phone, etc), groceries, insurance... that type of thing. I didn't buy a home I couldn't afford. I very, very seldomly purchase NEW vehicles. And even with everything I do to save money, I'm constantly being penalized for everyone else's "overspending" (I guess it was the middle class who did that to me).
    What I'm saying is this: I should be able to look at my bank account and see it growing at a much higher rate than I do. But that doesn't happen because I'm carrying burdens that I didn't ask for and I didn't contribute to. I've always invested in my 401K - that should be larger than it is. And who screwed me on that? middle class? nope. I pay cash for EVERYTHING I get - but then we'll have people blame me for the economy crashing because I don't spend enough or because I don't have a credit card - what the hell? you really can't win for losing.
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    I do think that the US is going to have to change its mindset on every-home-a-pool/dishwashers/4000sq ft houses/2-4 new car families/energy-heavy appliances/gas-hungry cars/etc. however making these adjustments hardly takes you into the 3rd world. I speak as someone who lives in a country that in the 1940s/50s has a standard of living when the US had a standard of living that was THREE times more at that point, the gap has only got bigger in the intervening years. There is a massive gap between the US & the EU in terms of income & standards of living. The change will be a shock, but it (IMO) is about less waste & more thriftiness. Plus, due to the US economy shifting, we are facing the same squeeze, from a much lower standard of living, so I guess you'll forgive me if I'm not feeling much sympathy about some of this.
    Okay, so maybe not the third world. I can't recall where you live, Novice. I do know that when I first traveled to the UK in the late 70s, I was surprised at the difference in the standard of living. It didn't seem bad to me, by any means, but I noticed that even in families who were middle class or higher, it seemed the norm to have 1 car not 2, that houses were smaller and didn't have the same standard features, and so forth. I didn't think, oh, those poor people they are living like peasants, I just noticed the differences and they made me realize what other people think and assume when they look at Americans. I've also been to a handful of other places outside the US, including quite a few trips to Mexico. Now that's a true example of an economy where the disparity between the rich and the poor is huge.

    The lack of universal healthcare and the high cost of college are very troubling to me. When I went to college 40 years ago, to a pricey Seven Sisters school where I got a great education, the tuition and room and board cost about 1/11th of my father's yearly salary (my mom did not work outside the home). Today the tuition and room and board at my daughter's school--not in the same tier as the college I went to--is over 1/3rd of my husband and my combined income. If she went to a public institution, the cost would still be about 1/6th of our combined income.

    Because I am self-employed and my husband is currently unemployed, we pay for our own health insurance--$1500 a month. In addition to that, last year we had $9000 of medical expenses that were not covered by insurance. And we are still paying 28% on our income taxes. Because of the co-pays for doctors' visits and tests, the fact that we have very limited coverage for eye glasses and contact lenses, and the fact that we have no dental insurance, I put off doctors' visits, new glasses, and visits to the dentist for myself and my family. I grew up taking all these things for granted.

    My husband and I both have college degrees and I have a master's degree as well. We both work in white collar industries. I work my ass off, and when he is employed, so does he. We bought a fairly modest house 20 years ago and took out an $180K mortgage. We didn't engage in any of that crazy McMansion stuff and we buy cars that last (Hondas and Toyotas) and drive them into the ground. I literally spend about $500 a year on myself for new clothes and shoes--if that. And still, I am not sure how we are going to get daughter #2 through college when putting daughter #1 through college has exhausted all of our resources.

    There is no question at this point--I can't provide the type of life my parents provided for me. And both my parents grew up dirt poor--I had advantages they didn't, or I wouldn't have gotten even this far. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider that our kids might not be able to afford college or that we might not be able to get our basic medical needs covered.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novice View Post
    I have already spoken/posted regarding the difference of standards of living between (eg) the US & the EU. We all have a long way to go before we reach third world status, for example, the US spends more on porn per year than the GDP of some Africa countries, and I think that we can agree that Africa can be 3rd world.

    I do think that the US is going to have to change its mindset on every-home-a-pool/dishwashers/4000sq ft houses/2-4 new car families/energy-heavy appliances/gas-hungry cars/etc. however making these adjustments hardly takes you into the 3rd world. I speak as someone who lives in a country that in the 1940s/50s has a standard of living when the US had a standard of living that was THREE times more at that point, the gap has only got bigger in the intervening years. There is a massive gap between the US & the EU in terms of income & standards of living. The change will be a shock, but it (IMO) is about less waste & more thriftiness. Plus, due to the US economy shifting, we are facing the same squeeze, from a much lower standard of living, so I guess you'll forgive me if I'm not feeling much sympathy about some of this.

    I'm not unsympathetic however a lot of non-American economies have been effected by this where we don't have the cushions that the US have.
    Look at GB & Spain, still in recession; the political upheaval in Greece, etc. as countries we're nearly bankrupt & not in a position to rely on savings etc.



    I found this list based on no later than 2011, interesting.
    List of countries by GDP (nominal) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I wish I knew all these people with the pools and the big houses but I just don't. I think the media has paraded around a very small number of folks living above their means and it has translated to that is what the majority has done. Oh and my porn bill has gone way done thanks to the free stuff on the internet!
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    I do agree that the standard of living here (the US) has gotten absurd. Things that seem to have been luxuries in the past are now considered necessities; dishwashers, laundry machines, cable TV, a McMansion, at least 2 (new) cars per family. Add to that internet and smartphone. I think it's hard for people to admit "OK, maybe we can't afford all of these things," and do without them, because there is so much pressure to have them and it's like you're made to feel embarrassed if you don't. Today's generation is just so materialistic.

    The house that my fiance and I bought is a modest 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 story home. I actually had some of my friends balk when I showed them photos and ask why we hadn't gotten something larger. A lot of my newlywed friends are building custom McMansions in the suburbs and I could tell they were looking down at us because we chose a "small" house that wasn't brand new.

    We currently each have a car and no car payment, but we're thinking of selling mine and just making do with one car. Since I won't be working, I don't feel like we really NEED two cars. I could drive him to work and pick him up, and then use the car while he's there to run any errands I may need to do. I don't currently know anyone who is a "one car family," but I think in our situation it could work.

    My mom also said that when she was growing up (the 60s/70s) the economy was geared towards a one-income family, and that in my generation, everything is priced for a two-income family, to the extent that you need two incomes (or one income over about $75,000) to support a family.

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    washers and dryers are luxuries now? not at my house! they save money because you arent' loading up all your crap in a gas guzzling suv to go to the laundromat to spend 20 bucks a week to wash everything.
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