Balance Budget Tax Proposal

Discussion in 'Budget & Taxes' started by Shiva_TD, May 21, 2016.

  1. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    The tax rules would change as well. There would be no business tax, no payroll taxes like medicare, no excise taxes, no C versus S corporation. If a person owns a business and they pay themselves a income, they pay personal income tax (the only tax) on the income.

    You make a dollar, 10 cents goes to the govt.
     
  2. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    So you've violated the very rule you established of "One Tax and One Rate" because you're excluding all individuals engaged as the owners of enterprise from the tax. Enterprises "make a dollar" so based upon the rule of "One Tax and One Rate", they also have to pay the 10% tax on their gross revenue just like the individual.

    I don't violate your rule because I have "One Tax On Profit" and a "Single Tax Rate On All Profit" regardless of where that profit exists.

    You propose "One Tax On Some Income But No Tax On Other Income" so even though you suggest a single rate it fails to provide a single tax on income.
     
  3. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    I am saying there is only one tax - a personal income tax - and all other taxes and the tax laws associated with them go away. Business taxes simply flow down to the consumer and owner - its an indirect tax on people.

    You (that's "you" as a human being) make a dollar, send the govt 10 cents. No exceptions, no deductions, credits, coupons, favors, special treatment, all income treated as income.
     
  4. Seth Bullock

    Seth Bullock Well-Known Member Donor

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    Well explained and very compelling.

    You are probably right. I have often thought that, while I may not have all the facts and figures all figured out, that somehow, the solutions to medical care and retirement ought to be tied to employment. (More reasons why I think this topic is important for America) Medicare in retirement, Medicaid for the unemployed/unemployable, and medical insurance for the employed that also covers spouses and children.

    I assume you have employees in your business. I would love to hear your perspective on this.

    Hat tip again. I've had a few really good conversations on this site, but this ranks at the top.
     
  5. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    A bit off topic but I don't mind sharing.

    When my partner, a business expert, and I, a manufacturing expert, were initially creating our business plan we shared the common philosophy that the employee should treat the business as if they were the owner and the owner should treat the business as if they were the employee. Both of us had been employees and one thing we agreed upon was that as employees we expected to earn a decent living. As the owners we addressed employee compensation based upon that in creating the business plan.

    Our starting wage for an untrained employee is $20/hr. All employees have group health insurance that covers medical, dental, vision, and prescription drugs. We have a profit sharing plan as well as company funded retirement accounts. We don't care if employees drink or do drugs as long as they don't do either at work. We review our financial statements monthly which also includes any tweaks required for the business plan. As noted in a manufacturing company the typical employee compensation costs should be between 20% and 30% of gross revenue and we targeted 25% in our business plan. Our typically compensation costs average about 22% of gross revenue for the month. That's offset at the end of the year because we make up the difference between the 22% actual and the 25% targeted with our profit sharing plan.

    We accomplish this because I'm a manufacturing expert so I ensure that the tasks we assign to the employees generate the necessary gross revenue. It's not magic but instead a well run enterprise based upon a very good, and constantly undated, business plan.

    That's why I've consistently stated that any enterprise can afford to provide a "living wage" (i.e. living compensation) to their employees and the only reason they don't is because they haven't created a good business plan. In short many that own enterprises just don't know how to operate a business because they're not good business people. The failure isn't with the employees but instead it's with the owners/management of the enterprise.
     
  6. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    What you fail to understand is that with only one significant exception the household is an enterprise. All of the attributes of an enterprise, from marketing, sales, and expenditures are fundamentally identical between the household and a commercial enterprise. The only significant exception is that if an enterprise does not generate a profit it goes bankrupt and ceases to exist but the household cannot cease to exist unless everyone commits suicide. Think about it.

    A commercial enterprise typically pays "rent" (lease or purchase of facilities)
    A household enterprise typically pays "rent" (lease or purchase of facilities)

    A commercial enterprise typically pays for the services it requires.
    A household enterprise typically pays for the services it requires.

    A commercial enterprise typically pays for products required for operation.
    A household enterprise typically pays for products required for operation.

    A commercial enterprise typically pays for transportation costs.
    A household enterprise typically pays for transportation costs.

    You can go down the list of expenditures for a commercial enterprise and they are mirrored by the same expenditures of the household enterprise.

    Other than the fact a commercial enterprise can cease to exist while a household enterprise cannot logically cease to exist there are no fundamental differences between the commercial enterprise and the household enterprise.

    Your criteria is inherently nefarious because it applies labels of "apples" and "oranges" to a bucket that only contains apples.
     
  7. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    Remember what I claimed at the start - that your approach was complicated with a lot of room for abuse. Look at your post above and the lengths you are going to explain one simple word ("enterprise"). You will be explaining individual words and thresholds and processes for ever, people will disagree with you because it is subjective, the powers that be will interpret all these words and thresholds and processes to their advantage - your approach will fail.

    One tax on all personal income, one rate - that's the only way.
     
  8. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    No, the only way is "one tax on income, one rate" where income is defined as net income (i.e. profit) and not gross income that applies to everyone regardless of whether they're a business owner or an individual household. Just because you own a business shouldn't mean that you pay nothing in taxes.

    Commercial enterprise will continue to file itemized deductions because ALL commercial enterprises track every expenditure while households that don't track every expenditure will use the "Exemption" that establishes the basic costs for support and comfort of the household based upon the median income.

    It makes no sense that the business owner can avoid any tax liability on their business profits while the individual has to pay an income tax on gross revenue.

    PS - Median income is not subjective, it's calculated, so the Exemption is not a subjective amount for the household.
     
  9. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    You are repeating yourself.

    Gross personal income is very straightforward, no calculations required, no "interpretation" necessary. Even in your post above you have to mention expenditures, median income, and exemption - translation "corruption, abuse, favoritism".

    The idea that "Just because you own a business shouldn't mean that you pay nothing in taxes" is your misinterpretation. The business owner cannot pretend she is an asset of the company, she must be paid an income just like any other employee, or receives distributions from the company profit - that's gross personal income to be taxed.

    Median income is certainly open to abuse - simply by having to define "income" it can be abused.

    With every post you make, you show the complications of your plan.
     
  10. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    Gross income of an enterprise is also straightforward, not calculations, no "interpretation" necessary. Because the Exemption based upon the median income replaces all tax deductions and tax credits it is very hard to have corruption, abuse, or favoritism. The problem we have today is the corruption abuse, and favoritism of out tax deductions and tax credits that I addressed by creating the Exemption based upon median income.

    This merely reflect ignorance about enterprises. I'm currently a 49.5% owner in a closed corporation and we (the three owners) taken none of the profits of the corporation as income. All of the profits remain in the corporate bank account. Will I ever take any personal income from the corporation? Maybe yes and maybe no but I do know how to take the profits even today without paying any personal income taxes on them. I could simply relocated to a country like Belize that's a part of the British Commonwealth and based upon the US-UK treaty I wouldn't have to pay any income taxes from a US corporation paid to my bank in Belize that's a UK commonwealth country. Belize, like the Cayman Islands, is one of those countries that's a tax haven where, if you're earning money from international investments, you pay no US or UK taxes on the income. Or, of course, I can simply allow millions of dollars to accumulate in the corporate bank account to avoid paying any personal income taxes on the profits of the enterprise.

    I don't know where this absurd idea comes from that corporate taxes are all paid out as dividends to stockholders because that's never been true to my knowledge. Hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars in profit are currently stored in corporate bank accounts today.

    Median gross income is tracked and has been tracked successfully for decades. It's based upon simple reporting IRS filing information. Everyone reports their gross income on their tax returns annually and it's impossible for the government or the individual to (lawfully) manipulate the reported gross personal income on their tax returns. The person can manipulate their deductions affecting their taxable net income but not the gross personal income that they report.

    Apparently you know little about business and little about the US tax codes because your statements reflect a lack of knowledge related to both.

    There's nothing complicated about my proposal at all.

    Median gross household income is easily established because it's been tracked for decades based upon IRS filing information.

    Every worker I've ever known knows exactly how much money they earned for the year so filing their tax return, that would basically be like a 1040EZ form, would be very simple and straightforward never requiring a tax accountant to figure out how much you owe, if anything.

    Business tax deductions necessary for the operation of the enterprise are also well defined and every enterprise tracks all of their income and expenditures.

    Perhaps the real problem is that the proposal is so simple and straightforward that people used to complexity can't seem to understand it. They're always looking for a way to cheat the system that would be very hard under my proposal.
     
  11. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    You are mixing the current system with a proposed future system. In the current tax structure there are all kinds of ways to use a business for tax deduction/evasion purposes. In the current tax structure, "enterprise" has a particular meaning.

    I am saying get rid of the entire structure, eliminate the entire tax code - all the billions of regulations - and go to one simple system. One tax rate on all personal income. No BS about "enterprises" or median income or thresholds or exemptions - none of that stuff which is just code for corruption.

    Your system is complicated, no matter how much you post trying to explain it, your system is rife with opportunity for corruption and abuse. It won't work.
     
  12. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    Complicated? Let's see.

    A business is basically given a modified Schedule C (profit/loss) form to fill out and file their tax return and if they have a profit then it's taxed.

    The household is given a modified 1040EZ form where they enter gross personal income, subtract the Exemption, and if they have a profit then it's taxed.

    The tax rate on profit for both is identical and is established by the authorized expenditures of Congress so that we never have deficit spending.

    Summarized in three simply lines and not tens of thousands of pages of complexity.
     
  13. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    You just mentioned a Schedule C - there are volumes of regulations behind a Sched C.

    You mention "exemption" - that's a wide open door for corruption, abuse, favoritism. In 10 years your "exemptions" will be as convoluted as exemptions are today.

    There is only one way - start over with a simple system. One rate on all personal income. Six words describes it all. No room for political games.
     
  14. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    My wife has been self-employed for the last 20 years and I do our taxes including the Schedule C for her business and it's not complicated nor are there volumes of regulations that have to be addressed in filling out a Schedule C. I'm not sure where you get your information about the Schedule C but it isn't from the tax codes.

    The "Exemption" is established by "Median Household Income" which is a mathematical formula applied to reported gross income. The mathematical formula cannot be manipulated.

    http://www.mathcaptain.com/statistics/median.html

    Let's address the stupidity of this proposal from a simple perspective.

    Assume that the mandatory expenditures of a household are $30,000/yr and the household has exactly $30,000 in gross income. If we impose a 10% tax on gross income then the government is required to provide $3,000 in welfare assistance so that the household can fund it's mandatory (not discretionary) expenditures but it costs the government at least 10% to provide that welfare.

    The government collected $3,000 in taxes but had to spend $3,300 in welfare assistance and administrative costs because the taxation created the necessity for the government welfare assistance.

    It's downright stupid for our government to create the necessity for more government spending.
     
  15. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    Now you are not only repeating yourself but making your case even worse. Now you are getting into welfare programs and further complicating your system.

    You can post 100 more times, you will not convince me your system is not overly complicated, and will not degenerate into a disaster of corruption and abuse just like the current system.

    One tax rate for all personal income. That's the only way to minimize the corruption and abuse.
     
  16. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    I merely address what drives the necessity for government welfare assistance and the associated costs.

    Of course we can end the necessity for government welfare assistance for working households by creating a minimum wage/benefit compensation law based upon the cost of living that would also have to include the tax burden imposed by your proposal. That would drive employers nuts because the tax rate must float from year to year based upon changes in the gross personal income and the authorized expenditures of Congress to ensure a balanced budget.
     
  17. liberalminority

    liberalminority Well-Known Member

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    corporations sully the basic tenets of capitalism, who has a business without taking profits from it as income?

    this is exactly why we can't expect to fairly tax the rich, they create shell corporations for storing wealth and call it job creation.

    if this is what is known as 'laissez faire' capitalism, then it definitely sounds like what it is, lazy capitalism. this type of business is not ethical at all, from its very roots.
     
  18. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    In point of fact we agree which is why I tax "corporate profits" identically to "individual profits" so a person can't create a shell corporation to hide wealth.
     
  19. bringiton

    bringiton Well-Known Member

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    No, you are indisputably incorrect as a matter of objective physical fact. The value of a land parcel is exactly the same whether it is used or not.
    Assessed value is irrelevant (appraised value is very relevant), because assessments are often affected by many arbitrary legal requirements not related to market value. Its ACTUAL -- i.e., market -- value is the amount it would trade for. That is not altered by the actual use, because it depends, as you just admitted, not on use but on the profitability of potential use.
    Wrong. Flat, outright wrong as a matter of objective physical fact. It is worth whatever it would trade for in the market, because it is factually incorrect to say the zoning cannot be changed. It most certainly CAN be changed, given the right circumstances.
    It could be based on a lot of things. When you claim that you can tell the land's value by how much a farmer can produce on the land, you are just claiming that you know better than the market. You don't.
    Irrelevant. If it could be sold (it currently can't), it would bring billions, and that's its value.
    Never is a long time, my friend. I have no doubt the ancient Romans thought the Forum would never be used as a goat pasture, but in the Middle Ages, it was.
    No. YOU confuse actual market value with some kind of notional value you dreamed up based on current use. The market is smarter than you.
    And if the market agrees with you that the land will never be more productive than that, then its value will reflect that restriction.

    But the market is smarter than people who say the designated use of some land parcel will "never" change.
     
  20. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    I would actually summarize my response by referring to the natural right of property as expressed by John Locke.

    Under the natural right of property the labor of the person in using the land establishes the right of property (ownership) and based upon that use the title to the land is granted. If the land is not used then it doesn't belong to anyone and if the person stops using the land then they lose the right of property (ownership) and title to the land that's based upon the use.

    Unfortunately in the United States we've never embraced the natural right of property as the foundation for our statutory laws of property. We grant title without any regard for whether the person has established or maintains a natural right to the property. Our statutory laws of property are based upon "title" created under the Divine Right of Kings that John Locke argued against in his Second Treatise of Civil Government, Chapter 5.

    http://www.constitution.org/jl/2ndtr05.txt

    Your argument centers on statutory laws of property based upon "title" while my arguments are based upon the "natural right of property" and the two are completely different.
     
  21. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

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    Actually, deficit spending, when not done to deal with an emergency situation, is the inability of a politician to control their spending.

    It further is an arrogance in which politicians will spend full knowing they don't have the income revenue or pay-back plan to support the spending.

    It is a gross abuse in which the politician places the burden of pay back on future generations in order to pander protecting their job today.

    If Americans are not allowed to have deficit spending then the nation and it's idiot politicians should not be allowed to do deficit spending.

    BUT...this won't change because a majority of idiot voters don't give a rip about deficit spending...
     
  22. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    I've never been sure of where this opinion originates because it's not true and flies in the face of the US Constitution that is very explicit in controlling the spending of US government. Spending requires the consent of both houses of Congress and concurrence by the President of the United States. The spending is very well controlled under the US Constitution. There are no "blank checks" where the US government can resort to uncontrolled spending.

    We also know that the revenue necessary for the spending is also controlled under the US Constitution where both houses of Congress, with concurrence by the President of the United States, create the tax laws as authorized by the US Constitution.

    The deficits reflect a lack of linkage between the spending authorizations that are controlled by the government and the tax revenues that are also controlled by the government and nothing more.

    My proposal creates that linkage so that the controlled spending by Congress is funded by the controlled revenues based upon the spending authorizations.

    The US Constitution doesn't require the federal government to have the annual revenues necessary to fund the annual expenditures because it allows borrowing to fund those expenditures in Article I Section 8 Clause 1. Of course with borrowing comes the expectation that the borrowing will be repaid in the future because to borrow without the intent to repay the loan is fraud. Members of Congress that don't make proposals to increase the tax revenues to repay the borrowing are not only arrogant but instead are conspirators in the act of fraud.

    Of course when we look at Congress which party typically supports higher taxation of those that are most capable of funding that taxation (i.e. the wealthy) and which party typically opposes any tax increases, actually proposing tax cuts for those most capable of funding government, to repay the past borrowing and to balance the budget?

    So who is more arrogant. The politicians that propose tax revisions increasing the government revenues to fund the authorized expenditures and repay past borrowing or those that oppose collecting enough in taxes to fund current expenditures and repay past borrowing?

    I'm glad you included the caveat "idiot voters" as opposed to implying this related to all voters where the majority of all voters are very concerned about deficit spending. The majority of all voters do want the government to collect enough in tax revenues to fund the authorized expenditures and they want that revenue to come from households based upon their ability to pay the taxes necessary to fund the authorized expenditures. In short, low to lower median income households that can't afford any taxation shouldn't have any tax burden because they can't afford the tax burden. Those with moderate to high median income should carry a moderate tax burden because they can afford a moderate tax burden. Those with high incomes should carry the highest tax burden because they can afford to carry a very high tax burden. The tax burden should be based upon the ability to pay the taxes.

    That is exactly what my tax proposal provides where the "Exemption" eliminates the tax burden completely up to "median income" and then, because of the Exemption it becomes very progressive, rapidly increasing the effective tax rate, on the income above median income for those that can afford the taxation.

    Of course there are the "idiot voters" that you mention but they're overwhelmingly Republicans that don't believe people should be taxed based upon their ability to pay the taxes. They generally insist that the super wealthy investors retain the lowest tax burden relative to income of any group in the United States. A person has be an idiot if they believe that a person with $200,000 or more in income from a job should be paying a 39.6% income tax rate while an unemployed investor with $25 million (or $250 million) in income is only required to pay a maximum tax rate of 20%. Why should a person with 1/100th (or 1/1000th) of the income be paying twice the tax rate on their income?

    At least under my proposal both the household with $200,000 and $25 million are paying the identical tax rate on all of their gross income above the Exemption established by the median income in the United States.
     
  23. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    The 16th Amendment, that authorized the imposition of the income tax on any income regardless of source, did not establish a limit to that taxation so let's take a hypothetical situation to figure out what the maximum income tax could logically be.

    Assume the worst possible case where the very existence of the United State is threatened such as a war where another nation wants to take over complete control of the United States. How high of an income tax rate could rationally be imposed in such a situation?

    If we take the entire US population (about 308 million) and divide it by the average household size (2.54 people) then we would have about 122 million households. Let's ensure that all of these 122 million household receive the "median income" of roughly $50,000/yr or about $6 trillion out of the roughly $16 trillion in gross personal income being generated by the US economy today. To ensure the survival of the United State then logically we could tax the excess above "median income per household" up to 100% or a tax rate on all gross income in the United States of roughly 60% while still ensuring that every household has "median income" to live on.

    Of course I'm not advocating that but this is mathematically how high the income rate tax on gross personal income could rationally go in the most dire of emergencies where the very existence of the United State is at stake. We could arguably go higher but that would drive all households into poverty so I've limited this to the mathematical 60% based a rational maximum tax rate where no household would be forced into poverty by the tax burden.

    Today our general expenditures, predominately funded by the income tax, are about 12.5% of gross personal income and that's just a small fraction of what could be paid in personal income taxes under the most dire of circumstances.

    Those that believe we can't afford the tax burden necessary to fund the authorized expenditures have never ran the math because we certainly can afford that tax burden. It's not about whether we can afford the tax burden, and in fact under dire circumstance we could afford even more, but instead it's about who do we impose the tax burden on. Logically we impose the burden on those most capable of carrying that tax burden based upon how much income they have.
     
  24. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

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  25. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    Spending measures and our tax codes are all "laws" passed by Congress and approved by the President (with the exception of laws passed by Congress that over-ride a presidential veto). The president cannot initiate any law and all spending authorizations (laws) originate in the House and are controlled by the majority party that controls the committees that create the spending authorizations and that can prevent amendments by the opposing party presented before the entire House. Yes, the Senate can amend spending authorizations, virtually rewriting them from scratch if it so desires, but once again this is controlled by the majority party that controls the committees that create the text of the authorization.

    The president's hands are pretty much tied because the president can only approve or veto whatever the Congress presents. A veto generally carries serious consequences for the nation because it vetoes all of the spending authorization so the president is often pragmatically forced to accept some spending authorizations that they would object to if presented individually. People often discuss "line-item-veto" authority but we know that would be used for nefarious political reasons as opposed to being used for the overall best interests of all the American people.

    When it comes to Congress not linking the tax codes to fund the authorized expenditures then obviously I object which is a primary reason for my proposal. I can't universally condemn all members of Congress when they pass a spending authorization for more than projected revenues because many of those members of Congress seek separate legislation to increase the revenues. The problem is that their efforts to increase the tax revenues to fund the authorized expenditures are blocked by "anti-tax" members of Congress that refuse to raise the tax rates to cover the authorized spending. It isn't the spending authorization that's the real problem but the refusal to fund the spending authorization that creates the deficit.

    Yes, because of the extreme disparity in income between the wealthy and the rest of the American people we should expect them to pay a lot more in taxes. The top 1% of income households receive 40% of all the income annually and what's more shocking is that the top 1/10th of 1% of income households are receiving 1/2 of all that, fully 20%, of every dollar of income in the United States. The top 1/10th of 1% of income households earn more in a year than most households earn in a lifetime. The top 400 income households in the US have an average annual income of $250 million/yr that equals about 5,000 years of income for a median income household in the United States..... and their average income tax liability is less than 18% or about what a household with $90,000 in income pays. And you call that fair? If they paid $249 million in taxes (a 99.6% effective tax rate) they'd still be 20-times better off financially than the average American household and they wouldn't be spending tens of millions of dollars to "buy" political influence. I certainly don't advocate a 99.6% income tax rate on the top 400 households with $250 million a year in income but there's no doubt whatsoever that they could afford to pay it and still live a luxurious lifestyle.

    The wealthy don't "own the government" based upon the taxes they pay but instead they "own the government" with the money they have left over after taxes that they use for political contributions.

    Once again I don't seek draconian taxation and my proposal is based upon the "ability to pay" the tax where the "costs" of both enterprise and the household are accounted for and only the "profits" are subject to taxation. The "costs" to the enterprise are itemized because the enterprise always itemizes all of it's expenditures. The "costs" to the household are not itemized because people don't typically itemize all of their expenditures and instead are covered by the "Exemption" that has a close relationship to the mandatory annual expenditures of the household. The tax rate on "profits" is the same for all enterprise and households so everyone is paying their "fair share" in funding of the government.

    I thought I had in the past but perhaps you never read the post(s) or perhaps I didn't explain very well.

    We can't create an quantitative analysis based upon individual spending habits but we can, and MIT has, created a quantitative analysis of what the minimum mandatory expenditures are for households across the United States. There are ways by which individual households can reduce those expenditures such as two households living together which reduces their "cost of rent" and other essential expenditures. Usually those "saving" are use to cover other mandatory expenditure that can be above the "average" quantified expenditures (e.g. save money on rent to spend more money on food). We don't advocate forcing multiple households to share the same apartment so they can save money to spend on other things. Instead we overwhelmingly believe that each household should have it's own place to live and that is calculated as being the "minimum cost of rent" for a household.

    You like to address specific items and I can anecdotally address three that are tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. I smoked, drank, and did drugs excessively during the 1970's and, as shocking as this might sound, I easily consumed over 1 million in illegal drugs during the 1970's. But let's look at the origin of this "problem" because that's important to understand. I served in combat during 1968-69 in Vietnam and before I entered the service I didn't smoke, I'd tried marijuana twice, and I didn't drink. Combat is a perhaps the most traumatic experience a person can endure because it goes on for months and months with no reprieve where the person is under severe stress. In Vietnam the US military gave me cigarettes for free and that helped relieve the stress of combat. Marijuana and opium were readily available and while I used opium rarely we all used marijuana in copious quantities on a daily basis because it didn't impair our combat capabilities. The US military also ensure we had as much alcohol as we wanted although most didn't drink very much because alcohol impairs your combat capabilities. The US military also furnished us with methamphetamine which can be used to enhance your combat capabilities by eliminating the fatigue of combat.

    So yes, I smoked, drank, and did drugs in the 1970's and I was introduced to all of these either directly by the US military or indirectly related to my military service in combat and I used them because they overcame the stress of combat that doesn't end with the combat. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exists for all combat veterans to varying degrees and it is an incurable disorder because you can't "un-live" the experiences that you went through. Only the symptoms of PTSD can be treated but the US government and military denied the existence of combat related PTSD until the mid-1980's and then was careful to not inform the Vietnam veterans because treatment costs money. So millions of Vietnam veterans dealt with PTSD, that they didn't even know they were dealing with, the same way the dealt with the traumatic experience of war, cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs.

    So you can claim this was non-essential spending but in fact it was spending based upon self-treatment for a mental disorder caused by my service in the military and while not clinically recommended it unquestionably prevented me from committing suicide during the 1970's.

    I mentioned that I consumed over $1 million worth of illegal drugs alone and I certainly couldn't afford that on my income from employment so how did I do that you might ask. While my use of different types of drugs expanded the primary "cost" was related to cocaine use but I didn't usually buy cocaine for personal use. In the early 1970's I worked in the rock concert promotion business but I won't mention the name of the company. Cocaine was a "benefit" in the rock and roll concert business and we generally had up to a pound available at every show that the musicians and crew have unlimited access to. A pound of "illegal" cocaine was worth perhaps $10,000 at the time which was over 100-times more expensive than pharmaceutical cocaine so the high cost was due to the prohibition. When I wasn't receiving "free cocaine" working the concert tours I had cocaine "fronted" to me and I sold it which allowed me to keep the "profits" in cocaine that I consumed. So I wasn't spending any "money" but instead I was able to consume a very expensive illegal drug with no "out-of-pocket" costs.

    No, I don't advocate what I did but it kept me alive dealing with a mental disorder that I wasn't even aware of at the time. BTW - It was only this year, over 45 years since I served in combat, that the VA finally admitted that I have combat related PTSD although the VA hospital diagnosed it five years ago and has been treating me for it since then. I still smoke, rarely drink, but do still smoke marijuana (recognized as effective in the treatment of PTSD by many medical professionals including the two different doctor that have treated me at the VA that, by law, can't recommend it) to address the symptoms of combat related PTSD. Perhaps you don't believe "avoiding self-inflected death" (suicide) isn't an essential expenditure but I would argue it is. We can also note that the million dollar cost of the 1970's would have only been about a $10,000 cost had it not been for the prohibitions to the drugs I used and the fact that the government refused to treat the disorder.

    We can also note that owning a car is often a necessary expenditure for transportation related to employment. It can also be argued that owning a new car is less expensive than owning an old clunker that has high maintenance costs and poor gas mileage. In any case "transportation" is considered a mandatory expenditure and the minimum cost of transportation is quantifiable for the average household. Sometimes they can save a little if they use the bus or walk while other times purchasing a new car is the most cost effective means of transportation that would be more than the minimum mandatory cost for the average household. Once again we can't determine what the individual household expenditures are but instead can only establish the average minimum mandatory costs for the household based upon statistical analysis.

    We can also note that I've tried to accommodate both minimal "support" and minimal "comfort" in the "Exemption" because if the household has no comfort at all then they're nothing but economic slaves and I oppose slavery in any form. If I was more realistic I would probably raise the "Exemption" to ensure more "comfort" but I didn't for pragmatic reasons. It's hard to explain to some that believe in poverty that it benefits a person and society if that household has a few dollars left over to "waste" on enjoying life such as being able to take a vacation... even to Las Vegas.
     

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