Random Thoughts (Political Edition)

TC, you seem to contradict yourself. The second half of your post seems to indicate that you agree with GRtak - same percentage tax, regardless how much you make. GRtak was outraged by the example of a businessman being taxed at a lower percentage rate than his secretary. Wouldn't you agree he has to be taxed at the same rate as her?
I'm talking about the concept of "paying your fair share", sorry if that wasn't clear.

With all this nonsense with Trump, it seems a lot of people don't realize that "your fair share" is whatever the tax code says it is. For example, the married couple next door that have 3 kids pay a lower tax rate than me, despite being more of a burden on the tax system. Are they not paying their fair share? Of course they are, since raising children in a stable 2 parent household is a massive benefit to our system and the continuation of our society. They're contributing in ways that I am not.

And the same logic applies to businesses. They're kinda sorta important to society too. So our tax code gives some breaks to them, since they contribute to society in ways that individuals do not.

But since that logic is lost on most people, I think a flat tax rate would be preferable. It would certainly benefit me, as a singe dude with no business ownership. Lets have the same rules apply to everyone. No double standards.
 
Uhh no, the rate increases with income. The outrage is over the fact that high earners are sometimes able to lower their taxable income through deductions and, well, accounting. These tax rules are written specifically to allow people (including us, the peons) to deduct certain expenses and for businesses to catch a break - lefties just think that when it's their own income or that of the neighborhood pot dispensary, it's perfectly reasonable to take advantage of these tools, but when it's "the rich" taking advantage of the same tools it's an evil "loophole". It basically comes down to people seriously believing that "the rich" make "too much" and should share the wealth they worked for - a backwards, unfair, unjust, socialist turd of an idea.
Ignoring Level's (as usual) defaming of an entire political spectrum, I have to agree with his post.

I am not American, but my situation clearly illustrates the above. I am a specialist physician. In Canada, that means I am a self-employed businessman (despite us technically being government employees). I receive no pension, and no paid time off. It's a fee for service model. And I am responsible to pay for my office overhead and staff (which vary depending upon style of practice to include not just receptionists, but perhaps also nurses, technicians, bookkeepers, etc) from my earned income. I pay taxes at a corporate rate, which is far less than if I were paying them as an individual, in part to help encourage me to continue to create more jobs for others. I make a good living, but one look at my gross income is completely missing the point due to all those added expenses, all the while having to pay for other items like retirement, malpractice, disability insurance, and critical illness insurance.

Even after all that, does my take home pay outmeasure those of my staff or other professionals? Your damned right it does, and it should. This is because of supply, demand, and investment. It takes a minimum of ten years post secondary education to become a licensed, practicing family doctor, more so for specialists such as myself. Those are prime earning years where people traditionally save for a first home and start a family, whereas in my case we continue to accrue debt to the high costs of tuition. So we typically start our careers in our mid 30s with significant six figure debts, in a career with no retirement pension or sick days.

That, and an ugly fact that many socialist minded people fail to grasp: all jobs are not created equal. Of course I should earn more than the average person because of how long it took to get here and due to the specialized nature of the skills I possess. No one would ever strive to become a specialist, educated anything if it meant earning the same as someone who is able to join the work force straight out of high school, or even college. Capitalism is necessary in that regard.

Keep in mind, I obviously don't make anything obscene like a corporate CEO (who, one could argue, doesn't have anywhere near the amount specialist training as I do compared to the general public), and nor am I opposed to corporations paying their fair share (albeit with the corporate rates, for the reasons I outlined above). I oppose all manners of tax dodging (here's looking at you, Apple), as I do the obscene bonuses that high ranking corporate officials earn if it means having to lay off staff (your duty as a business it to keep people employed.... if you have to lay off people, paying yourself 7 plus figures in excess of a 6 figure plus base salary is hypocritical) or take from the corporate coffers what isn't theirs to take.
 
You cite no evidence to support what you are saying, except your preconceived notion about what "lefties" believe. More importantly, you are avoiding the argument.

TC said - flat rate, no deductions for anyone (rich or poor). Same percentage tax for everyone.

Or is that not what he said? Those seem to be his exact words. As a "leftie" I don't have a problem with that. Or are you going to tell me what I should think as a "leftie" just so I can fit your mold?
Let's go back to what you said:
GRtak was outraged by the example of a businessman being taxed at a lower percentage rate than his secretary.
That is NOT what GRtak is outraged by because a businessman is NOT taxed at a higher rate than his secretary. He might be paying a lower rate overall due to deductions and such but the tax rate set by the government is absolutely higher for him. That being said, do you deny that Democratic voters very frequently clamor for more taxation of the wealthy??


Before thinking what is fair in taxes, shouldn't we think about what is fair in earnings? The two are intertwined
No, Karl Marx, just no. Fair earnings are whatever the market says, not what some random government bureaucrat thinks.


As a company you can't just magically turn up your income, especially if you have competitors that sell their products for a smaller price. If there are enough companies that make roughly the same product, the customer gets to choose and each company has to have some sort of selling point, like lowest price, best quality, best value for money etc.

But a government doesn't feel this pressure. At least not to such an extend. The only competition is in the form of other governments, which requires the "customer" to actually move to another country. Ok so the government needs to keep the economy going. But apart from that there is little incentive for a government to be as efficient as possible, since it can control its own income through taxes (to a certain degree).

I used to work in public services in Germany, and almost every time you had to deal with the administration it was a fucking bureaucratic nightmare.

And a friend of mine who works as a teacher tells the same story. For instance the public school he works at gets a certain amount of money each year (from the city, which in turn gets it from the goverment, which gets it from taxes). That amount of money is based on how much they spent the year before. This immediately leads to two things:

1) The school will make damn sure to spent *all* the money by the end of the year, because otherwise it would get less money the next year because some dumb fuck would reason "but you only spent 90.000 ? last year instead of 130.000 ?, so from now on we will only give you 90.000 ?". This means the school will spend money on bullshit it doesn't really need. It just needs to blow some money away.

2) The school can't save up for a couple of years, for instance if it wants to buy something expensive that could not be purchased with one years worth of budget.

While the first point is just tragic, the second is downright stupid because if the school wants to buy something really expensive, they can't save up for it, but instead they need to notify the city council and explain to them what they want to buy. Then the city council does the actual purchase. Nevermind that this means that some uninterested dimwit from the city administration now has to deal with external contractors without knowing all the details. This means that projects get screwed over because the company that gets the contract never actually has any contact with their customer (the school). Instead the company has to deal with a middleman that's probably not awfully interested in getting things absolutely perfect.

And I'm pretty sure there are loads more examples for highly inefficient government administrations and rules that would simply break a company because it would be wasting too much money on administration.
Yup. Government is horribly inefficient by its very nature. There is zero motivation for government to move quickly, provide quality services, etc because they generally have no competition. It's why Uber has been so incredibly successful - they managed to infiltrate a market that the government has always had a monopoly on and it manages to offer the same service much more efficiently, more reliably, more conveniently,cheaper, safer, etc. It's also why charter schools are on the rise - take away government red tape and most markers will flourish.


Ignoring Level's (as usual) defaming of an entire political spectrum, I have to agree with his post.

I am not American, but my situation clearly illustrates the above. I am a specialist physician. In Canada, that means I am a self-employed businessman (despite us technically being government employees). I receive no pension, and no paid time off. It's a fee for service model. And I am responsible to pay for my office overhead and staff (which vary depending upon style of practice to include not just receptionists, but perhaps also nurses, technicians, bookkeepers, etc) from my earned income. I pay taxes at a corporate rate, which is far less than if I were paying them as an individual, in part to help encourage me to continue to create more jobs for others. I make a good living, but one look at my gross income is completely missing the point due to all those added expenses, all the while having to pay for other items like retirement, malpractice, disability insurance, and critical illness insurance.

Even after all that, does my take home pay outmeasure those of my staff or other professionals? Your damned right it does, and it should. This is because of supply, demand, and investment. It takes a minimum of ten years post secondary education to become a licensed, practicing family doctor, more so for specialists such as myself. Those are prime earning years where people traditionally save for a first home and start a family, whereas in my case we continue to accrue debt to the high costs of tuition. So we typically start our careers in our mid 30s with significant six figure debts, in a career with no retirement pension or sick days.

That, and an ugly fact that many socialist minded people fail to grasp: all jobs are not created equal. Of course I should earn more than the average person because of how long it took to get here and due to the specialized nature of the skills I possess. No one would ever strive to become a specialist, educated anything if it meant earning the same as someone who is able to join the work force straight out of high school, or even college. Capitalism is necessary in that regard.

Keep in mind, I obviously don't make anything obscene like a corporate CEO (who, one could argue, doesn't have anywhere near the amount specialist training as I do compared to the general public), and nor am I opposed to corporations paying their fair share (albeit with the corporate rates, for the reasons I outlined above). I oppose all manners of tax dodging (here's looking at you, Apple), as I do the obscene bonuses that high ranking corporate officials earn if it means having to lay off staff (your duty as a business it to keep people employed.... if you have to lay off people, paying yourself 7 plus figures in excess of a 6 figure plus base salary is hypocritical) or take from the corporate coffers what isn't theirs to take.
Agreed. As a business owner you also take on all the risk, which is why corporate CEOs get paid so damn much - a mistake by a secretary will likely go unnoticed, a mistake by an analyst might result in a bad quarter at worst, but a mistake by the CEO can bring down the entire company and everyone in it.

Similarly to you, my girlfriend is a doctor. She spent something like 26 years getting her education and now works four days a week and makes more than me. Is she making more than most? Yes. Is she working "harder" than someone with three minimum wage jobs? Arguably no, not really. Is her job more important, the risk greater, and the education far longer than fifty barista jobs combined? Damn right, she saves lives on a daily basis like it's no big deal. Ironically, her take-home at the end of the day isn't that impressive - since she didn't start her career until much later than most she has to play catch up with retirement investment and savings, plus she's in a higher tax bracket, plus she has massive student loan debt. Your typical socialist (is that preferable to progressive or left-leaning?) individual would scream that she's "wealthy" and needs to pay more taxes :|
 
No, Karl Marx, just no. Fair earnings are whatever the market says, not what some random government bureaucrat thinks.
Your ideology puts words in my mouth that just weren't there.

Plus, "the market" is a mechanistic construct tied to the human nature; it works because of human psychology, and can be used and misused. Saying that something is good juse because "the market" says so is exactly like saying that something is good because everyone does it.

Drop your market god, it's puny and treacherous.
 
With all this nonsense with Trump, it seems a lot of people don't realize that "your fair share" is whatever the tax code says it is. For example, the married couple next door that have 3 kids pay a lower tax rate than me, despite being more of a burden on the tax system. Are they not paying their fair share? Of course they are, since raising children in a stable 2 parent household is a massive benefit to our system and the continuation of our society. They're contributing in ways that I am not.
And that's good, although I'm looking at the other side of the coin: not just what tax breaks benefit the system, but which services should get tax dollars to also benefit the system.

To piggyback off your example, we can agree that a child raised in a stable 2-parent household is likely to be a massive benefit to the system. What about a poor single mother who gets pregnant and doesn't want the baby? Like how we understand the stable child is more likely to be a benefit, we also understand the unwanted poor one is more likely to be a burden. It would be less of a burden on the system to spend a little now and subsidize the poor mother's abortion than to not do so and then be burdened with a human life more likely to be on welfare, in the prison system, or otherwise unproductive enough to warrant the tax outlay to keep them going for however many decades.

Which is why, to go back to an earlier post of yours:

Conflating important stuff with meaningless stuff, in order to apply the same penalties is a joke.
We don't view that as meaningless. Just an example to think about, not a defense of all tax-provided benefits.

I oppose all manners of tax dodging (here's looking at you, Apple), as I do the obscene bonuses that high ranking corporate officials earn if it means having to lay off staff (your duty as a business it to keep people employed.... if you have to lay off people, paying yourself 7 plus figures in excess of a 6 figure plus base salary is hypocritical) or take from the corporate coffers what isn't theirs to take.
This is what I find to be a big driver of things. Most everyone I personally talk to is fine if with jobs paying differently depending on factors; I certainly do, as an engineer, and I don't begrudge my pharmacist friend making much more than me because his training was much more difficult. What gets people irked up is seeing CEOs get paid obscene amounts to run a company into the ground and jump out with a golden parachute at another job or simply walk away with few to no repercussions. (This is where I agree with LeVeL that more should have been done to persecute the bankers after the crash.)

Yup. Government is horribly inefficient by its very nature. There is zero motivation for government to move quickly, provide quality services, etc because they generally have no competition. It's why Uber has been so incredibly successful - they managed to infiltrate a market that the government has always had a monopoly on and it manages to offer the same service much more efficiently, more reliably, more conveniently,cheaper, safer, etc. It's also why charter schools are on the rise - take away government red tape and most markers will flourish.
And then the markets stagnate again as monopolies get established. Look at the telecomms: deregulation helped bring about massive monopolies where now large geographic areas are left with one choice for service that has no motivation to provide quality service, and even tries to play dirty to prevent competition as we see with Comcast trying to block Google Fiber in Nashville.

This is also not a new trend, as seen by Standard Oil and Carnegie Steel in the Gilded Age. The markets are not the end-all-be-all.

As an aside, I just want to provide an example of government red tape facing the other direction and preventing the government from working better. Before I was hired, the Army Corps of Engineers here was refurbishing one of the locks and dams on the Ohio River. The work was divided into two different contracts because there wasn't enough funding to do it all at once, so the first contract goes out for bids, gets awarded, and work starts. The work runs into issues, costs rise, budgets get exceeded, etc. They took a look at the second scope of work and saw that many of the same problems from the first contract would happen again.

This is where the red tape comes in: the Engineering & Construction division inside the Corps that administered the contract and the contractor from the first job now had a better idea how much it would cost to complete the second part of the rehab due to firsthand experience, but no one else bidding knew. Of course, the government adjusted its estimate but by its own rules it had to go to the lowest bidder (within reason), which was a different contractor. Then they ran into the same issues and costs rose to where it would have been cheaper to hire the first contractor (who submitted a more accurate bid, but it was higher than the second's and so they didn't get it). So why have that rule? Because there were problems in the past with the contracts getting awarded to the same company over and over with no due reason or corrupt reasons; the government administrators liked working with certain contractors over others, and in one case it was discovered one of the administrators was selecting his brother-in-law's company. The rule was put in place to stop that, which I think you can see were anti-competitive practices that also hamstring the government occasionally.

Agreed. As a business owner you also take on all the risk, which is why corporate CEOs get paid so damn much - a mistake by a secretary will likely go unnoticed, a mistake by an analyst might result in a bad quarter at worst, but a mistake by the CEO can bring down the entire company and everyone in it.
Again, not anathema to me. What I find disagreeable is often seen in charts like this:



CEOs are being paid too much. Capitalism was alive and well between 1965 and 1989 on that chart, then it all went crazy. I'm fine with CEOs earning so damn much, not ok with the current tulip mania.
 
And that's good, although I'm looking at the other side of the coin: not just what tax breaks benefit the system, but which services should get tax dollars to also benefit the system.

To piggyback off your example, we can agree that a child raised in a stable 2-parent household is likely to be a massive benefit to the system. What about a poor single mother who gets pregnant and doesn't want the baby? Like how we understand the stable child is more likely to be a benefit, we also understand the unwanted poor one is more likely to be a burden. It would be less of a burden on the system to spend a little now and subsidize the poor mother's abortion than to not do so and then be burdened with a human life more likely to be on welfare, in the prison system, or otherwise unproductive enough to warrant the tax outlay to keep them going for however many decades.

Which is why, to go back to an earlier post of yours:

We don't view that as meaningless. Just an example to think about, not a defense of all tax-provided benefits.
We're bouncing around between subjects. Our tax rates are a different subject than what those taxes actually fund.

Like if I were to assert that imprisoning people for tax evasion was a cruel and unusual punishment, and a possible human rights violation, how would you respond?

I would respond by saying that our tax dollars pay for things that hold our society together and those that refuse to pay into it are undermining our system, which could lead to its deterioration and decline into anarchy and barbarism. Or something less melodramatic. Regardless, we couldn't tolerate people refusing to pay into the system since it would hurt our society in a potentially fatal way.

But that logic only works if the government spends that money on things that actually hold our society together. Your tuition, your abortion, your sex change operation, etc, are not things that hold our society together. So throwing someone in prison for refusing to pay for them is harder to defend against accusations of cruel and unusual punishment. Which is why I dislike big government and wish it were smaller and more dedicated to the things that government is actually necessary for. It may seem like a pipe dream, but I want to live in a principled society with a moral code.

You can make a case for anything that benefits society, but that isn't the same thing as justifying it. I could rob a bank and give the money to a charity. That could benefit society, but it certainly doesn't justify my actions.

CEOs are being paid too much. Capitalism was alive and well between 1965 and 1989 on that chart, then it all went crazy. I'm fine with CEOs earning so damn much, not ok with the current tulip mania.
That reminds me of a bit from Ben Shapiro when he was debating the $15 minimum wage. The CEO of Walmart gets paid something like $20 million dollars a year. What if he were to forgo his entire salary and split it among all the employees of Walmart? Well since Walmart employs 2 million people, that would give each employee an extra ten dollars... a year... yeah.
 
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Government is essentially legalized racketeering, you have to pay protection money or something bad will happen to you.

The idea of "fairness" is an extremely dangerous one. This was the driving force behind USSR and is not necessarily a good thing in the first place. For example Bill Gates became the richest man in the world by essentially cheating another company out of their product but then he set up a charitable foundation that has done a lot of good in the world. Had he been limited to some "fair" salary he couldn't have done that.
 
We're bouncing around between subjects. Our tax rates are a different subject than what those taxes actually fund.

Like if I were to assert that imprisoning people for tax evasion was a cruel and unusual punishment, and a possible human rights violation, how would you respond?

I would respond by saying that our tax dollars pay for things that hold our society together and those that refuse to pay into it are undermining our system, which could lead to its deterioration and decline into anarchy and barbarism. Or something less melodramatic. Regardless, we couldn't tolerate people refusing to pay into the system since it would hurt our society in a potentially fatal way.

But that logic only works if the government spends that money on things that actually hold our society together. Your tuition, your abortion, your sex change operation, etc, are not things that hold our society together. So throwing someone in prison for refusing to pay for them is harder to defend against accusations of cruel and unusual punishment. Which is why I dislike big government and wish it were smaller and more dedicated to the things that government is actually necessary for. It may seem like a pipe dream, but I want to live in a principled society with a moral code.

You can make a case for anything that benefits society, but that isn't the same thing as justifying it. I could rob a bank and give the money to a charity. That could benefit society, but it certainly doesn't justify my actions.


That reminds me of a bit from Ben Shapiro when he was debating the $15 minimum wage. The CEO of Walmart gets paid something like $20 million dollars a year. What if he were to forgo his entire salary and split it among all the employees of Walmart? Well since Walmart employs 2 million people, that would give each employee an extra ten dollars... a year... yeah.
Providing student aid for tuition results in more people going to college (or a career or technical STEM focused school), resulting in a overall better educated populace that is more likely to have members of which that come up with innovations that benefit society. Sure, there's people who realize that "oh no, college is not for me" then leave the post secondary education system, but is it worth these people leaving the system (still required to pay for loans they took out mind...) to come up with the others that do graduate and may contribute to bettering society? How is this immoral?

Funding women's health centers that happen to perform abortions benefits society through a healthier populous overall. It has the possibility to actually SAVE money by lowering healthcare costs, and strain on social services because they provide judgement free and affordable access to things like birth control, STD Testing and comprehensive sex education to vulnerable populations like teens and the poor - things that most religious based charities won't do because. sex. How is doing the right thing for others immoral? I'm all for a woman's right to choose, so I'm biased, but you cannot deny the economic aspects of banning this just to please a certain religion's/political party (cause let's face it, for better or worse, it's intertwined) moral outrage.

Funding transgender people's hormones and sex changes improves society by lowering the burden on social services that are needed to deal with the body dysphoria that not undergoing the hormones and such can put a person through. A one time expense (so to speak) to prevent years long subsidization of mental health services that would happen otherwise...and may not be successful, AND to improve someone's quality of life so they could go on to be even more productive members of society now that this "monkey" is off their back? Sounds like a reasonable expense to me that results in wins for multiple people in society.

It should be mentioned that, right now under the ACA, health plans are NOT required to fund gender transition.

I just hate the whole "morals are important but only if they're my (99% of the time conservatively religiously bent) morals" thing.

It seems like there's two outlooks on this stuff - conservative viewholders tend to be like "they're taking MY money and wasting it on THEM" when looking at taxes and programs - especially those that don't necessarily appear to benefit them right away, while liberal viewholders tend to be like "well this has benefits that can work for the greater good and if I need it later, it'll be there."

I also hate when people bitch about taxes...yet work for a fucking quasi-governmental agency and would be on the fucking street without those very taxes. A coworker of mine is like this - she doesn't even live in the district but still bitches about "waste" she perceives.
 
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Just because something can benefit society, that doesn't mean it's moral to force it on people against their will, on threats of imprisonment. You're focusing on the first part while ignoring the second. I believe a lot of this stuff benefits society too, but I'm not about to condone the government forcing it on people. That's the immoral part, not the benefit itself.
 
Just because something can benefit society, that doesn't mean it's moral to force it on people against their will, on threats of imprisonment. You're focusing on the first part while ignoring the second. I believe a lot of this stuff benefits society too, but I'm not about to condone the government forcing it on people. That's the immoral part, not the benefit itself.
Rick makes an excellent point for tax dollars to support things such as transgender surgery. IF data can be provided to show that allowing people to undergo these procedures does in fact lower absolute health care costs, versus the alternatives of long term mental health (if in fact necessary), then it's no longer a moral case, just a budgetary one.

Case in point: For years I was opposed to the idea of government sponsored safe injection sites for IV drug use (because I find the notion of enabling someone else's bad habits repugnant), but longitudinal studies indicate that this actually costs taxpayers far less than users simply injecting wherever/whenever with whatever dirty needles, which in turn lead to spread of communicable diseases and resultant health care costs of prolonged, recurrent hospitalizations. Therefore, my position has since changed based purely on the economical model.
 
Rick makes an excellent point for tax dollars to support things such as transgender surgery. IF data can be provided to show that allowing people to undergo these procedures does in fact lower absolute health care costs, versus the alternatives of long term mental health (if in fact necessary), then it's no longer a moral case, just a budgetary one.
The problem of forcing it on people against their will still exists. That's the fundamental problem with government, everything is backed with force. That's why I think the government should only do things that are essential to the survival of our society, since only those things are serious enough to warrant the force used to implement them. A lot of this stuff can benefit our society in many ways, but when you take consent away from people it becomes a moral issue. If there was a way for individuals to opt-out of these things, that would solve the moral problem. Unfortunately no one would ever do that, since taking the money by force is so much easier than trying to earn it through logic and reason.
 
The problem of forcing it on people against their will still exists. That's the fundamental problem with government, everything is backed with force. That's why I think the government should only do things that are essential to the survival of our society, since only those things are serious enough to warrant the force used to implement them. A lot of this stuff can benefit our society in many ways, but when you take consent away from people it becomes a moral issue. If there was a way for individuals to opt-out of these things, that would solve the moral problem. Unfortunately no one would ever do that, since taking the money by force is so much easier than trying to earn it through logic and reason.
I thought about the "opt out" model in the shower (because clearly I have no idea what fun is so I think of politics in the shower.... [emoji38]):

In a perfect world they're be enough people who would not opt out to make things work.

But, in reality, I could easily seek people opt out of all sorts of funding measures without realizing the long term consequences. I'll use the latest gas tax increase (designed to help fund PA road improvement projects) outrage as an example. Let's say it was possible to opt out of it.

PA resident: "Fuck this gas tax, NOPE."

*Years later*

"Why are our roads even worse!"

Not realizing that with the tax at least the road quality status could be stabilized at current, terrible levels if not fixed.

(That is assuming that the money would be used appropriately and not diverted to other things...A large assumption I know.)

The same goes for things like let's say....funding those women's health centers. Let's say that people can opt out and 70% do, despite the benefits of them, because religious or other "this doesn't affect me directly!" reasons.

That loss of funding now has the possibility to make things worse fiscally for the nation (or area if this opt out is done regionally) as a whole through supporting the new pregnancies and added costs for health maladies. They could put more strain on the things that you DO elect to subsidize.

It's a question that I don't have the answer to, but I don't think opt out would work well in at least some cases.

It's like idk *terrible analogy incoming* Picking up the dead mice on the floor - no one wants to pick up the mice...They're gross.

But someone has to.

Who is that someone? That's the essential question.

If we all say not me, the mice will just sit there dead and stinking up the place.

If one of us picks up the mice, it'll get done albeit slowly.

But if we all collectively pick up the mice, it'll get done faster and we can more quickly clean up.

What do we do?
 
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At its basis, the government/tax thing is always the same: a bigger force, created by the cooperation of a community, is a smart thing, because it allows to build what the singles alone cannot, and this in turn allows to make people flourish. Like Jim Corrigan says, it costs x, but the return is more than that.

And there it's just a (complex) matter of using the right amount of resources to achieve the bigger results. Maybe many resources, maybe few, it depends.

Then you have to fund this machine, and there's just one way you can, without stealing from or pillaging other communities, and that is taxes.

And there it's just a(n even more complex) matter of making people pay more or less according to what they can contribute, so that everyone is affected the least and they can flourish as much as it is possible.

That's it. Even crime punishment and law enforcement are just ways to reduce resource wasting (be it money, physical resources, time, people) and allow for these resources to be allocated where they are more productive.

There's really nothing else: the rest is -what- everyone thinks the best solution to these questions is.
 
Your ideology puts words in my mouth that just weren't there.

Plus, "the market" is a mechanistic construct tied to the human nature; it works because of human psychology, and can be used and misused. Saying that something is good juse because "the market" says so is exactly like saying that something is good because everyone does it.

Drop your market god, it's puny and treacherous.
Ah, so all-powerful governments are immune from human psychology and would never abuse their power. Gotcha.


And that's good, although I'm looking at the other side of the coin: not just what tax breaks benefit the system, but which services should get tax dollars to also benefit the system.

To piggyback off your example, we can agree that a child raised in a stable 2-parent household is likely to be a massive benefit to the system. What about a poor single mother who gets pregnant and doesn't want the baby? Like how we understand the stable child is more likely to be a benefit, we also understand the unwanted poor one is more likely to be a burden. It would be less of a burden on the system to spend a little now and subsidize the poor mother's abortion than to not do so and then be burdened with a human life more likely to be on welfare, in the prison system, or otherwise unproductive enough to warrant the tax outlay to keep them going for however many decades.
But you're still using force to coerce people into participating in whatever your idea of an overall benefit is. I generally agree with you as to what's overall beneficial but it is more than worth it to forego some of that benefit in order to maximize people's ability to choose their own fate.


And then the markets stagnate again as monopolies get established.
I'm not against all regulation - just most of it. Trust-busting has its place but as soon as its successful, it's time to put that tool away.


This is also not a new trend, as seen by Standard Oil and Carnegie Steel in the Gilded Age. The markets are not the end-all-be-all.
The markets are, say, 95% efficient. The other 5% is provided by government. Unfortunately, these days those numbers are skewed more along the lines of 50/50 (I'm making these up as I go but I hope the underlying idea is clear).


CEOs are being paid too much.
How do you determine what "too much" is? That's the thing, laws need to be rather specific - you can't just say "too much", you need figures.


For example Bill Gates became the richest man in the world by essentially cheating another company out of their product...
No, he engineered, marketed, and sold an excellent product and he did it much better than his competitors. That's how markets work. Otherwise we'd all be stuck with IBM mainframes still. It's not cheating to be better than another company.


Just because something can benefit society, that doesn't mean it's moral to force it on people against their will, on threats of imprisonment. You're focusing on the first part while ignoring the second. I believe a lot of this stuff benefits society too, but I'm not about to condone the government forcing it on people. That's the immoral part, not the benefit itself.
This!
 
Ah, so all-powerful governments are immune from human psychology and would never abuse their power. Gotcha.
That would be a good argument, if I had ever said anything even remotely similar to this.

Luckily, I haven't.

If I say that market is not a god, I am not saying that I want a soviet government of terror. There are other options. If one is black and the other white, there are at least 50 shades of gray. (that one was terrible, I know...)
 
The problem of forcing it on people against their will still exists. That's the fundamental problem with government, everything is backed with force. That's why I think the government should only do things that are essential to the survival of our society, since only those things are serious enough to warrant the force used to implement them. A lot of this stuff can benefit our society in many ways, but when you take consent away from people it becomes a moral issue. If there was a way for individuals to opt-out of these things, that would solve the moral problem. Unfortunately no one would ever do that, since taking the money by force is so much easier than trying to earn it through logic and reason.
If you consider providing health care "forcing it on the people" then yes, I understand your point.

But for the sake of argument, let's operate under the assumption that Americans believe health care is a right, not a privilege. In that case, there is no morality play necessary on behalf of government policies because it's purely a fiduciary one, as I stated earlier.
 
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