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Offline Pack93z  
#1 Posted : Friday, January 25, 2013 12:50:07 PM(UTC)
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And interesting read.. nothing is really "new" in the thoughts or point, but it is tangibly presented with a figure head that most in the nation may recognize outside of politics.

The last three paragraphs is the main driving point.

Quote:

Mickelson has a point on taxes

(CNN) -- Phil Mickelson, aka Lefty, is thinking of leaving California and perhaps America because, according to his own reckoning, he is facing tax rates of 62% or 63%. Mickelson, probably the second-most-famous professional golfer in the world after Tiger Woods, later backed off from his initial comments about making "drastic changes."

Reports suggest that Mickelson earned more than $60 million in 2012. In that sense, he appears to be doing better than the Romneys, and perhaps you are not all that sympathetic to him.

The Romneys (remember them?) paid so little tax. In 2011, Mitt and Ann Romney paid federal taxes of $2 million on reported income of $14 million, for an effective tax rate of 14%, all roughly. The Romneys even had to foreswear taking all of their available charitable deductions to make their tax rate seem so high for appearance's sake.

It does bear noting that Mickelson is doing something to earn his $60 million. Whoever is paying him that much believes that he is worth it. Who are we, really, to argue?

Mickelson's instinctive reactions to high tax rates, even if his math may be a bit muddled, are sound and sensible ones. Tiger Woods certainly agrees with him.

But that is not the problem in the story. Lefty faces such seemingly inescapably high tax rates that he might just pack up his golf bags and leave home. Mitt pays so little tax that he has to ignore the law to pay a higher rate for appearance's sake.

How can this be?
The Mitt-Lefty paradox has a simple explanation: In America, we tax work. And highly. We do not tax capital or wealth much at all. Indeed, if you have wealth already, taxes are essentially optional under what I call tax Planning 101, the simple advice to buy/borrow/die.

In step one, you buy assets that rise in value without producing cash, such as growth stocks or real estate. In step two, you borrow to finance your lifestyle. In step three, you die, and your heirs get your assets, tax free, and with a "stepped up" basis that eliminates all capital gains. That's it.

Romney, with a personal fortune estimated at $250 million (his five kids have another $100 million) has figured this out. When he pays taxes, at all, he does so at the low capital gains rate.
Not so with Lefty.

Not so with Lefty.

He is a wage-earner, albeit a very highly paid one, and he's going to pay over one-half of his income in taxes if he stays in California. We may not be shedding any tears for Lefty any more than we feel for Gerard Depardieu, who recently left France for Russia to escape taxes, or for the Rolling Stones, who many moons ago left England and recorded Exile on Main Street from France.

Yet one fact not making news is that it is still the case that the highest marginal tax rates in America do not fall on the highest incomes, like Lefty, but on certain of the working poor, many of them single parents, who are being taxed at rates approaching 90% as they lose benefits attempting to better themselves.

It's a "poverty trap" that works just like the severe marriage penalties for the lower-income classes. But the working poor do not have the options of going to Canada, Russia or France.
Lefty has a point -- high tax rates create disincentives. If the rates are high enough, people react by moving. This should not surprise us: American companies have been fleeing our shores for years, in droves. Ask Mitt.

But this should worry us, for two reasons.

One, the fact that the high incomers do flee jurisdictions, or flee from the productive activity of working, is a bad thing for the U.S.

Two, the very risk that the rich and famous might leave, aided by the appearance that some do, holds tax reform hostage. We have struggled to raise rates at all on the rich, blocked by the mostly mythical Joe the Plumber as much as by the realities of Mickelson or the Rolling Stones. When we do finally raise rates, as we did at the fiscal cliff, we do so on the wrong rich, in the wrong way. Lefty's taxes went up, Mitt's need not.

The problem -- and it is the same problem as with Mitt's taxes -- is that we are taxing the wrong thing, in the wrong way. In sum, we tax work, not wealth. This is backward.

I think when there's enough will and aggression, there's no shortage of talent either.

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Offline Zero2Cool  
#2 Posted : Friday, January 25, 2013 12:58:46 PM(UTC)
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I'd rather pay taxes on items/services paid for, than have it deducted from my salary. Currently, 26% of my salary goes straight to taxes. I get about (judging from this years taxes) 2% of that back on my return.

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Offline Since69  
#3 Posted : Friday, January 25, 2013 2:25:26 PM(UTC)
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Capital gains tax is currently, I believe, right around HALF what income tax is. Should be the other way around, if you ask me.
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Offline Porforis  
#4 Posted : Friday, January 25, 2013 3:03:02 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Since69 Go to Quoted Post
Capital gains tax is currently, I believe, right around HALF what income tax is. Should be the other way around, if you ask me.


Money one invests is already taxed as income tax, then taxed again as capital gains. If you invest $100 (which was already taxed at your income tax rate), get a 1% return which is taxed at the short term rate (whatever your income tax rate is), you've officially been taxed twice. The long-term capital gains rate is lower but the investment is still taxed twice.
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Offline DakotaT  
#5 Posted : Friday, January 25, 2013 3:37:48 PM(UTC)
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Capital gains taxation is legalized tax evasion put into law by the puppets of wealthy men. I think I've been trying to explain these concepts for about three years. The other change in Federal taxation should be the cap in place on Social Security tax.
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Offline Porforis  
#6 Posted : Friday, January 25, 2013 3:47:50 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DakotaT Go to Quoted Post
Capital gains taxation is legalized tax evasion put into law by the puppets of wealthy men.


I've read this 4 times and it still makes no sense. Would it be better if capital gains was not taxed? That being said, I'm all for just tying all (short and long-term) capital gains tax to one's income tax rate and calling it a day.
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Offline Wade  
#7 Posted : Friday, January 25, 2013 4:25:57 PM(UTC)
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For all its popularity, "work v. wealth" is a false dichotomy.

Without wealth, we could not generate income; without income, we cannot increase wealth. Without an increase in wealth, we'll never increase income. Without an increase in income, we cannot .... etc., etc., etc.

It's that damn labor theory of value again.

It's one of those horrible ironies that intellectual history is full of. Because of the the persuasiveness of his popular writing, Karl Marx, more than any other single person in history, is responsible for the deep seated belief in the idea that all value is produced by human "labor". (He wasn't the originator of the idea -- John Stuart Mill and even Adam Smith got this wrong -- but it was the compelling rhetoric that Marx brought to bear through the Manifesto and his other polemical writings that is responsible for its entrenched status in popular consciousness. If you scratch them deep enough, you'll discover that its a notion shared by both the wealthy that libierals want to tax for everything and the wealthy who don't want themselves to be taxed: value is created by the workingman, the farmer with dirt between his fingernails, the man who hits little white balls and the man who tosses big round balls through a hoop.

But it is so wrong it would be laughable if it weren't agreed to by so many.

The amount of value created by that workingman, that farmer, that golfer and that basketball player? That depends critically on the tools and ideas they can bring to bear in their trade. Without his hammer and his computer, the workingman couldnt do much rooting in the shit like a pig. Without his tractor and his combine and his accounting spreadsheet, the farmer would be rooting in the same shit. Without his 9-iron and the machine that makes dimples, the golfer would be wandering around in the woods tossing pinecones. Without the pneumatic engineering technology that makes a basketball inflatable and bouncy, and the basketball player would be limited to tossing the workingman/farmers' shit at the hole made by the golfer's arms.

Wealth doesn't come from labor alone. Wealth comes from the application of previously accumulated wealth [called "capital"] to, and the use of said wealth by, labor. Wealth without labor is valueless, but we haven't had productive labor without wealth since ... ever. Labor without wealth to put to use is the caveman who hasn't got fire or a sharp stone or a club.

Taxing the worker screws up the incentives to work. That's true as far as it goes. And its true whether you're a ditchdigger being taxed or a pro golfer being taxed.

But taxing wealth screws up the incentives to put labor to work more productively. And it screws up the incentives to look for ways to make labor more productive.

There is no such thing as a tax that does not screw up incentives to produce.

Capital and labor are not substitutes. They are not "one or the other". They are not things we add together in different ways, making A bigger and B smaller in order to change the quality of national prosperity.

Capital are complements. They don't operate by addition and subtraction but by multiplication and power laws.

Income = Labor (L) times Capital (K). If taxes on work (L) increase ("income tax"; "consumption tax"; "sales tax"), income falls. If taxes on wealth increase, income falls. Labor is screwed regardless.

[So are the forces of capital, more often known as "the rich." But no one except the rich cares if the rich get screwed.)

There is, IMO, no such thing as a tax that benefits labor.

Spending of tax receipts may. Maybe if we put the money in the hands of the king, the king will do better with it than the rich barons because the king is an entrepreneurial genius and the baron is a wastrel who does nothing but hang out with whores and gamblers. Maybe the government is a brilliant, entrepreneurial king who only needs capital to get those peasants to be happy, productive people. Maybe the barons are all as useless as the third generation of British aristocracy. That's a different disagreement for a different thread.

But the power of taxes is not to create. It is never to create. It is only to destroy.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
Offline Wade  
#8 Posted : Friday, January 25, 2013 5:23:48 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Porforis Go to Quoted Post
I've read this 4 times and it still makes no sense. Would it be better if capital gains was not taxed? That being said, I'm all for just tying all (short and long-term) capital gains tax to one's income tax rate and calling it a day.



I think what he was trying to say was that "lower rates of tax for capital gains is a ....etc."

Of course ALL tax rules are written by wealthy men for wealthy men. Some of them are just better at conning non-wealthy people out of their money.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
Offline DakotaT  
#9 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2013 6:53:25 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Porforis Go to Quoted Post
I've read this 4 times and it still makes no sense. Would it be better if capital gains was not taxed? That being said, I'm all for just tying all (short and long-term) capital gains tax to one's income tax rate and calling it a day.


It means capital gains is taxed too low. Yeah, I agree with you, capital gains should be taxed at the 39% rate.
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Offline DakotaT  
#10 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2013 6:57:02 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Wade Go to Quoted Post
For all its popularity, "work v. wealth" is a false dichotomy.

Without wealth, we could not generate income; without income, we cannot increase wealth. Without an increase in wealth, we'll never increase income. Without an increase in income, we cannot .... etc., etc., etc.

It's that damn labor theory of value again.

It's one of those horrible ironies that intellectual history is full of. Because of the the persuasiveness of his popular writing, Karl Marx, more than any other single person in history, is responsible for the deep seated belief in the idea that all value is produced by human "labor". (He wasn't the originator of the idea -- John Stuart Mill and even Adam Smith got this wrong -- but it was the compelling rhetoric that Marx brought to bear through the Manifesto and his other polemical writings that is responsible for its entrenched status in popular consciousness. If you scratch them deep enough, you'll discover that its a notion shared by both the wealthy that libierals want to tax for everything and the wealthy who don't want themselves to be taxed: value is created by the workingman, the farmer with dirt between his fingernails, the man who hits little white balls and the man who tosses big round balls through a hoop.

But it is so wrong it would be laughable if it weren't agreed to by so many.

The amount of value created by that workingman, that farmer, that golfer and that basketball player? That depends critically on the tools and ideas they can bring to bear in their trade. Without his hammer and his computer, the workingman couldnt do much rooting in the shit like a pig. Without his tractor and his combine and his accounting spreadsheet, the farmer would be rooting in the same shit. Without his 9-iron and the machine that makes dimples, the golfer would be wandering around in the woods tossing pinecones. Without the pneumatic engineering technology that makes a basketball inflatable and bouncy, and the basketball player would be limited to tossing the workingman/farmers' shit at the hole made by the golfer's arms.

Wealth doesn't come from labor alone. Wealth comes from the application of previously accumulated wealth [called "capital"] to, and the use of said wealth by, labor. Wealth without labor is valueless, but we haven't had productive labor without wealth since ... ever. Labor without wealth to put to use is the caveman who hasn't got fire or a sharp stone or a club.

Taxing the worker screws up the incentives to work. That's true as far as it goes. And its true whether you're a ditchdigger being taxed or a pro golfer being taxed.

But taxing wealth screws up the incentives to put labor to work more productively. And it screws up the incentives to look for ways to make labor more productive.

There is no such thing as a tax that does not screw up incentives to produce.

Capital and labor are not substitutes. They are not "one or the other". They are not things we add together in different ways, making A bigger and B smaller in order to change the quality of national prosperity.

Capital are complements. They don't operate by addition and subtraction but by multiplication and power laws.

Income = Labor (L) times Capital (K). If taxes on work (L) increase ("income tax"; "consumption tax"; "sales tax"), income falls. If taxes on wealth increase, income falls. Labor is screwed regardless.

[So are the forces of capital, more often known as "the rich." But no one except the rich cares if the rich get screwed.)

There is, IMO, no such thing as a tax that benefits labor.

Spending of tax receipts may. Maybe if we put the money in the hands of the king, the king will do better with it than the rich barons because the king is an entrepreneurial genius and the baron is a wastrel who does nothing but hang out with whores and gamblers. Maybe the government is a brilliant, entrepreneurial king who only needs capital to get those peasants to be happy, productive people. Maybe the barons are all as useless as the third generation of British aristocracy. That's a different disagreement for a different thread.

But the power of taxes is not to create. It is never to create. It is only to destroy.



Wade, my 9th grade English teacher use to say a good piece of writing should be like a girls skirt, long enough to cover the subject but short enough to make it interesting.

Your whole theory of a world without taxes is really interesting in fairytale land - but in the real world civilizations just needs shit paid for by public funds.
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Offline Wade  
#11 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2013 7:12:08 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DakotaT Go to Quoted Post
Wade, my 9th grade English teacher use to say a good piece of writing should be like a girls skirt, long enough to cover the subject but short enough to make it interesting.

Your whole theory of a world without taxes is really interesting in fairytale land - but in the real world civilizations just needs shit paid for by public funds.



1. Today, your teacher would be chastised or disciplined, perhaps at an emergency school board meeting called for said purpose, for saying such a thing.

2. I actually didn't call for a world without taxes. As long as government is deemed necessary, taxes will be necessary to pay for it. Governments are not self-financing organizations, never have been, never will be.

3. Nor am I so naive to call for a world without government. I don't think we're mature enough for it. (We probably were 225 years ago, but that's another debate.)

4. And so I'm not so naive to call for an end to taxes. But I do think it is important for people to know that whatever public necessity they might choose to "justify" taxes, whatever the taxes might be, those taxes will be inherently destructive of economic value and the production of said value.

And that the more taxes one deems necessary, whatever those taxes might be, will be more destructive.

I think that's important. And I think that it's something we too often forget as we press to fix the "needs" of the moment.





[Well, I was a *bit* shorter that time. Big Grin ]
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
Offline DakotaT  
#12 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2013 7:20:43 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Wade Go to Quoted Post
1. Today, your teacher would be chastised or disciplined, perhaps at an emergency school board meeting called for said purpose, for saying such a thing.

2. I actually didn't call for a world without taxes. As long as government is deemed necessary, taxes will be necessary to pay for it. Governments are not self-financing organizations, never have been, never will be.

3. Nor am I so naive to call for a world without government. I don't think we're mature enough for it. (We probably were 225 years ago, but that's another debate.)

4. And so I'm not so naive to call for an end to taxes. But I do think it is important for people to know that whatever public necessity they might choose to "justify" taxes, whatever the taxes might be, those taxes will be inherently destructive of economic value and the production of said value.

And that the more taxes one deems necessary, whatever those taxes might be, will be more destructive.

I think that's important. And I think that it's something we too often forget as we press to fix the "needs" of the moment.





[Well, I was a *bit* shorter that time. Big Grin ]


We still pay less taxes then most civilized countries - and we rank about 20th for health care efficiency. Yeah, the trickle down way has just sucked for us common folk - but hey a small percentage of people did well. That mirage has come to end for those bastards finally.

And Wade, it's not that I don't like what you write - it's that I'm just really too lazy to read it all.
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Offline Porforis  
#13 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2013 8:00:28 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DakotaT Go to Quoted Post
It means capital gains is taxed too low. Yeah, I agree with you, capital gains should be taxed at the 39% rate.


That's not what I said. I said that capital gains should be tied to your income tax rate. A flat 39% for everyone is pretty silly. I also think rates should be lowered across the board and virtually all deductions eliminated to compensate which affects the capital gains rates as well, but that's another story.
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Offline 4PackGirl  
#14 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2013 1:00:08 PM(UTC)
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why oh why do i keep entering these 'tax' threads when all it does is irritate me beyond words?!? glutton for punishment apparently.

*sigh

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Offline DakotaT  
#15 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2013 1:36:17 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Porforis Go to Quoted Post
That's not what I said. I said that capital gains should be tied to your income tax rate. A flat 39% for everyone is pretty silly. I also think rates should be lowered across the board and virtually all deductions eliminated to compensate which affects the capital gains rates as well, but that's another story.


Well Porforis, the tax code has been exploiting the worker forever, now it's time for all the people making money for nothing to take their turn at getting bent over. Seems perfectly fair to me.
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