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  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    I also spent time working with the poor.\
    I remember stopping by a grocery store, in the middle of a Russian winter, and there is NOTHING for sale. Empty.

    Then I hopped on a bus to go get my A+ for "Scientific Communism" orals, which was still mandatory in Moscow State U. Pleasure going over Marxism drivel for a full year.

    LOL at people here debating ethical aspects of granola bars. You have no clue.


    Odd that you mentioned Zimbardo's experiment. It actually contradicts your position. I happened to know him - my ex was his doctoral student - it is actually about what is the natural behaviour of people, attribution theory. And it ain't peaceful harmony.

  2. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    Dude, they are defaulting on their loans because, like us, they have to borrow a lot of money to pay for social services of the "cradle to grave" variety and have absolutely no possibility of ever paying it back. Their creditors realize this and will now only lend on the worst of terms and then only if some of the less ailing Eurozone members (like Germany) back the loans. Money, which represents the perceived value of the an economies goods and services cannot be created out of thin air...although desperate governments will always try to; creating money from nothing and hoping inflationary pressure lags perception of the scheme.

    I repeat, the Social Welfare schemes of the entire Western world are failing because they have finally outstripped their ability to generate the wealth required to fund their obligations. Where do you think the debt burden comes from?

    You called capitalism a Ponzi scheme but I don't think you quite understand what that really means. Socialism, as it eventually plays out, is the biggest Ponzi scheme running. Literally, not metaphorically because there is no money left to pay future obligations. The criminal thing is that your Ruling Class Elite Masters play you like a puppet and turn you against the productive class, the one entity that can save you from ruin. For my part, like you, I am a slave to the Government-Finance-Cronyism complex and I am, if anything, more disgusted with the system than you are. Capitalism? I say we give it a try because we have strayed far, far away from free enterprise and free markets.

    On another note, while capitalism has it's flaws, it is at least pay-as-you-go and fair in the old-fashioned sense that we all succeed or fail on our own merits. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Captialism is the worst system except for all the others. We spend a good deal of time pointing out the flaws of the free market, I now want you to step outside of your conditioning and tell me the flaws of socialism. Certainly it has some?

    Defense, by the way, is something like 20 percent of the federal budget and around four percent of GDP. You could eliminate all defense spending and we'd still run a deficit. You cannot balance the budget and solve the entitlement problem by cutting defense.

    The problems and issues in Portugal and Greece had nothing to do with failed socialism and everything to do with failed capitalism.

    A few examples of failed capitalism: Lehman Bros., Bear Stearns, AIG - the list goes on
    Examples of socialism rescuing capitalism: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi Group etc.
    Examples of socialism supporting capitalism: Lockheed Martin, Grumann, Boeing etc.
    BTW - govt bailouts are completly aginst the "laws of capitalism"

    The media is manufacturing consent around the deficit. The deficit is not even the most important issue, jobs and employment are. Don't kid yourselves the deficit could be wiped out in a heartbeat by cutting spending on defense and getting rid of a highly ineffecient and terribly fraudulent health insurance industry (another fine example of failed capitalism).

    Cut those two sectors and it would end the deficit.

    I am only ever advocating a balance between public and private companies. We need both, but todays system is grossly out of whack. The finance sector is full of criminal men setting their own policies and acting with impunity.

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    I remember stopping by a grocery store, in the middle of a Russian winter, and there is NOTHING for sale. Empty.

    Then I hopped on a bus to go get my A+ for "Scientific Communism" orals, which was still mandatory in Moscow State U. Pleasure going over Marxism drivel for a full year.

    LOL at people here debating ethical aspects of granola bars. You have no clue.


    Odd that you mentioned Zimbardo's experiment. It actually contradicts your position. I happened to know him - my ex was his doctoral student - it is actually about what is the natural behaviour of people, attribution theory. And it ain't peaceful harmony.
    I can also point to a time in American history, 83 years ago, when things were pretty bad.

    Neat that you have a Zimbardo connection. The point I was trying to make is you randomly put people in a position of power and others in an inferior position and you get people who believe they are supposed to be superior and the others are inferior. You start paying someone 200, or 500 or a million or 10 million or 100 million dollars a year and they will quickly forget how they got there and begin to feel like they deserve to be in power.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    And Godwin's law strikes again. Depends on which scholars you believe.
    LOL. I almost labeled my post such at the time I posted - especially on this "buy a tube and tire at Wal-Mart" thread gone awry.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Some reports, by the Spanish themselves, state that in Hispaniola alone, he was responsible for 3 million Indian deaths within 12 years. Some estimate as many as eight million in North America. Again, according to what account you want to believe, raw numbers alone exceed the Third Reich and when you adjust for total percent of global population, it is staggering. Now, Small Pox was a major contributor to these deaths, but you can't discount cutting off the hands of those who didn't find enough gold as an effective way of killing as well.

    Regardless, are you defending the genocide of even one million people?
    No, I am not defending any genocide. I was just challenging your wording that the conflict between European settlers and the Indians "was on a scale not surpassed to this day."

    I teach two college classes covering the topic(s). One on the plight of the North American Native Indian and their several century encounter with settlers (and our young nation), the other on the plight of the peoples in WWI/Weimar Republic/WWII/1945-1948 which also includes discussion on the pogroms before that period as well as a unit covering genocides since.

    Certainly, if we use "scale" as time, the series of encounters and growth in European settler population covers a 400 year period. Even if you throw in the figure that 90% of the deaths were caused by illness/disease (or even if you use the figure of 75-90%), the case can be made that a population of 10 Million (the figure used in my class of those natives who lived in the area now known as the United States, although I am well aware of the 12 Million figure as well as the 1.15 Million figure) that dwindled down to a few hundred thousand over the course of 400 years may not surpass the 16.7 - 17 Million that died in the systematic cleansing in the 1930's and 1940's in Europe (not to mention the total loss of some 50 Million people in WWII alone).

    Both tragic, but I didn't want your comment to go unquestioned that in sheer number it had not been surpassed.

  5. #205
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    Glad to see an expert on the subject chime in. Would love to take a course or two from you. I try to look at it in context of 500 million people globally in 1492 and 2.3 billion in 1939 and recognize the global extermination of indigenous peoples and all genocides "in the name of progress."
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  6. #206
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    Back to the topic, WalMart is not going to have any substantial effect on LBS market share. When did you last see a Santa Cruz, Ibis, or Specalized on a WalMart sales floor, that's right never. So how did we get so far off point, We all know if your a progessive liberal, a socialist, or a occupy wallstreeter you'll hate WalMart and all they stand for, but like it or not their here to stay and our LBS are not in jepardy because they sell a few tubes to a MTBr in need.

    BTW most of my fam works for WalMart, they do pretty well, great health insurance and retirement package, and make enough to be in Obama"s 2%
    And yes, I am on my way to an ass kickin contest

  7. #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrippledOld Guy View Post
    Back to the topic, WalMart is not going to have any substantial effect on LBS market share. When did you last see a Santa Cruz, Ibis, or Specalized on a WalMart sales floor, that's right never. So how did we get so far off point, We all know if your a progessive liberal, a socialist, or a occupy wallstreeter you'll hate WalMart and all they stand for, but like it or not their here to stay and our LBS are not in jepardy because they sell a few tubes to a MTBr in need.

    BTW most of my fam works for WalMart, they do pretty well, great health insurance and retirement package, and make enough to be in Obama"s 2%
    What kind of jobs does your family have that pay so well, 250k is more then I'd expect?

  8. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    What kind of jobs does your family have that pay so well, 250k is more then I'd expect?
    My son is a store manager, he runs a 110M dollar store, the pay is commensurate with the responsibility, also he started at the bottom, 9 bucks an hour. He accomplished this in 5 1/2 years. This kind of opportunity is presented to all of their associates.
    To another point, he just gave 3 pallets of food to the local food bank, and 1 pallet of educational products to the local school district, not to mention 15K to the indigent care hospital. This is not the exception, but the norm.
    And yes, I am on my way to an ass kickin contest

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrippledOld Guy View Post
    My son is a store manager, he runs a 110M dollar store, the pay is commensurate with the responsibility, also he started at the bottom, 9 bucks an hour. He accomplished this in 5 1/2 years. This kind of opportunity is presented to all of their associates.
    To another point, he just gave 3 pallets of food to the local food bank, and 1 pallet of educational products to the local school district, not to mention 15K to the indigent care hospital. This is not the exception, but the norm.
    Good for him, he sounds more driven then the typical worker. I wonder what the average pay is? I know most don't have benefits either.

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Good for him, he sounds more driven then the typical worker. I wonder what the average pay is? I know most don't have benefits either.
    Full time are eligible after 90 days, part time after 365 days and must maintain 30 hrs per week. With 1.5M employees in the US (second only to the US government) the cost for medical insurance is greatly reduced. I'm uncertain of the average wage, my son's store has 70% long term associates, many are at or near 20. per hr. In California their entry level is 1 dollar over minimum wage.
    And yes, I am on my way to an ass kickin contest

  11. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Greece borrowed more than it was legally supposed to - something those who loaned them the money knew. Couple that with wide-spread tax evasion and you have a collapse.

    Social welfare schemes are not the same as a socialist system. Frankly, I don't think you really have a firm grasp of socialism and capitalism.


    Greeks have been evading taxes long before the country went socialist back in the eighties. And you do understand that they borrow money to pay for their social welfare spending, right? That and to pay the salaries of their massively bloated Civil Service, one in three working Greeks, who's lavish salaries, pensions, and benefits have bankrupted the country. Most government workers over there have nothing jobs that are themselves a form of welfare.

    You also understand that the effective tax rate for a wealthy Greek is in the eighty percent range if you count income tax and their version of Social Security. Would you pay that much if you could avoid it?

    As for not having a firm grasp of socialism, sure...there are many flavors of socialism including everything from hard-core Marxism to the Swedish version. We have to call it something so make up a word for a country that drives itself to financial ruin through out-of-control social spending and we'll use it. I would note that the former ruling party of Greece that got them into this mess call themselves the "Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party" (PASOK) so I can be forgiven for calling a spade a spade.

  12. #212
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrippledOld Guy View Post
    Full time are eligible after 90 days, part time after 365 days and must maintain 30 hrs per week. With 1.5M employees in the US (second only to the US government) the cost for medical insurance is greatly reduced. I'm uncertain of the average wage, my son's store has 70% long term associates, many are at or near 20. per hr. In California their entry level is 1 dollar over minimum wage.
    Not that bad. Perhaps the food stump app stories are from other states. Walmart is here to stay, so it would be nice if this becomes the norm.

  13. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Greece borrowed more than it was legally supposed to - something those who loaned them the money knew.
    So the government of Greece is a victim...they were forced to borrow the money. What really happens and is happening here is that the government cynically borrowed and spent money they knew they could never pay back to win the votes of the mob and maintain their personal power, hoping that they could just "kick the can" down the road for somebody else to deal with.

    You are defending the indefensible, you know. I mean that you are a shill for government and buy what they are selling. What happened to having a healthy mistrust of the ruling elite.

  14. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    We have to call it something so make up a word for a country that drives itself to financial ruin through out-of-control social spending and we'll use it.
    It was very, eh, interesting to observe Soviet Union to implode from the inside.

    It was not for the out-of-control spending on social services. It was for the pervasive apathy and understanding that no matter what you do, no matter how good a leader you are, it will not land you much... unless you are one of the stealing party bosses, and even them could not match the lifestyle they could have achieved in a better system. So the best course of action was to half-ass it through the day and get drunk in the evening.

    Contrast with modern day, after just twenty years, is stunning. It is not without a myriad of problems, but nothing is perfect.

    Caring about how much more somebody else makes, and whether they deserve it or not, is the most unproductive feeling in the world. Politicians exploiting that feelings - and it is sure a powerful tool - are plain evil in my book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    So the government of Greece is a victim...they were forced to borrow the money. What really happens and is happening here is that the government cynically borrowed and spent money they knew they could never pay back to win the votes of the mob and maintain their personal power, hoping that they could just "kick the can" down the road for somebody else to deal with.

    Agree

    You are defending the indefensible, you know. I mean that you are a shill for government and buy what they are selling. What happened to having a healthy mistrust of the ruling elite.
    I never advocated anything other than the elimination of state sponsored monopolies. I've just been pointing out that capitalism is based on the endgame being one large monopoly that owns everything.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  16. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    I never advocated anything other than the elimination of state sponsored monopolies.
    You mean PG&E? Or the DOD?

  17. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    You mean PG&E? Or the DOD?




    The I.R.S.

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    Oh, and I pay my taxes - all of them - and do not evade a single penny if it is questionable. Render unto Caesar .... If you are arguing that we need to give the highest earners a low tax rate to keep them from committing crimes, then, I say prosecute them to the fullest extent. I've said it several times and I'll say it again: corporations are a way for a small class of people to profit off the labor of others with no ethical or moral responsibility to those people insofar as it does not negatively impact the company's ability to generate a profit.

    Then they use those profits to empower themselves to circumvent even more responsibilities so they can empower themselves even more.

    For those who argue the trickle down economic theory, notice they do not call it the "gushing waterfall" economic theory.

    As Axe pointed out, the failure of former socialist countries was not the result of what you detest. If you want to use a word to describe the cause of what you detest, it is crony capitalism.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Oh, and I pay my taxes - all of them - and do not evade a single penny if it is questionable. Render unto Caesar .... If you are arguing that we need to give the highest earners a low tax rate to keep them from committing crimes, then, I say prosecute them to the fullest extent. I've said it several times and I'll say it again: corporations are a way for a small class of people to profit off the labor of others with no ethical or moral responsibility to those people insofar as it does not negatively impact the company's ability to generate a profit.

    Then they use those profits to empower themselves to circumvent even more responsibilities so they can empower themselves even more.

    For those who argue the trickle down economic theory, notice they do not call it the "gushing waterfall" economic theory.

    As Axe pointed out, the failure of former socialist countries was not the result of what you detest. If you want to use a word to describe the cause of what you detest, it is crony capitalism.
    What are these crimes?
    And how have they (corporations) bypassed their moral and ethical responsibilities?
    Are their employees not compensated?
    And what would you require of them?

    Please elaborate
    And yes, I am on my way to an ass kickin contest

  20. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrippledOld Guy View Post
    What are these crimes?
    And how have they (corporations) bypassed their moral and ethical responsibilities?
    Are their employees not compensated?
    And what would you require of them?

    Please elaborate
    Sorry, should have quoted Ali: "Greeks have been evading taxes long before the country went socialist back in the eighties. And you do understand that they borrow money to pay for their social welfare spending, right? That and to pay the salaries of their massively bloated Civil Service, one in three working Greeks, who's lavish salaries, pensions, and benefits have bankrupted the country. Most government workers over there have nothing jobs that are themselves a form of welfare.

    You also understand that the effective tax rate for a wealthy Greek is in the eighty percent range if you count income tax and their version of Social Security. Would you pay that much if you could avoid it? "

    Tax evasion
    Slavery
    Not enough or else there wouldn't be profit left over
    Return to the original purpose, pre 1886, which is a time-limited association of individuals to accomplish a public service that cannot or should not be performed by the state. They should not have the same rights as individuals and members of the the BOD should actually be held personally and financially responsible for the actions of the corporation, like corporate crime, tax havens, transfer pricing and many other policies both legal and illegal billions of dollars are prevented from being taxed. The much-needed money would help developing (and developed) countries provide important social services for their populations. Usually, these crimes, which often have far worse effects than individual crimes, go unaccounted for.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Sorry, should have quoted Ali: "Greeks have been evading taxes long before the country went socialist back in the eighties. And you do understand that they borrow money to pay for their social welfare spending, right? That and to pay the salaries of their massively bloated Civil Service, one in three working Greeks, who's lavish salaries, pensions, and benefits have bankrupted the country. Most government workers over there have nothing jobs that are themselves a form of welfare.

    You also understand that the effective tax rate for a wealthy Greek is in the eighty percent range if you count income tax and their version of Social Security. Would you pay that much if you could avoid it? "

    Tax evasion
    Slavery
    Not enough or else there wouldn't be profit left over
    Return to the original purpose, pre 1886, which is a time-limited association of individuals to accomplish a public service that cannot or should not be performed by the state. They should not have the same rights as individuals and members of the the BOD should actually be held personally and financially responsible for the actions of the corporation, like corporate crime, tax havens, transfer pricing and many other policies both legal and illegal billions of dollars are prevented from being taxed. The much-needed money would help developing (and developed) countries provide important social services for their populations. Usually, these crimes, which often have far worse effects than individual crimes, go unaccounted for.
    You are somewhat unfamiliar with the way Greece evolved under the socialists. The majority of tax revenue does not provide important social services, it goes to service a huge and largely unnecessary bureaucracy that, in the form of one ministry or another serves no other purpose than to shuffle vast reams of paper from one department to the other in the process keeping a large segment of the voters employed. I have an uncle in the civil service who goes to work at his office, pretty much spends the day drinking coffee and reading the paper except when he fills out and signs some useless piece of paper or another.

    This is how the socialists bought the voters. Naturally there is also a rather crappy public health system grafted to this that any Greek with money avoids as if his life depended on it as well as the usual impossibly funded ponzi scheme of a Social Security system.

    My cousin, as I mentioned, has been enjoying free higher education for the better part of decade and has very little prospects of ever being gainfully employed except, again, in some useless sinecure in some redundant ministry. She is outraged that the party is coming to an end, naturally, and is pretty much on board with somebody else's sweat and enterprise financing her lifestyle ad infinitum.

    The point is that if you remove the incentive to be productive...by providing useless, easy-living jobs, free this and that, and breeding a people who expect all of their needs to be taken care of by somebody else, you will eventually get a population full of economically useless people who's only purpose is to provide the votes to keep their masters in power and to riot when somebody tries to impose some rationality on the system.

    Did you know that the Greek civil servants are paid for 14 months of work every year? That's what they're fighting to protect when they lob cobblestones and molotov cocktails at the police on Syntagma Square.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Oh, and I pay my taxes - all of them - and do not evade a single penny if it is questionable. Render unto Caesar .... If you are arguing that we need to give the highest earners a low tax rate to keep them from committing crimes, then, I say prosecute them to the fullest extent. I've said it several times and I'll say it again: corporations are a way for a small class of people to profit off the labor of others with no ethical or moral responsibility to those people insofar as it does not negatively impact the company's ability to generate a profit.

    Then they use those profits to empower themselves to circumvent even more responsibilities so they can empower themselves even more.

    For those who argue the trickle down economic theory, notice they do not call it the "gushing waterfall" economic theory.

    As Axe pointed out, the failure of former socialist countries was not the result of what you detest. If you want to use a word to describe the cause of what you detest, it is crony capitalism.

    Oh, we pay all of our taxes, too. Naturally we take every legal deduction we can but I am fundamentally an honest guy. Besides, I'm too easy to audit. The hospital pays me and there's no hiding what I make.

    But if your effective tax rate was 90 percent on everything you made, let's say, over $100,000 who would really have the enthusiasm for work? I'd probably cut my productivity to the equivalent of two months of work a year. EIther that or the hospital would have to incentivize me in some other manner...buy me a house, a car, a mistress....anything but pay me more essentially useless money.

    Now, while it is true that there are zealots in my profession who would do this job for free, the majority of us would not. If you've been to a major urban ER lately you know that the wait times and crowding are intense. I get paid very well, partly on productivity, so I bust ass over my entire shift to "move the meat" as we say. Take away that incentive and I'm going to either slow the hell down or work fewer shifts. And you can't just take somebody off the street to fill my job with a little training so you'll see in a microcosm what high tax rates do to the economy as a whole.
    Last edited by Ailuropoda; 12-21-2012 at 06:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    You are somewhat unfamiliar with the way Greece evolved under the socialists.
    Okay, on to Greek Socialism. You are correct in that I was not familiar with the Greek economy or the role of the Socialist Party before today.

    I learned that Greece was under the rule of a Military Junta until 1974 when the Socialist Party displaced that dictatorship. I also learned that it has a capitalist economy and is also rated as one of the most corrupt in terms of crony capitalism. It is also no surprise that the economic collapse was due to huge borrowing for infrastructure projects and the result was textbook of an economic hitman.

    You are correct that the Public Sector accounts for 40% of the GDP. However, with such a small population and small economy, it is to be expected that administration be a large part.

    So what if your uncle has a lame job. It's better than paying $40k a year to incarcerate him for a non-violent drug offense.

    As for your tax rate being 90% on everything over $100k - fine. You and I would stop working after a couple of months, and it would likely give someone else a chance to be productive. Or, it would give someone else, who loves to help people, the opportunity to truly treat people without the worry of how long they spend with the patient. Remember, there are doctors who treat people everyday, all over the world, without getting paid.

    Regan's narcissistic view of no incentive for him to make movies after one a year was nonsense. The studio wouldn't shut down and neither would the hospital you work at. Resources would align more to what is needed instead of what is desired.

    I think a lot of people are rioting because they view the current system as unfair - because it is.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  24. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Oh, and I pay my taxes - all of them - and do not evade a single penny if it is questionable. Render unto Caesar .... If you are arguing that we need to give the highest earners a low tax rate to keep them from committing crimes, then, I say prosecute them to the fullest extent. I've said it several times and I'll say it again: corporations are a way for a small class of people to profit off the labor of others with no ethical or moral responsibility to those people insofar as it does not negatively impact the company's ability to generate a profit.
    Most large corporations are public. They are largely owned by entities like, oh, public pension funds, included in workers 401k etc. You may argue for improvement in corporate governance - better board elections etc. But it is FAR better than any bureaucratic system can master.

    For example, for Big Oil companies:
    31.2% Pension Funds (average income of household participating is under $55K)
    21.1% Individual Investors
    20.6% Mutual Funds
    17.7% IRAs
    6.6% Other Institutional Investors
    2.8% Oil Company Executives

    We do not need to give a low tax rate to high earners to keep them from committing crimes. Income elasticity and Laffer curve is not a crime. It is an economics law.

  25. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    As for your tax rate being 90% on everything over $100k - fine.
    Every single hard working engineer in my group is well, well above that number. If they stop working (and why would they), this large public company will go under, thousands of people will lose jobs, and, by the way, nobody will pay taxes.

    Punitive taxation is stupid because it does not work.

    Me? I would go to some other country that charges reasonable taxes. Not a problem for me. Will America benefit from that? I doubt that.

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