How should we stop the rich from cheating?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by vilk, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    It's a fact of life that super rich people in the United States don't pay the taxes they're supposed to by doing all kinds of loop-hole-ish stuff.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/b...vate-tax-system-saves-them-billions.html?_r=1

    What do you think can be done to stop them? Keeping in mind that I am not economically smart, I was thinking couldn't it all be avoided with an income ceiling or an asset ceiling or something? All the money you make over [decided number] just automatically converted to 100% tax dollars. I personally don't think there's a man alive who deserves more than 1 billion dollars. There's literally nothing you should be able to do or contribute to earn that. No one is worth that much. Or is that an opinion that most don't share with me (honest question)?

    Or how about an aggressive imprisonment movement. Literally hunt down every single one of these guys and lock them up. New CEOs take over, pull the same shtick, lock them up. Start a War On Tax Evasion and treat it like it's a War On Drugs. Convert the DEA to the TEA and put mandatory minimum sentences on that .....

    I've heard it said that removing our lobbying system would make it so that congressmen no longer have incentives to shelter these criminals and secretly defend their actions. Do you suppose that is so?

    Like I said, I'm not smart about this kind of stuff-- but I do like thinking about it. I'd like to hear what you guys think about it even more.
     
  2. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    Well, you are on to the right track here.
    I am from Denmark, but we have the same problem, even though we have a progresive tax system, which means that the more you earn the more tax you pay.
    Effectively though it is the other way around: The more money you earn the more loop holes you can use and in the end pay less tax.

    The short (Metallica) answer would be: KILL 'EM ALL!

    Seriously:
    I think removing the lobbying system is a good start for all (also the EU) as most politicians are brought and paid for by (you guessed it) the rich

    Furthermore I think you should also make it so that you can't be elected for any democratic instituition more than twice FOR LIFE! So something like 8 years in total in either local parliaments, national or international (EU).

    There is actually a political party in Denmark which inforces this on its members in a way: you can only be in national parliament for 8 years, then you have to wait for 4 years until you can be elected again.
    Also an idea from the same party: The members pay most of their income from being in parliament to the party, which is then used as funds for election campains. The reason for this is that members of parliament are paid a ridiciouless amount of money, in such a way that as soon as you are elected to parliament you basicly become a millionaire (in danish money, but still a lot of money).

    This insures (in a way) that the MPs better represent the population in the parliament. Basicly reduce the pay of MPs to something like the average income of the country, instead of making MPs the top 1% of society.

    All in all, have democracy be for and of the 99% of people instead of the 1%.
     
  3. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    I certainly do NOT share that opinion with you, and I am a guy that earns just shy of 73K a year, so I'm by all means not "well off". Firstly, it is my personally opinion that the government should never be able to take more than 49% or your earnings. Why? Because you brought in the income and in no situation should the government ever be "entitled" to take more, or an equal amount of your share. That they can take more is disgusting and criminal. As for the billion dollar comment, I'll disagree there too. There are quite a few billionaire's, Bill Gates being the first to come to mind, that have done wonderfully good philanthropic things with their wealth. Not everyone is greedy.

    As to the original question... well that's a doozy isn't it!? I work for a prestigious corporate law firm, I've worked for two over the span of 16 years. Let me tell you something... these people are the one's making the laws and they're all wealthy. And what do they do to keep a large income flowing? Make MORE laws and make the legal system so god damn convoluted no one can represent themselves in court, it's suicide. We HAVE to pay for lawyers as a result. It's become so bad, counties/cities often can't pay for prosecuting a high profile crime! Why has it gotten this bad? Because the lawyers are running the law in this country and making it so they keep the fat checks rolling in.

    My firm has a founding partner that has several books on this problem and has his own not-for-profit organization to try and combat this "too-big law" problem. I've watched his interviews on the Daily Show, kinda cool being I walk into his office and help him personally all the time. But will it make a difference? Probably not. I know because I see with every election our attornies leaving the firm to go work for the Obama administration for example. It goes all the way up to the government.

    So, in essence it's going to take a good moral backbone, people in power with good moral backbone to stop this bullsh*t. Otherwise it's going to continue on and on and on while everyone is greasing each others hands and people that stand to take the hit have their puppets in positions of power.


    Rev.
     
  4. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    I'm by no means an expert either, but a flat tax for everyone makes sense to me.

    For example, 15% should be taken out of everyone's gross income...no loop hole or anything like that, just 15% right off the bat.

    And I have to agree with you about the billion dollar statement. There is not one human worth that much. Period. But at the same time, that statement seems extremely Un-American to me.


    I pay my fair share why can't everyone else? Oh wait....they are freaking rich and can afford accounts and lawyers to find loop holes :lol:



    That's just my uneducated opinion. I would love to hear from someone who actually knows their stuff.
     
  5. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    TEA? Taxes? :lol:

    That was funny to me, but I do agree at the same time... I agree that those who evade paying their fair share of taxes should fear the hand of the law more than they appear to, but I'm not sure an income ceiling is the way to go about it. Then again, like you, I'm not expert. :shrug:
     
  6. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Did you though, really? Does an individual bring in that income? I like to think that it's consumers, workers (most of whom probably reside in Asia), and a whole lot of other people who bring in that income.

    Yeah, Bill Gates is a notable rich man because he can at least be tagged with heaps philanthropic deeds. But if he didn't spend the money on philanthropic causes, I'd like to think that we as a country would have still found a virtuous use for his excess money. What if we could instantly turn every billionaire into a 'Bill Gates'?
     
  7. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    I've been saying this for ages as well. The idea that people, and even corporations, can donate money into political campaigns should be outlawed. Paying for future favors is what it is plain and simple. Problem is, if we outlaw that then only people of high wealth can run for president as it does indeed take a crap ton of money to advertise. Perhaps if the countries of the world instead made their own united political TV/cable advertising channels that could be provisioned solely for the populace to tune in and be able to access content from each political party runner. I dunno. All I know is running for president does cost a lot of money so it's one of those things where a new system needs to be enacted to prevent campaign donations that lead to future preferential treatments and hookups and such.


    Rev.
     
  8. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Well what if tax money paid for a single outlet where all candidates were allowed to advertise themselves and forced to share time with one another? It would still cost a lot of money but perhaps not have to come out of the individual candidates' pockets.

    Further, they all receive the same amount of time and advertising this way and if they have something important to say they better damn well do it lest they be cut off and forced to allow the next man/woman to speak.

    Beyond that, it should be made illegal for them to accept any donations from PACs, corporations, etc under *this* system because the money couldn't possibly be needed for their campaign and thus could only serve to grease their palms. If former contributors wish to contribute, they can contribute to a pool of money divided among all candidates for the purpose of allowing them equal opportunity to campaign.

    I'm not sure that would work, but theoretically it does. :lol:

    I imagine that in that case--should the individual candidate have the funds of their own, they could still invest in campaigning beyond that single outlet and in that sense, I feel there may still be an unfair advantage because the person who can pay for nicer signs and air time of their own will naturally "appear" to be the best candidate to the masses unless it then became illegal to campaign outside of said oulet. I'm not sure people would be too happy about that, but it *would* level the playing field and discourage the acceptance of "political donations".
     
  9. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Outlaw lobbying and then impose a campaign spending cap?
     
  10. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    Yeah, and all those people also already paid taxes on their income and then are taxed YET AGAIN to spend that income whilst the company and retailers are all paying taxes again as income. Not to mention the business an employee works for was already taxed on that income they are then paying you, the employee.

    Personally, in my opinion, sales tax is criminal and should be abolished. I'm all for income tax, even a slightly higher income tax to abolish sales tax. Income tax is obviously necessary as we all need to support infrastructure, the military, etc. But when I give my money over to another entity for a product the government has zero involvement. Why should they get a cut??? They didn't do anything for me or the business. Don't even get me started on Estate/Death Taxes.


    Rev.
     
  11. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Property tax bugs me a little bit too... I paid taxes on the item when I bought it and now because it's value exceeds <insert number> I pay you a fee every year just because I have it? Hmm...

    Maybe there's more to it than that, but that .... does grind my gears if it actually is that simple.
     
  12. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    Yeah I don't understand this fully either. Though I think some of it may be do to the fact that property gains in value over the years (quite a lot over the years actually) and so just owning a property is considered an income. As an example: My parrents brought an appartment 30 years ago for about 400000 DKK. Today it is worth like 6000000 DKK (note the added zero!)

    In that view it does not seem so unfair to have property tax, as the gain in value is far more than the inflation over those years.
     
  13. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    Property tax is something I am ok with since it still deals with infrastructure (at least for houses) on at least some level, but yeah I am not cool with just how high those taxes have become. In some areas it's ludicrous and almost like paying rent, or more! Problem is, us humans just won't stop reproducing and space is precious and finite. You want to live in a heavily populated area or near a major city well get ready for the whammy!


    Rev.
     
  14. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    OK... but... I don't see what that has to do with why the super rich ought not to be put through the wringer. You've just talked about the people who wouldn't be affected by a ceiling. Or did I miss something?
     
  15. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    I was simply commenting back on your reply of, "Does an individual bring in that income? I like to think that it's consumers, workers (most of whom probably reside in Asia), and a whole lot of other people who bring in that income." - meaning the government is getting a lot of money already from consumer transactions brought about by said billionaire's.

    It was a personal opinion about something relating to your reply as opposed to the entire topic at hand, to which I think I covered my opinion on that in my first reply no?


    Rev.
     
  16. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Oh.

    You said that it's wrong to take so much money from billionaires because they brought in the income. So then I said, they didn't really bring in the income themselves, which you also admit is true.
    So why then is it wrong to take so much money from billionaires?

    I mean, you gave your opinion, but you didn't explain it all the way. You called it disgusting to take over half of someone's money... but if someone makes 2 billion, and gov't takes 1 billion... they still have a billion dollars so... what's the disgusting part of being a billionaire? Do you really feel that bad for the monetary loss of a dude who has a thousand million dollars? I personally can't. So why do you?

    I guess it's not exactly exactly what this thread is about but I feel it's relevant enough to discuss. I mean unless you don't want to.
     
  17. Bodes

    Bodes SS.org Regular

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    We have a problem in Australia where it is so damn easy to start a business and then instead of earning an income, that money goes into your business which owns property, which you pay rent on so effectively you are paying yourself rent and anything you do to your property is considered a loss towards running a business which comes off your tax.

    You have a party at your business owned property: claim it against tax.

    This is now happening not only with the rich, but in the upper-middle class as well.

    The problem is that if the laws were changed, most of our politicians will be directly affected.

    We have an issue that came to light last year where the Federal Senate held inquiries big businesses who contributed less than 1% effective tax rate on profits when our county's corporate tax rate is 30% on profits. It was big news in the lead up to the inquiry, but after a few days, it disappeared from the news completely. Something smells fishy about that.

    Senator Penny Wong was in charge of these inquiries, and seemed like she wanted to do the right thing by the Australian people, but am worried she was spoken to by certain people and had her mind changed about the issue.

    I, too, am fairly uneducated when it comes to financial and economic matters, but I certainly know that the current system of tax avoidance is wrong, creating a huge discrepancy between the top end and bottom end of town.
     
  18. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    No disrespect intended, but you're not reading what I wrote correctly. I didn't admit it was true. My point was that the government is already sucking a sh*t ton of money that was already taxed from people just spending the "already taxed" money. The reason for my commentary wasn't to agree with your comment, it was to reflect on your personal opinion of "I like to think that it's consumers, workers (most of whom probably reside in Asia), and a whole lot of other people who bring in that income." So if at that rate, if it's mostly others bringing in that money, which is taxed, why should the government need 50%+ of a billionaires income? I still disagree. I feel anything 49% and under would be more fair than taking 50% or more of someone's income.

    Because they put all of their time, money, and intellect to be able to come out with a product, technology, whatever that everyone wants or needs. Why should the government ever deserve half or more than half of that when it's the individual or organizations accomplishment? Why the hell is 49% too little??? In what circumstance should the government ever take half or more than half and why should the government ever be entitled to a larger sum?

    Actually, once again, my comment was in regard to your reply to me, which somehow seemed to confuse you since it wasn't in regard to the thread topic. I think I explained my opinion to your thread topic in my first reply. If you'd like me to go into explicit detail on each and every single comment I make I wasn't aware you needed that much detail and will try to oblige in the future.

    Nothing. But you're seeing it in black and white. You're seeing, "Oh you're super rich so STFU!!! I think of things in a fairness scale - what I personally consider fair, to which degree I do not believe it fair for the government to take exactly half or more. You can disagree but I seriously doubt my personal opinion here needs further explanation.

    No, I don't "feel bad", but I do still think it's f*cked up that we live in a society that allows such greed as to be able to take half or more of a persons earnings just because the successful person is a citizen of the country.

    You were the one confused by my followup response to your followup response. :wavey: If you'd like I can stay 100% on topic from here on out.


    Rev.
     
  19. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    You know, it's pretty condescending the way you tell me that I'm confused. It's my opinion that you simply wrote too poorly to be understood the way you wanted, but I wasn't going to say anything...



    I'm pretty sure I was just asking you to go deeper into why you think it's unfair to take from someone who has too much to miss it. You're claiming it's not fair for the government to take more than half of someone's money because they've put in time, work, money, risk, etc. I'm essentially saying that as far as I'm concerned, no amount of time or work provided by an individual should earn more than a billion dollars. Yeah, I bet billionaires work(ed?) their rich butts off (maybe?)... but frankly it just doesn't add up. How can a single human being possibly work hundreds of thousands of times harder than another? There's only 24 hours in a day, everyone sleeps... How can two people have time, but one's is worth only a tiny fraction of the other's? I guess I admit that it's a subjective thing, but from a practical standpoint I feel that after a certain point that subjectivity starts to decrease.


    You say it's f*cked up that society is so greedy as to want to take rich peoples money... but that doesn't make sense to me. Society is everyone. Even billionaires drive on the roads, drink the water, etc. To say that society is greedy for taking from someone who hypothetically has over a billion dollars just seems totally antithetical. The man is greedy; society is not greedy because it is giving to everyone. Isn't greed kind of an individual want?
     
  20. 7 Strings of Hate

    7 Strings of Hate Mid-Level Asshole Contributor

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    Fair? You want to talk about fair? Taking money that could have given many many many people great lives and keeping it all for yourself?

    Thats being an asshole. You want to be an asshole and take money that should be dispersed more evenly to hundreds if not thousands of people, your ass needs to deal with the repercussions.

    Its like gravity. We were supposed to be in a nebula, but after long enough, capitalism makes the economy into a solar system not consisting of trillions of particles, but of 8 f*cking planets. There is only so much money, and people are multiplying. If your going to fight to take that money out of other peoples hands for no other reason than you can, then I don't have much pity for being fair to them.

    Society gave those people the oppurtunity to make that money, they need to give a good portion of that money back to the society that allowed them to even have that chance.
     

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