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Tomorrow's WSJ shows that Warren Buffet misstated a fact Obama included in his national address Monday, Buffet doesn't pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. It's nice to see the press doing its job.
In the current budget debate you see two viewpoints-the House of Representatives realizes the Welfare State is bankrupt with $200 Trillion in deficits and unfunded liabilities. The Obama administration and the Senate think everything will be fine if they raise taxes and keep pumping devalued dollars into the economy.
The verdict from federal court. Monks can sell caskets in Louisiana without also providing embalming and other funeral home services that the autocratic state government required in order to grant a monopoly over casket sales.
the point of diplomacy is exactly what it says. DIPLOMACY. When we get rid of ingame messaging it does away with the crucial factor of diplomacy and results in no improvement of luck. It actually makes the game far more random and chancy than it should be. I believe that we need to get rid of this option to allow DIPLOMACY to take its course. Please add your comments about this.
I'm not sure if others in this game are experiencing the same oddity, but in http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=63232, which is a gunboat, it's telling me I have an unread global message and I can't figure out how to "read" it or otherwise fix the problem. Thanks.
Can anyone defend Austria when being attacked by Italy, Russia and Turkey?
Can anyone defend the idea that a "power" can produce a better situation for Austria by diminishing the attackers' SC control in exchange for increased unexpected imposition of diplomatic pressure on the attackers?
Something that has always confused me is why people say taxing the wealthy is fair. How can one justify governments taking quadruple the money on those who earn twice as much as the middle class? How is it fair?
"In early capitalist societies land titles were gained through an enclosure process in which peasants were kicked off the land and the land was handed over to the nobility. That's theft. The property was held in common but became private property. Why does ownership need to be privately owned in order for their to be theft? If someone steals, say, property belonging to the government that's still theft is it not? "
Yes... and see also American history in regards to the Natives... the settlers gained title through the existing people being kicked off the land. Theft. The wealth of the descendants of those settlers and immigrants who bought into the system is based on the theft of the land from common ownership to private ownership. At the core of capitalism is coercion (such as threat of losing your low paid job because the "owner" is interested in making as much money off of you as possible) and theft. If land and all improvements to land (buildings and such) were publicly owned, then profits would only be about your labor - not about what you could squeeze out of your neighbor because you own and control his means to making a living.
Demand doesn't create jobs and the rich don't create jobs. It is a much more complex dynamic than that. If there is no investment in companies (the rich) then there is no capital to invest in new processes/products/design/development and the R&D positions and resulting manufacturing jobs to build these new things never happens.
At the same time, even if you "build a better mousetrap", if no one in the widget's target audience has the money to buy it, there will be no need for the manufacturing so the jobs will still not exist.
That said, if the widget's target audience includes those who designed it and those who built it, then it is a self-supporting widget and the jobs that come from it remain and even grow as outside demand will grow them as well.
In short, investment (supply) creates the market for the jobs initially, but demand allows the jobs to remain and even creates more jobs within the same industry.
@TC your examples work for discretionary income. I'm sure Bill Gates doesn't pay $100 for a roll of toilet paper that Joe Blow only pays $1 for. While Bill COULD fly 1st class, that doesn't mean he would. Bill COULD rent the penthouse, that doesn't mean he would.
@Putin33 Profits would be counted as income in my book. At some point in our lives we do become investors, either directly or indirectly.
"In short, investment (supply) creates the market for the jobs initially, but demand allows the jobs to remain and even creates more jobs within the same industry." So, in the debate of chicken vs. egg, you favor chicken. And the federal government is a chicken. ...thus a creator of jobs. Right?
Let's get back on track, shall we? I said that *in theory* everyone can create jobs. It's not a special attribute restricted to the rich or to big corporations. Maybe I should have said that the average person can create jobs, instead of everyone. Because then we started going off on this tangent about how easy entrepreneurship is. I still stand by that, and I think it's one of the greatest things about the Western world. People are unemployed because real life doesn't match up to theory. There are people who have never thought about running a business, or think they can't run a business, or are so poor that they can't even get a loan to run a business, or are used to working for someone else and don't like the idea of running a business.
@The Czech - I hope you saw where I suggested making necessities (like TP and paper towels, food, milk, juice, etc) tax free. And we could even declare some foods (like pop, filet mignon, snack foods ala potato chips and Little Debbies, etc) to be taxable.
As far as other things like housing and cars, Bill and Melida Gates aren't going to buy something like my wife's 2007 and my 2008 Jeep Liberties anymore than her or I would buy something like the blue collar factory worker's 1995 Camaro or his wife's 1990 Chevy Minivan (just an example) so there will be an increased sales tax on the valuation of the car(s). Likewise, the factory guy and his wife probably aren't going to have a $250,000 home and Bill and Melinda's house is clearly worth way more than that. Again, the sales tax would be different.
But the real key to any taxation plan is to not have deductions beyond very basic ones that are identical for everyone so the poor get a break, relative to their income, greater than the rich. In short, all disposable income is taxed equally, and all investments not turned into income are taxed equally. I am a firm believer in property taxes even if I bitch about Kentucky declaring cars as real property that are taxed on there value every year. $475 a year for license plates on two cars... Geez!
It is true that Bill and Melinda will spend more, but if they take their profits and buy municipal bonds with their disposable income there is no tax. With a flat tax (as I envision it) they would have already paid taxes on the cash they use to buy those bonds and the interest they earn on those bonds would also be taxed.
There is an old saw about banks only loaning money to those who don't need it (more accurately, to those who already have money - but have a short-term need for more - to make more). There is definitely truth to it... What does it mean? It seems that banks are of the opinion that it takes money to make money... they are pretty hesitant to invest money in someone who doesn't already have some wealth/collateral - but when they do, they charge a much much higher interest rate. Why? ...Banks realize that it will be a huge uphill battle for this person who doesn't already have money making money as investments to work to pay the bank off. i.e. labor does not pay like capital does. If there's one thing banks understand, it is money and investment... I think we should trust them on this insight of theirs and realize that that is the way that our economy works. The rich have more ability to get richer, the poor have very low chances of getting rich. The banks know that it's about money more than it is about working hard, why don't the conservatives know this? Well, actually, I think many or most rich well educated conservatives know this - and they are simply trying to defend their personal wealth. And the poor to middle-class conservatives that have no investments? They are the useful idiots. They are the hopers and dreamers that believe the lie that the system will reward them for their hard work. Granted that it does, sometimes, but more often it simply uses us for the ends of the wealthy.
It doesn't matter how you scheme a sales tax, it's still regressive. Even if you only tax "luxuries" they're going to cost the poor and middle class more of their money than the rich. The rich save, the middle class and poor are forced to spend most of what they earn. Unless eventually you create a luxury tax that only hits very very high end goods like yachts or whatever, in which case it ceases to be a "sales tax" in any meaningful sense. Most flat tax schemes completely exempt people who, say earn millions or billions off interest from any tax, and eliminate capital gains tax and the estate tax. If you're saying you're keeping these things that flat tax proponents typically call "double taxation", then I don't know what is flat about your tax.
I think the theory is inaccurate and useless. Anyone with talent, ambition, and drive can create no matter what field they are in. The point is that far too few people have talent, driven, and ambition. Probably because demagogues attack people with talent, drive, and ambition because the become rich. We used to celebrate people with talent, drive, and ambition.
As far as people being to poor to start a business I reject that as well. Immigrants that come to this country with the slimmest of assets and no language skills that cut them off from dominant English-speaking society begin businesses. You walk into them every day. Why? Because they have the ambition to organize themselves. I studied under a sociologist at UCLA back in the day, Ivan Light, who did research on the Korean community that came to America in the 1950's. The entrepreneurs in those communities created kinship funds where every member would contribute $100 a year. It might take the fund two years to build up enough for someone to use the money to start a business, but they did and they paid back the loan with interest while the others continued to contribute. This private arrangements became the basis for the vigorous Korea Town in LA today.
My point being that I disagree with what you call the problems, access to money. The problems are the demagoguery of successful people and the traits that made them successful.
It isn't easy to start a business that creates jobs in reality. It is damn hard. People who do it should be among the most respected in the community.
Czech, Why do you want to tax municipal bonds. You want private money to flow to productive uses like bonds of any kinds-Corporate/Municipal/Government.
This is the problem with bad tax policy. It drives money into non-productive shelters. In fact if you have a national sales tax you encourage the creation of investment capital because people get paid interest for saving or investing, but they pay a tax for spending.
Anytime you tax "income" you have to define what is an isn't "income" and people will use their money in unproductive ways to keep it from being classified as "income."
If you tax consumption you get more money from the rich without charging them a higher rate because they eat in more expensive places, stay in more expensive places, buy more expensive items.
There also isn't any question about what gets taxed, consumption gets taxed. If you don't want to consumer you save your money which is a benefit to the individual as well as business that needs investment capital.
Yes we all know TC and his ilk want us to lick the boots of the rich. The people who pushed this economy off a cliff. The people who pay zero in taxes while the rest of us have our incomes go down. No thanks, they're "respected" enough. If these people were so talented our economy wouldn't be in the mess it is now. They screwed it up and we all have to pay for their mistakes.
No, the rich spend far less of their money because they don't need to. So the poor get to subsidize the rich in your world. That's your idea of fairness. Plus it destroys the economy because it creates incentives to lower demand. You not only screw up the economy you screw over everybody but the rich.
Please no non-sensical theoretical statements insinuating that Bill Gates would fly coach instead of first class. The rich fly first class because they can afford to, it is more comfortable, and coach sucks ass no matter who you are in the cattle car part of the plane. Can we be serious.
@TC Your statement Anytime you tax "income" you have to define what is an isn't "income" and people will use their money in unproductive ways to keep it from being classified as "income." is false. People will use their money to make more money if they get to keep what they make. That's why we have all these loopholes and tax shelters now.
I don't want to tax bonds, only the interest from them. Same flat tax as I would from winning the lottery, making min. wage, etc. In your view, from what I gather, is that buying bonds would NOT be an expense and would not be taxed and the interest would also not be taxed because it's income. So, the tax payers pay the bond holder who pays no tax on his "purchase" of the bond. Isn't that how it works now? IF you say tax the expense/purchase of the bond and NOT the income then OK, but I don't think that is what you are saying.
That's the thing about the market, it rewards crap. Every service is getting crappier and crappier. Products are becoming flimsier so that people buy more of them. Indeed companies like Ikea make their living off of selling shitty furniture that breaks so people buy more of it. It used to be the case that you'd buy an appliance and it'd last 20, 30 years. Now you're lucky if it lasts 2 or 3.
VHS defeated Beta, why? Because it was better product? Absolutely not. Cassettes defeated 8-track. Etc etc. Market economies are inefficient and produce junk.
Czech, I agree with your theoretical point that if the tax is flat people will use their money to make more money, but your tax is on "income." The entire key is what you classify as "income." This is the problem now with the "income" tax. Whatever you classify as "income" will be taxed and people will strive to avoid have their money classified as "income" just as they do now. You have to define income somehow and my point is no matter how you define it people will find ways to avoid it because of the tax.
A national sales tax avoids this problem with classification. A national sales tax also is egalitarian. Now Bill Gates and the guy sitting in coach can complain about the 20% tax the both are paying, and for a change the guy flying in coach will realize how much more in real money Gates is paying to fly to the same destination.
When you tax the interest from bonds you are taxing the bonds. For the investor the interest in why they purchased the bond. If you tax the interest you discourage the purchase. Bonds don't change in face value. They simply pay interest.
A national sales tax is still regressive at best and discriminatory at worst.
Bonds do not produce anything except debt which must be paid in the form of higher taxes OR fewer services from the government. Your words==For the investor the interest in why they purchased the bond.== "Purchased" means tax it at the national sales tax rate OR are we going to have to redefine what a purchase is? It doesn't matter why Bill Gates purchase a plane ticket, he still got taxed in your example. Why would he not get taxed for purchasing bonds in your world? Why the exemption?
@Czech - I agree that a sales tax is discriminatory in that those living in affluent neighborhoods where prices get jacke dup will pay more for say, a Corvette, than they would in Bowling Green, KY, where the car is made. So they'll also pay more tax for buying the exact same car. And I like a flat tax on all income. But the fact is, a sales tax would still work. So what if the Gates invest and triple their money every 5 years. For it to actually do them some good, they have to spend it. Then they get taxed. Money, in and of itself, is worthless. It's value is in what it can buy and, as long as everything you can buy outside of the basic necessities is taxed, then the moeny gets taxed when it actually fulfills its perceived value.
But I also likie a flat tax with the deductions as I laid out earlier in this thread.
@TC - on the counter side of the national sales tax is the concept of the barter system and people breaking away from actually purchasing services when they have something of a service the other guy wants. To fulfill legal requirements, they could charge each other a simple $1 fee for what would normally be hundreds of dollars in labor and each pay $.06 for a 6% sales tax.
Bonds do not produce anything but debt Czech? How does a city build a new wastewater treatment plant? How do cities build new schools? How do cities build new fire stations? How do cities build mass transportation systems? All paid for by municipal bonds. "Bond do not produce anything except debt" Hardly.
You seem to have a problem with what a sales tax applies to. Sales taxes don't apply to services-getting your hair cut/seeing a dentist/ etc. Sales taxes don't apply to investments-purchasing bonds, purchasing stocks etc.
Sales taxes apply to consumption purchases.
I didn't create an exemption for purchasing bonds. Investment purchases have never been under a sales tax which applies to purchases for consumption.
Maybe where you live they tax services like a dentist visit. I've never seen it where I've lived in my life. I've also never paid a sales tax on an investment. You don't want to tax investments. Investments are what make an economy grow. A sales tax doesn't and wouldn't apply to capital gains. You would get the money off a capital gain when someone spent the money from a dividend or a stock sale on consumption in the market place.
Here is an interesting one. Would you tax home sales? We don't apply sales tax to home sales now. I wouldn't because you have property taxes instead. I wouldn't mess with the way property taxes are administered at all.
So the sales tax would apply just like it does now, to commercial transactions in the marketplace for consumption. Professional services and investments are hit by sales tax now and wouldn't be hit in the future.
Remember, we are going to a sales tax, at least in my mind, to make the economy grow. If the tax system doesn't tax investment then money will flow into productive enterprises that create jobs and grow the economic pie. If government relies on a national sales tax it will see revenues constantly increase as the economy grows and people have money to spend.
Taxes arent supposed to be fair, income is supposed to be fair. Their is no damn way that bill gates earned that much money. the rich are keeping the poor down through the evil republicans in congress! the democrats are trying to stop the republicans!!!
sales taxes need to be done away with. we need to setup a maximum income for the rich. and we need to get rid of as many taxes as possible on the lower classes. tettletons chew is a stupid idiot who should get a life instead of posting on this forum.
I know what a sales tax is. And already, you exclude services. Who uses more services, the rich or the poor. So the sales tax IS regressive. Also, there is no reason to sell bonds except in cases of emergency. Schools/etc. can be built without them IF the people in charge plan accordingly and tax accordingly. You can NOT tax for today's needs and not plan for tomorrow. Unfortunately borrowing for today's wants leads to not having the funds for tomorrow's needs. I just bought a car and have no payments. Paid cash because I saved a little out of my pay. Governments have funds like this too. To constantly issue bonds perpetuates BAD fiscal policy and has nothing to do with sales tax vs flat tax.
The whole thread is under one mighty loaded question: "stealing" is, in almost any system of ethics, considered wrong. I would argue that until you change the terms of the question, there's just no argument to be made there.
And as far as making the economy grow through a national sales tax... most people have curbed what they spend in this recession. Think of all the credit card holders who will default when they start paying interest on tax collected at the time of purchase under your plan. At first all will seem good, but when the economy hits a bump that interest on the Visa will cause the financial markets to collapse UNLESS you make people pay the sales tax in cash. Like when you by a lotto ticket.
I don't exclude services as I said Czech. Services are not subject to a sales tax in the largest state (population) in the United States where I live, California.
So why would you say that "I" exclude services.
Your statement that there is no reason to sell bonds except in an emergency is simply nonsense. Municipal Bond sells finance all sorts of civic improvements that are non-emergency. The California Aqueduct that brings water to LA was funded by a bond issue. The Erie Canal was funded by a bond issue.
Whether or not bond issues are bad fiscal policy is an entirely different matter.
You brought bonds into the discussion about the flat tax and sales tax by mentioning how you would tax bonds, not me. If you didn't want bonds in the discussion why did you mention them?
Your statements about the economy collapsing because credit card payments that included sales tax ignores the fact that people put their income tax payments on credit cards already, and the economy doesn't collapse.
The fact that you bought a car without financing, I've done that as well, does not mean that all people will or should forego new car financing.
I really don't see a clear point in your last two posts addressing the issue I raised about how you classify "income" that is subject to a flat tax and how you keep people from see tax shelters to avoid money being classified as "income." As I stated before a national sales tax on commercial transactions for consumption as is done all over the nation today eliminates tax shelters altogether. The only thing you have to worry about with a national sales tax is a black market. You simply keep the tax below the level that would spark a black market.