United States Biden administration policies and actions - megathread

strunkenwhite

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I am not in favor of redistributionism per se, for its own sake. But I am generally for progressive taxes as opposed to flat taxes as the main source of government revenue raised from the population on the theory that, dollar for dollar, taxes do relatively less harm to the richer than to the poorer. This goes for income tax and, yes, a wealth tax that is assessed once per lifetime on the wealthiest 0.1% or whatever the hell it is.
 

Abhishekm

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To that there is the meme about 40 percent of people from the country where the median wage makes them a 1 percenter globally in purchasing power being non tax payers. Very progressive. Again I know people flip flop on the global or humanitarian values versus national exceptionalism as convenient on issues like this. But the first world problem meme is kinds dead on. Especially for the western welfare slob and their tax funded sugardaddies.

Faced with that I really do just find all the justifications for taxing people who actually DID something for a living funny. Taxing them for wanting to actually save the result of their effort for their children instead of blowing it on strippers and medical Marijuana is just funnier.

Whats that Jewish term for why it is wrong to mix meat from a calf with cheese from the milk meant to nourish them?

Like seriously who saw the elderly care is infrastructure schtick and still thought government welfare programs were anything other than a bribe?
 
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Battlegrinder

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I am not in favor of redistributionism per se, for its own sake. But I am generally for progressive taxes as opposed to flat taxes as the main source of government revenue raised from the population on the theory that, dollar for dollar, taxes do relatively less harm to the richer than to the poorer. This goes for income tax and, yes, a wealth tax that is assessed once per lifetime on the wealthiest 0.1% or whatever the hell it is.

The issue with a wealth tax is that, for most assets, you have already paid for them. You already paid property taxes, sales tax, etc on those things when you purchased them, there's no justification for taxing you again simply for owning them, that's not fair. The main exception to the rule of items being taxed when purchased is certain highly illiquid assets who's value is difficult to assess, difficult to access, and in many cases, entirely theoretical. Stocks are taxed when sold rather than bought for that reason, among others (a sales tax on stocks is a very bad idea).

And while I understand your idea regarding progressive taxes, I don't really accept it. The fact that some people can pay more is not a valid moral justification for making them do so. My state has a flat rate income tax, and last year the governor attempted to pass a constitutional amendment changing that. For months we got bombarded by adds saying that rich need to pair their "fair share" and that if they would just be made to pay that "fair share" of notably more taxes than everyone else, everyone who wasn't rich would get a tax cut. It was disgustingly dishonest.
 

Abhishekm

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The issue with a wealth tax is that, for most assets, you have already paid for them.
The argument there is you were taxed for buying them, you were taxes for earning the money you used to buy them, you were taxed for actions taken to maintain them, and even for continual ownership of them. The seller was taxed for the sale, the seller was taxed for purchasing the product themselves or for every step of the manufacturing of it from the land, to tools to labor.

So whats the big deal bout adding one or two more layers to the capital extraction machine? Death Tax, Inheritance Tax, Gift Tax, Wealth Tax, Property Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax, Sales Tax, Corporate Tax. Whats the difference? Or thats how that goes for people who have never set aside savings for anyone other than themselves.

All that on funny money you literally cannot tax enough to be able to fund your spending without relying on printing more funny money in the first place.
 
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strunkenwhite

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The issue with a wealth tax is that, for most assets, you have already paid for them. You already paid property taxes, sales tax, etc on those things when you purchased them, there's no justification for taxing you again simply for owning them, that's not fair. The main exception to the rule of items being taxed when purchased is certain highly illiquid assets who's value is difficult to assess, difficult to access, and in many cases, entirely theoretical. Stocks are taxed when sold rather than bought for that reason, among others (a sales tax on stocks is a very bad idea).

And while I understand your idea regarding progressive taxes, I don't really accept it. The fact that some people can pay more is not a valid moral justification for making them do so. My state has a flat rate income tax, and last year the governor attempted to pass a constitutional amendment changing that. For months we got bombarded by adds saying that rich need to pair their "fair share" and that if they would just be made to pay that "fair share" of notably more taxes than everyone else, everyone who wasn't rich would get a tax cut. It was disgustingly dishonest.
Sales taxes come out of the income you already pay income tax on. Property taxes ditto, except you also already paid property taxes last year on the same damn property, and will again next year! This is much worse on the double taxation angle than the estate tax IMO. Not to mention, again, that the step up in basis exists explicitly in defiance of the double taxation complaint.

I suspect we just disagree at a conceptual level about what is "equal burden". Is it 30% of your money? Or 30% of the money you didn't spend on bare survival? What is bare survival anyway? These are hard questions to fully answer, maybe even impossible, but it seems evident to me that after accounting for health care, living space, transportation, and food the pie is a lot smaller compared to how it started on one side than the other.
 

Abhishekm

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taxes come out of the income you already pay income tax on. Property taxes ditto, except you also already paid property taxes last year on the same damn property, and will again next year! This is much worse on the double taxation angle than the estate tax IMO. Not to mention, again, that the step up in basis exists explicitly in defiance of the double taxation complaint.
Heh, called it on that argument. And the response is that why not cut out layers instead of adding more obfuscation to the pile. Because if you have to try and hide just how much money you take through layers what is it for? To make just how much you charge people less rage inducing by doing it in more steps or to hide more loopholes so only the shmucks you want to fleece actually end up getting gouged. Or some variant of that argument.

Which always boils down to people are always more willing to supports spending on stuff they like with other peoples money but get offended when called out especially if they think the other has it 'better.

Because rearly whats 'bare survival? The majority of the world's definition is enough food to not starve and enough shelter to not die of exposure and not much else. The US standard seems to include enough cash to dope yourself to death and keeping in style with the latest gadgets and overpriced sneakers. And escalates from there.
 
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JagerIV

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If the goal was simple "equality", much more reasonable than an estate tax is an estate cap. And one much higher than $12 million. Say, up to $100 million inherited by any one individual, or 1/3 may go to a designated heir, and up to $100 million to particular individual.

So, if you had someone with a fortune of $500 million, you can have $166.5 million to a designated heir, and then the remaining $333.5 million has to be divided up between at least 4 other inheritors. For the truly rich, like a Bloomberg with a net worth of $59 billion, that's about $20 billion to whoever continues on the Bloomberg group name, and the remaining $40 billion gets divided up amongst at least 400 individuals.

That's a much more effective way to regulate inheritance to reduce wealth inequality, much more than taking money from a relatively smaller concentration of wealth and power and transferring it to the largest concentration of wealth and power in the country.

This actually distributes power and wealth between a bunch of legitimately independent actors, counteracting a bit the peratio distribution where things naturally accumulate to a 80/20 of an 80/20, while expanding the class of the indepently wealthy with fuck you money to act as counterparts to anything.
 

Terthna

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Sales taxes come out of the income you already pay income tax on. Property taxes ditto, except you also already paid property taxes last year on the same damn property, and will again next year! This is much worse on the double taxation angle than the estate tax IMO. Not to mention, again, that the step up in basis exists explicitly in defiance of the double taxation complaint.

I suspect we just disagree at a conceptual level about what is "equal burden". Is it 30% of your money? Or 30% of the money you didn't spend on bare survival? What is bare survival anyway? These are hard questions to fully answer, maybe even impossible, but it seems evident to me that after accounting for health care, living space, transportation, and food the pie is a lot smaller compared to how it started on one side than the other.
One issue that lies at the core of your argument is the assumption that the government uses tax revenue to help people; when that is pretty much never the case. More tax revenue just means more money ultimately lining the pockets of certain individuals.
 

prinCZess

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This actually distributes power and wealth between a bunch of legitimately independent actors, counteracting a bit the peratio distribution where things naturally accumulate to a 80/20 of an 80/20, while expanding the class of the indepently wealthy with fuck you money to act as counterparts to anything.
But it doesn't fill the government's coffers.

Of note here being in the broader conversation how the income tax itself began as first a wartime measure in the US and then, following amendment of the Constitution, a peacetime one that only applied to the most exorbitant of incomes. Was even specifically promised and advocated for on the basis it would only apply to such. And now...I give you the modern mechanism collecting half the government's revenue every year from everyone from the billionaire* to the waitress at the truck-stop diner.

*Of course, billionaires also have unique opportunities baked-in to the increasingly complex and lawyer/accountant-requiring tax code that present money-saving opportunities provided they put some bits of their money out of reach in certain investments or manners the US Congress finds beneficial that varies yearly...Of note here being how Congresspeople seem to keep becoming millionaires or inflating their wealth by millions whilst serving (or after), despite the Congressional wage not being high enough to do so. Hmmmmm....Big think, there...

The estate tax is an immoral monstrosity from the get-go. It is also one that the sufficiently-rich have increasing options to end-run by the same favored status they may end-run income taxation, and is seemingly-constantly pressured downwards to cover more people in the name of a 'public good' that actually does disservice to that public. More people should not qualify for the estate tax. Less people should. The same way less people should qualify for the income tax. Insanity is doing the same hting over and over. Shoveling more funding to a corrupt system of backscratchers who have, at absolute best, tangentially benefited the public by accident in the past to fund more of their schemes--conscious or reflexive--of graft and mutual aid is insanity that has only made those backscratchers behave as if money is endless whilst decrying any attempt to restrain taxation as if money is a concern.
 

strunkenwhite

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If the goal was simple "equality", much more reasonable than an estate tax is an estate cap. And one much higher than $12 million. Say, up to $100 million inherited by any one individual, or 1/3 may go to a designated heir, and up to $100 million to particular individual.
That just sounds like an estate tax with a 100% bracket. If the issue is that the super-rich create and abuse loopholes, eliminate the loopholes; that's a different problem from the basic structure of the tax. Admittedly it's a fucking huge problem and there is an argument to be had that it's easier to just burn the whole thing down and build from scratch.
One issue that lies at the core of your argument is the assumption that the government uses tax revenue to help people; when that is pretty much never the case. More tax revenue just means more money ultimately lining the pockets of certain individuals.
No, the core of my argument is the assumption that the government uses tax revenue. As long as revenue is to be raised there is a debate to be had over what ways are better or worse to raise that revenue by. And what standards we should use to judge better and worse. Where the money is spent is a different issue entirely.
 

strunkenwhite

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Inflow and outflow are separate domains; you don't solve the welfare state by gutting the IRS; et cetera.
 

bintananth

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@strunkenwhite

Annual property taxes make sense from a "the money has to come from somewhere" and a "we can't tax people who don't live here" perspective.

They're how local governments fund the things they need to pay for: roads, schools, parks, police, fire departments, and the like.

It does result is stuff like "small town A" barely being able to keep the street lights turned on at night while "small town B" a few miles over can repave their roads every year because it sits on a lake and waterfront property tends to attract rich people.
 

VicSage

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I can understand property taxes, even if I very much dislike them. They are the oldest form of tax known if I remember correctly. But at the federal level, I'd prefer for it all to be consolidated into a single sales tax, or otherwise simplified. We spend hundreds of millions every year either on tax compliance or avoidance, it'd be a heck of a lot easier if your own taxation was something you could do with a third grade education.
 

Lord Sovereign

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*Of course, billionaires also have unique opportunities baked-in to the increasingly complex and lawyer/accountant-requiring tax code that present money-saving opportunities provided they put some bits of their money out of reach in certain investments or manners the US Congress finds beneficial that varies yearly...
As an Englishman who has a relative absolutely screwed by progressive income tax (he doesn't earn millions or anything for God's sake), I can't find myself chastising the mega-rich for moving their money overseas. I'd do the same in their situation, and I reckon a lot of other people here would as well. In no way is it fair to have almost half your earnings taken from you because you had the temerity to be successful.

Flat tax for everyone (In the United Kingdom's case, I think 20% should do) and leave it at that. As I understand it, that actually ends up improving tax revenue in the long run.
 

Zachowon

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I dunno if someone's mentioned this or not, but here it is.


If you criticize Josef Biden, you go to Gulag!
Except that isn't what happened at all.
He is in the brig and being charged with multiple UCMJ, mainly to see if one sticks, because he did break UCMJ.
Him being in the Brig has nothing to do with him talking bad about Biden.
 

Abhishekm

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If the goal was simple "equality", much more reasonable than an estate tax is an estate cap. And one much higher than $12 million. Say, up to $100 million inherited by any one individual, or 1/3 may go to a designated heir, and up to $100 million to particular individual.

So, if you had someone with a fortune of $500 million, you can have $166.5 million to a designated heir, and then the remaining $333.5 million has to be divided up between at least 4 other inheritors. For the truly rich, like a Bloomberg with a net worth of $59 billion, that's about $20 billion to whoever continues on the Bloomberg group name, and the remaining $40 billion gets divided up amongst at least 400 individuals.

That's a much more effective way to regulate inheritance to reduce wealth inequality, much more than taking money from a relatively smaller concentration of wealth and power and transferring it to the largest concentration of wealth and power in the country.

This actually distributes power and wealth between a bunch of legitimately independent actors, counteracting a bit the peratio distribution where things naturally accumulate to a 80/20 of an 80/20, while expanding the class of the indepently wealthy with fuck you money to act as counterparts to anything.
So the solution to a Death Tax in your mind is a Death Forced Redistribution? Setting aside how any monetary point put on these things is always arbitrary, in the sense that whatever the proposer thinks is 'fair' or thinks they can get away with. All this adds is a forced requirements for breaking up of wealth at said arbitrary amounts into an arbitrary number of pieces regardless of the choices of the dying guy writing out their will and testament.

Like at that point just stick with the Death Tax and make a policy that says the revenue will be spent on 40 people at random. You know as opposed to mandating the number of recipients and their shares in wills.
 
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Abhishekm

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*Of course, billionaires also have unique opportunities baked-in to the increasingly complex and lawyer/accountant-requiring tax code that present money-saving opportunities provided they put some bits of their money out of reach in certain investments or manners the US Congress finds beneficial that varies yearly...Of note here being how Congresspeople seem to keep becoming millionaires or inflating their wealth by millions whilst serving (or after), despite the Congressional wage not being high enough to do so. Hmmmmm....Big think, there...
People competent enought to accrue fuck you levels of money or inherited a support base from parents competent enough to accrue it and successfully pass it on to their children generally can run circles around policies written by two bit hacks pulling stunts to induce bribes in the first place. Who saw that coming?

I dunno if someone's mentioned this or not, but here it is.


If you criticize Josef Biden, you go to Gulag!
Think that was mentioned already. Maybe in another thread? Either way yeah, banana Republic Nike shoes boogaloo.
 
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