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Thread started 20 Mar 2011 (Sunday) 18:37
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RDKirk
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Mar 28, 2011 14:31 |  #106

tkbslc wrote in post #12110304 (external link)
RDkirk, Utah is actually one of the strongest states right now, financially. Recently topped Forbes lists for "Best places for business and careers", too. Colorado is also in the top 5 as well, so I am not sure where you are getting your "in the toilet" stats.

None of those states is showing an influx of wealthy people, so where are they fleeing to? Moreover, all those states are either in the toilet economically or have an alternate means of support.

Notice that clause beginning with "or?"

Any percentage based tax will go down equally when incomes go down across the board. I don't see how taxing 5% of an unemployment check or fast food salary is going to solve the budget crisis. The problem with a flat tax is that the 5% comes off of necessities like food for the poor, and it doesn't for the wealthy. No it is not "fair" to have a progressive tax, but it isn't fair that a large chunk of the population can barely make ends meet.

And that is what I meant about the debate over "fair." A lot of the proponents of the flat tax go all the way back to the Bible's Old Testament Mosaic "tithe" law...but conveniently forget that in addition to the tithe, the Mosaic Law also required the wealthy to leave substantial additional amounts of their harvests to the poor.


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tgara
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Mar 29, 2011 09:48 |  #107

RDKirk wrote in post #12109238 (external link)
Well, certainly, they can afford to pay more. It's silly to argue that someone who makes several orders of magnitude more than the modal income can't afford to pay any larger percentage of his income.

I don't think anyone is arguing that the weathly can't afford to pay more taxes. Certainly they can. The question is whether they should pay more just because they are wealthy. From a policy standpoint, I believe taxing the wealthy more disincentivizes work and productivity. Why work hard to earn more when you know the state is going to take a bigger and bigger portion of what you earn? This was on vivid display in the early 1960s when marginal tax rates were at 90%.

The debate of "fair" is, of course, the crux of the matter. Ultimately, it's not going to be "fair" that matters, but what actually works in the real world of politics and economics.

No, I think fairness should play a role. For example, is it fair to have one person pay 40% of their income, under color of law, to the state, and have another person pay nothing? What about shared sacrifice? A better policy would be that if you earn an income, you should pay some tax. We can quibble about how much, etc., but we should all have skin in the game. Using a standard like "what works" or "what's needed" is too ambiguous and is ripe for abuse.

These are the states with flat tax rates: Colorado (4.63 percent), Illinois (3.0 percent), Indiana (3.4 percent), Massachusetts (5.3 percent), Michigan (3.07 percent), and Pennsylvania (3.07 percent). Last year, Rhode Island and Utah adopted optional flat taxes of 5.5 and 5.35 percent, respectively.

None of those states is showing an influx of wealthy people, so where are they fleeing to? Moreover, all those states are either in the toilet economically or have an alternate means of support.

First, those data are from 2007 and are likely out of date. Secondly, the issue is not simply whether or not a state has a flat tax. The issue is (1) what the tax rate is, and (2) what other factors in the aggregate make that state desirable (or not) to live, work, and raise a family.

You wanted to know where people are fleeing? According to the 2010 Census Report issued two weeks ago by the Census Bureau, people are fleeing to the Rocky Mountain states, the south Atlantic states, and to Texas. These states showed the highest growth rates in the country. Why? In part it is due to the pro-growth public policies in these states. Some examples:

The eight states with no state income tax grew 18 percent in the last decade. The other states (including the District of Columbia) grew just 8 percent. The 22 states with right-to-work laws grew 15 percent in the last decade. The other states grew just 6 percent. The 16 states where collective bargaining with public employees is not required grew 15 percent in the last decade. The other states grew 7 percent. As these statistics demonstrate, public policies matter a lot when attracting people, industries, and capital.

The most rapid growth in 2000–10, 21 percent, was in the Rocky Mountain states and in Texas. The Rocky Mountain states tend to have low taxes, weak unions, and light regulation. Texas has no state income tax, no public-employee union bargaining, and light regulation. Moreover, Texas’s economy has diversified far beyond petroleum, with high-tech centers, major corporate headquarters, and new small businesses. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of Americans and immigrants, high-skill as well as low-skill. Its wide-open spaces made for low housing costs, which protected it against the housing bubble and bust that have slowed growth in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

We're getting off the photography topics, but you can extend the above principles to starting a new photography business or marketing your photos. If I were doing it, I'd move to Texas or another low tax state with a pro-growth policy. With lower taxes, I could offer less expensive goods and services to my customers and keep more of what I earn.


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RDKirk
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Mar 29, 2011 10:04 |  #108

So if you're not in favor of a state income tax, then you are in favor of much higher state sales taxes? Which is it?


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RDKirk
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Mar 29, 2011 10:07 as a reply to  @ tgara's post |  #109

Any percentage based tax will go down equally when incomes go down across the board. I don't see how taxing 5% of an unemployment check or fast food salary is going to solve the budget crisis. The problem with a flat tax is that the 5% comes off of necessities like food for the poor, and it doesn't for the wealthy. No it is not "fair" to have a progressive tax, but it isn't fair that a large chunk of the population can barely make ends meet.

It's even less fair when part of the plan is to make sure people who only have their personal labor to sell are prevented from bargaining collectively. As Theodore Roosevelt said--when he finally came around to supporting unionized labor--"Labor must organize because business is certainly organized."

People really need to read some history to see how much the so-called "Guilded Age" sucked for the average worker before deciding we need to go back to that set of circumstances.

Now, as artisans, things can work out okay for us--John Singer Sargent prospered quite handsomely in the Guilded Age catering to the desire of industrial giants for "swagger portraits." But that's going to benefit only the very top rung of photographers.


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tgara
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Mar 29, 2011 12:22 |  #110

RDKirk wrote in post #12116127 (external link)
It's even less fair when part of the plan is to make sure people who only have their personal labor to sell are prevented from bargaining collectively. As Theodore Roosevelt said--when he finally came around to supporting unionized labor--"Labor must organize because business is certainly organized."

People really need to read some history to see how much the so-called "Guilded Age" sucked for the average worker before deciding we need to go back to that set of circumstances.

Comparing working conditions of today with those in the late 19th and early 20th century is just silly, and no serious person is suggesting we go back to that set of circumstances. Back then, there was no department of labor, OSHA, or state laws on working conditions, and employers took advantage. Indeed, that's part of the reason why unions were formed in the first place. But nowadays, there are so many laws, rules, and regulations that protect workers, unions are becoming less relevant, especially in the private sector. For example, the workers at the Honda and Toyota assembly plants in the US have rebuffed many attemts by the UAW to unionize. They simply view it as not necessary. On the contrary, now we see unions, particularly in the public sector, taking advantage of the taxpayers. In my own town, despite a budget deficit, rising property taxes, and reduced income of town residents, the local teacher's union would not give back or defer their negotiated 3% pay raise last year. The president of the teacher's union had the gall to publish his reasons in the local paper, and he pretty much told the residents too bad, deal with it. Needless to say, the town residents, including those who have kids in school, were outraged.

So if you're not in favor of a state income tax, then you are in favor of much higher state sales taxes? Which is it?

I never said I was not in favor of a state income tax. If the people of a state, through their elected representatives, decide an income tax is desirable, they can certainly implement one. My only point about state income taxes is that they should be applied in a manner that does not cause hardship for the residents or the state as a whole down the road (e.g., high rates on businesses or the wealthy that cause them to leave the state, thus depriving the state of a source of revenue). If a state implements an income tax, it should be a low broadbased rate. This makes all income earners stakeholders in the state's success and reduces cycle of boom and bust seen today in places like CA, NY, NJ and CT. Last weekend's WSJ had an essay of the problems faced by many states that rely primarily on the wealthy for their revenue.

http://online.wsj.com …l?mod=WSJ_hp_mo​stpop_read (external link)


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RDKirk
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Mar 29, 2011 13:18 as a reply to  @ tgara's post |  #111

Comparing working conditions of today with those in the late 19th and early 20th century is just silly, and no serious person is suggesting we go back to that set of circumstances. Back then, there was no department of labor, OSHA, or state laws on working conditions, and employers took advantage. Indeed, that's part of the reason why unions were formed in the first place. But nowadays, there are so many laws, rules, and regulations that protect workers, unions are becoming less relevant, especially in the private sector. For example, the workers at the Honda and Toyota assembly plants in the US have rebuffed many attemts by the UAW to unionize. They simply view it as not necessary. On the contrary, now we see unions, particularly in the public sector, taking advantage of the taxpayers. In my own town, despite a budget deficit, rising property taxes, and reduced income of town residents, the local teacher's union would not give back or defer their negotiated 3% pay raise last year. The president of the teacher's union had the gall to publish his reasons in the local paper, and he pretty much told the residents too bad, deal with it. Needless to say, the town residents, including those who have kids in school, were outraged.


I've never been a member of a union; nobody in my family has ever been a member of a union. However, I've read a bit of history. All those "laws, rules, and regulations that protect workers" as well as all the benefits like paid holidays, sick days, overtime, et cetera, came about because union workers were willing to get their heads beaten in by goons hired by business--and sometimes by government--in order to secure them.

Business and government did not provide the current situation out of the overflowing goodness of their hearts. Those benefits we take for granted were not granted. They were hard-won... by labor unions.

Only 15 years ago, most union members in the US were in the industrial sector. Now, most union members are in the government sector. That is not because industrial workers have decided unions are irrelevant, it's because Big Business has moved industry to China. Or to the South, where people still have the feeling that slavery is a good thing.

If we were not seeing--such as in Wisconsin--a rebirth of the unholy alliance of Big Business and government occuring again, I'd be more sanguine about the disappearance of unions. But as I see the political villification of unions--and even the specific pronouncement by both business and government officials that our labor relations actually need to be more like China's--it's pretty clear to me that some powers that be do intend to roll back all those benefits we take for granted.

People like Donald Trump and Rupert Murdock haven't suddenly found the meaning of Christmas. There are 25% of workers in the US today who get no paid holidays, no overtime, no benefits of any kind...we can expect that to be the case for the majority of workers within another 20 years.


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