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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

OTP- August 2012: The Leader Post: New stadium won’t have same appeal, says Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee

“Building a new stadium down the street does not work unless (Ron) Lancaster spilled some DNA in the lot where they’re going to build the new stadium,” he added. “You have to refurbish (Mosaic Stadium). You’ve got to can all new ideas you might have and use the sacred ground. Fenway did that and that is why Fenway is loved. The new Yankee Stadium isn’t the same as it used to be.”

The former Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos pitcher will not be running for the vacant mayor’s position in Regina later this year. With his opinion on the new stadium, he wasn’t sure he would garner many votes anyway. But that is nothing new to the former member of the Rhinoceros Party. Lee ran on the Rhino ticket in 1988 for president of the United States. Not surprisingly, he didn’t make the ballot in a single state. He said one of the high-ranking members within the party gave him a six-pack of Molson Canadian and asked him to run for president.

“I adhered to their funny philosophy,” Lee said. “My campaign slogan was ‘No guns, no butter. They’ll both kill you.’ And I only campaigned in federal prisons where I knew they couldn’t vote, and I only accepted a quarter in campaign contributions.”

With it being an election year in the U.S., Lee said he is all in for the re-election of Barack Obama.

“The only time (Mitt) Romney opens his mouth is when he needs to change feet,” Lee said of the Republican nominee. “If Obama does lose this, which I can’t see happening, then it’s because of a lady in Florida who works for Jeb Bush and Diebold, the voting-machine company. If Obama even comes close to losing this election, it’ll be fraud.”

Guess what, its the new OT politics thread!

Tripon Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:04 AM | 5975 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: boston, politics

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   2801. ASmitty Posted: August 19, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4212068)
I think you're underestimating how much tax would be paid on many, many goods. Remember, the money doesn't get taxed on the way in, it gets taxed on the way out. Under thecurrentscheme, high income individuals can pay absurdly low rates. Under a consumption scheme, they get taxed when they buy non-essentials. It's far harder to evade. You take much more money home, but goods and services are much more expensive.

Alternatively, you can have a proxy formula like tshipman explains. That's just one approach though.
   2802. Tripon Posted: August 19, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4212073)
If there is something everyone can agree on, it would seem that the idea that rape can result in unwanted pregnancy would be right up there at the top of the list.
Not so in Missouri, where the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate on Sunday advanced the theory that the female reproductive system shuts down when a woman is being raped, thus preventing conception.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a tea party candidate who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri’s closely watched Senate race, was asked in a local television interview about whether he supports access to abortion in the case of rape.

“If abortion could be considered in case of, say, a tubal pregnancy [which threatens the mother’s life], what about in the case of rape?” asked KTVI-TV host Charles Jaco, in a clip that was disseminated by Talking Points Memo. “Should it be legal or not?”

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” he said, referring to conception following a rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
   2803. tshipman Posted: August 19, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4212074)
Alternatively, you can have a proxy formula like tshipman explains. That's just one approach though.


Yeah, really it doesn't make all that much of a difference. I like the proxy system best because it better uses the existing infrastructure, but another system could also work. The only thing I don't like about it is the different rates for different goods, as obviously there would be a lot of intense lobbying and silly designations.

Edit: WOW did McCaskill catch a break with the Republican primary.
   2804. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 19, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4212075)
Most PCT systems end up generating more revenue due to increased taxation of high wage earners and fewer exemptions for the middle class.

Interesting. What are the rates in such proposals? I've heard a lot about VAT taxes and whatnot, but libertarian types tend to scream "Beware!" due to revenue-side concerns and especially because such taxes inevitably lead to more spending rather than the elimination of income taxes.

(I am assuming Joe must have me on ignore or something because he never responds, but fair enough)

I don't have anyone on Ignore, here or anywhere else. Do I owe you replies to something?
   2805. ASmitty Posted: August 19, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4212087)
I've heard a lot about VAT taxes and whatnot, but libertarian types tend to scream "Beware!" due to revenue-side concerns and especially because such taxes inevitably lead to more spending rather than the elimination of income taxes.


Yeah, I only support the idea with the precondition of no more income/payroll taxes. The libertarians I know, and in the tax field I know many, all support a PCT over an income tax scheme in theory. Many support it in practice as well, but some find it impractical.

At the end of the day it's just more transparent. You pay what you pay, and evasion is far more difficult. When effective tax rates are close to intended tax rates, fiscal planning is much, much easier. When people that should be paying 35% are paying 5%, things get hairy.
   2806. zenbitz Posted: August 19, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4212123)
Ooesnt a progresse sales tax hurt the economy by encouraging saving?
   2807. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 19, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4212130)
I would support a sales tax/VAT tax as not the sole tax, but an addition to an income tax. I would do that to get more illegal income (mostly from self employed or illegal aliens who under report income). I think this combined with a smaller income tax would be ideal. Eliminate the corporate tax on dividends, but tax all income equally. Get rid of all deductions (slowly, over a 10 year period)

I think any tax that relies on self reporting is doomed to fail.
   2808. ASmitty Posted: August 19, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4212180)
A PCT does encourage saving. It also encourages investment. In the grand scheme of things I think the economy isn't hurt too badly.

Invested funds aren't taxed. Under the current scheme, a portion of each dollar is taken out before you can invest it. In a PCT that whole dollar can be invested with no taxes. Which makes investing a much better deal.
   2809. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 19, 2012 at 09:10 PM (#4212183)
Not so in Missouri, where the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate on Sunday advanced the theory that the female reproductive system shuts down when a woman is being raped, thus preventing conception.

Abstinence only education at work, ladies and gentlemen.
   2810. GregD Posted: August 19, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4212189)
How would this work? Would we all need to show an ID card every time we buy something, so we could be charged the correct tax rate?


From this article:

The simplest step would be to scrap the current progressive income tax in favor of a much more steeply progressive tax on each household’s consumption. Families would report their taxable income to the IRS (ideally under a tax code that greatly simplifies the calculation of taxable income), and also their annual savings, as many now do for IRAs and other tax-exempt retirement accounts. The difference between those two numbers—income minus savings—is the family’s annual consumption expenditure. That amount, less a large standard deduction—say, $30,000 for a family of four—is the family’s taxable consumption. Rates would start low and would then rise much more steeply than those under the current income tax.


A progressive consumption tax would not cure all ills. Although it would reduce inequality in consumption spending, it would likely have the opposite effect on wealth inequality, since the rich could better take advantage of the savings exemption. Because the wealthy would die with larger estates than before, it would be important to maintain a strong estate tax as part of the system.


Those are the major factors.
I have a basic question that is meant to be non-partisan (though I will admit I'm pretty far left.) Won't consumption taxes reduce consumption? And isn't aggregate domestic consumer demand a massive driver in our economy? So won't a consumption tax, if it works, basically by definition weaken the economy?

We talk about the virtue of saving as a virtue, and it may be morally and it may be wise individually (I save a lot and hope my friends do too) but do we want to structure an economy around reducing consumption? That seems disastrous on its face to me, at least in the short term.
   2811. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4212191)
Presumably people would save their money by putting it in a bank which would mean the bank would go out and spend it and theoretically banks would spend other people's money much more efficiently than they would.
   2812. CrosbyBird Posted: August 19, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4212223)
I have a basic question that is meant to be non-partisan (though I will admit I'm pretty far left.) Won't consumption taxes reduce consumption? And isn't aggregate domestic consumer demand a massive driver in our economy? So won't a consumption tax, if it works, basically by definition weaken the economy?

The thing about a consumption tax is that you never really escape it. Saving only delays the tax, but doesn't actually avoid it. If you put in some sort of estate tax, you really force that money to be spent rather than hoarded. Also, it doesn't necessarily reduce consumption, because while people pay more for their products, they also have more money to spend. This is especially true for the lower and middle classes, who will likely experience a net gain in consumption, because huge percentages of their current spending will now be entirely tax free, and they'll have more left over to spend on other stuff.

The really hard thing is enforcement. Tons of small businesses already work out deals where they avoid charging sales tax if you negotiate and pay cash. Imagine if there's a 25% tax on electronics.

I'm not sure if it would work. You'd have to be sure that the cost savings of administration, the added revenue from currently "invisible" money in off-the-books income, and the value of investment would balance against a reduction in overall consumption.
   2813. ASmitty Posted: August 19, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4212229)
I'm not sure if it would work. You'd have to be sure that the cost savings of administration, the added revenue from currently "invisible" money in off-the-books income, and the value of investment would balance against a reduction in overall consumption.


This. At the risk of bragging, I am a tax expert. Many of my peers are as well. We agree that a PCT is theoretically correct. We disagree about whether it is practical. Very smart people disagree. I personally think a PCT would be leaky, but far less leaky than the income tax.

I have a basic question that is meant to be non-partisan (though I will admit I'm pretty far left.) Won't consumption taxes reduce consumption? And isn't aggregate domestic consumer demand a massive driver in our economy? So won't a consumption tax, if it works, basically by definition weaken the economy?


Yes. In the same way that income taxes reduce income. Also, more saving equals more wealth equals more spending. You can't escape a consumption tax. Everybody buys things eventually.
   2814. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4212239)
If you want to solve the deficit problem simply figure out a way for servers to have to declare all of their tips. The person who figures that one out will probably win a Nobel Prize.
   2815. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 19, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4212240)
If you want to solve the deficit problem simply figure out a way for servers to have to declare all of their tips. The person who figures that one out will probably win a Nobel Prize.

Yeah, and his widow and kids would get to bask in the glory, as long as they weren't also in the car at the time.
   2816. Lassus Posted: August 19, 2012 at 11:17 PM (#4212243)
Does anyone on the right or sympathetic to the right want to explain Todd Akin today? Or the morons who have put him in the lead?
   2817. ASmitty Posted: August 19, 2012 at 11:21 PM (#4212247)
I used to vote GOP. The Todd Akins of the world have made sure there's no risk of that happening anytime soon.
   2818. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 19, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4212248)
Never mind.
   2819. rr Posted: August 19, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4212255)
Todd Akin


Some so-cons might want to do that, (and a lot more probably wouldn't) but BTF has very few of those--righties here are mostly fiscal righties.

Akin is apparently backpedalling pretty hard--saying that he "misspoke."
   2820. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4212258)
Yeah, he meant to say that God has a way of knowing whether or not it was a legit rape and preventing pregnancy and not the woman's body. Like it is her choice.
   2821. GregD Posted: August 19, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4212259)
Does anyone on the right or sympathetic to the right want to explain Todd Akin today? Or the morons who have put him in the lead?
I am not sympathetic to the right but I think it's an interesting moment to reflect on people who wish politicians were more principled. It's an appealing position but Akin illustrates its foolishness. Akin seems principled. His principles are dumb. I'd rather an unprincipled politician who operated within the margins of reason. Our system was built to have unprincipled, even corrupt politicians, and to minimize the role of French-style ideologues. Akin seems like an unforced error by the Republican primary voters, as Angle did in Nevada last time, but primary voters' job isn't to maximize party gain, and I suppose it's a tribute to their own (foolish and misguided) principles that they chose him knowing it hurt their chances of winning. A reasonable electorate will get fools in office from time to time, but an electorate that wants fools will obviously beat that rate. I don't personally blame the Republican Party for Akin; establishment Republicans seemed to want him to lose the primary and to withdraw now. I blame the people of Missouri--the slice that gave him the primary nod and if he is elected--still not that unlikely--the bigger slice that puts a moron in the Senate. The Republican Party as an institution can only be so much better than its constituents, and its constituents now seem batshit crazy. Given that, Romney-Ryan is actually a fairly reasonable ticket. Not one I'd vote for, but a far sight better than the party membership may deserve.
   2822. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:12 AM (#4212271)
Akin is apparently backpedalling pretty hard--saying that he "misspoke."

Well, at least he didn't say that "misspokens were made", though I wouldn't have put it past him.

To paraphrase the classic comment of Gerald Ford about Abraham Lincoln: If the 75 year old retired Senator John Danforth were dead today, he'd be spinning in his grave at the thought of what the Missouri GOP has come to, not to mention the rest of his party. This creepy crew just gets weirder by the minute.
   2823. tshipman Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:19 AM (#4212272)
The really hard thing is enforcement. Tons of small businesses already work out deals where they avoid charging sales tax if you negotiate and pay cash. Imagine if there's a 25% tax on electronics.


Well, the obvious answer is to transition to a cashless society by law. This has obvious dividends when it comes to things like avoiding the zero bound in monetary policy as well.

However, even with just the current set-up I think this is a much smaller deal than you think. Just through convenience alone, we've already transitioned to a mostly cashless society. How many 25 year olds pay cash for large electronics?

I personally think a PCT would be leaky, but far less leaky than the income tax.


And this is the key point. PCT doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be better than the income tax. Imagine if you were choosing between the two systems a priori. It's easy to think of potential flaws with both systems. The flaws with income tax have been demonstrated pretty aptly.
   2824. greenback calls it soccer Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:31 AM (#4212273)
Well, the obvious answer is to transition to a cashless society by law.

Dear Lord, do you know what this would do to the black helicopter crowd?
   2825. PreservedFish Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4212278)
What part of Akin's speech are people maddest about? The phrase "legitimate rape," the weird probably invented science factoid, or the stance that abortions even in rape cases should still be illegal?
   2826. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4212283)
I think it's the combination of all three that is so breathtaking.
   2827. SteveF Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4212288)
And that all three happen in the span of about 10 seconds.
   2828. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 20, 2012 at 02:08 AM (#4212292)
What part of Akin's speech are people maddest about? The phrase "legitimate rape," the weird probably invented science factoid, or the stance that abortions even in rape cases should still be illegal?

Probably?!?
   2829. RollingWave Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:45 AM (#4212312)
shouldn't you be required to not fail middle school science (or pretty much any middle school subject) to be qualified to run?

The only circumstances where I might be able to raise on the "legitimate rape prevents conception" is the cases of sex slaves such as some of those in WW2 who were raped over and over again for a very long period of time. (aka the Japanese Comfort womens) . that might destroy their reprodcutive capacity outright... so that sorta qualify... but that was obviously not what Mr Akin was thinking.
   2830. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:41 AM (#4212318)
There's a reason that certain economists are a lot more enamored of variations of a VAT than ordinary people, the main reason being the bureaucracy it would create, and the political impossiblity of assigning categories of exemption or gradation for specific goods. It's easy to say that "food" would be exempt, but what about Big Gulps? It's easy to say that "luxury items" should be subject to the maximum level of taxation, but what does that do to the large number of non-rich workers who are dependent on the sale of those goods, not to mention to the choices of non-rich people who simply like to splurge once in a while?

The truth is that no single method of taxation is going to be both truly progressive and workable until the power of Big Money to shape the laws is dramatically reduced, certainly not with the reigning philosophy of the current Supreme Court. No method of squeezing more money out of those who can more afford it, be it a PCT or a more steeply progressive income tax with fewer loopholes for the wealthy, is ever going to be enacted as long as the public conversation, not to mention political campaigning, is so heavily influenced by the right wing noise machine. If that sounds cynical, it's because there's an awful lot to be cynical about.
   2831. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4212339)
U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a tea party candidate who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri’s closely watched Senate race, was asked in a local television interview about whether he supports access to abortion in the case of rape.

“If abortion could be considered in case of, say, a tubal pregnancy [which threatens the mother’s life], what about in the case of rape?” asked KTVI-TV host Charles Jaco, in a clip that was disseminated by Talking Points Memo. “Should it be legal or not?”

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” he said, referring to conception following a rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”


I think this guy was on 30 Rock once
   2832. ASmitty Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4212343)
There's a reason that certain economists are a lot more enamored of variations of a VAT than ordinary people, the main reason being the bureaucracy it would create, and the political impossiblity of assigning categories of exemption or gradation for specific goods.


Hence the PCT by proxy that's already been discussed. Frankly, I'd still take that over income tax because it's orders of magnitude less exploitable.

Now, would the wealthy and powerful go for a tax that is less leaky? No. Would tax professionals lobby vigorously against a tax that is simple and intuitive? Of course. But that was the whole jumping off point for this conversation. The fact that obvious reform is not even on the political table.
   2833. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4212344)
Hence the PCT by proxy that's already been discussed. Frankly, I'd still take that over income tax because it's orders of magnitude less exploitable.


But couldn't it get just as leaky with loopholes for what is taxable income just like we have today? Exempt a few items here and there and Blammo, Warren Buffet is paying a lower rate than his secretary again.
   2834. CrosbyBird Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4212347)
Not that I'm defending the ridiculousness of Todd Akin, but I think if you're truly anti-abortion because you believe that a fetus is a person, and that the fetus has a right to live just like any other person, you should be opposed to a rape or incest exception to abortion law. Even if the fetus is a product of rape or incest, that individual life is still no less innocent.
   2835. ASmitty Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:53 AM (#4212349)
Taxation tomfoolery can be had currently by differentiating between the classifications of income and capital gains. I would chunk those distinctions. Income is income. There's plenty of incentive to invest in a PCT environment.

I agree that grafting consumption taxes onto income taxes creates something of a taxzilla.
   2836. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4212351)
Not that I'm defending the ridiculousness of Todd Akin, but I think if you're truly anti-abortion because you believe that a fetus is a person, and that the fetus has a right to live just like any other person, you should be opposed to a rape or incest exception to abortion law. Even if the fetus is a product of rape or incest, that individual life is still no less innocent.

We've had the rights of the mother vs. the rights of the fetus debate 100,000 times already.

Claiming that someone physically won't get pregnant from rape makes any other argument out of your idiot mouth moot.
   2837. ASmitty Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4212352)
Not that I'm defending the ridiculousness of Todd Akin, but I think if you're truly anti-abortion because you believe that a fetus is a person, and that the fetus has a right to live just like any other person, you should be opposed to a rape or incest exception to abortion law. Even if the fetus is a product of rape or incest, that individual life is still no less innocent.


I've always held this viewpoint. People who say abortion is murder and then caveat "...unless its a rape baby" are being logically incoherent.

If you want to start classifying some abortions as ok and not ok, you sort of need to get out of the murder mindset.
   2838. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4212354)
Taxation tomfoolery can be had currently by differentiating between the classifications of income and capital gains. I would chunk those distinctions. Income is income.


Well sure but why do you need to go to a whole different taxation scheme to make that change? IOW, if you can just decree income is income, do it now.
   2839. ASmitty Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4212360)
IOW, if you can just decree income is income, do it now.


Well that would certainly be a start, I wouldn't argue against that change.

The argument for overhaul is that the structure of PCT encourages investment, which is the ostensible justification for cap gains. Chunking the CG distinction in an income tax model would be investment un-friendly. Further, under PCT, you get your money now, up front, and get to decide how much tax exposure you're willing to invite. If i'm due $1,000 I'd rather invest/save all $1,000 right now, and deal with taxes when I cash out my investment and buy something. Rather than pay $300 to the government up front, invest just $700, and then potentially swallow CG on my payout later.

EDIT: The problem with the proxy model is planning, and it's a big problem. Possibly unworkable. In a true PCT, you pay taxes as you go along buying things. In a proxy PCT you pay taxes all at once, at the end, based on the calculated consumption factor. The nice thing is getting your money up front; the bad thing is planning ahead for taxes so you don't get hit with a tax without cash.
   2840. CrosbyBird Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:09 AM (#4212362)
Claiming that someone physically won't get pregnant from rape makes any other argument out of your idiot mouth moot.

That's a dangerous fallacy. Arguments stand or fall on their own merit.
   2841. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4212363)
The argument for overhaul is that the structure of PCT encourages investment, which is the ostensible justification for cap gains. Chunking the CG distinction in an income tax model would be investment un-friendly. Further, under PCT, you get your money now, up front, and get to decide how much tax exposure you're willing to invite. If i'm due $1,000 I'd rather invest/save all $1,000 right now, and deal with taxes when I cash out my investment and buy something. Rather than pay $300 to the government up front, invest just $700, and then potentially swallow CG on my payout later.


That all makes sense, and I'm not opposed to a consumption tax. I just think that basing your consumption tax on your income will still lead to all sorts of tomfoolery like we have today. I'd prefer a point of purchase collection scheme and then have the government send every person a rebate check , so that those with less income pay a lower effective rate.
   2842. McCoy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4212368)
That's a dangerous fallacy. Arguments stand or fall on their own merit.

He had some good ideas, he just went too far. . .
   2843. zonk Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4212369)
As The Atlantic details at length -- Akin's statement wasn't a "misspeak" -- rather, it's a well-worn meme that Akin failed to realize might generate a hub-bub if he broke it out in a statewide Senate race likely to be one of the keys in determining Senate control.

It should be noted that Akin sponsored a bill (Paul Ryan co-sponsored) -- H.R. 3 -- the third bill to come out of the 112th congress (which, you know, was supposed to be focusing fixing Obama's economic screw-ups), that sought to change the 'Hyde Amendment' language from 'rape' to 'forcible rape'.

This is hardly Akin misspeaking - it's Akin being Akin.
   2844. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4212373)
That's a dangerous fallacy. Arguments stand or fall on their own merit.

Well, when your next doctor says that trepanning and bloodletting are your first two best options, feel free to let his excellent and thorough argument of a drug you've never heard of convince you outright as your third.

What reason would you have to distrust him?
   2845. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4212375)
There's a reason that certain economists are a lot more enamored of variations of a VAT than ordinary people, the main reason being the bureaucracy it would create, and the political impossiblity of assigning categories of exemption or gradation for specific goods.

Hence the PCT by proxy that's already been discussed. Frankly, I'd still take that over income tax because it's orders of magnitude less exploitable.

Now, would the wealthy and powerful go for a tax that is less leaky? No. Would tax professionals lobby vigorously against a tax that is simple and intuitive? Of course. But that was the whole jumping off point for this conversation. The fact that obvious reform is not even on the political table.


As long as we're discussing proposals that will never be enacted for the reason I stated in my last paragraph of #2830, why not just go for the simplest one of them all, which would be the cheapest and surest way of reducing the deficit: Increase the auditing budget of the IRS by tenfold, and concentrate their focus on the tax dodges of the ultra-wealthy.

   2846. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4212376)
He had some good ideas, he just went too far. . .


McCoy, there is a specific thread where Joe Posnanski is being discussed. You should take your comments about him there.
   2847. tshipman Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4212389)
As long as we're discussing proposals that will never be enacted for the reason I stated in my last paragraph of #2830, why not just go for the simplest one of them all, which would be the cheapest and surest way of reducing the deficit: Increase the auditing budget of the IRS by tenfold, and concentrate their focus on the tax dodges of the ultra-wealthy.


That would be silly and wasteful. Most tax dodges are legal.


EDIT: The problem with the proxy model is planning, and it's a big problem. Possibly unworkable. In a true PCT, you pay taxes as you go along buying things. In a proxy PCT you pay taxes all at once, at the end, based on the calculated consumption factor. The nice thing is getting your money up front; the bad thing is planning ahead for taxes so you don't get hit with a tax without cash.


You can still do witholdings. There's nothing about it that wouldn't allow for it. Only the very rich and those who don't work for a living would have issues with the proxy system.

It would be my belief that a point of sale progressive tax would be far too leaky (in terms of categories, etc.) to work.
   2848. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4212396)
It would be my belief that a point of sale progressive tax would be far too leaky (in terms of categories, etc.) to work.


Why? I'm envisioning a scheme where there are no exemptions, everything is taxed at the same rate, and every man, woman, and child get the same rebate.

As for the cash tax dodge problem, I don't think it would be too bad. Business have to report their sales when they send in the collected tax. If some electronics store is buying 400 units from Toshiba every month and reporting tax collected on only 300, that won't last very long. I admit it's trickier with services rather than goods though.
   2849. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4212408)
That's a dangerous fallacy. Arguments stand or fall on their own merit.

Well, when your next doctor says that trepanning and bloodletting are your first two best options, feel free to let his excellent and thorough argument of a drug you've never heard of convince you outright as your third.

What reason would you have to distrust him?
Daniel Davies has this one covered:
There is much made by people who long for the days of their fourth form debating society about the fallacy of “argumentum ad hominem”. There is, as I have mentioned in the past, no fancy Latin term for the fallacy of “giving known liars the benefit of the doubt”, but it is in my view a much greater source of avoidable error in the world. Audit is meant to protect us from this, which is why audit is so important.
You can substitute "known cranks" for "known liars" and get the general point. Cranks and liars can be right, but this is a big world full of billions of people making trillions of arguments, and you can only listen to so many. When someone says something (a) absolutely false and (b) utterly reprehensible, it's not a good idea to waste lots more of your time giving careful consideration to their future statements.
   2850. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4212413)
I assume that, this being economics and the subject being something that doesn't exist, there are lots of wildly differing graphs based on different sets of assumptions, but can someone link to some VAT / PCT numbers?

How much money do governments (federal, state, and local) currently collect from taxes? How much money do they collect from different people by income or wealth level? How much would they collect under different VAT / PCT structures? How would the progressivity of these structures work?

Also, is the idea of the PCT / VAT that it would replace the current federal income and payroll taxes, or that it would replace all of the huge array of state and local property, sales, income, excise, etc taxes?
   2851. zonk Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4212414)
See, this is an example of "misspeaking" from Akin's 'apology':

"In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."


Unless Akin is tossing out a blockbuster and saying that he had previously been raped, I'm assuming he meant 'sympathy'.
   2852. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4212419)
He says he misspoke, but he doesn't say that he was wrong. It's an apology for his tone alone.

I just don't understand why he won't say, "I'm sorry, that was false. I was misinformed. Now let's move on to the real issues blah blah blah." It seems like the only fix, and an obvious one.

(Honestly, on the rape / incest exception to abortion, it's always seemed to me that supporting a rape / incest exception clearly demonstrates you don't actually believe that a fetus is a person, you just want to restrict the bodily autonomy of women. If you make an exception for women who didn't consent to sex, then clearly the thing you want to regulate is what women can do with their bodies in different situations, not the rights of fetuses. I give Akin credit for taking the only consistent pro-life stance, though this credit hardly matters when you use the terms "legitimate rape" or "forcible rape." #### you Todd Akin. In conclusion.)
   2853. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4212423)
(Honestly, on the rape / incest exception to abortion, it's always seemed to me that supporting a rape / incest exception clearly demonstrates you don't actually believe that a fetus is a person, you just want to restrict the bodily autonomy of women. If you make an exception for women who didn't consent to sex, then clearly the thing you want to regulate is what women can do with their bodies in different situations, not the rights of fetuses.)


Well, maybe. There is, or at least should be room for weighing competing interests when making up what values one wants to hold. Stealing is generally wrong, but I wouldn't punish a hungry homeless kid for stealing a loaf of bread. One can be generally against abortion on moral grounds and still recognize that there are certain situations where the competing interests weigh more toward the woman. I agree though that the "abortion is murder" crown don't have much of a leg to stand on.
   2854. McCoy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4212425)
War is murder?
   2855. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4212426)
War is murder?

Discarded album titles for $300, Alex.
   2856. The Good Face Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4212437)
As for the cash tax dodge problem, I don't think it would be too bad. Business have to report their sales when they send in the collected tax. If some electronics store is buying 400 units from Toshiba every month and reporting tax collected on only 300, that won't last very long. I admit it's trickier with services rather than goods though.


Aside from the problem of legitimate merchants abusing cash transactions, I don't see how such a tax scheme wouldn't create a massive black market in luxury goods.
   2857. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4212438)
As The Atlantic details at length -- Akin's statement wasn't a "misspeak" -- rather, it's a well-worn meme that Akin failed to realize might generate a hub-bub if he broke it out in a statewide Senate race likely to be one of the keys in determining Senate control.


"meme"

What Akins said was what my High School Health teacher back in the 80s said, it's what a lot of people [used to] believe

My guess is that he had no idea it would be controversial.

It should be noted that Akin sponsored a bill (Paul Ryan co-sponsored) -- H.R. 3 -- the third bill to come out of the 112th congress (which, you know, was supposed to be focusing fixing Obama's economic screw-ups), that sought to change the 'Hyde Amendment' language from 'rape' to 'forcible rape'.


seems to me that Obama could use this...
   2858. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4212443)
who's attacking romney for being rich?

being rich--wealthy--is not the grounds on which romney is being attacked.


it is in some quarters

   2859. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4212445)
What Akins said was what my High School Health teacher back in the 80s said, it's what a lot of people [used to] believe

I was in high school in the 80s and don't remember this stupidity at all, from anyone. Perhaps I was lucky.


being rich--wealthy--is not the grounds on which romney is being attacked.
it is in some quarters


Then go find where those people are and disagree with them over there. It was pretty clearly pointed out that wasn't was being debated here from the very start.
   2860. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4212446)
Which was a brief and passing phase in high school, as opposed to this:

***26-year-old Bush visiting his parents in Washington, D.C. over the Christmas vacation in 1972, shortly after the death of his grandfather, and taking his 16-year-old brother Marvin out drinking. On the way home Bush lost control of the car and ran over a waste container, but continued home with the garbage can wedged noisily under the car. When his father, George H. W. Bush, called him on the carpet for not only his own behavior but for exposing his younger brother to risk, George W., still under the influence, appears to have retorted angrily, "I hear you're looking for me. You wanna go mano-a-mano right here?"***


A story like this might actually humanize Romney
   2861. tshipman Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4212447)
Also, is the idea of the PCT / VAT that it would replace the current federal income and payroll taxes, or that it would replace all of the huge array of state and local property, sales, income, excise, etc taxes?


The proposal I like the best is from Robert Frank. It replaces all federal level taxes only.

Here's a decent summary of the top three plans from Dylan Matthews of Wonkblog.

As far as revenue, you set a rate at the revenue level you want. Simple as that.
   2862. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4212448)
I was in high school in the 80s and don't remember this stupidity at all, from anyone.


Really? Never? Until now? What echo chamber have you been in?

:-)

It was also what my Sunday School* teacher claimed, "everyone knows you can't get pregnant from rape."

It was also during my Con Law's class annual "Roe v. Wade Brawl," that a [female] student said it aloud... [and was pretty much ostracized by the other female students for the remainder of the semester (she had made other, let's say, anti-feminist statements before, but this was the real tipping point...


*I'm pretty sure my HS Health teacher was simply going off the reservation- he did that a lot, but my Sunday School teacher, I think that was a codified part of the curriculum..
   2863. McCoy Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4212453)
The planet Earth.
   2864. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4212458)
Thanks tship.
   2865. tshipman Posted: August 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4212464)
I should point out that the other virtue of a PCT is that it's much more stimulative than income taxes when it comes to cutting rates. The think about a temporary holiday on consumption is that it really gets money out in the market quickly as people can shift spending from savings. It's a really great temporary policy lever--most people can't choose to make more income, but they can choose to spend more.
   2866. PreservedFish Posted: August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4212478)
The Atlantic article on the "rape pregnancies don't happen" meme doesn't really give any definitive medical answers. Doesn't prove that it's a canard. The study linked doesn't appear to parse out cases of what Akin would call legitimate rape. (The other idiots quoted in the Atlantic have a less objectionable phrase, "assault rape.")

The reason I said that Akin's comments on this were "probably" false is that I don't really know. It actually seems like the type of thing that might be possible - that extreme violence could reduce the likelihood of pregnancy. The mind has a powerful control on the body sometimes. Not that women secrete a substance that neutralizes sperm, or that it's a millions-to-one chance of pregnancy, or that it makes the whole rape-abortion debate a red herring ... just that rates might be somewhat lower. When I first read Akin's comments my impression was that he might have garbled and mistranslated some fact that was once produced by a genuine scientist.

I'm not sure why I'm pursuing this. I agree Akin is a crank and it doesn't really matter. Just curious.
   2867. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4212492)
PreservedFish: here's a heavily-sourced online article/blogpost on your previous post regarding the science of Akin's statement. You can decide from there what you think of the science. (I haven't read it yet.)

   2868. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4212495)
He says he misspoke, but he doesn't say that he was wrong. It's an apology for his tone alone.

I just don't understand why he won't say, "I'm sorry, that was false. I was misinformed. Now let's move on to the real issues blah blah blah." It seems like the only fix, and an obvious one.


Come on. He says he misspoke, which to me is saying he was wrong.

But who knows. It's not like I knew who he was 20 minutes ago.
   2869. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4212498)
As long as we're discussing proposals that will never be enacted for the reason I stated in my last paragraph of #2830, why not just go for the simplest one of them all, which would be the cheapest and surest way of reducing the deficit: Increase the auditing budget of the IRS by tenfold, and concentrate their focus on the tax dodges of the ultra-wealthy.

That would be silly and wasteful. Most tax dodges are legal.


Which is true, but beside the point.

The IRS loses nearly $400 billion a year in tax fraud.

Every dollar invested in auditing brings back six dollars in revenue.

Yet the Republicans in Congress consistently pare down the enforcement budget.

This makes no sense unless their goal is to keep the deficit artificially high for political pursposes.

Combine that with Romney / Ryan's phony budget plan and you can pretty much see the essential fraudulence of the GOP's whining about deficits.
   2870. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4212500)
(Honestly, on the rape / incest exception to abortion, it's always seemed to me that supporting a rape / incest exception clearly demonstrates you don't actually believe that a fetus is a person, you just want to restrict the bodily autonomy of women. If you make an exception for women who didn't consent to sex, then clearly the thing you want to regulate is what women can do with their bodies in different situations, not the rights of fetuses.


This is, of course, nonsense, classifying someone who holds a certain view on the matter but after weighing difficult factors comes towards the middle out of reasonableness is not "clearly" someone who actually just wants to restrict the bodily autonomy of women.
   2871. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4212505)
"That whole thing" = fertilization?

What a toolshed.
   2872. tshipman Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4212508)
Come on. He says he misspoke, which to me is saying he was wrong.


In my opinion, Ray, that's an overly generous interpretation of his statement. He doesn't acknowledge that women who are raped can become pregnant, and he certainly doesn't change his position of not allowing abortions even to victims of incest or abortion. He said that he didn't support abortion for rape victims, and part of the rationale he gave was that if you're violently raped, you cannot get pregnant. Despite this being materially untrue, he did not state that he should not have said it.

In my opinion, he implied that he should have used another word instead of "legitimate." He is notably not retracting the sentiment that victims of violent rape cannot get pregnant.
   2873. GregD Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4212509)
This is, of course, nonsense, classifying someone who holds a certain view on the matter but after weighing difficult factors comes towards the middle out of reasonableness is not "clearly" someone who actually just wants to restrict the bodily autonomy of women.
But you would grant that anyone who says abortion is murder, then grants an exception is speaking nonsense?

If abortion is murder--not killing, not manslaughter, not homicide, but murder--then there is no room for exception.

If there is room for exceptions, then abortion is something else, not murder, and people should reflect that in their own words. We have justifiable words and justifiable homicides, but not justifiable murder.

And someone who uses inflammatory words knowing that he doesn't believe them, is dishonest. I agree, though, that it's difficult to know for certain how and why they are being dishonest. Some may be exposing a general desire to control women's bodies; some may be conflicted and confused; some may be purely cynical and poll driven; some may be boxcutter stupid. But no one who says abortion is murder and permits exceptions is being honest or sensible or reasonable.
   2874. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4212513)
But you would grant that anyone who says abortion is murder, then grants an exception is speaking nonsense?

If abortion is murder--not killing, not manslaughter, not homicide, but murder--then there is no room for exception.

If there is room for exceptions, then abortion is something else, not murder, and people should reflect that in their own words. We have justifiable words and justifiable homicides, but not justifiable murder.


Matt didn't say he was talking about people who take the position that abortion is "murder."

One could simply be pro-life because they think that killing a fetus is a sucky thing to do, even if not murder.

And even if we're talking about "murder," the concept of mitigating circumstances or justifiable circumstances to a murder or homicide is not foreign. Take the case of aborting the baby to save the life of a mother; the "abortion is murder" person could take the very consistent view that the murder is justified by self defense to save the mother.

Whatever. You people are crazed with this abortion/murder/womens' bodily control stuff. I support abortion rights, but people on both sides of the issue make the most ridiculous arguments and statements about it.

Abortion is a gray area. I don't think it's murder, just unfortunate. But if people want to do it, let them. There is enough of a gray area that I'm fine with it.

   2875. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4212516)
Matt didn't say he was talking about people who take the position that abortion is "murder."
I was talking about fetal personhood, which is the basic claim made for bans on abortion at all stages of development.

I don't understand at all how the personhood claims of a fetus or embryo are weakened by the fetus or embryo being the result of non-consensual sex. I don't see how the claims of the woman to bodily autonomy are strengthened by the fetus or embryo being the result of non-consensual sex. It's a stupid position.

Taking a position "towards the middle" is not a laudable thing to do if the middle position is stupid. If I said that I believe punishments for drug possession should have an exception for if you drive a domestic automobile, that would be a position "towards the middle" between legalization and prohibition, but it would be stupid.
   2876. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4212518)
But you would grant that anyone who says abortion is murder, then grants an exception is speaking nonsense?

If abortion is murder--not killing, not manslaughter, not homicide, but murder--then there is no room for exception.


The circle was squared by the classic 70's bumper sticker that read

"ABORTION IS MURDER, BUT SO WHAT?"
   2877. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4212519)
Whatever. You people are crazed with this abortion/murder/womens' bodily control stuff. I support abortion rights, but people on both sides of the issue make the most ridiculous arguments and statements about it.

Fair enough.

As "both sides are the same" is your position, what state senator (or higher) on the opposite side of Akin made one equally ridiculous argument or statement to his? Let's hear it.

Akin's getting all this attention for his stupidity, give me an equal stupidity so I can attempt your clear bipartisanship.
   2878. PreservedFish Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4212521)
Thank you Lassus. If don't know if either really disproves Akin's conjecture, because, again, I can't tell if either focuses on "assault rapes." And that article is a bit confusing. But I also haven't seen the data that supports Akin. I think it's fair to say that even if there's a nugget of truth in what Akin said, it doesn't matter. It's probably a small effect, if it exists, and whatever the number is it is definitely irrelevant. Even if rape victims were 90% less likely to conceive, you'd still have a large number of rape pregnancies, and the issue is still there.
   2879. ASmitty Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4212522)
Abortion is a gray area. I don't think it's murder, just unfortunate. But if people want to do it, let them. There is enough of a gray area that I'm fine with it.


Wasn't it Bill Clinton that said something to the effect that "abortions should be legal, safe, and rare"?

That more or less sums up my opinion on the subject. It's a balance between two interests that just can't be balanced. Anytime I get involved in a genuine discussion on the issue with someone who will approach the topic in a serious, open-minded fashion I come away with new philosophical puzzles to unwrap.
   2880. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4212524)
Abortion is a gray area. I don't think it's murder, just unfortunate. But if people want to do it, let them. There is enough of a gray area that I'm fine with it.

Let it be recorded for posterity that Ray actually wrote an entire paragraph that made sense from start to finish. My royal felicitations to Ray.

EDIT: And a coke to ASmitty.
   2881. PreservedFish Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4212525)
Abortion is a gray area. I don't think it's murder, just unfortunate. But if people want to do it, let them. There is enough of a gray area that I'm fine with it.


Hey, I think I agree with Ray on this.
   2882. PreservedFish Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4212527)
Oh ####. CONSENSUS!
   2883. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4212530)
Fair enough.

As "both sides are the same" is your position, what state senator (or higher) on the opposite side of Akin made one equally ridiculous to his? Let's hear it.

Akin's getting all this attention for his stupidity, give me an equal stupidity so I can attempt your clear bipartisanship.


As I don't pay attention to politics with anything close to this level of specificity, I'm not equipped to answer the question. But abortion is a really easy issue to me. The entire issue is gray, and yet people on both sides go around pretending that it's black and white.
   2884. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4212531)
I should point out that the other virtue of a PCT is that it's much more stimulative than income taxes when it comes to cutting rates. The think about a temporary holiday on consumption is that it really gets money out in the market quickly as people can shift spending from savings. It's a really great temporary policy lever--most people can't choose to make more income, but they can choose to spend more.

This makes perfect sense theoretically, but it's unclear how it would work in practice in the U.S., where the saving rate is only 3 or 4 percent. People generally don't "save up" for things anymore; they just slap down the credit card.

***
Yet the Republicans in Congress consistently pare down the enforcement budget.

This makes no sense unless their goal is to keep the deficit artificially high for political pursposes.

It's funny that you believe additional revenue would be used only for deficit reduction rather than spent profligately, like every other increase in government revenue since time immemorial.
   2885. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4212532)
Hmm. There is agreement on something I wrote. Should I consider retiring from BTF now, to go out on a high note?
   2886. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4212533)
I should say that I think there are perfectly reasonable middle positions on abortion. I do not believe that the only coherent position is that abortion should be legal in all cases or legal in none.

Roe and its revisions take a variety of not-unreasonable middle positions. Most of them hold that abortion should be legal depending on the stage of fetal development (either by trimester or by different notions of "viability"), with exceptions for the health of the mother. This is based on a weighing of the two competing moral claims - the personhood of the fetus and the bodily autonomy of the mother. These are exceptions that make sense, middle positions that are coherent and non-stupid.
   2887. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4212534)
As "both sides are the same" is your position, what state senator (or higher) on the opposite side of Akin made one equally ridiculous argument or statement to his? Let's hear it.


Every politician who has supported partial-birth abortion, wherein labor of a quickened fetus/child is induced for the purpose of killing it. Many people on the board have also lended vociferous rhetorical support to the procedure, and labeled those opposed to it retrograde repressers of women.

As with many issues, abortion brings out the cranks and extremists on both sides -- people who have no clue about pluralism or existing in a polity with other people. Akin is one of them, to which he adds a dollop of anti-rational, backwoods hoo-hoo which, to be fair, the extremists on the left typically don't propagate. Not that it really matters, because the manifest idiocies of left and right are ruining the country for the rest of us.
   2888. Steve Treder Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4212535)
Abortion is a gray area. I don't think it's murder, just unfortunate. But if people want to do it, let them. There is enough of a gray area that I'm fine with it.

I agree with this completely.

Settle your affairs, everyone. The end is obviously nigh.
   2889. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4212539)
However, even with just the current set-up I think this is a much smaller deal than you think. Just through convenience alone, we've already transitioned to a mostly cashless society. How many 25 year olds pay cash for large electronics?

It depends on how high the tax rate would be. In a return to 1993-type practices, I've been reading more and more about retailers charging more for using a credit card, because they're sick of losing a percentage to the credit card issuers. If a 2 or 3 percent surcharge is enough to get people to move back toward cash, then think about what a 15 or 20 percent VAT would do. People would be finding all sorts of ways to dodge the tax.

As it is, the IRS struggles with tracking people's income, but for every paycheck or stock transaction subject to a tax, I bet there are 20 or more sales transactions that would be subject to a VAT. The enforcement seems daunting.
   2890. ASmitty Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4212541)
This makes perfect sense theoretically, but it's unclear how it would work in practice in the U.S., where the saving rate is only 3 or 4 percent. People generally don't "save up" for things anymore; they just slap down the credit card.


That's one of the justifications for a PCT. The US is currently obsessed with leveraged consumption. A CPT discourages consumption, and encourages saving and investment.

I think most fiscally sane people would agree that there's a level of consumption deterrence that's good, as it guards against leverage-fueled bubbles and profligate spending. But they would also agree that too much anti-consumption can be bad for an economy. Right now, the US is in a spot where we both need consumption (because the economy sucks) and need to discourage consumption (because levered-up hyper consumption helped tanked the economy).

There's no perfect tax, because in a perfect world there would be no taxes, and because the people that set, collect, and spend our taxes are decidedly imperfect. Balancing has to be done to identify the least-imperfect taxation model.
   2891. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4212546)
Abortion is a gray area. I don't think it's murder, just unfortunate. But if people want to do it, let them. There is enough of a gray area that I'm fine with it.

So millions of people now think you are a murderer. Which is fine, they think so of me as well. And everyone else here that agreed with you.

The equal number of people on the other side are making what sort of crazed, ridiculous argument, as you stated in #2874? Where are they and what are they saying?
   2892. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4212548)
But I also haven't seen the data that supports Akin.

This assumes the data exists.
   2893. PreservedFish Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4212550)
Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas gets in trouble for being awesome: getting rowdy and skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee.

link
   2894. ASmitty Posted: August 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4212551)
People would be finding all sorts of ways to dodge the tax.


Depends on the model. Under a proxy system, the tax isn't paid at purchase, it's paid by formula. Evasion would have to occur by misrepresenting the amout of income one earned and/or by overrreporting the amount saved/invested. This would be a pretty simple audit compared to what we go through with the current deduction-crazy model.

And even imperfect enforcement might yield revenue. Capital gains is a big, big problem. It's massively regressive. If you tax it as ordinary income, however, you're really discouraging investment and saving. A PCT treats it all as income, but you're taxed on the consumption factors. The wealthiest individuals can't use passive income to skate their tax burden legitimately, but investment is encouraged. Their effective rates go up. Cutting out legitimate tax havens may cover for the creation of potential illegitimate ones. There's obviously a lot of theory at work, though.
   2895. PreservedFish Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4212553)
But I also haven't seen the data that supports Akin.

This assumes the data exists.


I didn't assume that. It may not. It probably does not.
   2896. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4212556)
Maybe it helps to think of Akin's candidacy as a Dem investment.
   2897. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4212559)
Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas gets in trouble for being awesome: getting rowdy and skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee.


I have no idea why this bothers people

OTOH this may not be Yoder's first public alcohol related incident...
   2898. tshipman Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4212562)
Depends on the model. Under a proxy system, the tax isn't paid at purchase, it's paid by formula. Evasion would have to occur by misrepresenting the amout of income one earned and/or by overrreporting the amount saved/invested. This would be a pretty simple audit compared to what we go through with the current deduction-crazy model.

And even imperfect enforcement might yield revenue. Capital gains is a big, big problem. It's massively regressive. If you tax it as ordinary income, however, you're really discouraging investment and saving. A PCT treats it all as income, but you're taxed on the consumption factors. The wealthiest individuals can't use passive income to skate their tax burden legitimately, but investment is encouraged. Their effective rates go up. Cutting out legitimate tax havens may cover for the creation of potential illegitimate ones. There's obviously a lot of theory at work, though.


Yeah, the biggest issue to me is that if you were very wealthy, you can dodge a lot of stuff by shifting consumption to outside the country and avoiding excise taxes (which tends to be relatively easy). So, for example, you could get paid your income in the US and spend it in the south of France (which sounds pretty great, really). This is a bad result in terms of fairness--especially since we'd have no real way of recouping revenue from tourists.

That's probably why a combo VAT + end of year proxy system works best.
   2899. Greg K Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4212569)
What Akins said was what my High School Health teacher back in the 80s said, it's what a lot of people [used to] believe

I was in high school in the 80s and don't remember this stupidity at all, from anyone. Perhaps I was lucky.

Perhaps it is a hold-over from the early modern belief that the female had to have an orgasm in order to reproduce. Though, unfortunately for women, the scientific community sort of proved that one wrong a few hundred years ago.
   2900. Spahn Insane Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4212586)
Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas gets in trouble for being awesome: getting rowdy and skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee.

"Hey, kiss my ass--this is a holy site."
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