To stand a moment in their shoes

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by matthunter, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    I thought it had something to do with Tom Hanks
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  2. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Not really sure that a drone strike killing a single American should really reflect someone's legacy in light of thousands of drone strikes which killed non Americans. The question is about the ethics of the strikes, not the passport held by the target.

    Out of curiosity, @Tererun mentioned that this person joined an unnamed terrorist group. Was this ISIS? Iraqi insurgents? The Taliban?
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  3. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Totally agree. One American who joined a Middle East terrorist group is not more important/valuable/deserving of punishment - or lack thereof.
    we are all humans. One nationality is not more important than another.
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  4. Quest

    Quest Let Freedom Ring! Staff Member Administrator

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  5. Ten Lubak

    Ten Lubak Salty Dog

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    Man, reading Americans complaining about high taxes is always a laugh riot
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  6. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    The real question is not how much you pay in taxes, but what you get for your money.

    Here in France, we pay a lot more taxes than Americans do. But we get a lot more in return. What do Americans get? Military spending, first of all. They can bomb other countries to pieces (even when they aren't planning on doing so, they make sure they have the money to do it) but they can't get decent education, health care or infrastructure for it. In France, the military couldn't possibly carry out the missions the Americans could, but that makes little difference in the day-to-day lives of the people. We don't really need them to be able to do it. (And when they do have to carry out a mission, like Operation Serval, they do it quite efficiently.) But it does make a difference how much we have to pay to go to university, how affordable decent health care is, or what kind of roads we drive on.

    There are countries in the world with much lower tax rates than the USA, but where the people are still getting ripped off, because too much of it goes to lining the pockets of those in charge. Lower taxes doesn't necessarily mean you are getting a better deal, and higher taxes doesn't necessarily mean you are getting robbed.

    It's like someone saying: "This product isn't worthwhile because it costs more than some other product." That might be true, but it might not. No meaningful answer can be given just on the basis of cost. The quality and usefulness of the product in question is what determines if it's worth the cost. People who just complain about "raising taxes" show that they really don't understand much about the issues. You can't get meaningful information by looking at only half of an equation.
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  7. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    Yep.

    *Glances at last payslip*

    26% payroll tax, yay!

    On my salary in the US, it'd be 22% (I wouldn't hit the "plus X% of amount over"). Wouldn't pay 26% until I was earning twice what I do.

    I'd gladly pay 30%, if the tax breaks/benefits went to the worse off or better public services. Wouldn't change my lifestyle any. Might save a few.
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  8. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Unfortunately, in the US, due to right wing propaganda, many people do not care that 95% of their taxes goes to the military and corporate subsidies, but will gladly fight tooth and nail to prevent someone else from getting a measly $200/month social services check.
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  9. Ten Lubak

    Ten Lubak Salty Dog

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    I think last year I was paying low to mid 40s percentage in terms of income tax

    Plus our 5% national goods and services tax on just about everything

    45% on capital gains

    Just sold my house and I'll probably be paying around $35k in property transfer tax when I buy I new place....it goes on and on

    But, like @Asyncritus said, it's all about what you get in terms of representation - I feel my quality of life is fantastic, my family is safe and healthy and I enjoy living here very much, I wouldn't trade it for anything
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  10. The Ghost of Crazy Horse

    The Ghost of Crazy Horse Soul Rebel

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    It’s kind of our thing since we built a country out of complaining about taxes.
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  11. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    Actually, I just went by the tax/NI deduction on my last payslip - my actual tax band is 40%. I forgot to include my state pension.
  12. Ten Lubak

    Ten Lubak Salty Dog

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    And look at the shithole it's become!
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  13. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    I can try to find a more current one:

    [​IMG]
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  14. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    That reminds me of a dog whistle going around.

    "Socialism works in the Nordic countries because they're culturally homogenous. Our country is too diverse!".

    Translation- "I don't want black people to get the money".
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  15. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Mmmm ... Can you provide a link? I see it's based on OMB historical tables, but that doesn't tell me the source data. SS is a separate category and separate fund than regular income tax. I don't even know what income security is. Is that unemployment insurance? or is that social services? I don't see corporate subsidies on there. I think this may be a very old table.
  16. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Bingo!
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  17. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    I'll see if I can find a later one. In any event, I was hoping you were exaggerating with "95% going to the military."

    ETA: More, and more current, detail: https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go

    Sixteen percent for the military.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  18. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Thank you for correcting me. However, I did say "the military and corporate subsidies". I do not know the numbers or percentages off the top of my head. My point was that a very small percentage actually goes to the citizens and social safety nets.
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  19. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    You have to remember that there are two types of spending in the US budget: discretionary and mandatory (also called "entitlements"). The DoD is the biggest chunk of discretionary funding, by far, but entitlement spending (social security and medicare/medicaide, basically) is an enormous chunk of total spending. And for whoever is thinking "debt doesn't matter" now that we have a Democratic majority, servicing that debt accounts for funds that can't be spent elsewhere.

    As for the taxes Americans pay, let's not forget that it's a whole lot more than just federal income tax. Most states also assess income tax, and there are countless other taxes applied at the federal, state, and local levels. For me personally, something above a third of my income gets eaten up by taxes. I'd prefer that to be 25% or less. Much above that and I get cranky.
  20. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Debts and deficits are two different subjects.

    I am not totally against deficit spending. When there are economic troubles, government deficit spending is a good way to stimulate the economy to get it back on track. It shouldn't be the only method used, but it has its place. However, that means that if deficit spending is appropriate when needed, those deficits should be compensated in times when things are better. And that's where I have a real problem with both major political parties in the US. Both of them denounce the deficit spending of the other one, yet both of them do it, and neither one tries to get things back in balance afterward. They just keep on with more and more deficit spending.

    The problem of debt is of a different nature, even though the debt results from the deficit spending. Most of that debt is owed to people who have bought government bonds, or foreign countries that have bought US government bonds, or banks, or other such institutions. And even if we give up forever on the idea of ever "paying off the national debt", that means that the interest on that debt has to be paid. And it has to be paid to the ones who loaned the money in the first place.

    IOW, a huge, continuous, growing national debt means more and more tax money taken from average workers (whether directly, through their own taxes, or indirectly by taxing the producers of the goods and services they buy, thus running up prices) and given to the rich. And that, it seems to me, is a real problem, no matter who is doing it, Democrats or Republicans. Since when is "tax the poor to make the rich even richer" a good policy?
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  21. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Not really. The deficit is the negative difference between revenues and expenditures for any given budget period (the positive would be a surplus). Added up, those deficits create the debt. So the one feeds the other. Yes, deficit spending is sometimes necessary to respond to emergencies. But as a matter of routine, all the time, no-one cares if we do this and debts don't matter so fuck it, running up enormous debt is irresponsible.
  22. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    Other taxes are not unique to the US. The UK is subject to 20% VAT (sales tax) on anything not deemed "essential goods" (which, up to a recent EU ruling, included sanitary towels for women).

    If you're making as much as you seem to be and think a third of your income is too much to pay in tax, then you've never reflected on how you benefit FROM tax or have been in the situation where you've needed the safety net.

    I've done both - I'm in a position to train the next generation of biologists despite my family never having the funds to put me through university. And I had to draw unemployment whilst in the final year writing up my Ph.D.
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  23. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    I have been in the situation where I needed the safety net. Early 1990s, end of the Cold War. I know there's differences of opinion over how much taxation is "enough," or "fair." I personally draw that line at 25%. Above that isn't reasonable, it's forcible redistribution.
  24. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    So a flat tax of 25%? Applies to all?

    Or just your current band?

    Because sorry, if you make $100k, 25% means less to your lifestyle than it does to someone making $25k.

    You benefitted from the net. Do you think the people putting in >25% were happy about it?

    I would have been, but given capitalism I doubt I'm the norm.

    They'd have hung you out to fucking dry.

    You'd hang others out.

    Dried human isn't good eating.

    You can't even polish classy automobiles with it.
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  25. Clippy

    Clippy Fresh Meat

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    You know, this whole pandemic thing over the past year has really put a different lens on things. It's pretty clear that our lip service to a "safety net" just hasn't been working, and I don't know what we need to do to correct that. Something has to be done. People are out of work or losing their jobs. they can't afford to keep their power on. Plenty of people have gone homeless. I understand the whole concept of planning ahead and building your own safety net just in case bad shit happens, but this sort of thing?
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  26. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Fighting the English =/= building a country, but I do take your point.

    One thing that I've long found ironic, mind you, is the tendency for right leaning people to be all about cutting public spending, until said spending is on officials in uniforms who hit and shoot people.

    Strange.
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  27. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    The pandemic has gone even further than that - those in danger of losing jobs are a separate (though pressing) issue. But we suddenly rediscovered just how fucking essential shelf-stackers, drivers, food pickers, etc ARE to our existence and we are STILL arguing over whether $15/hr minimum wage is too much...
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  28. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    I'm saying 25% should be the maximum amount of my income that goes to the tax man. Minus sales tax, which you can control somewhat thru paying attention to what you buy. In other words, whether the taxes are flat or "progressive" and regardless of type, the total burden should not exceed 25% of income. You doubtless believe that total should be higher. And that's fine from an intellectual argument point of view. You must remember that to tax a thing is to discourage that thing, and at some point when the taxes become onerous enough people start looking for creative ways to avoid them.
  29. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    No one will be happy about that chart.

    To me 17% on the military seems waaaay too much, but I imagine many will look at social security being higher as a sign of a slothful, indolent society.
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  30. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    I think he's talking about the highest tax bracket.

    What he is in denial about is one of the best purposes of taxes: distribution of wealth. That's what progressive tax rates are for.

    Pre-emptive but that's not fair response: they are marginal tax rates. Everyone pays the same rates on the income they have in common with others.

    Except for capital gains. We need to get to work on that. It's a flat 15%.
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