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Not that complicated

In comments at AC’s, Sean Braisted says:

The tax code isnít all that complicated unless you try to get all the deductions possible.

Yeah, those 6.6 billion hours spent per year on them are because math is hard. And the $194 billion per year in compliance costs is because itís not all that complicated. And the 117 million times per year that IRS is contacted for answers is not due to complexities in the code. And that code consisting of 693 sections of the Internal Revenue Code that are applicable to individual taxpayers, 1,501 sections applicable to businesses, and 445 sections applicable to tax-exempt organizations, employee plans, and governments. And the Treasury Department had issued almost 20,000 pages of regulations containing over 8 million words.

But, no, itís not all that complicated. Just ask Daschle, Geithner, Rangle, Solis, and Killefer.

Sources for my tax stats, which are dated and, therefore, understated.

45 Responses to “Not that complicated”

  1. Robb Allen Says:

    You’re deliberately misrepresenting what Sean is saying, Uncle.

    If you simply pay way more than is required like a good lemming, then it’s easy. They make the 10-40EZ JUST for such reasons.

    If you try to keep your own money rather than having it stolen from you, then yeah, it gets complicated. People like Sean and tgirsch don’t believe that your money is yours (remember, t-bone stated that if you keep your own money, it’s the exact same as taking it away from someone else). So, making it difficult is a feature, not a bug in their eyes.

  2. HardCorps Says:

    It’s sort of a correct statement that yes, if you want to let the government steal more from you than they say they should, just sit back and they will. We must all agree that this has gone to far, and we must also agree never to let government meddle in the affairs of the economy, for we all might starve if they have too much power. The trend I see is that more people are suing the government for their liability, and more often Judges side with the victim, pushing back the beast a little. Make them pay for what they have done to our society and economy.

  3. Sean Braisted Says:

    As Robb said…sorta.

    But lets look at them one-by-one.

    Daschle’s problem was that he had various sources of income, one of which he did not report. Now, maybe you can argue that benefits such as free car and driver should not be taxed, but so long as he claimed them, it wouldn’t be a whole lot more complex to add that line into your gross wages.

    Geithner was apparently given the proper forms to include in his tax return, he just neglected to do so. He could’ve easily included this when he filled out his tax returns with H&R Block or whatever tax software he apparently used.

    Nancy Killefer had a couple of employees whom she did not pay unemployment insurance on. Now, perhaps this was an oversight due to the fact she is not a traditional employer, but this was a local, not federal tax issue.

    Hilda Solis’ husband had some local tax liens…again, nothing to do with the federal tax code.

    Now, are compliance costs with taxes going to be high? Absolutely, especially if you own a company with thousands of employees. Any company that has multiple revenues and outlays is going to need to adjust their accounting staff accordingly.

  4. Robb Allen Says:

    Why not simply remove taxes from the company (which they don’t pay anyway) and flatten out what is taken from employees directly?

    My company is hiring nothing but contractors over in India. We have been told directly that they are doing this because the costs associated with actual employees is too high. By outsourcing, they don’t have to worry about not just the taxes they pay on payroll, but the need for more employees just to oversee compliance.

    Normally, the company just increases our prices to our customers to cover the costs, but with the economy the way it is, we can’t do that. So, they lower the cost of getting programming done by skipping the whole system.

    Not that I’m against hiring someone else who is equally as skilled as me for lower costs, that’s just capitalism. It’s that they’re lower cost is directly related to the impossible labyrinth of taxes and whatnot.

    Only people pay the taxes anyway. Some by the increased cost the business tacks on to cover their taxes, some by the loss of a job since they can’t compete against someone who doesn’t have to pay them.

    Either a flat tax, VAT, or Fair tax.

    Granted, when you take away the tax-bludgeon, the liberal world becomes impossible to support or defend because what is mine stays mine and that’s an anathema to socialistic theory.

  5. Sean Braisted Says:

    A flat tax is not necessary to reduce complexity…if you can’t figure out the income tax brackets, chances are you aren’t smart enough to make it out of the bottom tax bracket.

    A VAT would still entail large compliance costs and promote exporting jobs to reduce the amount of value added to a product in the United States.

    I assume by the fair tax you are talking about a national sales tax…which is fine if you reduce the Government services to the level of the 1800s, or have a 30-40% sales tax rate. Something you won’t be able to do if politicians are remotely connected to popular will.

  6. Nate Says:

    You’re right… I would HATE to dial back government services. I mean, hell, the government rulers will be better at deciding how to spend my money anyway. I’m just grateful they allow me to keep some…is that “progressive” enough for you?
    Why is it that liberals/progressives have such a problem with me keeping my own money?

  7. Robb Allen Says:

    I have no issue with reducing the federal government services to 1800 levels. I believe that we don’t need much more than military and a court system. Allowing local governments to decide what works best for them rather than having to bend to a federal system is beneficial (what works in Chicago doesn’t necessarily work in Peoria, right?).

    And I’d also LOVE for people to see a big, blazing 30% markup on every last thing they buy. The thing is, they pay way more than that right now, it’s just hidden. Without a simplified way of seeing that nearly 40% of their pay goes towards taxes, they think that 6% sales tax is just peachy.

    While there are sever problems with the Fair Tax, the estimated 23% isn’t one of them. When a politician wants to buy votes by getting some of that sweet, addictive tax money shoveled over to a local big business, he’d have a harder sell when the only way to do it is to increase that tax rate to %23.7.

    Once Joe American understands that the $20 an hour he makes actually will result in an $800 weekly paycheck and not the usual $560 and that the price he sees on EVERYTHING will have to increase in order to pay for the new playground for blind kids in Wyoming, then he’ll have much more information to base his choices on.

    Now, as far as the VAT, yes there are compliance costs. There would be with a Flat tax too, you still have to check to make sure people are paying their taxes. But when the system is X percent instead of X percent if Y percent of development costs are associated with wetland preservation or if Z percent of the workforce is handicapped and the square root of the number of windows on your corporate building is twice the amount of pressure required to flush the toilets, well… If one can’t see how that’s easier, then I doubt one has the intelligence to be able to claim much about taxation anyway.

  8. Robb Allen Says:

    That should read

    While there are severe problems with the Fair Tax

    I don’t know if the FT people are having server issues.

  9. mike w. Says:

    Apparently Sean has a different definition of the word “complicated” than the rest of us. Then again he’s a liberal and they tend to do that with words.

  10. gattsuru Says:

    Or that they’d be cut apart.

    Sean Braisted, may I point out that Daschle was under IRS AUDIT for part of the time he had that free car and driver, and no one figured out a thing. Especially for those working for a small business or start-up, there’s often a a lot of non-traditional income going around. Figuring that out is a compliance cost.

    But getting many deductions, instead of all deductions possible, is still a clusterfudge. Education costs are deductible, for example… sometimes. Figuring out the mark between prepare for new career and not doing so is a painful mess. The distinction is [url=http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc513.html]here[/url], and to be honest, I can’t think of a single thing in the networking fields that could not be read to hit marks 1-3. That’s thousands of dollars worth of deductions (up to the half-dozen limits), in all odds, and a fairly common thing.

    Mortgage interest, capital losses, union dues, charitable contributions. You don’t need to be calculating mileage, work clothing, or state and local taxes for things to become quite, quite frustrating.

    Sure, you can lie and cheat and get away with it if you say it’s an accident. I’m sure rewarding ignorance is a wonderful thought, the sort of thing we should expand to every other part of the law. I hate to point this out to you, but we’re not Kohlberg stage one. A good deal of us follow the law because it is the law, not because it might hurt if we’re caught.

  11. Ride Fast Says:

    I would love a national sales tax to fund everything at the Fed level. I’ll even very reasonably only scale back the Fed to 1900 level and repeal every Fed law passed since then.

    The tax code is so simple I’m still fighting with the IRS and the Franchise Tax board over taxes I don’t owe but paid in 2005, due to a mistake in my and Turbo Tax understanding of the tax code.

  12. tgirsch Says:

    Sean:
    I assume by the fair tax you are talking about a national sales taxÖwhich is fine if you reduce the Government services to the level of the 1800s

    Something tells me Robb would be just fine with that. And I see that Robb has already said as much.

    And I only partly agree with your statement. If one just takes standard deductions, doesn’t itemize, and has an AGI of under $100,000, then the tax code for individuals isn’t all that complicated. But for businesses and for those with lots of deductions, it’s a nightmare.

    Robb Allen:
    People like Sean and tgirsch donít believe that your money is yours (remember, t-bone stated that if you keep your own money, itís the exact same as taking it away from someone else).

    Your Ray Bolger dance number is too clever by half. But if the best you can do is intellectually dishonest “rebuttals” to arguments I’ve never made, that’s going to make my life easier, because I win by default.

    Why not simply remove taxes from the company (which they donít pay anyway) and flatten out what is taken from employees directly?

    Actually, I’ve never bought the idea that “companies don’t pay taxes.” But to the extent one believes that companies don’t pay anything (because their customers do), it still makes sense to have the companies pay taxes, because it spreads the tax burden across all of the company’s customers, instead of just those customers that happen to be located in the same district.

    My company is hiring nothing but contractors over in India. We have been told directly that they are doing this because the costs associated with actual employees is too high. By outsourcing, they donít have to worry about not just the taxes they pay on payroll, but the need for more employees just to oversee compliance.

    Something tells me that this has a lot more to do with the fact that Indian contractors make pennies on the dollar compared to the salary and benefit compensation of US employees than with the “whopping” 7.65% tax associated with hiring a bona fide employee. But if you think a race to the bottom with India is a course of action we ought to be pursuing, more power to you, I suppose.

    While there are sever[e] problems with the Fair Tax, the estimated 23% isnít one of them.

    Sorry, but that 23% figure is misleading. We don’t express sales taxes as a tax-inclusive figure, but as a tax-exclusive figure. The real number is actually 30%.

    But the two main problems with the Fair Tax are that it’s highly regressive, and it ties things like national defense and the justice system directly to the health of the consumer economy. “Sorry, we’d love to deploy the troops to take out that grave and gathering threat, but people aren’t shopping enough, so we can’t afford it.”

  13. Rabbit Says:

    I have absolutely no problem with Government regressing to 1800 levels. According to the Owner’s Manual, it’s way overgrown beyond the levels set up by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Seems to me that it was framed that way for a reason, but I’m just an old white guy who is insensitive to Modern Cultural Needs. And I’m a Texan (is that double-dipping?).

    National defense, Federal court, maybe Customs and Border Enforcement…I can live with that just fine. Free enterprise can take care of the rest, as far as I’m concerned, and it would do a damned sight better job of it.

    Regards,
    Rabbit.

  14. straightarrow Says:

    For most of the nation when all taxes are considered, all taxes of all kinds the rate of return to one level of government or another is slightly more that 61%. In other words you get to keep slightly more that $3 out of $8 that you earn.

    remember I said ALL taxes. Some things are taxed many times, not just once and not just by the Feds.

    It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure it out either. But for this comment when I figured it out for myself I arrived at a figure of 62%, but a study by a reputable group whose name I can’t recall at the moment came in with the more accurate figure of 61.2%. You can probably find the study if you are interested. I am not again going to spend the time to do so. I checked its authenticity at the time (several years ago) and was satisfied with the bona fides of the compilers.

    I did the work once, for myself. Not going to do it for the rest of you. Do it yourselves and then you can’t claim I made misstatements. If you elect not to do so, don’t bother to dispute what I have said.

  15. Lyle Says:

    I say there should be a law that says anyone employed in government must do their own tax returns – alone.

    One very simple law, and you’ll see the tax code cut down by 90% in short order.

    While we’re at it, lets say that anyone in the legislative or executive branches must pay the top marginal rate – for life.

    Two simple laws, either of which could be written on less than one page, and we’d see a very simple tax code with low marginal rates.

  16. Robb Allen Says:

    tgirsch, don’t do your victory lap yet. Shall I quote you then since you’re claiming you didn’t make this argument? With link?

    Good question. Of course, cutting taxes takes dollars away from people, too, either now or later.

    So, taking less of my money is the same as taking money from other people according to you. That’s what I’m saying you said, but if you’d like to rebut your own comment, please continue on. You lose by your own words.

    As far as your consumer driving the taxation, that’s only a problem if you keep the government the size it is today. Ratchet it down to what is necessary and you’ll have plenty of cash left over to deploy the troops and keep the lights on in the SCOTUS, even if DVD sales are down for a quarter.

  17. straightarrow Says:

    Oh yeah, I remember a time 17 or 18 years ago that I was earning $2816/wk, never got home with more than $800.00/wk. The rest was gone for “progressive” taxation. Gotta be something wrong with that. Especially considering that my life was at severe risk every working hour. My life, not the lives of the thieving sonsofbitches who took two and and a half times what I realized out of it, at no risk to themselves and no work performed either.

    Believe me, I was aware of the amount of taxes taken. I didn’t need anyone to clarify it for me. The payroll deduction thing has only ever been about stealing the money before they have to come take like any other robber.

  18. Linoge Says:

    If one just takes standard deductions, doesn’t itemize, and has an AGI of under $100,000, then the tax code for individuals isn’t all that complicated.

    Ah, so while you are now qualifying the “it’s not that hard” comment, you do admit that it discriminates against those who were successful, were charitible enough for the government to care, and/or would like to keep as much of the money they earned as legally possible.

    Yeah, I have to give you that – all those sound like positively horrible people.

  19. tgirsch Says:

    Straightarrow:
    I did the work once, for myself. Not going to do it for the rest of you. Do it yourselves and then you canít claim I made misstatements. If you elect not to do so, donít bother to dispute what I have said.

    Nice try, but that’s not how it works. Perhaps you should have saved the calculations, because the burden of proof lies on the shoulders of the one making the assertion. Of course, there’s no requirement that you back up what you say with facts or evidence, but then there’s no requirement that anyone take you seriously on it, either.

    Robb Allen:
    Shall I quote you then since youíre claiming you didnít make this argument?

    Then you obviously didn’t see the clarification, same thread:

    A dollar spent is a dollar taxed, whether itís taxed today or tomorrow. So every time you cut taxes without also cutting spending to match, all youíre doing is increasing somebody elseís taxes in the future.

    [Emphasis added here]

    I stand by that argument. If you have revenue of $100, and you increase spending by 10% without increasing revenue, you’re in a $10 hole. Similarly, if you reduce your revenue by 10% without cutting spending, you’re still in a $10 hole. Either way, that’s $10 that you’re going to have to come up with from somewhere.

    As far as your consumer driving the taxation, thatís only a problem if you keep the government the size it is today. Ratchet it down to what is necessary and youíll have plenty of cash left over to deploy the troops and keep the lights on in the SCOTUS

    There are two obvious problems with this: first, getting anything approaching a consensus on what constitutes “necessary”; second, the GOP approach has always been to cut the taxes without cutting the spending. The two largest post-WWII expansions of the federal government were overseen by Reagan and GWB, both of whom cut taxes while doing it.

  20. tgirsch Says:

    Linoge:

    I’m not sure I follow the logic that says it counts as discrimination.

  21. Divemedic Says:

    [i]But the two main problems with the Fair Tax are that itís highly regressive,[/i]

    How can you call a tax that is the same for everyone regressive? If I make and spend $50,000 in a year, I will pay ten times as much tax as a person who spent $5,000. A ‘progressive’ tax means that a person who makes $50,000 pays 30 times as much as a person who makes $5,000.

    That is not a progressive tax, that is socialism.

  22. tgirsch Says:

    straightarrow:
    I remember a time 17 or 18 years ago that I was earning $2816/wk, never got home with more than $800.00/wk. The rest was gone for ďprogressiveĒ taxation.

    I’m pretty sure we’ve been through this before, but I defy you to demonstrate how you lost 72% of your gross pay to taxation, even at that level of income. ($146K in 1991 was a shitload of money.) Assuming you had NO deductions of ANY KIND (not even the standard deduction or personal exemption) and you were paying the highest single rate, and counting the full 15.3% employer+employee payroll tax (which is regressive, not progressive) on top of that, then your total federal tax on your $146,432 gross income would have been $52,137.55 ($41,269.42 income tax, $4,246.53 of Medicare tax, and $6,621.60 for social security — the wage cap in 1991 was $53,400), an effective tax rate of just 35.6% — and that’s using ludicrously pessimistic estimates of what your tax situation would be. In real life, it would be much, much lower than that, once you factor in deductions, exemptions, etc. Anyway, I’m eager to learn how state and local taxes accounted for an additional 35.9% of your income, such that an effective 71.5% was taken away from you before you even cashed your check. That’s the scenario you’ve just described.

  23. Linoge Says:

    Then you might want to break out the dictionary, tgirsch.

    treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit

  24. ATLien Says:

    How many transactions do you think Wal-Mart does in a day? Now multiply that by the Fair Tax. If you don’t think that’s a lot of money, you’re damn idiot.

    Or a typical lib that knows jack shit about money.

    I wish the red states would just secede and throw you bastards out to the blue states. I swear to God I can’t take your bullshit anymore.

  25. Xrlq Says:

    The biggest problem with the “fair” tax is its smarmy, self-righteous name. The second biggest problem is that it’s a fundamentally stupid concept. Unless the goal is to convert our current fiscal mess into the Greater Than Great Depression, why on earth would anyone in his right mind advocate a tax policy that rewards misers at the expense of the few people who are still out there actually buying stuff? If anything, we should be doing the opposite. The third biggest problem is that if it really were about fairness, there would be no reason for the tax code to privilege either consumption or savings over the other, so the thing to do would be to tax all income equally, regardless of how (or if) it is spent.

  26. tgirsch Says:

    Linoge:

    I’m still not seeing it. Anyone can choose to itemize, or not to do so. That doing so benefits some more than others isn’t discrimination by any definition I can think of.

    ATLien:

    I’ve been calling for Dumbfuckistan err, the Red States to secede for some time now. They’ve been leeching off the federal tax teat for far too long now, anyway.

    By the way, Wal-Mart’s 2007 gross sales were $375 billion. Congratulations, the nation’s biggest retailer has just accounted for $112.5 billion in tax revenue under the “Fair Tax” (assuming the exorbitant tax rate did nothing to discourage spending — not a safe assumption, in my estimation). The federal budget in 2007 was $2.77 trillion. Meaning that the tax revenue you’ve just generated from the biggest corporation in the world accounts for just 4% of the total federal budget. Just 96% to go!

    But wait! That $375 billion was the figure for global sales. So you have to subtract out any sales that Wal-Mart did overseas — you don’t have the jurisdiction to tax that under the “Fair Tax.” The latest figures I can find show that roughly 2/3 of Wal-Mart’s sales are made inside the US, so you’ve actually only raised a skosh less than $76 billion in tax revenue from Wally World — 2.7% of the budget, and not even enough to cover a year of operations in Iraq.

    So no, in an era when we’re still spending almost $10 billion a month on a foreign war, and when half-trillion dollar deficits have become the norm, I really don’t think $76 billion is “a lot of money,” comparatively speaking.

    I guess that makes me “damn idiot.” [sic]

  27. Robert Says:

    But the two main problems with the Fair Tax are that itís highly regressive, and it ties things like national defense and the justice system directly to the health of the consumer economy. ďSorry, weíd love to deploy the troops to take out that grave and gathering threat, but people arenít shopping enough, so we canít afford it.Ē

    It already is. If people buy less, that means companies that sell goods and services have to cut back production of those goods and services. That means they stop making as many goods, which means that 1) they make less money, and 2) they have to fire some of the people they employ to make those goods. The government loses on both counts, because they lose income taxes both from the company and the workers that were laid off when the company had to scale back production (or simply went out of business). They lose even more because, as the system is set up now, they typically have to pay unemployment to those laid off workers while they’re trying to find new jobs.

    Our government is already inextricably tied to the health of the consumer economy. Sales tax wouldn’t change that much at all.

  28. Linoge Says:

    Holy crap, Tgirsch, do you just forget what you write from post to post? I have to admit, it would be rather convenient…

    Let me remind you:

    If one just takes standard deductions, doesnít itemize, and has an AGI of under $100,000, then the tax code for individuals isnít all that complicated.

    Sure, anyone can make less than $100,000, if they so choose. But by your very admission, and by the construction of the taxation code itself, the current taxation system discriminates against success by making the supposedly simple act of filing taxes that much more “complicated”. That people “could” do it another way does not make it any less discriminatory.

  29. tgirsch Says:

    I suppose I should justify that remark about sucking off the federal teat. See this report (link to PDF at that site) from the Tax Foundation, concerning how much federal funding each state received in return for each dollar it pays in federal taxes. See Figure 1, bottom of Page 2. Eight of the ten most welfare-y states (they get more back than they pay in) are traditionally red states. A ninth (New Mexico) is wishy-washy.

    Meanwhile, of the ten states at the opposite end of the spectrum, which pay more in federal taxes than they receive in federal funding, eight are traditionally blue states.

    So for all their collective whining about taxes, in terms of dollars gained versus dollars lost from splitting away from the federal government, the red states have a lot more to lose than the blue states do.

  30. gattsuru Says:

    tgirsch

    I stand by that argument. If you have revenue of $100, and you increase spending by 10% without increasing revenue, youíre in a $10 hole. Similarly, if you reduce your revenue by 10% without cutting spending, youíre still in a $10 hole. Either way, thatís $10 that youíre going to have to come up with from somewhere.

    Because a tax cut is always results in an equal decrease in tax revenue, Laffer Curve be damned. Haven’t we gone over this before?

  31. tgirsch Says:

    Linoge:

    The $100,000 figure isn’t as big a deal as you think it is. Making an AGI of more than $100,000 requires that you use a tax table to compute your tax, rather than looking it up in the tax tables. That’s the only difference, and the only reason I even mentioned the figure. Presumably, if you’re that successful, you don’t consider that to be a huge burden and wouldn’t view that as “discrimination.”

    Robert:
    Our government is already inextricably tied to the health of the consumer economy. Sales tax wouldnít change that much at all.

    That’s true to a certain extent, but less so than it would be under the “Fair Tax.” Because under the Fair Tax, only domestic retail sales generate tax revenue, so the entire economy is tied to that. Currently, we have various forms of taxation that tax income of all types, including things like capital gains from foreign investments, overseas sales, interest income, etc., none of which are directly tied to the domestic consumer economy, and all of which the Fair Tax would exempt completely from taxation.

  32. tgirsch Says:

    Gattsuru:

    We can go down that road if you want to, I suppose, but once you introduce the Laffer Curve, you (A) introduce the question of which side of said curve we’re on, and (B) admit the possibility that if the taxation side of the equation is non-linear, then the spending side of the equation is also non-linear. Which, in the case of B, it is, if the non-partisan CBO’s multipliers are to be believed.

  33. Lyle Says:

    t; You should know that when tax rates are cut, revenues to the treasury increase. It doesn’t come out of anything.

    The reason for this is immediately obvious to anyone who’s ever run a business. When your tax burden is reduced, your productivity is set free. You have more to invest, and since your entire purpose in life as a businessman is to invest so that you can reap a return, everyone wins when tax rates are cut. This is econ 101.

    Now obviously there is a break-even point, where further rate reductions fail to result in further productivity increases, but this is far below anything anyone is proposing. I’ll guess it’s in the vicinity of 5% overall, but that’s just a WAG. Even then, that 5% left in the hands of those who own it, will likely be far better invested than if it’s put into the hands of those who don’t own it.

    Aside from all of this entire argument, there is the moral issue. In a society that is supposed to respect the rights of the individual, and strive to protect those rights, the lowest possible overall rate of taxation with the lowest possible compliance cost, would be the goal.

    It goes without saying. If your goal, on the other hand, is something other than human rights, then I suppose anything goes, so long as it’s inflicted on us in doses just small enough to prevent revolution.

    When 40% of your life’s creative output is confiscated by force, you are a de facto slave for 40% of your life (40% of your life is in effect owned by others). Now if you think that’s cool, I maintain that you should have the right to sign over 40% of your life to the person or group of your choosing. Forcing others to jump into that pit of hell along with you, however, is an entirely different matter.

  34. straightarrow Says:

    That’s exactly how it works, tgirsch. I have dealt with you before and I know you to be dishonest. So I won’t bother supplying you with work I have already done, just to have you ignore it or claim you feel it isn’t true. Go fuck yourself. Those are my nice sentiments on the subject.

    As for what I said about my earnings and tax levels in a later post. I think I would know more about that the you would. So go fuck yourself again.

  35. tgirsch Says:

    Xrlq:

    You know it wigs me out when we’re in agreement on stuff. Sometimes I think you do it on purpose, just to confuse me. ūüôā

    Lyle:
    You should know that when tax rates are cut, revenues to the treasury increase.

    For starters, this is only close to true when you start from a point where tax rates are punitively high. And, of course, even in those cases, once you correct for inflation, it turns out to be bogus. As it turns out, in real life it virtually always works exactly as you’d expect: tax cuts reduce revenues, and tax hikes increase them.

    When 40% of your lifeís creative output is confiscated by force, you are a de facto slave for 40% of your life (40% of your life is in effect owned by others).

    You’d have to be very wealthy and have the world’s worst tax accountant to have an effective tax rate coming anywhere close to 40%. The very wealthiest Americans, the top 0.1%, pay an effective tax rate of something like 24% of their adjusted income, after subtracting out deductions, credits, etc. When you compare their tax bill against their actual gross income, it’s substantially less than that, even.

    straightarrow:
    I have dealt with you before and I know you to be dishonest.

    Yet another thing I have in common with Xrlq, I suppose. If anyone here is full of shit, it’s you, not me. But I’ll let the peanut gallery decide whether they believe you earned a six-figure salary during a economic recession with (at the time) historically low tax rates and still managed to shell out 71.5% of your income in taxes alone. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and all that.

    So go fuck yourself again.

    I’ll be sure to get right on that. ūüôā

  36. Linoge Says:

    Presumably…

    Certainly not your first mistake, and given your trending, it will certainly not be your last.

    Discrimination is discrimination, no matter how minor or insignificant it might seem. Or would you not mind drinking from a water fountain separated by two feet from another?

  37. tgirsch Says:

    If you’re going to call that discrimination, then colleges and universities “discriminate” on the basis of personal economics all the time! I’m sure you’ll join the rush to prevent that horrific injustice post haste! ūüôā

    Sorry, but the same tax laws apply to everyone, no discrimination involved.

  38. ATLien Says:

    If you want to halt recession in its tracks, cutting all corporate tax rates to zero would help. Can you imagine the investment from other countries into our economy if that happened? Can you imagine all the jobs those companies would create? It’s not like they pay them anyway.

  39. Linoge Says:

    Y’know what, screw it. Allow me to jump on the bandwagon of people inviting you to go fuck yourself.

    You said something. I spelled out exactly what you said. You disagreed with what you said, and then spent the past however-many posts trying to say that you did not really say what you said. Sorry, but there is just no point in having a conversation like that, and I wash my hands of it (though I am still content in the knowledge that you unintentionally admitted the the discrimination inherent in the current taxcode, whether you are willing to own up to it or not).

  40. Xrlq Says:

    You know it wigs me out when weíre in agreement on stuff. Sometimes I think you do it on purpose, just to confuse me.

    Yeah, I know, but it’s hard not to agree on some stuff. Rather than getting the heebie jeebies by agreeing on the Fairly Dumb Tax, let’s change the topic and argue about a flat tax instead. Or we could argue about Straightarrow, with one of us arguing that he’s the dumbest fuck on the Internet, and the other responding that he’s really an evil genius who gets some sick pleasure out of pretending to be the dumbest fuck on the Internet, and he is also a fine actor who has yet to break character. I could argue either position, so take your pick.

  41. straightarrow Says:

    ” But Iíll let the peanut gallery decide whether they believe you earned a six-figure salary during a economic recession “-tgirsch.

    No the peanut gallery doesn’t get to decide the facts of history, especially not my personal history.

    You see pussyman, this is the way it was. There was a job to do that was very dangerous. A job most men won’t take at any price, and especially not men of your caliber. Once again, the law of supply and demand. They had a demand, but they had no supply of people capable of doing it who were willing to do it. Once again something beyond your ken. Three of us from out of the area took the job and completed it. For that we were well rewarded. All of us survived it, however a man passing close by and unrelated to it did not. He was found outside the fenced off area in a supposedly safe place. They expanded the area.

    That was not our first time to do such jobs, but I’m sure you wouldn’t know anything about betting your ability against risk. Believe it or not, the money is a secondary consideration. Beating the sonofabitch is the real reason. But you wouldn’t know anything about that either.

  42. Xrlq Says:

    Yes, douchebag, the peanut gallery does get to decide whether or not to believe your outlandish claims. As one who expects to make six figures during the present recession/depression/whatever, and as one who did manage to do during the previous one, I’m not inclined to dismiss out of hand the possibility that you or anyone else may have made $146,462 during (or immediately after) the relatively mild recession before that. I am, however, inclined to disbelieve your claim that a $146,462 AGI left you with only $41,600 in take-home pay in a year where the top marginal rate was only 31% (and even that rate applied to less than half of your purported income, i.e., everything above $82,150, assuming you were single at the time). If you paid the .gov anywhere near $104,832 for $146,462 of income, you’re an even bigger dunce than I thought you were.

  43. straightarrow Says:

    You get to decide if you believe me. You don’t get to decide the facts. I’m sorry you’re jealous.

    As for doing anything similar today, not possible. I am no longer physically capable. But I assure you there are people who will take such projects even in today’s downturned economy and fare even better than we did.

    That experience was an anomaly (sp?), when the project was finished after a short period of unemployment we were all back to earning more normal wages. Those kinds of projects don’t come along every day, but it is safe to assume that somewhere someone is working one similar. They occur regularly, but not often. Figure it out. Being available, qualified and willling are three parts of it, being in the right place at the right time is another. We were just lucky that we were there when the need arose, else someone else would have done it.

    You and tgirsch have both decided I was lying about the amounts of monies. Yet, you don’t know where the work took place, what taxes, etc. were applied in that venue and/or other venues that took a chunk (being sedentary, you may not understand that, but it does happen) nor have either of you taken into account all the deductions not directly related to federal income tax.

    I did retrieve some of it on my income tax returns,(three or four that year, I can’t remember exactly) another thing you didn’t put in your calcs. Which was unavoidable because I did not mention that simply because I was trying to show the initial claim laid on our wages which we were then compelled to disprove. Don’t even try to tell me there isn’t something wrong with that.

    My end of year realization was fine. But first I had to disprove the claims of others to the majority of my earnings. Still, the various government entities got the larger portion when totaled up. Not by much, but they got it. Subtract my expenses which I had to prove from my portion, added to my return, but still was not money I got to keep. I had already paid it out. It did not come back to me as a tax credit, but as a deduction reducing my AGI. Not particularly quarreling with that, (cost of doing business) but the government did make out much better than I did at no risk and no work performed.

    So, you may decide whether you believe me or not, I don’t much care one way or the other. But I do find your inability to realize the existence of other factors rather disconcerting in two people who are so sure of their own abilities to analyze. Perhaps, though, I shouldn’t be disconcerted by it. I have noticed that with both of you there is a tendency to ignore what does support you preconceived conclusions.

    Should we ever meet, I would request that you not call me a liar in arm’s reach.

  44. straightarrow Says:

    Put “not” between “does and “support” in the previous comment.

  45. straightarrow Says:

    I withdraw my previous request. After thinking about it for a minute or two, neither of you have done or said anything to me that I haven’t done or said to you. Ergo, I withdraw that request. Hell, fair is fair.