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-   -   An end to billionaires. (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=339390)

Bob001 4th October 2019 12:07 PM

An end to billionaires.
 
Robert Reich argues that the creation and concentration of vast wealth is the result of specific tax and legal policies that could and should be revised.
Quote:

America now has more billionaires than at any time in history, while most Americans are struggling to make ends meet. With such staggering inequality, it’s fair to ask: should we abolish billionaires?
https://www.salon.com/2019/07/06/sho...aires_partner/

theprestige 4th October 2019 12:13 PM

Most Americans are struggling to make ends meet?

I'd like to know his definitions of "most", "struggling", and "make ends meet". Probably "Americans", too.

DuvalHMFIC 4th October 2019 12:20 PM

Let's throw in "staggering" for good measure as well.

Bob001 4th October 2019 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 12844432)
Most Americans are struggling to make ends meet?

I'd like to know his definitions of "most", "struggling", and "make ends meet". Probably "Americans", too.

Great. Change "most" to "many," even "some." That's not his central point.

The Great Zaganza 4th October 2019 12:26 PM

Wealth tax would solve this.

theprestige 4th October 2019 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 12844444)
Great. Change "most" to "many," even "some." That's not his central point.

I'm supposed to be concerned that this is some kind of problem. But the problem statement is flatly retarded.

Bob001 4th October 2019 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DuvalHMFIC (Post 12844441)
Let's throw in "staggering" for good measure as well.


That's pretty much indisputable.
Quote:

Saez and Zucman show that, in America, the wealthiest 160,000 families own as much wealth as the poorest 145 million families, and that wealth is about 10 times as unequal as income.
https://fortune.com/2014/10/31/inequ...lth-income-us/

Quote:

Wealth inequality in the US is at near record levels according to a new study by academics. Over the past three decades, the share of household wealth owned by the top 0.1% has increased from 7% to 22%.
https://www.theguardian.com/business...-the-bottom-90

Bob001 4th October 2019 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 12844452)
Wealth tax would solve this.

That would be after the fact. Changes in tax rates and policies, a higher minimum wage and tougher antitrust enforcement would prevent the problem.

theprestige 4th October 2019 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 12844452)
Wealth tax would solve this.

Solve what? Even with wealth tax, some Americans would still struggle to make ends meet.

How big is the actual problem? How much of it is raw lack of funds, how much is diminishing returns, and how much is mismanagement?

3point14 4th October 2019 12:37 PM

If I might propose two premises:

- Everyone having the smae mount of money it not desirable in a capitalist system

- one person having all the money is not deisrable in any system


Then at what point, if we accept the above, is it appropriate to take action? Only at the point when the last penny goes to McDuck, or if before then, at what point before then?



Edit:

People are really bad at big numbers. (Personally, I'm not sure I can really conceptualise much beyond a hundred or maybe a thousand), therefore I think it's apt for me to quote this to enable us all to conceptualise how much money billionaires have)



"I like to use the analogy of a staircase, with each step on the staircase representing $100,000 of net worth. Thatís several years of working wages saved up for tens of millions of Americans:

HALF of people in the united states are on the base or the very 1st step. Almost 200 million people who canít even get one step up in this system.

Those households at the 80th percentile, richer than 4/5 Americans, are on the 5th step. Thatís about five seconds of walking to get up there.

Those with more money than 90% of fellow Americans, millionaires who we consider our upper-middle class professional class and live more than comfortably, are on the 11th step. A few more seconds of walking up from that previous middle-class step. Most Americans wonít even come close to accumulating this much over an entire lifetime of working.

A billionaire is ten thousand steps up the staircase. Thatís enough to walk up five Empire State buildings. Thatís almost three hours of walking non-stop. You think they care about the petty squabbles of anyone on those first few steps or so? From these heights they couldnít tell the difference even if they wanted to. And yet those whoíve maybe ascended or were born on the first few dozen steps think they identify with this group as a class.

And Jeff Bezos? Heís so high up it only makes sense to describe his staircase in distance. His stairs take him up 133 miles. Thatís more than halfway to the space station. Thatís more than 24 consecutive Mt. Everestís stacked on top of each other. It would take walking, non-stop, no sleep, over two weeks to ascend that high, each single step worth more than five poverty-level families in America combined."


https://writeleft.net/?p=1050

Checkmite 4th October 2019 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 12844460)
That would be after the fact. Changes in tax rates and policies, a higher minimum wage and tougher antitrust enforcement would prevent the problem.

No, they would have prevented the problem. At the current juncture, "preventing" the problem is no longer an option; the problem now exists and is stubbornly entrenched. So, addressing the issue now requires active countermeasures, not merely preventative ones.

ahhell 4th October 2019 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 12844452)
Wealth tax would solve this.

Evidence suggests otherwise. When they've been tried they've generally been ineffective at producing revenue or equalizing wealth.
Noted right wing schills at NPR

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/01/69926...work-in-europe
Quote:

In 1990, there were 12 countries in Europe that had a wealth tax. Today there are only three. Perret says they didn't work for a lot of reasons. Among other things, it costs a lot to enforce. It pushed rich people out of the country, and the wealth taxes didn't raise a lot of revenue.

BStrong 4th October 2019 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 12844452)
Wealth tax would solve this.

Are you familiar with the term "Tax Refugee?"

Delphic Oracle 4th October 2019 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ahhell (Post 12844482)
Evidence suggests otherwise. When they've been tried they've generally been ineffective at producing revenue or equalizing wealth.
Noted right wing schills at NPR

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/01/69926...work-in-europe

It has been true since Roman times.

A rich and powerful landlord can spend a little bit of money to produce an assay report that says his land is nearly worthless. Slaves, what slaves? No, these are tenant farmers I rent out to since I cannot develop the land to any useful purpose of my own, go ahead and feel free to ask them yourself. Brickworks, what brickworks? Oh, that's been abandoned for years, I've been meaning to write it off as a loss...

3point14 4th October 2019 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ahhell (Post 12844482)
Evidence suggests otherwise. When they've been tried they've generally been ineffective at producing revenue or equalizing wealth.
Noted right wing schills at NPR

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/01/69926...work-in-europe


I'm guessing that's because it's just too easy to move it somewhere else?

Which makes it a very difficult issue to address with any effect, I think.

ahhell 4th October 2019 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3point14 (Post 12844494)
I'm guessing that's because it's just too easy to move it somewhere else?

Which makes it a very difficult issue to address with any effect, I think.

Yes and easy to obfuscate and difficult assess, if say you have a lot of art or even more tangible property, as noted by Delphic.

cullennz 4th October 2019 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ahhell (Post 12844482)
Evidence suggests otherwise. When they've been tried they've generally been ineffective at producing revenue or equalizing wealth.
Noted right wing schills at NPR

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/01/69926...work-in-europe

Indeed

Think this is the most obvious one from your quote

"It pushed rich people out of the country, and the wealth taxes didn't raise a lot of revenue."


It is pretty easy for a billionaire to just walk away from a country who introduces it

Cainkane1 4th October 2019 01:26 PM

If you have a product to sell such as but by no means limited to oil or whatever it is you have to offer and if enough people buy it and the money tallies up to a billion dollars or more then you have the right to earn that much money as long as the product you sell is legal and doesn't harm society in any way.

dudalb 4th October 2019 01:30 PM

I have a problem with idea that making billions of dollars is somehow a crime in and of itself. I think HOW you made a Billion matters.
I just don't think wealth is and of itself evil, which for some on the left is pretty much an article of faith.
I think no one should live in poverty, but don't want to limit someone's success either
I sort of think everybody should be guaranteed the basics, but for the luxuries you are on your own.

Bob001 4th October 2019 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dudalb (Post 12844517)
I have a problem with idea that making billions of dollars is somehow a crime in and of itself. I think HOW you made a Billion matters.
I just don't think wealth is and of itself evil, which for some on the left is pretty much an article of faith.
I think no one should live in poverty, but don't want to limit someone's success either
I sort of think everybody should be guaranteed the basics, but for the luxuries you are on your own.

Nobody says it's a crime. But concentration of wealth is the result of laws and social policies that are not cast in stone, and in fact have changed substantially in recent decades. The question is whether it's good for the society for one person or family to hold vast wealth and all the political power associated with it. Would Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have played more golf if their income and capital gains taxes had been higher? Should the Kochs be able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars opposing environmental protections? Should any one company like Google, Facebook or Amazon be able to dominate their market sectors? None of this is the result of some inevitable process of nature.

Brainster 4th October 2019 02:51 PM

Is a wealth tax constitutional? Keep in mind that they had to pass a constitutional amendment (16th) to get the income tax. The text of that amendment is plain:

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

Incomes, not wealth. The apportionment bit is important, because the constitution requires "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken." So for example, if New York has, say twice the population of New Jersey, New York would pay twice as much of any tax. Obviously this is unworkable with an income tax or a wealth tax.

theprestige 4th October 2019 02:58 PM

What does a company being able to dominate its market sector have to do with anything?

Bob001 4th October 2019 03:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brainster (Post 12844593)
Is a wealth tax constitutional? Keep in mind that they had to pass a constitutional amendment (16th) to get the income tax. The text of that amendment is plain:

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

Incomes, not wealth. The apportionment bit is important, because the constitution requires "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken." So for example, if New York has, say twice the population of New Jersey, New York would pay twice as much of any tax. Obviously this is unworkable with an income tax or a wealth tax.

There's been extensive debate on both sides. I suspect getting it through Congress and then affirmed by the courts would be unlikely. But it's a way for Warren and Sanders to talk about the concentration of wealth in concrete ways: "Here's what we could raise for everyone's education and health care if we collected just two percent from the richest people in America." Some of the same goals could be achieved by higher income, capital gains and inheritance taxes, and maybe by a new VAT.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/u...ealth-tax.html

Bob001 4th October 2019 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 12844597)
What does a company being able to dominate its market sector have to do with anything?

You don't what a monopoly is do you, or why it's generally considered not good?

theprestige 4th October 2019 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 12844606)
You don't what a monopoly is do you, or why it's generally considered not good?

Dominating your market sector isn't the same thing as having a monopoly.

ETA: It's also kind of beside the point you're supposedly focusing on.

mgidm86 4th October 2019 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 12844604)
There's been extensive debate on both sides. I suspect getting it through Congress and then affirmed by the courts would be unlikely. But it's a way for Warren and Sanders to talk about the concentration of wealth in concrete ways: "Here's what we could raise for everyone's education and health care if we collected just two percent from the richest people in America." Some of the same goals could be achieved by higher income, capital gains and inheritance taxes, and maybe by a new VAT.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/u...ealth-tax.html


Ya, more money is always the answer, and sure, it will all come from the rich, I totally believe that :rolleyes:.

Dream on. California has some of the highest taxes and we are first in the nation for poverty and homelessness. Just because you give more money away doesn't mean any problems will be solved. I'm living that failed dream.

We have I don't know how many gigantic companies and CEOs that call this state their home (Silicon Valley), yet we can't afford to clean up the streets, fix our roads (even with the new BS tax for it), provide clean water or provide our kids with a decent education (almost last in the nation).

People claim Cali can secede and the rest of the nation would be worse off for it. Think again. California may claim to be rich and in the black (it isn't) but the people are not.

The liberals own this state. Mayors, legislators, almost all Democrats. The rich thrive here, the many many poor do not, just like a lot of other places. There is nothing special going on here, but we pay a hell of a lot more for it.

So....no I'm not ready to give even more of my money to politicians so they can blow it all on themselves and their pals. Been there done that. It sucks.

This fantasy about ending billionaires - who is going to do that? I live in liberal California and there is no shortage of billionaires here!

Doesn't seem to be what they really want. But go ahead and blow more smoke up my ass while I'm paying $3.99 a gallon for gasoline today.

dudalb 4th October 2019 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 12844606)
You don't what a monopoly is do you, or why it's generally considered not good?

Is Amazon a Monopoly? Last time I looked there were plenty of other on line stores.
To me "restraint of trade" is the big issue. If a company has market dominance because it offers a better product or better service, so be it,just so long as it does not use crappy and illegal tactics to maintain that dominance.

theprestige 4th October 2019 04:13 PM

Isn't there also a surprising disparity between the amount the US spends on primary education, and the rank of US primary education globally?

theprestige 4th October 2019 04:19 PM

I mean, I'm open to the idea that we need to raise more funds for the social safety net, but it has to be a more detailed idea than, "we need money, you have money, we're taking your money".

The Atheist 4th October 2019 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 12844432)
Most Americans are struggling to make ends meet?

I'd like to know his definitions of "most", "struggling", and "make ends meet". Probably "Americans", too.

Such an easy question, with an equally easy answer: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfri.../#5f40f3e84f10

I'd say having no financial backstop, especially in a country where sick leave isn't mandatory, constitutes "struggling to make ends meet", while 78% would meet anyone's definition of "most".

theprestige 4th October 2019 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Atheist (Post 12844691)
Such an easy question, with an equally easy answer: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfri.../#5f40f3e84f10

I'd say having no financial backstop, especially in a country where sick leave isn't mandatory, constitutes "struggling to make ends meet", while 78% would meet anyone's definition of "most".

As usual, Forbes.com is unreadable for me.

Would you mind linking to whatever study Forbes is citing?

casebro 4th October 2019 06:26 PM

As I recall, taking all that money frm all those billionaires would give a one time payment of umm $270 to each of us poor folks.

But yeah, I'd rather a wealth/property tax over the income tax. Because those rich bastards take in sooo much money but some how none of it is "taxable income".

cullennz 4th October 2019 06:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by casebro (Post 12844762)
As I recall, taking all that money frm all those billionaires would give a one time payment of umm $270 to each of us poor folks.

But yeah, I'd rather a wealth/property tax over the income tax. Because those rich bastards take in sooo much money but some how none of it is "taxable income".

Your problem is that all a wealth tax does is make rich people move to other places to avoid it, which means they sack thousands of people, making more poor people struggling.

Bob001 4th October 2019 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mgidm86 (Post 12844663)
Ya, more money is always the answer, and sure, it will all come from the rich, I totally believe that :rolleyes:.

Dream on. California has some of the highest taxes and we are first in the nation for poverty and homelessness. Just because you give more money away doesn't mean any problems will be solved. I'm living that failed dream.
.....

If the elected legislators are abusing the people's money, that's a different issue. But as this non-Californian understands it, two big problems in California are prop 13, which means that similar properties are taxed at wildly disparate rates depending on how long the owners have lived there; and tough restrictions on new construction, which means that Google engineers earning six-figure salaries are living in parked RVs because they can't afford multi-million-dollar cottages. Another is that at least some of the wealthiest Californians -- that is, people who mostly live in California -- are able to use complex strategies to avoid high California taxes.

But all of that is really separate from the moral, political, legal and ethical question of how much wealth -- and the related power -- any one person should be able to accumulate and hold in a society that aspires to democracy and equality.

Bob001 4th October 2019 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 12844725)
As usual, Forbes.com is unreadable for me.

Would you mind linking to whatever study Forbes is citing?


The highlights:
Quote:

- 78 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet
- Nearly one in 10 workers making $100,000+ live paycheck to paycheck
- More than 1 in 4 workers do not set aside any savings each month
- Nearly 3 in 4 workers say they are in debt today - more than half think they will always be
- More than half of minimum wage workers say they have to work more than one job to make ends meet
http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-...Builder-Survey

BobTheCoward 4th October 2019 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 12844579)
The question is whether it's good for the society for one person or family to hold vast wealth and all the political power associated with it. Would Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have played more golf if their income and capital gains taxes had been higher? Should the Kochs be able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars opposing environmental protections? Should any one company like Google, Facebook or Amazon be able to dominate their market sectors? None of this is the result of some inevitable process of nature.

One option is to remove all regulation and taxes and see what is the inevitable process of nature. If different social engineering produces different outcomes, you can end the social engineering.

This is The End 4th October 2019 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BStrong (Post 12844486)
Are you familiar with the term "Tax Refugee?"


"People would not abide by the law." is never a valid reason to not have any particular law.

IOW, if they were able to avoid the law by being a "tax refugee" then the law was not very strict.

That would be an issue with enforcement, not with whether or not the law was a good idea.


Durrr.... rember when we had that "don't rape" law and yet womens still got raped all the time??

This is The End 4th October 2019 09:02 PM

Citizens that have more money can afford to pay more in taxes.

It's as simple as that.

cullennz 4th October 2019 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by This is The End (Post 12844866)
Citizens that have more money can afford to pay more in taxes.

It's as simple as that.

It isn't really as simple as that.

Well it is if you don't actually work it out.

Bob001 4th October 2019 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cullennz (Post 12844869)
It isn't really as simple as that.

Well it is if you don't actually work it out.

Actually it really is. The amount of money someone needs to pay for basic needs is finite. You can debate what's a "need," but at some point, after they are living as comfortably and securely as anybody can, the rich are not spending money on any "needs." They are investing their money to make more money. They can afford to pay more of that in taxes.


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