All these memes about less taxes, cutting taxes, no new taxes:

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Quoting deathjavu in the Wisconsin thread:

God I am tired of this "no new taxes" meme. All it does it result in cut funding to counties, which have to raise property taxes as a result. And then the average person's taxes increase, even relative to inflation.

Same shit happened in Minnesota, and when someone called Pawlenty out on it he said "I didn't make them raise their property taxes!" No, you just cut their funding so they could either raise flatter, less progressive taxes for you, or cut things like schools and face massive outcry. So really, it was just a sneaky way of raising middle class taxes and/or cutting popular programs without taking any blame! Oh and also pretty much every fee went up ridiculously. Car tabs, parking tickets, etc.

I'll say it once: You cannot balance the budget with cuts alone, not without crippling the economy. Anyone who claims they are going to do this is a liar and a scam artist, or an idiot.

You might have to say it again. Or I can quote you. Because I think this is a substantial enough topic that it warrants its own thread.

That said, I'm not sure if I can really add much to deathjavu's comment. He/She pretty much hit the nail on the head.

I just want to add this: If you have a budget problem, AND you're complaining that businesses aren't hiring because of uncertainty, but say you don't want to raise taxes to fill budget shortfalls...then why are you even dicking with the tax system in the first place? You won't raise taxes, but you ought not to lower them either, you dolts! You talk about living within one's means, and balancing budgets?

Last time I checked, "getting a job that pays less" is not a good idea when you already have too little money. It might work when times are nice and you want to improve efficiency, but...your timing is just horrible.

edited 22nd Feb '11 7:58:24 PM by GlennMagusHarvey

2 Shrimpus22nd Feb 2011 08:00:42 PM from Brooklyn, NY, US
It's a fundamental hole in human psychology. We aren't really all that good at parsing bad for us good for the group if the group is bigger than 200.

Edit: Plus to really kill the no new taxes meme you need to first kill the trickle down meme.

edited 22nd Feb '11 8:01:25 PM by Shrimpus

I don't think trickle down is the true form of that meme. I think its true form is a very distorted and perverted version of the American Dream meme.
Well most of those are uniquely American problems because even "socialist" Europe put in stringent austerity measures. Obama's new budget includes 100s of billions in spending cuts alongside 100s of billions in tax hikes. The most likely outcome is that the Republicans will block all the tax hikes and the Democrats will block all the spending cuts, so you'll just get a ballooning deficit anyway.

I think we really need to shoot down supply side economics. Giving tax cuts to the rich or large corporations does basically nothing in job growth. The idea that "high corporate taxes" causes businesses to leave is extremely flawed.

  • America is in a continent far separated from Asia and Europe. They're not going to move an HQ over a few percent in taxes.
  • European Free Trade Zone allows corporations to move wherever the heck they want but nobody in (for instance) high-tax Sweden ever bothered to move out

Just hike taxes. American budget is going to break at some point if you don't. And like that thread about streamlining the US military budget, you can immediately cut 250 billion out of military spending very quickly (like within a year) and pull out of all wars. I'd hike taxes massively on corporations and the rich (considering the bottom 50% of Americans have less wealth than the top 400 richest Americans). Targeted spending on education, healthcare and infrastructure will mean economic growth in the future. Giving free money or subsidies to corporations gets you absolutely nothing but handing the money of the poor/middle class to the rich for no reason.
5 deathjavu22nd Feb 2011 08:10:30 PM from The internet, obviously
This foreboding is fa...
He/she pretty much hit the nail on the head

<- Is flattered.

<- Is a he.

Also, as far as raising taxes on corporations: All you need to do is make them pay the percentage that they should currently be paying.

Seriously, iirc they pay something like 0.4% of their...profits, was it? And they're supposed to be paying something like 20-30%. So they're paying about 50 times less than they are supposed to.

Damn, now I'm gonna have to dig up that source...

edited 22nd Feb '11 8:16:30 PM by deathjavu

Look, you can't make me speak in a logical, coherent, intelligent bananna.
6 Cojuanco23rd Feb 2011 07:08:32 AM from Irvine, CA, US
Because in America, people have a historic fear of the taxman stemming from revolutionary times. Only the Greeks are worse. That and people are generally shortsighted when it comes to finding ways to amass as much money as possible.
7 Linhasxoc23rd Feb 2011 07:28:50 AM , Relationship Status: With my statistically significant other
Not to mention that American conservatives like to pretend that the Laffer curve applies at American levels of taxation.
Moar and Moar and Moar
Well, Obama has proposed to change that, to get rid of all the deductions and loopholes and lower the actual corporate tax rate to make it more of an even playing field.

In any case, yes, the problem is the slavish devotion to supply side economics. Not that I'm saying that there's never a point where supply-side principles might be helpful, but that generally speaking Western economies are so far away from that point that it's laughable.

But generally, especially in heavy service economies, everything stems from demand.

Actually, the solution to the deficits is to get back to full employment for a while in order to get wages and thus the tax base up, but whatever.
Democracy is the process in which we determine the government that we deserve
9 DeMarquis23rd Feb 2011 08:09:05 AM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
There is a deeper issue involved. Many people, esp. in rural and suburban areas, don't feel that they have a lot of control over how taxes are spent, and don't feel that they are getting good value for the taxes they pay. Since neither party is promising to do much about either of those problems, the end result is a desire to pay less. If American government at all levels were more accountable and transparent in how it spends money, this desire to cut taxes would dissipate somewhat.

edited 23rd Feb '11 8:09:34 AM by DeMarquis

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
10 storyyeller23rd Feb 2011 08:21:55 AM from Appleloosa , Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
More like giant cherries
Well Obama has been doing a lot to make the government more transparent. Not that it seems to be having any effect as far as popularity goes.
11 Pykrete23rd Feb 2011 08:40:48 AM from Viridian Forest
As many issues as I have with Obama, there's not exactly any nice way to make shit transparent.
12 rjung23rd Feb 2011 11:20:37 AM from 4th and Main. , Relationship Status: I like big bots and I can not lie
Playing tricks on EVIL!
Actually, the solution to the deficits is to get back to full employment for a while in order to get wages and thus the tax base up, but whatever.
Raise taxes on the richest 2%; when the accountants tell the billionaires they'll save more money by keeping it within their dividends instead of cashing out (and taking the tax hit), the corporations will suddenly be flush with cash and increase hiring again. Heck, just raising the marginal tax rate 3% (back to a Clinton-era 39%) would eliminate all the deficit problems everyone is whining about.

Many people, esp. in rural and suburban areas, don't feel that they have a lot of control over how taxes are spent, and don't feel that they are getting good value for the taxes they pay.
I feel the same way about my taxes going to tobacco subsidies and fiscally-irresponsible red states, but you don't hear me whining about it.

Gunpla is amazing!
I can't stand tax cuts.

Do people know Taxes are what give us cops, teachers, fire fighters, road workers, etc?

You know, things you need to run a city?

You can't just keep cutting, unless we plan to go 100% capitalism.

"Oh you say someone is invading your home? Well first input your credit card number..."
14 DeMarquis23rd Feb 2011 11:33:32 AM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
@Story: Can you give some specifics? So far I'm rather disappointed with him on this score.
I do not compromise—I synthesize.
Old joke:

Man: I have to pay my taxes this month. Woman: Well, a good citizen pays his taxes with a smile. Man: Yeah, I tried that, but they insisted on money.

edited 23rd Feb '11 11:38:32 AM by Captainbrass

"Well, it's a lifestyle."
The actual "transparency" problem is not a transparency problem, actually. It is a problem of a large, disorganized pool of information meeting a finite pool of worry.

For example, let me take a moment to just use my intuition to think about what running a police department and its accompanying services requires, in terms of costs:
  • salaries of uniformed personnel
  • salaries of other personnel, such as secretaries and receptionists (there's at least one person you'll need to do this)
  • maintenance of police vehicles (which are pretty high-performance vehicles, and they take quite a beating sometimes)
  • presumably, health insurance for policemen
  • operating costs for police HQ
    • electricity
    • heating
    • water
    • building maintenance costs, when stuff breaks—do you really want to do without HVAC in some places?
  • one-time costs (until they break at least): furniture (e.g. desks, chairs) and fixtures (e.g. computers—laptops, desktop tower, screens, AV equipment, input devices (i.e. keyboards and mice), printers; wires, power strips, and other cables; televisions; kitchen amenities—sink, fridge, microwave, etc.; telephones)
  • office equipment: pencils, pens, paper, ink and toner, paper clips, staples, binders, etc.
  • possible cost: subscriptions, such as newspapers and cable TV
  • web designer to manage department's website (might be part-time)
  • database/programming people to make and/or manage department's databases on info regarding...pretty much anything, from maps to criminal records
  • GPS devices (one-time), and GPS services (recurring), for the department's members and vehicles
  • at least one janitor
  • weapons—firearms, ammunition, clubs, etc.
  • uniforms—shirts, pants, hats, badges
  • special costs incurred by detectives working on a case
...any more?

So, okay, now that you've seen this list, ask yourself this question: If I gave you an exact breakdown, down to the penny, of every expense incurred by this police department, would you read it?

No, of course you wouldn't. How much would you care, say, in fiscal year 2010, how much this department spent on paper clips?

Now, the government can do a better job of compiling this information. Right now, I don't know of a site that would magically give me my state's entire budget at my fingertips. (I live in Connecticut. Please let me know if I can.)

But the government can do the best job of compiling data into an easily-searchable, easily readable database, yet still, how many people do you think would bother to read this stuff?

The answer is: very few. And a good number of them are going to be the small-government trolls who are looking for a bone to pick, which is where we get those anecdotes about $800 (or was it just $400) hammers. (And last time I checked, the plural of "anecdote" is not "statistics" much as human nature would like to believe.)

edited 23rd Feb '11 12:41:49 PM by GlennMagusHarvey

17 nightwyrm_zero23rd Feb 2011 12:51:16 PM from Toronto , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
^ And if you succeed in making up this database, ppl would just start complaining that you're wasting taxpayer money making up a database that only a few people uses.

edited 23rd Feb '11 12:52:06 PM by nightwyrm_zero

They see me troll'n
{Don't do that. Just Don't. —Madrugada}

In a country where the top 10% own nearly 80% of the wealth, the rich do not need taxcuts. The American people have been duped and robbed by this republican 'trickle down economics' scam and nobody wants to admit they've been played a fool. Either that or the lie has been repeated to them so many times it's literally become a matter of faith rather then fact.

The "socialist" lie about democrats has really been providing the great distraction republicans have needed to 'redistribute the wealth'...towards the rich.

edited 24th Feb '11 1:16:24 PM by Madrugada

19 deathjavu23rd Feb 2011 01:06:28 PM from The internet, obviously
This foreboding is fa...
Re Transparency:

I do remember Obama talking about some specific measures regarding available information and the budget. Maybe it was just rhetoric/has gotten buried under other issues.

There's certainly a very high amount of information available to the public, if you're willing to search for it. But in my experience, the vast majority of people wouldn't care even if it was easy to get.

As far as "I don't wanna pay taxes, they are teh sux!"...

These people are idiots, for a lot of reasons. Ask them if they support schools, they say yes. Ask them if they support roads, they say yes. Bridges, yes; schools, yes; police, yes; firefighters, yes; military, mostly yes; social security, mostly yes...

What the hell do they think they're paying taxes for? And if they don't like specific, individual things that get spent on, that doesn't mean you should dislike taxes as a whole.

It's a weird combination of shoot the messenger and plain shortsightedness.

Also: I like this, but it makes me sad that 6 republicans who cosponsored it voted against it. I like the idea of congress having to vote on the recommendations as presented, no sneaking in anything for either side.

Oh well.

Edit: Assuming the Wikipedia page on this commission is accurate, I'm liking it more and more. They've pissed off/satisfied people on both sides, which means they must be doing something right. Also some of their ideas are the kinds of cuts I might enact. Not perfect, but I agree with the majority of their first proposal.

Of course, we have to wait and see what they eventually put forward.

edited 23rd Feb '11 1:17:17 PM by deathjavu

Look, you can't make me speak in a logical, coherent, intelligent bananna.
Well, it's a classic case of wanting to pay nothing to get everything.
21 deathjavu23rd Feb 2011 01:19:41 PM from The internet, obviously
This foreboding is fa...
Hence the word "idiots".
Look, you can't make me speak in a logical, coherent, intelligent bananna.
bitchy queen
You know what? I'm about to say something supposedly un-American: I want taxes to increase a lot. Especially for the rich. The government doesn't tax you because they're meanies who hate the working class. The more you give, the more you get back. For instance, I never understood why people complain about nationalized health care because you're going to be paying for shitloads of medical bills anyway.

If I may be frank, I think the mentality of "I don't want to pay taxes because it might pay for something that doesn't involve me" is extremely selfish.
"Without a fairy, you're not even a real man!" ~ Mido from Ocarina of Time

23 Cojuanco23rd Feb 2011 04:30:02 PM from Irvine, CA, US
America, some will argue, was built on selfishness.
One of my concerns is that, by allowing the current system to continue, where the super-rich get more and more wealth, they've become above the law. Nobody should be above the law.
It's a bit disingenuous to bring up police, fire, roads, etc when asking people if they really don't want taxes. Those things could all be paid for with a tax of about 4%. I'm not sure how many people here work, but the government—all levels of it—takes a heck of a lot more than 4%. Once you consider federal income taxes, state income taxes, city taxes, trickle down effects from taxes on corporations (yes, you pay those too), sales taxes, gas taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, etc etc on and on and on, you are easily talking >50% of your income going to the government even at my income level.

So yes, less taxes, cut taxes, no new taxes. The US government, at the federal level alone, runs a budget of around 3.5 trillion. That's 3,500,000,000,000 dollars. That's an unimaginable (literally; try to produce a mental image of 3,500,000,000,000 dollars) amount of money, and it's high time someone got around to asking why it must consume so much of the country's productive energies.

It is true that Americans generally want expensive government programs but balk at paying for them. This is partly a result of political rhetoric that tells Americans that greatness is just around the corner and we can have it all. Someone really ought to tell the truth: America is declining, the country is broke, the government is broke, we've sold our descendants down the river to keep the good times going. The deficit is around 13.5 trillion. That's 13,500,000,000,000 dollars. Even if spending were cut to zero and incomes kept the same, it would take around 5.5 years to pay that off. This year, the Republicans in Congress have set a lofty goal of...100 billion in cuts. And the Democrats are fighting them even on that!

Hard truth: the deficit ain't gonna get paid off. We can't even cut tiny programs without a huge exhausting political battle. Soaking the rich will only go so far. There's nowhere to go but down.

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