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Old January 1st, 2018, 12:32 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Belgarion View Post
I have...in Australia before the peoples assets were sold off for short term gain by shortsighted governments. As a result our power and water prices have skyrocketed, infrastructure is neglected and telecommunications is still hit and miss for a large number of people. It was not perfect before but privatisation in Australia has failed.
Hm. When I was growing up in Texas, the telephone company n Houston was a legal monopoly - Ma Bell. Getting a phone installed in your house was usually not a problem, but you had to do a bit of groveling to get one and you had to wait for the phone company to decide when they wanted to come by. Remember Lily Tomlin’s skit: “We’re the telephone company. We don’t care because we don’t have to.”

Rates were high, long distance was especially high, and the choice of telephones was abysmal. When this monopoly was finally broken and other companies were allowed t compete, guess wha happened? Service improved dramatically; rates went down dramatically, and choice of telephones went up dramatically. Of course today, cell phones have made hard-wired phones basically useless and problematical.

It is a definitely not a given that state ownership of anything is better than competing private companies.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 01:22 PM   #92

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It is a definitely not a given that state ownership of anything is better than competing private companies.
Nobody said it was "given" but if it was competently run and had appropriate oversight then the returns will always be higher than private companies because there are a lot less overheads. Executive remunerations are a lot lower for one. You have already given an example in Texas where this has been demonstrated.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 01:25 PM   #93
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Governments went for privatisation because politicians were bribed by those who benefited. Australia was the same. Privatisation does not improve efficiency. We have three decades of data to prove it.
It is true that privatization is not the answer to every problem. I cited the telephone company monopoly in the absence of competition as an example of monopoly enterprises -whether state run or state approved - as an example of when it competition did work and work well.. On the other hand, San Antonio has some of the lowest water, gas, electricity and refuse collection rates in the entire state. Some years ago, private companies Nimes tried to have our municipal utilities “privatized”. I thought this was insane and the rest of the city agreed with my take on it, fortunately. We have twocity-owned companies: City Public Service for gas, electricity and waste disposal, and the San Antonio Water System. Both utilities remand a proportion of their revenues to the city’s general fund. San Antonio uses solar energy, wind energy, gas-powered generation, oil-powered generation, and even coal in addition to being part owner of the South Texas nuclear plant with Houston.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 02:01 PM   #94
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Nobody said it was "given" but if it was competently run and had appropriate oversight then the returns will always be higher than private companies because there are a lot less overheads. Executive remunerations are a lot lower for one. You have already given an example in Texas where this has been demonstrated.
Except for executive salaries which are usually quite high, overhead is about the same whether or not the business is privately or publicly owned. Governmental jobs (civil service) still have to pay for healthcare, vacation time, et. Just like private businesses. Senior staff, technical or otherwise, have to be recruited from the same pool of people. Civil Service health benefits generally tend to be more generous than those in the private sector, meaning healthcare paid for by the government is generally better. Imagine pensions are about the same unless the private company pays into 401K plans in which case it could do well or could do very badly depending on how the moneys are invested.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 02:38 PM   #95

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So a public company distributes the wealth it generates more fairly amongst its workers compared to private ones.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 07:01 AM   #96

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. . .
And of course the basics - simplifying the tax code to eliminate loopholes which allow those who can afford a team of tax attorneys to pay 50% or less of their fair share.
Although I'm a tax attorney (or at least my practice is involved with federal income tax heavily), as a citizen, I'm all in favor of eliminating "loopholes" (which were put into the law on purpose to encourage people to do something or other) and designing a tax system whose sole goal is to raise the greatest amount of money for the government.

So, what do you consider the fair share of a rich person in terms of percent of income?

Last edited by David Vagamundo; January 2nd, 2018 at 07:04 AM.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 09:20 AM   #97

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So, what do you consider the fair share of a rich person in terms of percent of income?
There are three main types of income;

Earned, someone works and gets paid for their time/labor.

Rent, someone owns an asset and earns a portion of the revenue that asset generates via dividends or other methods.

Appreciation, someone owns an assets and gains income when they divest that asset at a higher value than when they purchased it.


For earned income 40% in the highest bracket seems fair- the government should not take half of income off the top just as a matter of principle but for people earning +140k a year the government provides proportionally more services on average to guarantee the continuation and safety of that wealth as a person earning 20k a year. That actually isn't too far off from what currently happens- 408k and 470k depending on single or jointly filed are taxed at 39.6% though I'd prefer tax brackets were more graduated because it seems extra punishing if you barely move into the next higher tax bracket. Also the fact that income taxes are part of the Constitution means they are likely here to stay and while there are some issues with progressive income taxes it seems to introduce the least market distortions though I think treating the various kinds of income vastly differently is a major problem. Some preference can be given to incentivize savings and investment but the current structure doesn't just incentivize those it practically enshrines those activities as sancrosanct and gives people who can structure their income in such a way to earn mostly from those type sof income huge advantages that multiply over time creating inequality which threatens the social compact.

Rent and Appreciation are much more complicated because they aren't straightforward with some forms of property providing both forms of income and some types of rent being obnoxiously open to manipulation while appreciation can stretch over years and variations of value on paper as a justification for tax breaks litter the tax statutes.

It is tempting to say just make tax brackets for companies with graduated percentages up to a top rate since larger companies tend to become more profitable with scale and smaller companies can just stay smaller to retain a lower tax rate but that isn't terribly different than the current system which many business people claim to hate as it seems to punish revenue growth (though a formula that rewarded ratio of employees paid at or above median wage could be interesting as well).

More than likely the most efficient tax system is simply revenue based for businesses though some business are still punished more than others in this model it introduces the 'least' amount of market distortions which along with raising revenue should be the primary goal of a tax system. The main problem is over time more and more exemptions via various methods are introduced and that larger businesses are dealing with so many different tax statutes- even small businesses have a bewildering array of taxes to deal with. Since property, payroll, income, sales, revenue, depreciation, etc all interact to set the final bottom line rate.

Last edited by Ichon; January 2nd, 2018 at 09:23 AM.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 10:08 AM   #98

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Originally Posted by David Vagamundo View Post
Although I'm a tax attorney (or at least my practice is involved with federal income tax heavily), as a citizen, I'm all in favor of eliminating "loopholes" (which were put into the law on purpose to encourage people to do something or other) and designing a tax system whose sole goal is to raise the greatest amount of money for the government.

So, what do you consider the fair share of a rich person in terms of percent of income?
Well the first thing I would do would be to tax all income equally. Earned, capital gains, gifts, selling of assets, etc.

The rates would be something like:

0-Poverty Line pay no tax. (My theory is that in the long run its better for the taxpayer and also better for the economy if those at the lower end of the economic ladder have the maximum amount of income after paying bills so that they can generate a savings.

After the poverty line, I would start taxes at something like 10% and have it move up 5% per %10,000 of income, maxing out at 45% until you get to 500k a year at which point everything after that would be taxed at 70%.

30k - 10%
40k - 15%
50k - 20%
60k - 25%
70k - 30%
80k - 35%
90k - 40%
100k - 45%

500k - 70%

Of course I would use this money very differently, either to help fund a Universal Basic Income - if there was the political and popular will for it and other expenses could be cut to make room for it, or to help fund universal healthcare.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 11:53 AM   #99

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Originally Posted by Pacific_Victory View Post
Well the first thing I would do would be to tax all income equally. Earned, capital gains, gifts, selling of assets, etc.

The rates would be something like:

0-Poverty Line pay no tax. (My theory is that in the long run its better for the taxpayer and also better for the economy if those at the lower end of the economic ladder have the maximum amount of income after paying bills so that they can generate a savings.

After the poverty line, I would start taxes at something like 10% and have it move up 5% per %10,000 of income, maxing out at 45% until you get to 500k a year at which point everything after that would be taxed at 70%.

30k - 10%
40k - 15%
50k - 20%
60k - 25%
70k - 30%
80k - 35%
90k - 40%
100k - 45%

500k - 70%

Of course I would use this money very differently, either to help fund a Universal Basic Income - if there was the political and popular will for it and other expenses could be cut to make room for it, or to help fund universal healthcare.
From what I understand, many of those beyond the poverty line pay little to no federal taxes already:
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/model...ro-or-negative
https://nypost.com/2017/04/18/almost...al-income-tax/
https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/t...6-billion-back

Many low income households do get some form of assistance or subsidy, be it the Earned Income Tax, food stamps or Medicaid. There are many who earn no income, so they don't pay either. Other taxes may be onerous, but tell that to your state legislator or local taxing authority. In truth, for many - including those of us who work - we have more of a problem with our spending than our taxes.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 01:36 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by Ichon View Post

Rent, someone owns an asset and earns a portion of the revenue that asset generates via dividends or other methods.

.
The problem with rent is that , for most people, ownership is not a given

In most cases you'd take a loan, buy the asset and use the rent to (hopefully) pay the loan back over a fairly long period (anywhere from 7 to 20 + year) all the while carrying all kind of risk (what if the asset price goes down ? what if no one wants to rent it ? etc...) and having to do all kind of work (repairs, accounting etc...)

So I'd be careful with rent
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