Krugman on taxes

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moda0306
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by moda0306 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:20 am

Xan wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:24 pm
Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:56 pm
tax policy toward the rich should have nothing to do with the interests of the rich, per se, but should only be concerned with how incentive effects change the behavior of the rich, and how this affects the rest of the population.
. . .
Or to put it a bit more succinctly, when taxing the rich, all we should care about is how much revenue we raise. The optimal tax rate on people with very high incomes is the rate that raises the maximum possible revenue.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/opin ... dance.html
Pretty much what the founders intended.
I think the bigger issue than quibbling about specific tax rates rates is the philosophy that people's incomes are just there for government to help themselves to the "optimal" amount. "All we should care about is how much revenue we raise." hmm.
Well, to be fair, he's not talking about all people. Just very, very high income folks.

That said, I think you raise an excellent moral point. However, it has to compete with all other considerations, such as this supposed "debt crisis" we may or may not be in, and the fact that our military (a massive driver of our deficit (past and present)) is mostly used to defend the economic interests of the capital class. I'd prefer something more akin to a wealth-based tax than an income-based one, but there's a pretty considerable amount of overlap between very high wealth and very high income.
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by sophie » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:30 am

Xan wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:24 pm
Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:56 pm
tax policy toward the rich should have nothing to do with the interests of the rich, per se, but should only be concerned with how incentive effects change the behavior of the rich, and how this affects the rest of the population.
. . .
Or to put it a bit more succinctly, when taxing the rich, all we should care about is how much revenue we raise. The optimal tax rate on people with very high incomes is the rate that raises the maximum possible revenue.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/opin ... dance.html
Pretty much what the founders intended.
I think the bigger issue than quibbling about specific tax rates rates is the philosophy that people's incomes are just there for government to help themselves to the "optimal" amount. "All we should care about is how much revenue we raise." hmm.
Exactly. What Krugman seems to be saying is that anyone who he defines as "rich" or that Moda would describe as "wealthy" is sufficiently morally repugnant that "the rest of us" (whoever that is) should have no qualms about relieving them of as much of their money as possible. The only question is how you can maximize the take using the current tax system. The question of why the government is more entitled to spend it (and on what) than the person earning it is of course not addressed.

This is divisive and frankly ugly stuff in my opinion. I agree with progressive taxation in the name of fairness, because flat taxes like FICA genuinely are harder on people in the lower brackets as more of their income goes toward daily necessities. I also agree that there are some things that we need government to do, and that must be paid for. That's a very innocent point of view compared to the philosophy espoused in this article.
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by moda0306 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:50 am

sophie wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:30 am
Xan wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:24 pm
Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:56 pm


Pretty much what the founders intended.
I think the bigger issue than quibbling about specific tax rates rates is the philosophy that people's incomes are just there for government to help themselves to the "optimal" amount. "All we should care about is how much revenue we raise." hmm.
Exactly. What Krugman seems to be saying is that anyone who he defines as "rich" or that Moda would describe as "wealthy" is sufficiently morally repugnant that "the rest of us" (whoever that is) should have no qualms about relieving them of as much of their money as possible. The only question is how you can maximize the take using the current tax system. The question of why the government is more entitled to spend it (and on what) than the person earning it is of course not addressed.

This is divisive and frankly ugly stuff in my opinion. I agree with progressive taxation in the name of fairness, because flat taxes like FICA genuinely are harder on people in the lower brackets as more of their income goes toward daily necessities. I also agree that there are some things that we need government to do, and that must be paid for. That's a very innocent point of view compared to the philosophy espoused in this article.
I'm not saying that at all. I thought I made that clear that the moral argument is another one altogether and more complex and I don't have strong opinions on it. And even if I did I wouldn't put it as "morally repugnant." I don't think an inheritor of billions is "morally repugnant," but I do believe they should pay a pretty fat tax bill if we're going to have a government protecting their wealth among other things.

It's important to find that level more-so to clarify our arguments. If the optimal level for revenue is 70%, and some sniveling sociopath of a "public representative" tries to make the claim that lowering taxes from 35% to 30% will actually INCREASE revenue, then we know they're full of it and can roll the guillotine out in front of their office in DC.

I kid, but I hope you can see how this helps clarify the discussion then as a moral one, not one of cause/effect. I find dishonesty of supposed "public servants" to the benefit of folks they actually serve to be more "ugly" than high taxes on wealth, but that's a subjective value position.
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by l82start » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:55 am

moda0306 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:50 am
I don't think an inheritor of billions is "morally repugnant," but I do believe they should pay a pretty fat tax bill if we're going to have a government protecting their wealth among other things.
yes if government is going to protect their wealth by taking it, they should take as much as they possibly can????
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by technovelist » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:08 am

l82start wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:55 am
moda0306 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:50 am
I don't think an inheritor of billions is "morally repugnant," but I do believe they should pay a pretty fat tax bill if we're going to have a government protecting their wealth among other things.
yes if government is going to protect their wealth by taking it, they should take as much as they possibly can????
Exactly! Now you understand the mind of the "progressive" (communist).
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by technovelist » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:12 am

sophie wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:30 am
Xan wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:24 pm
Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:56 pm


Pretty much what the founders intended.
I think the bigger issue than quibbling about specific tax rates rates is the philosophy that people's incomes are just there for government to help themselves to the "optimal" amount. "All we should care about is how much revenue we raise." hmm.
Exactly. What Krugman seems to be saying is that anyone who he defines as "rich" or that Moda would describe as "wealthy" is sufficiently morally repugnant that "the rest of us" (whoever that is) should have no qualms about relieving them of as much of their money as possible. The only question is how you can maximize the take using the current tax system. The question of why the government is more entitled to spend it (and on what) than the person earning it is of course not addressed.

This is divisive and frankly ugly stuff in my opinion. I agree with progressive taxation in the name of fairness, because flat taxes like FICA genuinely are harder on people in the lower brackets as more of their income goes toward daily necessities. I also agree that there are some things that we need government to do, and that must be paid for. That's a very innocent point of view compared to the philosophy espoused in this article.
Yes, it is innocent compared to the extreme "progressive" position.
But it still means some people using force to get money from people to spend on "government necessities".
The only truly innocent position is that there actually is NOTHING that we "need government to do", so therefore government is an unnecessary evil.
This was also HB's position, if that matters.
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by InsuranceGuy » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:26 am

sophie wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:30 am
Exactly. What Krugman seems to be saying is that anyone who he defines as "rich" or that Moda would describe as "wealthy" is sufficiently morally repugnant that "the rest of us" (whoever that is) should have no qualms about relieving them of as much of their money as possible. The only question is how you can maximize the take using the current tax system. The question of why the government is more entitled to spend it (and on what) than the person earning it is of course not addressed.

This is divisive and frankly ugly stuff in my opinion. I agree with progressive taxation in the name of fairness, because flat taxes like FICA genuinely are harder on people in the lower brackets as more of their income goes toward daily necessities. I also agree that there are some things that we need government to do, and that must be paid for. That's a very innocent point of view compared to the philosophy espoused in this article.
Great post covering many of my thoughts. I also agree with progressive taxation for fairness, but it’s feels neither prudent nor moral to take 50% of what one earns, even on the marginal dollar. Why does punishing success seem like such a great idea in the first place?

Aside from the financial motives, what is the moral justification for stripping 50% or more of say a doctor's income, considering the personal and financial sacrifice he/she made (college, med school, residency, etc.) just for the chance of becoming a licensed doctor? Does a doctor or other high net worth household get additional police protection? Does a doctor get special military protection? Is the doctor consuming more government resources than say, a plumber? I'd answer a solid no on most of these.

Lastly, I think we need to start realizing that there is no government "debt crisis", only a govenments spending crisis. As for the economic implications of budget deficits and national debt, governments can only spend insofar as they borrow or tax from the private sector. Period. As such, and in a very real sense, all government spending is deficit spending. The deficits and national debt are simply a distraction, political props if you will.
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by moda0306 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:36 am

l82start wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:55 am
moda0306 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:50 am
I don't think an inheritor of billions is "morally repugnant," but I do believe they should pay a pretty fat tax bill if we're going to have a government protecting their wealth among other things.
yes if government is going to protect their wealth by taking it, they should take as much as they possibly can????
I'm assuming you meant "yet?" If so, I'm not making a statement on how much the government should take, necessarily. At the very least enough to pay for the vast majority of the military, IMO. Keep in mind I'd suggest cutting the size of our military by 2/3, but that's a separate discussion for now.
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by moda0306 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:41 am

technovelist wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:08 am
l82start wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:55 am
moda0306 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:50 am
I don't think an inheritor of billions is "morally repugnant," but I do believe they should pay a pretty fat tax bill if we're going to have a government protecting their wealth among other things.
yes if government is going to protect their wealth by taking it, they should take as much as they possibly can????
Exactly! Now you understand the mind of the "progressive" (communist).
Easy on the melodrama tech... you've been defending detaining (and killing if they resist) people from south of the border because they might become an indirect threat to your wealth by accepting welfare benefits as they exercise their natural right to travel and work where they choose.

All government actions look terrible when you analyze them from an anarchist perspective. High taxes on the wealthy are way down the list compared to many others that conservatives and even many self-described "libertarians" defend every day.
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by moda0306 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:53 am

InsuranceGuy wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:26 am
sophie wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:30 am
Exactly. What Krugman seems to be saying is that anyone who he defines as "rich" or that Moda would describe as "wealthy" is sufficiently morally repugnant that "the rest of us" (whoever that is) should have no qualms about relieving them of as much of their money as possible. The only question is how you can maximize the take using the current tax system. The question of why the government is more entitled to spend it (and on what) than the person earning it is of course not addressed.

This is divisive and frankly ugly stuff in my opinion. I agree with progressive taxation in the name of fairness, because flat taxes like FICA genuinely are harder on people in the lower brackets as more of their income goes toward daily necessities. I also agree that there are some things that we need government to do, and that must be paid for. That's a very innocent point of view compared to the philosophy espoused in this article.
Great post covering many of my thoughts. I also agree with progressive taxation for fairness, but it’s feels neither prudent nor moral to take 50% of what one earns, even on the marginal dollar. Why does punishing success seem like such a great idea in the first place?

Aside from the financial motives, what is the moral justification for stripping 50% or more of say a doctor's income, considering the personal and financial sacrifice he/she made (college, med school, residency, etc.) just for the chance of becoming a licensed doctor? Does a doctor or other high net worth household get additional police protection? Does a doctor get special military protection? Is the doctor consuming more government resources than say, a plumber? I'd answer a solid no on most of these.

Lastly, I think we need to start realizing that there is no government "debt crisis", only a govenments spending crisis. As for the economic implications of budget deficits and national debt, governments can only spend insofar as they borrow or tax from the private sector. Period. As such, and in a very real sense, all government spending is deficit spending. The deficits and national debt are simply a distraction, political props if you will.
I can't speak for others, but I'm of the firm belief that wage income should be taxed at the same-or-lower than income from capital, AND that past-tuition should be tax-deductible against wage income as "basis," so in my preferred universe, doctors would pay less in tax, and dividend/interest recipients would pay more.

That said, one could say that doctors have "cartelized" their incomes via the AMA and other organizations and that their income is artificially high, but that's just for the sake of argument. I'm not going to die on that hill.

I'd say that the distinction between a deficit and a tax is pretty significant. One involves a mostly arms-length transaction with the private sector resulting in an amount owed back in the future. The other involves direct confiscation. That said the fiscal/inflation hawks of the last decade (or longer) have proven themselves utterly incapable of understanding reality and thus predicting future outcomes, so I understand your position that the debt is a bit of a contrivance (as it's a private-sector asset, and to extinguish one you must extinguish the other). But I'm not going to hijack this into a Monetary Realism/MMT vs Austrian thread like years-past.
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by pugchief » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:30 am

moda0306 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:41 am
accepting welfare benefits as they exercise their natural right to travel and work where they choose.
I'm sorry, when did it become a 'natural right' to travel and work in a country you are not a citizen without the explicit permission of said country? Can you list the countries where this is even legal, let alone a 'natural right'?

And if they are here to work, why would they need to accept welfare benefits?
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Re: Krugman on taxes

Post by pugchief » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:33 am

moda0306 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:53 am
That said, one could say that doctors have "cartelized" their incomes via the AMA and other organizations and that their income is artificially high, but that's just for the sake of argument. I'm not going to die on that hill.
You will be happy to know that future generations will not have to deal with the cartel as it currently exists. Diversity is now more important than competency.

https://www.prageru.com/videos/what-doe ... do-science
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