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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Presidential Election News & Discussion Center 2012 - Inauguration Day! (Page 7)

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Author Topic: Presidential Election News & Discussion Center 2012 - Inauguration Day!
Chris Bridges
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The "unique positions" is that he's behind in the polls.
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Samprimary
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I guess it's indicative of how well his campaign has been going that he wants people to be talking about his tax returns again
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Blayne Bradley
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Republicans Screw the Troops

Saw this on the Daily Show, dug up a link.

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aspectre
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meh... The "47% who pay no income taxes" still pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than Romney.

1) Tithing ain't charitable even though it's tax deductable as a "charitable contribution",
nor is supporting Republican political action groups which operate under the guise of being "educational".
2) For a Mormon bishop especially, the 10% tithe is on income before deductions. ie Romney's $4million in "charitable contributions" could easily reflect a real income of $40million before tax loopholes allow him to claim a mere $13million as taxable income.
3) "Paying a half million more than I had to" in taxes while running for President is campaign financing, not "an overpayment to make sure I'm paying my fair share".

[ September 22, 2012, 10:16 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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scholarette
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Aspectre, tithing can be paid on gross or net. The exact details of what you pay is between you and God. Some bishops may say it should be pre tax but they are wrong.
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Lyrhawn
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Romney packs Univision forum with supporters

I've seen video of Obama's appearance at the Univision town hall, and to call his reception there frosty would an understatement. It was an intense hour that ground Obama down with relentlessly aggressive questions. I liked it.

Romney on the other hand forced Univision to allow him to bus in his own supporters from around the state, who proceeded to break the rules and cheer and boo throughout the forum, constantly interrupting the hosts, who were a little pissy about that. Romney apparently threw a hissy fit back stage over a couple of issues with the forum, after threatening to cancel if he couldn't have his own supporters there.

I think it was a pretty smart move on his part, since the contrast looks bad for Obama. The media is talking more about Romney's bad tan than they are the story behind the town hall.

But I also think this is yet more evidence that he'll do poorly at the debates next month. He simply refuses to tackle a world outside the bubble his handlers have created for him.

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Thesifer
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Romney said earlier his 47% comments can't be used against him, because they were said by him, and not his campaign.
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Lyrhawn
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What's his delusional rationale behind that statement?
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Thesifer
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Scott Pelley: Well-- as you know, a lot of people were concerned about the video of the fundraiser in which you talked about the 47 percent of the American people who don't pay taxes. Peggy Noonan, a very well-known conservative columnist, said that it was an example of this campaign being incompetent. And I wonder if any of that criticism gets through to you and whether you're concerned about it at all, whether--

Mitt Romney: Well, that's not--

Scott Pelley: --the concerns of Republicans--

Mitt Romney: That's not...that's not the campaign. That was me, right? I-- that's not a campaign.

Scott Pelley: You are the campaign--

Mitt Romney: I've got a very effective campaign. It's doing a very good job. But not everything I say is elegant. And I want to make it very clear, I want to help 100 percent of the American people.

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Bella Bee
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I think, according that that transcript, he was just defending the people who are working to get him elected. He was asked if the campaign was incompetent, and he said 'That was me, right?'

In other words, he said the campaign was fine, he's the incompetent one. Which is fair. No way did any of his advisers suggest he made that 47% comment.

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Rakeesh
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I do wonder, often, what sort of candidate Romney would be if we weren't in a period when to get his party's nomination, he wouldn't had to have gotten quite so snug and comfortable (or try to) with a party that is substantially more strident, more angry, more conservative, and more disdainful of compromise than has been the case, as my understanding goes, in American politics for quite some time. A guest on either Talk of the Nation or tell me more said it well, I think. Paraphrasing, he pointed out that Romney has a sincerity problem because he's not speaking his native language.

I think there's a case to be made for a claim that Romney's stances can be...fluid...when necessary, but I do wonder how he would look if the water hadn't had to flow quite so far uphill.

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Lyrhawn
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I don't have much sympathy.

If you want to be president so much that you're ready to compromise your core principles, maybe you shouldn't be president.

[ September 23, 2012, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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Rakeesh
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Oh, I didn't mean I was particularly sympathetic. Just curious, with the suspicion that if politics hadn't necessitated the choice between Massachusetts Romney and GOP primary Romney, I would like him better, but wouldn't have an idea just how far right he would go.
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Lyrhawn
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If he was Massachusetts Romney, he'd probably be ahead in the polls. This is the perfect election for a moderate Republican to knock off a sitting conservative Democrat.
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Godric 2.0
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
If he was Massachusetts Romney, he'd probably be ahead in the polls. This is the perfect election for a moderate Republican to knock off a sitting conservative Democrat.

Great point. Indeed, for a long time now (since the beginning of the Bush [2] years) I've suspected my general shift to Democrat support has been mainly due to the Republican "machine" and not so much the specific Republican candidates or greater empathy toward the Democrats.

McCain was a great example. Way back in the 2000 election, I was deciding what to register as. I'd characterize myself as a moderate, leaning Democratic. But, in the primaries that year, I thought McCain was a great choice. Had he been the RNC candidate that year, I very easily could see myself have registered Republican and voted for him.

By the time he got the nomination in 2008, the Republican party line had become so distasteful to me I wound up not just voting for Obama, but even volunteered for his campaign.

No such volunteering this year - I'm not happy with how he hasn't made any headway (or seems to even have any interest in) repealing much of the Patriot Act or how he hasn't held Wall Street accountable in any real way for the crash.

But there's no way I foresee voting for the Republican nominee - no matter who they are - while they pander to a base that becomes more and more hardline and foreign to the Republican party I grew up in.

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Lyrhawn
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I remain on pins and needles to see where the GOP goes if Romney loses. Do they go into the wilderness and come out more moderate? Or do they double down on the hard right?

I think that depends on two things: 1. How successful Romney is in placing blame if he loses. If the party decides he lost because he wasn't conservative enough, the chances of them nominating a moderate are slim. If he convinces them he went all in in their ideology, with Ryan and his ridiculous campaign posturing, maybe they'll try for a real moderate next time.

2. How successful Obama is in a second term. If they stonewall him for four more years, I don't know what happens, but surely the country suffers. Clearly it will have failed as an electoral strategy, so they might try playing nice a little more so they can't get pegged as a do-nothing Congress. It's hard to say, but there are already rumblings that if Obama wins, the GOP will cave on taxes to save defense spending.

It's interesting, Dems came up with Obama and/or Clinton after Kerry lost. This is a similar election in many ways. If Romney loses, do they go for the GOP version of Obama?

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Thesifer
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quote:
Originally posted by Bella Bee:
I think, according that that transcript, he was just defending the people who are working to get him elected. He was asked if the campaign was incompetent, and he said 'That was me, right?'

In other words, he said the campaign was fine, he's the incompetent one. Which is fair. No way did any of his advisers suggest he made that 47% comment.

I see what he's doing. Although it falls flat. Regardless of how hard his campaign works, if they have a candidate that sucks, their campaign sucks. It's not necessarily due to their incompetence obviously, but HE is the campaign. The way he said it made it sound like he wasn't.

The fact is you're electing the Candidate, even if that means they bring some of their campaign people on with them as advisers, the face of the Country and their party as well, will be Romney.

Also campaign staffers who stay on the ship as it's Captain is trying to sink it don't get that much sympathy from me.

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Samprimary
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Romney's 60 minutes stint is just brutal to watch.

Is “fair to a guy who makes $50k” to pay “a higher rate than you?” Romney: “yeah.. It’s the right way to encourage economic growth.”

http://freakoutnation.com/2012/09/23/making-50000-a-year-mitt-romney-thinks-you-ought-pay-higher-tax-rate-than-him/

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Darth_Mauve
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Doh, I get it. If I make more money, why I'll pay less in taxes. This means I'll have more money. Why didn't I think of that. Well forget about screwing off in the unemployment line. I'm going to work extra hard now so I can pay less in taxes.

Listen Governor Romney and the rest of the motivationalists out there. We haven't all become rich because we lack the motivation to do it. We are motivated every time we have to say no to our kids, every time we eat filler food instead of tasty food, every time we see a commercial that says "Buy" and we have to say "No". We don't lack the motivation.

We lack the luck, the connections, the deviousness, or the opportunities.

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kmbboots
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If we just stop indulging the poor, they will stop being poor. This is how poverty was eradicated before there were government programs to coddle the poor. There were no poor people in the US before FDR.
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Jon Boy
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One is reminded of A Christmas Carol:
quote:
“At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “ I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I'm very glad to hear it.”

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

“You wish to be anonymous?”

“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.”

“Many can't go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that.”

“But you might know it,” observed the gentleman.

“It's not my business,” Scrooge returned. “It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!”


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kmbboots
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Tiny Tim was a slacker.
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BlackBlade
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To be fair Scrooge went too far in the other direction, and started paying for Tiny Tim's visits to the emergency room. Which of course was not free in those primitive days.
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Jon Boy
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I don't really understand how that's too far in the other direction.
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Godric 2.0
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OK. This is just goofy fun.

Romney Doesn’t Understand Why You Can’t Roll Down Windows On A Plane:

quote:
On Monday, Mitt Romney offered a remedy to the problem that caused his wife’s airplane to land prematurely last week: Allow passengers to roll down the airplane windows.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
I don't really understand how that's too far in the other direction.

He's dolling out money to the poor!
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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Romney's 60 minutes stint is just brutal to watch.

Is “fair to a guy who makes $50k” to pay “a higher rate than you?” Romney: “yeah.. It’s the right way to encourage economic growth.”

http://freakoutnation.com/2012/09/23/making-50000-a-year-mitt-romney-thinks-you-ought-pay-higher-tax-rate-than-him/

Well that's a nice snip and paste that just happens to omit a good chunk of the conversation and what he actually said. If you listen to the actual interview, he explains that the reason the capital gains rate is lower than regular income is because the investment itself has already been paid for with money taxed at full boat, often as high as 35%.

I happen to agree with not being taxed on investments as if they were my regular paycheck. I certainly wouldn't be interested in investing in stocks, mutuals, etc. if it were taxed like regular income. Unless the government was also willing to cover losses for me, then we might be able to strike a deal of some sort.

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MattP
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quote:
I certainly wouldn't be interested in investing in stocks, mutuals, etc. if it were taxed like regular income.
Really? What would you do with the money otherwise? I don't see how having gains subject to taxes would disuade a person from seeking gains. It's like saying if my salary is going to be taxed I just won't work.

quote:
Unless the government was also willing to cover losses for me, then we might be able to strike a deal of some sort.
You can deduct losses, so I guess we're all set.
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ScottF
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Now you're getting it. There is definitely a point at which I won't put my money to work through certain vehicles if the tax on gains is punitive when factored with the inherent risk. I'd probably invest in real estate. Until they decide to get rid of the 1031 exchange, in which case I'd probably stuff any extra duckets I had in my mattress.

You can deduct losses against gains, which is great provided you have gains to deduct against.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
I certainly wouldn't be interested in investing in stocks, mutuals, etc. if it were taxed like regular income.
Really? What would you do with the money otherwise? I don't see how having gains subject to taxes would disuade a person from seeking gains. It's like saying if my salary is going to be taxed I just won't work.

It happens.

Raising taxes on capital gains or interest income has a similar effect to simply outright reducing your capital gains or reducing interest rates. Investing is encouraged when your invested money gains enough value via investing so that the present value of your investment outweighs the value that you have now. (e.g. "the happiness created by me spending my greater amount of money in twenty years outweighs the happiness that I'll get by spending it now") However, if returns are reduced that becomes less likely.

Now, in a way, that's actually government policy. For example, the lowering of interest rates is *supposed* to encourage spending rather than saving. But it cannot be ignored that this kind of policy discourages people from saving and becoming self-sufficient during their own retirements.

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ScottF
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Yup. The question "why would taking more of your [investment] gains disuade you from seeking gains?" is a bit bizarre.
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TomDavidson
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I'd seriously like to see someone at Romney's level of wealth try to spend his wealth now, instead of investing it.
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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I'd seriously like to see someone at Romney's level of wealth try to spend his wealth now, instead of investing it.

Definitely not likely, but the ramifications of taxing the snot out of capital gains would affect a heck of lot more small fry than whales.
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TomDavidson
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Why do you think so? If you look at capital gains, the "whales" are rather overwhelmingly represented.
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Mucus
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Overwhelmingly represented in in terms of absolute amount of wealth affected maybe. In terms of utility of their wealth lost, it could very well be the middle class. Losing 5% of your gains when you've scratched together $20,000 is a lot more damaging then losing 5% of your gains if you own tens of millions.
Additionally, under American tax rules, Romney could probably weasel out of being affected by the change while the middle class has no such option.

You really need a sustained and targeted campaign if the goal is to reduce the wealth of "whales." A one-off patch like simply changing capital gains taxes would simply create lots of collateral damage without affecting your real target.

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ScottF
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I have no idea how the data on capital gains is distributed across those who invest in general. I'm speaking only experientially.

I'm in an exponentially (to put it mildly) different category than Romney, but this is a matter that affects my decisions, and those of many I know, greatly.

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Rakeesh
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If it's still the best way out there to make a buck, I suspect the process of seeking gains will still be pursued, though of course any efforts to cut into that will have an impact.

What I'm past sick of is proponents-particularly the very wealthy, or the politicians they fund-behaving as though opposition to more of a tax is some sort of public good stance. That may very well be one of the reasons such people oppose such efforts, but let's not forget that the other reason is a great big helping of self interest. Which is fine, actually, I've no beef with people attempting to lower their own tax rate through the legislative process. But don't try and sell me that you're my buddy and it's best this way for everyone because trickle down etc. etc. That's an argumen that has to actually be made, not simply presented as credible on its own. Not when doing so is in the presenter's very real, very obvious self-interest.

And especially don't try and sell me that stuff when you're also then going on to sneer at your opponent's supporters who will continue to support him just because it's in their financial interest to do so. Try not to treat me like an idiot.

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Mucus
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I think it would be exceedingly difficult to for me to be affected by American capital gains tax rates.
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Thesifer
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Everyone does know that before the Bush tax cuts "Capital Gains" were taxed like Income, and people still invested heavily, right? Did I miss something where someone said this and just went another direction in the conversation?

There's no reason that we should cap the tax on capital gains at 10 and 15%.

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Lyrhawn
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Why can't we just omit people who make less than say $100,000 a year, and make the rate progressive after that?

There's no reason the axe has to fall so heavily on the middle class.

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Rakeesh
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Because redistribution, that's why!
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Godric 2.0
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Why can't we just omit people who make less than say $100,000 a year, and make the rate progressive after that?

I had a similar thought when everyone got up in arms about the raising taxes on those who make $250K/year thing a while ago. How about instead of making it black and white, for or against, some compromise gets made where it goes into affect for $500K or $1MM/year?

Nope. Had to be good vs. evil. Battle to the death.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Why can't we just omit people who make less than say $100,000 a year, and make the rate progressive after that?

That would be fine.
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Parkour
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quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
Everyone does know that before the Bush tax cuts "Capital Gains" were taxed like Income, and people still invested heavily, right? Did I miss something where someone said this and just went another direction in the conversation?

There's no reason that we should cap the tax on capital gains at 10 and 15%.

Warren Buffet talked about how he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary and he points out how unfair this is, and it's easy, because it's RIDICULOUSLY UNFAIR. And people who want to keep things taxed like this have to weasel around this issue.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
Everyone does know that before the Bush tax cuts "Capital Gains" were taxed like Income, and people still invested heavily, right? Did I miss something where someone said this and just went another direction in the conversation?

There's no reason that we should cap the tax on capital gains at 10 and 15%.

According to this chart, that was a brief historical anomaly that was rectified not by the Bush tax cuts, but Clinton-era tax policy. Read the link on why Klein <edit>actually it's Dylan Matthews posting on Klein's blog</edit> (and virtually every economist on the planet) thinks capital gains taxes should remain below those on earned income. Also, here's Matt Yglesias making the same point (and linking to Klein!)

Now, moral arguments about 'fairness' are totally valid (although I think many people putting forward a moral argument for increased tax rates on the wealthy are being inconsistent on whether enforcing particular groups' moral positions is the appropriate purview of the federal government). But from what I can tell the scientific consensus is that raising capital gains tax rates on any group is bad policy.

<edit>In the interest of accuracy, here is something actually written by Ezra Klein arguing that capital gains tax rates could be increased without the bad things economists worry about happening. His point is primarily that while in theory tax rates on investment should be kept low, in practice investors (and the economy) don't seem to react to changes in the tax rates the way theory would predict, so the theory is probably deficient. He does twist a couple of facts to make his point (Reagan only raised capital gains taxes after he dropped them rather dramatically), and elides others (like drops in capital gains rates have generally in recent history resulted in increased government revenue) and IMO significantly overinterprets the lack of correlation in the chart of tax rates and GDP growth, but he does provide essentially a behavioralist defense of increased tax rates: people don't invest rationally, so planning our tax code as if they do won't get the result you think it should.</edit>

[ September 25, 2012, 11:57 AM: Message edited by: SenojRetep ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But from what I can tell the scientific consensus is that raising capital gains tax rates on any group is bad policy.
*blink* I think that's definitely overstating the "consensus." In fact, I think the actual consensus is that capital gains rates need to be considerably higher.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
Well that's a nice snip and paste that just happens to omit a good chunk of the conversation and what he actually said.

Ok, let's look at the whole of what he said, according to the article:

quote:
“Now you made, on your investments, personally, about $20 million last year,” Pelley said. “And you paid 14 percent in federal taxes. That’s the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?”

“It is a low rate,” Romney said. “And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent.”

When pressed on whether or not he believes that rate is fair, Romney said he thought it was the “right way to encourage economic growth — to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.”

So, basically the same thing. He's totally for a person who makes $50k a year paying a much higher effective tax rate than him, because the system as it is (plus his mathematically impossible tax plan, no doubt) is the right way to encourage economic growth.

There is a reason why this is so concerning. It is a level beyond supply side. We can call it 'supply side II' and look at what wealth divides would be under the Romney ideal.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
But from what I can tell the scientific consensus is that raising capital gains tax rates on any group is bad policy.
*blink* I think that's definitely overstating the "consensus." In fact, I think the actual consensus is that capital gains rates need to be considerably higher.
Population consensus may be (probably is) that capital gains rates should increase. But the scientific consensus (in this case, economists) seems to be that increasing capital gains rates is a bad idea.
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ScottF
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The consensus among those who have no capital gains is to raise CG taxes, of that I'm certain. I think the question is whether doing so would have a net negative impact on investment in general and hurt everyone. I'm not qualified to answer that one. I know it would change what I do with my money, and my gut says I'm not an outlier.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
But the scientific consensus (in this case, economists) seems to be that increasing capital gains rates is a bad idea.
No, I don't think so. The consensus among monetarists seems to line up that way, but monetarists are stupid and wrong. [Smile] I think we might also be confusing financiers with economists, as we saw with the whole "600+ economists for Romney" bit -- where around half the "economists" listed were actually professors of finance. I have no doubt that a consensus among people whose lives revolve around ensuring a high debt-to-asset ratio in the general population is that capital gains taxes are bad. *grin*

------

quote:
I know it would change what I do with my money...
Really? What would you change, Scott, if you continued to deduct losses and paid an extra 10% on your gains? Where would you put your money?

More to the point: if capital gains were your primary source of income, would they cease to be your primary source of income if they were taxed more highly?

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