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The Fair Tax?

Heard a guy on Coast last night pushing the fair tax. I'm 100% against it. Why?

Because the problem in this world isn't the distribution of the money but the length of the food chain. If a person only pay a tax on new purchases exactly how will this shorten the food chain? So zillions of poor people get what amounts to more welfare. Big deal. If they pay a 36% sales tax on every cent of it how will this shorten the food chain? The poor and the working poor spend most every cent they can get their hands on and that is why they are poor. I suppose state lottery tickets will be exempt from the tax?

The stinking rich, on the other hand, don't know how to spend even 20% of their net increase on new consumer items. They buy companies and hard assets thus more power over the poor and the working poor.

Under the fair tax would a used car to be more valuable than a used car? This should drive down the cost of a rental car. And a used house more valuable than a new house? Just asking. Then there are the gold bugs. Will used gold be more valuable than new production gold bars?


Look on the bottom of the box

Went into the kitchen department of a big box store with the wife and looked on the bottom of the products from OLD American companies. Two were made in the US, Anchor and Corelle. The manufacture of these products are highly automated and requires little labor.

Two were from Vietnam. All the rest were made in China.

Say the Republicans got their way and all business taxes were eliminated. Which manufacturing jobs paying over $15/hour might return to the US?Over $10?

How likely is it that a person earning $10 or $15/hour could pay for food, shelter, and housing AND pay for his medical service plan and save for his retirement if the Republicans get their way?

How likely is it that a person graduating from college this year will find a job that pays over $15/hour? Considering college loans and 4 years of lost wages from going to school full time, will he ever break even?


Most Americans are above average

People who are above average (think that they) are smarter and or harder working. The smartest and hardest working of all are the Libertarians. The bottom line measure of all things Americans is money. "The business of America is business," Calvin Coolidge. It would be interesting to see a study of Libertarian's personal income.


Someone please explain how the working class has a chance . . .

to improve their financial condition without strong labor union. Yes, a very small percentage will fall into something that jumps them to the top but the average person isn't going to talk himself into a raise on his own.

I've been thinking about this for years. I can't think of any system in which the top 10% will NOT accumulate 90% of the assets unless there is a union demanding that the workers get most of the benefits of increased production efficiency.


BP, "Libertarian" company

BP took a legal chance to save lots of money and lost. Now they will legally weasel out of most of the liability for the mess and stick the American workers/tax payers for the loss. Ayn Rand would be proud.


Problem is power, not money

Before money was invented, the king knew he was king and the slave knew he was a slave. All money does is to give a numerical value to the levels on the food pyramid.

Potlatch

The Pacific Northwest Indian People didn't have access to metal until they were invaded by white people. Because of the climate (rain) it was difficult to preserve and store food and goods that they could manufacture. There was an old saying, "When the tide went out diner was served." In other words, fresh food was easy to obtain and life was relatively easy. Under the potlatch economy, one gained stature by giving stuff away. The potlatch was an intertribal feast. The tribe who gave away the most stuff "won."

But the Indian People had the same sort of social pyramid as did the white people. The Chief knew he was chief and the slave knew he was a slave. This, I think, is why people with billions in invested assets don't retire and enjoy life. Their enjoyment comes from having life and death power over the people on the bottom of the food pyramid.

The family with 20 billion has power over the family with only 10 billion. The "old money" families must hate Bill Gates, who claims his children will not grow up to be billionaires.


labor unions

Libertarians and Republicans tell me that they don't need a labor union because they work harder, smarter, and faster than the others in their shop and the boss knows it. This only works until the Libertarian converts the rest of the shop to his philosophy. Then we have a race to the bottom.

How does this come about? Everyone trying to work faster than the next guy? The shop a contract to make so many units a month. which is being met without anyone working overtime. The boss goes to a variable piece rate based on the median production rate and the desired production. When the month's production is done the boss closes the shop until the next month - or lays off the slowest worker.


Complete the serfdom of the US in one easy step

To make a long story short, all our owners need to do is to give the corporations a tax credit for building "free" employee housing. The suggested rules are:

1. Housing built within a half mile of the place of employment.
2. 80% of the units would be less than 1200 square feet.
3. 20 years longevity AND 65 years old (or a disability) would qualify the employee to retire and stay in the unit as deferred compensation.

This would:

1. Pragmatically kill the unions.
2. Tie the employee to the company as serfs were tied to the land.
3. Permit wages to be cut as employee would have much lower living costs.
4. An on site medical facility would cut medical cost.
5. Employees would not need cars. High rise apartments could be built on company parking lots. Company transportation could be provided.
6. Company store (modern version) would provide store - cafe - pub - whatever.
7. Replace taxpayer built low income housing, reduce tax load.
8. There would no longer be a need to send jobs off shore. Manufacturing could return to the US.
9. Personal economic security would depend upon the big Corporations' continued success which would give them continued political power. Workers would continue to vote for their national and local tax collectors.

The housing could be run by some sort of company credit union structure which would provide long term stability and security. With company housing provided a person could live on SS and and some (tax) Deferred Comp. The manor lord would be replaced by the corporation.


Would like someone to please explain how a non-manufacturing economy

can maintain a large middle class where a blue collar/white collar hourly employee can have a 3000 sq ft house, a new car, a boat, a truck and camper . . . Small tax shelter countries like Switzerland are an obvious exception to the rule.


Disappointed with Rich Trumka, AFL-CIO's new president's choice of words, middle class?

see www.aflcio.org

"Because today the American middle class isn’t being squeezed: We are being crushed. The mirage of prosperity through borrowed money has dissolved—and now we’re left with the reality of a hollowed-out economy and a broken financial system."

He is right about the state of the economy but why does he think his membership is "middle class?" The letter he sent noted:

"John Sweeney has renewed our commitment to organizing, restored our voice in government and reminded us that organized labor isn’t just an institution; we are a movement."

My best guess is that most of the people in Sweeney's old union, the SEIU which pulled out of the AFL-CIO last year (2 years ago?) make less than $10/hour.

Ten bucks an hour is middle class? Our owners have castrated the labor movement by substituting the word, "middle" for "working." 100 years ago, we had rich people, working people (the working poor) and the poor people (the mostly non-working poor?). Now days we have rich people, middle class, and people on welfare.

No one wants to admit that they are "working class" and that is killing us. Half the people who came through Ellis Island "went into service." 100 years ago the middle class were doctors, lawyers, engineers, small business owners and most of them had live in servants. They were maybe 15% of the population with 80% being poor and working poor, the rest, stinking rich.

I propose that (in general) any family that needs two working adults to pay the bills is a working class family no matter what the politicians call us. These days I would classify a family "as middle class" one who paid all the bills with one person's salary and who could afford to send their kids to good private schools.

The husband and wife who work full time to pay the bills and call themselves "middle class" are fooling themselves because they are economically no better off than a working poor family was 100 years ago. They may be living easier but this is because of increased productivity, not because of economic status.


TASERs

I joined the Seattle Police Department in 1965. At 5-10 I was one of the smallest people in Academy Class 49. It was a new experience for me, being the short guy. We had a couple of females in the class but they were to become Police Women, a different civil service designation whose job description was to deal with children, females, and generally assist Police Officers when requested.

Police officers had minimum physical size requirements because we were expected to intimidate suspects and win fights. In the bad old days when the First Avenue beat had a dozen and a half bars and taverns, half "Indian" taverns, the old beat cops expected a least a couple of fights every night and, far as I know, won them all. Being "pre-grand jury" days and the statute of limitations has long run, I can say that beat cops were expected were expected to down two shots in every bar on every shift. Some old timers, I think I never saw sober. Rumor was that some sobered up after they retired, when they had to pay for their drinks. The point is that they won their fights, didn't have to shoot suspects, and TASERs had not been invented.

I was a terrible fighter, hated getting physical, and never lost a fight that I could recall, though over 30 years several suspects escaped. How come? Because I hardly ever got into a fight. I was big enough and ugly enough to look like a "real" cop . . . and Chinatown was a peaceful place one you got to know the people. Back in the bad old pre-grand jury days it was safe to walk downtown at midnight but now it is questionable at noon. What happened?

Four things happened: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the grand jury investigation, the invention of electronic camaras, and Watts. In the bad old days your sergeant would say, "You have a problem on your beat. You handle it and I'll handle the heat." Bet you that no sergeant has said THAT in 20 years. Some people only understand pain. Back then, you could drag someone into an alley and convince them in a non-lethal way to leave your district. Now days, touch any person for any reason and it could be on the news in full color.

Then there is "equal opportunity." A five foot, 100 pound lady cop could be a black belt karate champ but a 6 foot, 250 pound drunk will have to see for himself. And if she isn't a black belt champ? She gets creamed. Read your local newspaper. Note the gender of injured police officers.

And law suits. Our new national sport is suing your local police department. In the bad old days the police officer's goal was to go home at least as healthy as when he started the shift. We now add, "and don't get sued." The best way to NOT get sued is to NOT do anything, specifically, NOT get physical. Better to spend two hours writing a report that explains why fighting wasn't appropriate than to spend two minutes fighting. And one can't drink coffee while fighting. And now that the officer PAYS for his coffee . . .

So as long as the courts hold that TASERs are non-lethal and a situation looks like it is getting physical . . . . I have read that the Washington State Patrol now instructs its people to TASER before laying a hand on anyone.


singing and microphoning

Compare the recent replays of Roy Orbison and Pavarotti on public tv. Orbison has a nice voice and nice tunes but would be dead in the water without a microphone. He doesn't know how to sing. Pavarotti has a nice voice, nice tunes, and knows how to sing. Yes, I'm a music snob.


Is economics about allocating assets or social status?

Asking, I don't know. Boggles my mind that a person with $2 billion would waste an hour of time to acquire another billion.

Thought experiment: Say that free for the taking zero point energy was discovered and all labor was done by robots, and every sort of consumer good was free for the asking/taking. Thanks to free energy and robots, every part of the dry earth could be used for building residences.

1. How would shorelines and mountain tops be allocated?

2. How would Las Vegas, NV and Mt Athos evolve?

3. In other words, if money didn't matter, would not humans find a way to raise their own social status and to dump of people they thought beneath them?


Rich people pay most of the income tax?

This is a humbug because the payroll tax is a capped, flat 16% income tax that is paid on every dollar of income by the working class. Even people with an earned tax credit pay 8% because their employer's half is not returned and it comes out of their total compensation package. The payroll tax goes right into the treasury and is spent for current budget needs same as every other tax.

Social Security is a universal welfare system and there is no legal connection between SS and the tax. Why no connection? Because Congress could repeal the SS benefits.

Second, very rich people don't pay income tax. They have very little income except for dividends and interest payments. They pay 15% capital gains on the money they draw for personal expenses. When Bill Gates was CEO of MS he was regularly reported as being the worst paid CEO in western Washington. He didn't need to draw a salary.


The last half of the 20th century produced the best working conditions

and economic conditions for the working class since Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden, at least since writing was invented and history began. One can't blame the economic system for any person with normal (OK) health and an IQ over 90 for living in real poverty, for not having his own warm, dry, enclosed space with normal utilities that he can call "home," a rented room or whatever. One can't blame the economy for not having sufficient and proper food and clothing.

Further, the economic/political classification has changed, now including anyone in the bottom 20% of the economic food chain. But the nature of poverty has changed. Most poor people have every sort of consumer product that the rich people have, but of a lower quality. The big difference between that the the rich people don't stand in line, can afford servants, and don't worry about job security.

Half the people using food stamps are on the program for less than 2 years - mostly college kids. Yes, some people seem to have extra-ordinary runs of bad luck. (Hard cases make for bad legislation.) But the vast majority of the long term working poor and street people I have talked to - thousands of them - either have mental and socialization problems and/or can't plan ahead . . . can't defer gratification and save for the future.