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Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-02-2006, 10:12 PM   #1
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Is this fair or discrimination?

First I'd like to clarify that I believe all Americans should have health care.* *I was employed by a government agency 10+ years ago that provided employee and dependent coverage.
We were represented by a union and paid union dues based on income not marital status.*

When in new negotiations we were faced with cuts to medical benefits.* Our union presented their plan to the members and it was to increase copays and in general to keep the same status but dilute it.* As a single person I thought the employee should keep the benefit as is and to dilute/delete dependendent coverage or provide a cafeteria plan where everyone has the same dollars to buy what coverage they needed.* *A single plan was costing them almost one third of a dependent plan.* I think our union was trying to not rile the membership and forcing a stand on medical benefits.* I saw it as a management ploy (abetted by our union) to slowly take away benefits in a manner that would affect fewest members at a time.* I was ready to walk to keep the same benefit.

So to add insult to injury, we increased copays for everyone and then married people (domestic partners)* who had a working spouse with benefits were allowed to sell their coverage for $100-150 a month.* So the guy/girl sitting next to me was taking home extra cash doing the same job as me.* There were no other benefits that you were allowed to sell off for cash.

I was surprised at the number of people that did not see any aspect of unfairness.* What do you think?
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-03-2006, 01:02 AM   #2
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Yes, the insurance benefit that all employees get is generally "unfair" to single people and healthy people.

In fact, all insurance is unfair to people who never file claims.

And taxes are unfair to people who use fewer government services.

In general, life is unfair, but you gotta pick your fights.

BTW, I think Prop 13 is unfair too. And probably worth fighting against.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-03-2006, 08:42 AM   #3
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

I think the unfair part is being able to "sell" the partner coverage if the partner has other insurance.

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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-03-2006, 09:32 AM   #4
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
I think the unfair part is being able to "sell" the partner coverage if the partner has other insurance.

Maybe I'm getting confused here. I've always offered an opt-out $ incentive to employees who qualify (spouse with full coverage) and no else in the group ever thought it was unfair. Saved my biz some health expense money and reduced the amount of copay I needed to set overall. Just a small biz but I still pay over $80k per year on health coverage.

Last two people I hired were over 60 yrs old. Killed our demographic and only added to our rate increases. The irony is that they are healthiest two of the bunch! Now that's "actuarial" discrimination.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-03-2006, 09:45 AM   #5
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

i don't see anything unfair concerning opting into a risk insurance pool. all pay, some collect and those who don't collect directly simply paid for peace of mind and got to live a healthy life ta boot.

concerning taxes, it might be a little less fair but fair enough. school taxes here are the largest part of my property tax bill. i'm single with no kids to directly benefit from my taxes paid. but i'd rather not live in an uneducated society.

however, it is unfair that my insurance premiums might be more than 1/2 that of a married couple or even more unbalanced when they also have kids. it is extremely unfair when they get that benefit over me and i can't even insure my domestic partner (though i would never have worked at such a company) and it is most certainly outrageous that they'd be able to sell that unfair benefit.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-03-2006, 04:58 PM   #6
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
BTW, I think Prop 13 is unfair too. And probably worth fighting against.
I dont, but I suppose if and when you ever move to california you can have an opinion!

Nobody, especially older and lower income folks, should be forced to have to sell their house because a real estate bubble hit their area and they cant afford the taxes.

Properties turn over, the government gets their due. It just takes a little longer.

Other than that, yeah, life is unfair. At least as a single person you get to sleep in, eat what you want when you want, and be sloppy if you feel like it. The medical benefit thing is just a tax on that. Enjoy.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 12:00 AM   #7
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I dont, but I suppose if and when you ever move to california you can have an opinion!

Nobody, especially older and lower income folks, should be forced to have to sell their house because a real estate bubble hit their area and they cant afford the taxes.

Properties turn over, the government gets their due. It just takes a little longer.

Other than that, yeah, life is unfair. At least as a single person you get to sleep in, eat what you want when you want, and be sloppy if you feel like it. The medical benefit thing is just a tax on that. Enjoy.
Well, we can have an opinion even if we do not live in California... just that our opinion carrys no weight with the gvmt...

But I disagree with the Prop 13... it taxes the 'newer' people more than people that were there before... and things change all the time... tough if your house rises in value and your taxes go up.. just like if you income goes up and you have to pay more taxes.. .its life..

NOW, for someone who is 'old'... you can pass a law freezing their taxes when they turn 65 (Texas has this for most schools.. I think...).. but why should a 40 YO not have to pay their FAIR SHARE of taxes?? Just because they moved there first??
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 12:06 AM   #8
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Yes, the insurance benefit that all employees get is generally "unfair" to single people and healthy people.

In fact, all insurance is unfair to people who never file claims.

And taxes are unfair to people who use fewer government services.

In general, life is unfair, but you gotta pick your fights.

BTW, I think Prop 13 is unfair too. And probably worth fighting against.
I agree with all these statements...

And, there are many other things that are not fair.... my company has a child care facility.. I do not have any children... they have cafeterias with low cost food in a lot of location, but not here even though we have a few thousand people...

They make the people who earn more money pay more for thier insurance... so, a single person that makes less than me pays less than me... kind of like a tax on earnings...

I have not gotten much from the gvmt... except for the military that keeps me safe (THANKS ALL!!!).. but not much else that is not what everybody gets (roads, libraries (sp??)... but, they also spend my money on sports stadiums (we got THREE new ones in the last decade)...

So, life is unfair.. but I can not do anything about it... so I enjoy what I have..
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 11:11 AM   #9
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Nobody, especially older and lower income folks, should be forced to have to sell their house because a real estate bubble hit their area and they cant afford the taxes.
I thought many states had a provision that an elderly homeowner's property taxes could remain assessed yet uncollected until probate.

Geez, there's the ultimate loan arbitrage.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 07:39 PM   #10
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Nobody, especially older and lower income folks, should be forced to have to sell their house because a real estate bubble hit their area and they cant afford the taxes.
Would you rather have your house worth 200K or 600K? Most (if not all) people would go for 600K. They just don't like the side-effect of paying more taxes. Got to take the good with the bad.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 07:58 PM   #11
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Wow, amazing, I agree with most said here, but the prop 13 bashing is shocking me!* I didn't expect a bunch of LBYM to be out to raise taxes on retirees!*

Let's see:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
But I disagree with the Prop 13... it taxes the 'newer' people more than people that were there before... and things change all the time... tough if your house rises in value and your taxes go up.. just like if you income goes up and you have to pay more taxes.. .its life..
Nevermind that person didn't pay for the 20 years that the "older" person did, paying for the schools, parks, roads etc. that made that part of the world desirable, a better place to live, and consequently someplace you decided to move to!*

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmpi
Would you rather have your house worth 200K or 600K? Most (if not all) people would go for 600K. They just don't like the side-effect of paying more taxes. Got to take the good with the bad.
This isn't a stock certificate, we aren't talking short term capital gains on some options on e-trade, this is someone's home!* Are you telling me that someone who can't afford the taxes needs to leave their home town?* They can't tap that equity until they sell, and the house next door costs just as much!*

It's been beat to death on this board that the average turnover for a house is 7 years, so most houses are incurring pretty close to the tax burden that would relate to their value, this bubble is just slightly distorting things temporarily.* This law protects those who would just like to live their lives, let their kids grow up in one neighborhood and not be punished for it because some speculators drove up the price in their neighborhood (we already have to deal with them turning around and renting the house out to sh**heads who trash the front yard and turn it into an eyesore!).

Geeze, if your state hasn't gotten it's act together to protect it's older, more moderate income residents, stop drinking the haterade and start up a petition to change it!* Wow!

EDIT: totally sorry I participated in the hijacking of this thread. Yes, healthy single people subsidize sick, older, families with children. For ten years that was me until my daughter was born.

But there are many things in life that are unfair to the individual yet provide great benefit to society as a whole. The stability and assurance this and other risk-spreading mechanisms provide increased productivity and wealth to the country. We could take it to an extreme and say, "why do I have to pay for police? I'm a big strong guy and can defend myself! Why am I subsidizing that grandma down the street for her safety?"
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 08:04 PM   #12
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
I didn't expect a bunch of LBYM to be out to raise taxes on retirees!*
Sorry, I didn't realize you were already a retiree.*

Prop 13 simply shifts the tax burden from existing residents to new residents.* *It's the ultimate expression of "I was here first -- neener neener!"

I like how they do it here in WA.* *They cap the overall rate increase for each county to 1% (should have been CPI-linked, but whatever).* *So, no matter what your property values do, it doesn't change net tax revenue.* *Places that appreciate faster than others will take a bigger share of the burden, but that seems fair.* * Unlike Prop 13.*
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 08:05 PM   #13
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Well, our rates do increase every year...in theory if housing went flat it would eventually catch up.

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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 08:13 PM   #14
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Oh, and the rate is still 1.1% of purchase price, same as before prop 13, are you saying it shifts the burden to new home buyers because of the market distortion this tax law causes, driving up home prices artificially in California?* Why can't the same argument be used for new home buyers that was used against old home buyers on this thread "Don't like the taxes, don't move there!"??

At least these people get to make decisions with perfect information, they know their costs up front, where an existing homeowner is subject to a high level of uncertainty, at the mercy of the RE market fluctuations (and believe me, if markets crashed you'll be petitioning to get your tax rate lowered, because they won't do it on their own!). I think Prop 13 not only protects the old grandma with the widow's pension check that you want to throw out on the street* but also improves market efficiency!

EDIT: I did support the recent proposed modification of the law to exclude businesses, currently many shell corporations exist who's sole assets are a commercial property. The "corporation" is sold to the new buyer instead of the property and it avoids the reasses "trigger".

But I have a philisophical problem with property tax at all. I don't like that it makes us all virtual rentors to the gubment. Better to banish it alltogether and just raise the sales tax to make up the difference, IMHO.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 08:35 PM   #15
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Oh, and the rate is still 1.1% of purchase price, same as before prop 13, are you saying it shifts the burden to new home buyers because of the market distortion this tax law causes, driving up home prices artificially in California?* Why can't the same argument be used for new home buyers that was used against old home buyers on this thread "Don't like the taxes, don't move there!"??
Tax policy is either equitable or it is designed to shape behavior.* *Prop 13 is clearly not equitable.* *Property values always rise with at least the rate of inflation (over time), so why should earlier home buyers be shielded from appreciation?* *So, what are the behavioral side effects of such a policy?* *Prop 13 punishes people who move within the state and those who move into the state.* *As a policy, that makes a lot of sense if you want to limit growth and encourage neighborhoods to stagnate.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 08:50 PM   #16
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

No disagreement that it shapes behavior, much like the mortgage deduction. But wouldn't the 1% tax factored into a new buyers cost have a much smaller effect than the burden placed on an existing home owner who has lived there for ten years and seen his/her home value (on paper) triple? Now they are paying 3%+ of their purchase price and growing.

Limit growth and stagnating neighborhoods? In California? I think we'd need a much more distortive tax law than prop 13 cause that! Housing is turning over plenty around here!
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-04-2006, 08:57 PM   #17
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
No disagreement that it shapes behavior, much like the mortgage deduction.* But wouldn't the 1% tax factored into a new buyers cost have a much smaller effect than the burden placed on an existing home owner who has lived there for ten years and seen his/her home value (on paper) triple?* Now they are paying 3%+ of their purchase price and growing.
Why do you want to look at in terms of the original purchase price?* *Inflation causes the cost of government services to go up.* Why should existing home owners be shielded from those increases in costs?* *Why should the burden be solely on new owners, who also have to deal with the additional burden of higher home prices?

If the burden were distributed equitably, the net revenue would stay the same and you wouldn't see the kind of increases you're expecting.* *New home owners would have the same burden as existing home owners.

Quote:
Limit growth and stagnating neighborhoods?* In California?* * I think we'd need a much more distortive tax law than prop 13 cause that!* Housing is turning over plenty around here!
I may be wrong, but I think CA has net migration *out* of the state.* *That's not good for their economy in the long term.* *Still plenty of room there.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-05-2006, 12:13 AM   #18
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence

Nevermind that person didn't pay for the 20 years that the "older" person did, paying for the schools, parks, roads etc. that made that part of the world desirable, a better place to live, and consequently someplace you decided to move to!
The problem is that Prop 13 has nothing to do with old age pensioners or the infirm... it has to do with anybody that has lived there longer than anyone else...

If I had bought a house when I made $40K... and now make $1 mill... and my house has gone from $40K to $1mill... why should my taxes on my house stay at the low rate when my income tax has gone up...

If you want to protect the people you mention, then pass a law ONLY for them.. not for somebody that lives in a $600K house that can afford the taxes..

AND, the taxes support the infrastructure and to build more... there is nobody that is responsible for the place as it is today... you do not get a refund if you move out of the state... "Well, why not Mr. Governor I paid for it, now I do not need to use it... I want a refund"....

But, as all have said, the single people are the ones that get the shaft... we pay a higher income tax rate.. have a LOT fewer deductions etc etc... Why should I pay for you having children My taxes pay for schools, give you a deduction for the number of children, pays for their college... I am sure many more... so, it is not 'fair'.. but, it is life.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-05-2006, 02:23 AM   #19
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

I don't know what fair is. If you say that it's not fair for someone to have to pay for schools because they have no kids, then can't they also claim that it's not fair to have to pay for the military because they don't ever get to shoot any of those multi-billion dollar cruise missiles.

But as wab points out, tax policy affects behavior. I can't understand why California thinks it is wise to discourage growth and dynamic neighborhoods. If I had stayed in California since 1976 when I first moved there, I might see things differently.
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?
Old 08-05-2006, 08:05 AM   #20
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Re: Is this fair or discrimination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
I don't know what fair is. If you say that it's not fair for someone to have to pay for schools because they have no kids, then can't they also claim that it's not fair to have to pay for the military because they don't ever get to shoot any of those multi-billion dollar cruise missiles.

But as wab points out, tax policy affects behavior. I can't understand why California thinks it is wise to discourage growth and dynamic neighborhoods. If I had stayed in California since 1976 when I first moved there, I might see things differently.
Actually, I do not have any problem paying my school taxes... it is part of being a citizen IMO... I was just pointing out that I am paying for something that benefits someone with kids, not me...

And to me the army benefits us all.. even the anti-war people who get to say whatever they want because we are 'free' because we do have a good military... (please no discussion on the current war.. I am talking in general here)..

And yes, tax policy does affect behavior... but Prop 13 was voted in by the citizens, not be the govmt.. they wanted to influence how much they could spend.. hasn't slowed them down from what I read... just moved the burden to someone else...

As one of the tax partners used to say.... and I might have it a bit off since it was a long time ago... "Don't tax thee, don't tax me, tax the man behind the tree"...
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