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Steve Ballmer creates Government Sources and Uses database
Old 04-19-2017, 08:38 AM   #1
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Steve Ballmer creates Government Sources and Uses database

Article describing what he did here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/b...rove.html?_r=4

Summary: He hired $10mm worth of talented people to figure out, from government data, all the sources and uses of Federal, State and Local funds. Mr. Ballmer calls it “the equivalent of a 10-K for government,” referring to the kind of annual filing that companies make. Then he made the data public.

The actual website of the data:

USAFacts

Click on "the big picture" button and scroll around. Really cool data. Did you know there are 24,000,000 people that work in government paid jobs?
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:37 AM   #2
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Nice link, thanks!
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Originally Posted by REattempt View Post
Did you know there are 24,000,000 people that work in government paid jobs?
A breakdown of the employment is in the monthly BLS report. Most are state and local, and half of those are in education.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:06 AM   #3
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I saw Balmer interviewed on CBS about this. Great effort. Especially the 10-K.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:24 AM   #4
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Very interesting. This may be the first useful thing Ballmer has done (IMO)!

I kinda knew this, but this presents it clearly and you can dive into details, but I see that Corporate Income Tax collection is ~ 1/5th that of personal Income Tax collection.

I've long been a fan of eliminating ALL Corporate Income Tax, as it is just passed on to consumers anyhow. It becomes a flat tax, as all customers pay the same price for the product with its taxes at the cash register. So people in favor of progressive taxes should support elimination of Corp Income Tax as well. And we pay extra, since the Corps are hiring lawyers and accountants for both compliance (again, we pay for it in the price of the product), and for avoidance. We not only pay for those avoidance lawyers/accountants, but then we pay to make up the taxes they manage to avoid!

But since Corp tax is that small of a slice, I don't think it would be that disruptive to phase it out over 5-10 years and replace it from other sources to be revenue neutral.

Corp Income Tax seems to turn into a Left/Right issue, but I don't see it. Seems everyone should want to eliminate it, it's a shell game that hurts the poor the most (as it is a flat tax), and raises prices for everyone, and makes us less competitive world-wide (reducing demand for domestic jobs).

Wow, that was with my first few clicks - must be a gold mine of info in there. Cool!

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Old 04-19-2017, 10:48 AM   #5
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Elimination of a corporate income tax would cause many individuals to incorporate themselves and assets as much as possible. "I'm not an independent contractor, I'm an LLC!"
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:10 AM   #6
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Elimination of a corporate income tax would cause many individuals to incorporate themselves and assets as much as possible. "I'm not an independent contractor, I'm an LLC!"
Doesn't that have to pour over to the individual somehow? Else it is just retained in the corporation? I'm not sure how that works, but similar to dividends paid by the corp are taxed at the individual's rate?

We could make this a separate thread, maybe? Maybe not good to bog down the overall "lots of data here to see" with specifics.

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Old 04-19-2017, 11:14 AM   #7
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Elimination of a corporate income tax would cause many individuals to incorporate themselves and assets as much as possible. "I'm not an independent contractor, I'm an LLC!"
Well - then they draw a salary. The salary is taxed. It will be tough to use the "corporation" to pay for their personal expenses such as rent/mortgage and food.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:14 PM   #8
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Well - then they draw a salary. The salary is taxed. It will be tough to use the "corporation" to pay for their personal expenses such as rent/mortgage and food.
Simply rewrite the law to make it so. What's the deal with "corporate" income tax? Why shouldn't it apply to any money made by any business? Every business passes on it's tax burden to the customer in exactly the same way.

Of course the logic that says business don't pay taxes they just use the customer's money also means they don't make any profits either. Profits are just taxes by another name. Because that's how the law is written.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:30 PM   #9
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Simply rewrite the law to make it so. ...
I think audreyh1 was pointing out is that it already is so. Individuals must pull funds from the Corp, and then it is taxed at the personal rate. Or did you mean something else?

Quote:
What's the deal with "corporate" income tax?
The "deal" that I pointed out is it is an inefficient way to collect revenue. Compliance and avoidance costs add no value, but are passed onto the customer. If the nation needs $X, collect it in the most efficient way for the nation.

Quote:
Why shouldn't it apply to any money made by any business? Every business passes on it's tax burden to the customer in exactly the same way.
And that is inefficient.

Quote:
Of course the logic that says business don't pay taxes they just use the customer's money also means they don't make any profits either. Profits are just taxes by another name. Because that's how the law is written.
Who said they don't pay taxes (not me!). That's the problem - they do "pay taxes", and pay for compliance and avoidance, and then pass the cost of all of this on to the consumer because their competitors are aggressively doing the same thing. Any savings from avoidance are made up by you and me, after we paid the corps to hire people to create the avoidance! It's a crazy shell game, with lawyers accountants on both sides taking the vig.

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Old 04-19-2017, 04:45 PM   #10
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The site is well done from what I've seen. Have to be careful with generalities, though, as pointed out.
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Steve Ballmer creates Government Sources and Uses database
Old 04-19-2017, 05:28 PM   #11
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Steve Ballmer creates Government Sources and Uses database

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Doesn't that have to pour over to the individual somehow? Else it is just retained in the corporation? I'm not sure how that works, but similar to dividends paid by the corp are taxed at the individual's rate?



We could make this a separate thread, maybe? Maybe not good to bog down the overall "lots of data here to see" with specifics.



-ERD50


If my memory is correct, the profits of LLC's and s-corps are passed through to members/shareholders per their pct ownership. Comes through on a K-1 form. Individuals file the K-1 info on their personal returns and pay the tax on their share of the profit. C-corps pay their own taxes.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:22 PM   #12
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I tried searching this a little - it's probably there, I'm just not sure how to access it. What I'm curious about is, how much money flows from States to Federal, and then the Feds end up returning it in some form back to the State? Another "shell game", in some cases.

Makes sense sometimes, like Interstate highways, other infrastructure. But I see so many times, that some group or another is writing a grant to get Fed funds, and I think - wait, the Feds collected this money, now we have to write a grant to get it back? Seems much more efficient to just keep (most) of it. Sure some poorer states might need some, or infrastructure may be more needed in some states than others, but it just seems like far too much is shuffled back-forth, creating non-value-added work on each end, and every step in between.

And groups are all in competition for this grant money - just seems silly.

Anyone know how to find something like that?


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Old 04-19-2017, 06:47 PM   #13
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Very interesting. This may be the first useful thing Ballmer has done (IMO)!

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Old 04-19-2017, 07:11 PM   #14
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Let see if I have this right. The government pays lots of people to collect and publish all the financial data and then a guy has to spend $10 million to be able to aggregate and review the data?

So what were your quibbles about efficiency in the government tax system?
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:56 PM   #15
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Very interesting. This may be the first useful thing Ballmer has done (IMO)!
You are too mean.

But this is really good stuff! I love it.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:27 PM   #16
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It looks like a good start. What I'd like to see - which may be impossible - is how the money going to various things are allocated and used. For example, infrastructure - how much goes to actual building of things vs. studies.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:58 PM   #17
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My thought is that aside from have a balanced approach (i.e. LBYM), the government spending is somewhat aligned to my thoughts/desires.

The other question it raises, is if the SS reserves are growing, what drives the concern about solvency? Demographics and birth rates?
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:41 PM   #18
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My thought is that aside from have a balanced approach (i.e. LBYM), the government spending is somewhat aligned to my thoughts/desires.

The other question it raises, is if the SS reserves are growing, what drives the concern about solvency? Demographics and birth rates?
Politics. SS can no more "go bankrupt" than the Pentagon can "go bankrupt". However, SS has a dedicated revenue stream and the Pentagon doesn't so it's easy to demagogue a claim. SS can also be paid out of general revenue, it just isn't right now.
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:23 PM   #19
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One of the projects I will probably never do is make something like this for my own home country. Just to get the baseline out there. Relatively simple things like total tax intake, total payroll costs and taxation on that.

Others a bit more complicated like total lifetime taxation vs. total pension received & healthcare costs for typical people.

Hard to do this, and even harder to do it non-partisan. Torture data long enough and will confess to anything ..
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Old 05-01-2017, 03:26 PM   #20
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The other question it raises, is if the SS reserves are growing, what drives the concern about solvency? Demographics and birth rates?
The concern is that outlays are beginning to exceed income. The ratio of taxpayers to beneficiaries continues to decline as it has since Day 1 of SS.

From the horses mouth: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/ Chart E and the following table forecast the trust funds to be exhausted in the mid-2030s. That does not make SS "insolvent" but will drive changes to the system - either on the revenue or expenditure side.

In my ER modeling, I assume I will only receive 75% of my currently forecasted benefit to allow for either benefit reduction, higher SS taxation, or means testing.
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