Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-17-2013, 05:30 PM   #181
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Independent View Post
Those days are over. Now it's glorious to be rich. The people at the top appear to believe that all their success is solely the result of their extraordinary efforts, and they deserve more than they're getting now (the Ayn Rand attitude). That shows up in how hard they push on gov't policies.
Good point. It seems there is more than one entitlement class.

Politically, I'm somewhat hold to classical liberalism. However, the reality is that the field is not level. We are not all equal. Nor are we born into equal opportunity.

I don't believe government intervention is the way to solve that problem. Others do. Good people can see the same problem and have different approaches to solving it.
__________________

__________________
aim-high is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-17-2013, 05:48 PM   #182
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 942
If you really want equality, look to Kurt Vonnegut and his short story: Harrison Bergeron.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron
__________________

__________________
LARS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 05:57 PM   #183
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Yes. Well, I hope you'd agree that in this case it is government policies that are modifying both the supply of surgeons (govt restrictions responding to AMA pressure) and demand for services (through government structuring of health insurance and tax policies, which effectively insulate patients from cost considerations and drive up demand by injection of money to purchase this particular service).

Yes, that happens. We are apparently unwilling to let the market set prices in all things.

Or, tax cap gains at the "earned income" rate. But the CG would have to be indexed for inflation. Some believe this would be a paperwork nightmare, but with the tools easily available today I don't think so.


Like zero-deductions, everyone pays the same % of all earnings? The rate for everyone would be small, there'd be no government thumb on the scale, and the true burden of government (and the things it distributes) would rest on everyone equally, in direct and constant relationship to their earnings. And, in response to the OP, no earner, no matter their income, will again be cheated out of the opportunity to help others through their taxes.
This will never happen, the essence of "democratic" government is staying in power by taking from some, and giving to others. In America, the gifts to the wealthy are mostly in the form of regulation and tariffs and agricultural price supports, etc. Pols get campaign donations from this group, pay them off with favors that only well educated cranks can even figure out, and then take taxes from earnings of the upper 45% or so of earners and pay off your lower level clients whose votes you must have in form of cash, food and rent assistance, etc. It goes back at least to Rome, help your allies and hurt your opponents. Both parts are necessary. A government that does not demonstrate its ability to selectively inflict pain on its opponents has not been seen in America in a long time.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 06:05 PM   #184
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by LARS View Post
If you really want equality, look to Kurt Vonnegut and his short story: Harrison Bergeron.


Harrison Bergeron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Very interesting. We are almost there. I keep thinking, likely hopelessly, that external economic competition that we cannot control will force this handicapping in our own society to lessen. Of course, getting public brainwashing, often called public education, pretty well takes care of those who grow up here.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 07:10 PM   #185
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
photoguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,301
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
There's not some sort of ruling cabal that determines what people get paid. "Labor" is like any commodity, and it is subject to supply and demand. If there are a lot of people who can dig ditches, and the demand for hand-dug ditches is fairly low, then that particular activity won't generate a high hourly rate. But if there are very few people who can hit .400 against major league pitching, and a lot of people want to pay to see a hitter do that, then the person who can hit .400 can expect to get paid well.
Isn't professional sports a bad example given salary caps and luxury taxes? According to an article by NPR, Jame Lebron should be paid more than double what he is getting if weren't for the non-free market caps.

At $17.5 Million A Year, LeBron James Is Underpaid : Planet Money : NPR

I think the point several folks are making on this thread is that there are many distortions to the free market that creates both winners and losers (in a way that some may not consider "fair").
__________________
photoguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 08:35 PM   #186
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by LARS View Post
If you really want equality, look to Kurt Vonnegut and his short story: Harrison Bergeron.


Harrison Bergeron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I'll check it out. The mind only works when it's open. Too many of us come into this kind of discussion with our minds already made up. We don't really listen to what others have to say or we only judge it through our own filter.

I'm not looking for equality. People are not equal and never will be. We all have unique DNA and come to life with different innate abilities and capacities.

The problem is when those of us with expanded capacities use them in ways that are exploitive rather than with compassion and empathy so that everyone has the opportunity to live up to their God given potential.

The systems currently in place (US capitalism / European socialism) along with selfishness, greed, laziness, or a lack of creativity and vision usually lead toward the easy exploitive path rather than the compassionate, empathic one.

I'm not looking to build a utopia or change things at a system level. I try to work within whatever system I'm given and do the best I can to set an example of success and help all those around me do the same.
__________________
aim-high is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 09:20 PM   #187
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,391
Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
This will never happen, the essence of "democratic" government is staying in power by taking from some, and giving to others. In America, the gifts to the wealthy are mostly in the form of regulation and tariffs and agricultural price supports, etc. Pols get campaign donations from this group, pay them off with favors that only well educated cranks can even figure out, and then take taxes from earnings of the upper 45% or so of earners and pay off your lower level clients whose votes you must have in form of cash, food and rent assistance, etc. It goes back at least to Rome, help your allies and hurt your opponents. Both parts are necessary. A government that does demonstrate its ability to selectively inflict pain on its opponents has not been seen in America in a long time.

Ha
"Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other." - Oscar Ameringer

I think the art is often not so gentle, but we should strive to keep it so.

By the way, upon reading Ha's post, I remembered that I had heard a paraphrase of the above quote, and decided to search for the origin. And so, I learned about Ameringer whom I had not known of.

From Wikipedia:
Oscar Ameringer (August 4, 1870-November 5, 1943) was a German-American Socialist editor, author, and organizer from the late 1890s until his death in 1943. Ameringer made a name for himself in the Oklahoma Socialist Party as the editor of its newspaper and a prominent organizer for the party.[1]His most famous work, The Life and Deeds of Uncle Sam, was a widely-read satire of American history that sold over half a million copies and was translated into 15 languages
__________________
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 10:07 PM   #188
Moderator Emeritus
aja8888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 7,142
What's this thread about, anyway?

When I went to the local SS office here (first time for me) to see an agent about signing up for Medicare and to look as SS benefit calcs, I thought I was in the wrong office as I was the only "old" person there. There were lots of young children around with their mothers or grandmothers, some middle age men, a few women with tattoos, and a guard at the door. I asked the guard if I was at the wrong place...he grinned and said take a number and have a seat.

The young lady I eventually got to see was very helpful.

Yes, I am taking SS paybacks and will continue to do so, especially after working for 45 continuous years and paying into the system all the way.
__________________
......."Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." -- philosopher Mike Tyson.
aja8888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 10:55 PM   #189
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
"Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other." - Oscar Ameringer
Nice quote.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 11:04 PM   #190
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Like zero-deductions, everyone pays the same % of all earnings? The rate for everyone would be small, there'd be no government thumb on the scale, and the true burden of government (and the things it distributes) would rest on everyone equally, in direct and constant relationship to their earnings. And, in response to the OP, no earner, no matter their income, will again be cheated out of the opportunity to help others through their taxes.
I've been an above-average earner ever since I changed careers in my late 20's. It has never bothered me to pay higher tax rates than people who have lower incomes than I have. I think the pros of "progressive" tax rates outweigh the cons by a substantial margin.

However, for the same reasons, I think it's good policy that the people who make more than I do also pay higher rates than me.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 12:01 AM   #191
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
"Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other." - Oscar Ameringer

I think the art is often not so gentle, but we should strive to keep it so.

By the way, upon reading Ha's post, I remembered that I had heard a paraphrase of the above quote, and decided to search for the origin. And so, I learned about Ameringer whom I had not known of.

From Wikipedia:
Oscar Ameringer (August 4, 1870-November 5, 1943) was a German-American Socialist editor, author, and organizer from the late 1890s until his death in 1943. Ameringer made a name for himself in the Oklahoma Socialist Party as the editor of its newspaper and a prominent organizer for the party.[1]His most famous work, The Life and Deeds of Uncle Sam, was a widely-read satire of American history that sold over half a million copies and was translated into 15 languages
Thanks for posting this. I also noticed from your quoting me, that I had dropped a most important word, "not"--I meant to say: A government that does not demonstrate its ability to selectively inflict pain on its opponents has not been seen in America in a long time.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 12:36 AM   #192
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
packrat44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: near Canadian border and near Mexican border
Posts: 1,142
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
And if Warren wants to pay more (instead of just claiming he wants to pay more) I wish he would just send in the check. He knows how to do that. He doesn't want to pay more, he thinks other people should pay more. That's the common theme, isn't it? Warren has found good uses for his money (earning more money, philanthropy, etc) that apparently don't include sending it to the US government. But he thinks "other people" aren't so inherently good as he? Arrogance--or just wanting to gain favor on the cheap. It's not an uncommon trait, but I guess I expected more of "the Oracle"

I agree totally.
__________________
Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. That's my story and I am sticking to it.
packrat44 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 08:52 AM   #193
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Independent View Post
I've been an above-average earner ever since I changed careers in my late 20's. It has never bothered me to pay higher tax rates than people who have lower incomes than I have. I think the pros of "progressive" tax rates outweigh the cons by a substantial margin. .
I haven't figured out a good solution to the inherent instability/negative feedback problem that occurs when an increasing percentage of the electorate has no "skin in the game" when it comes to taxes, but benefit disproportionately from government spending. It can reach a tipping point and there doesn't seem to be an obvious homeostatic mechanism to bring things back into balance. There have been proposals to address the problem, but discussion of them here will not end well.
Our Constitution (incl the Bill or Rights) includes protections for minorities from the "tyranny of the majority." and we eschew pure democracy (without these protections) for this very reason. There is protection of unpopular minority speech from "mob rule," protection of religious belief, etc. But there is no protection for an individual's possessions, for personal property. To the extent that property is gained by trading away the hours of one's life, it represents their liberty. We don't allow the majority to force the minority into involuntary servitude, but they can be forced to give up property which represents the same number of hours. The same applies to everyone, of course, but at present only about half of people are paying FIT, so the net has already been narrowed considerably. It seems proper that we establish a limit on just how much property any one person owes to the government (i.e. to other people), some basic protection against the actions of the majority. I don't see that in our present system, and I don't see any other mechanism that prevents the many from taking everything from the few.

And since "the few" are likely a disproportionately large number of ER types, this issue is of importance here.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 09:05 AM   #194
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 108
<< I didn't read all the discussion, just the first post and a few more, sorry if I repeat what other people said, just expressing my own opinion >>

I contributed to SS, I really don't quite see why I wouldn't reap the benefits of it. Now if (savings/portfolio/SS) is 'too much money', then I'd rather make my own choices on how to spend it. I might redistribute to my heirs, to charities, maybe help a young entrepreneur, etc. At the end, this is re-injecting money in the economy one way or another. Therefore helping the government and social security in my own little way, but... according to MY terms.

FIRE is about freedom (at least in my book). Finding proper ways to redistribute wealth is part of it. And this is a very personal decision.
__________________
siamond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 09:12 AM   #195
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 108
Now, let me digress for one second... In the past few weeks, I did a LOT of modeling of withdrawal strategies, portfolio value and spend trajectories, wealthy situations, painful failures, etc.

Something I hadn't quite appreciated until very recently is that SS (or Pensions) is a nice cushion against the few % of scenarios with a dramatic failure at the end (e.g. retire in years like 1929 or 1965). Not only you have the obvious ultimate protection of having a minimum spend guaranteed every year (albeit small), but if you reinvest your SS income and make it part of your ongoing portfolio (assuming it's still in half decent shape), you actually recover down the road much more gracefully from some of the nastiest situations.

All this to say that I'd rather take SS no matter what, and spread the wealth as I wish (if wealth there is). And benefit from such cushion against extreme market drops.
__________________
siamond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 09:20 AM   #196
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ls99's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,792
As I did not feel like doing anything useful this morning, instead spent time re-reading this thread.

At post number 193 by Samclem for some reason I thought of the novel by William Golding: Lord of the flies. Sure looks like we are heading the way of the boys trying to create order out of chaos. Instead, just a different form of chaos.

Will there be the space alien ship arriving to restore order to this failed experiment called human race?
__________________
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 09:30 AM   #197
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I haven't figured out a good solution to the inherent instability/negative feedback problem that occurs when an increasing percentage of the electorate has no "skin in the game" when it comes to taxes, but benefit disproportionately from government spending. It can reach a tipping point and there doesn't seem to be an obvious homeostatic mechanism to bring things back into balance. There have been proposals to address the problem, but discussion of them here will not end well.
Our Constitution (incl the Bill or Rights) includes protections for minorities from the "tyranny of the majority." and we eschew pure democracy (without these protections) for this very reason. There is protection of unpopular minority speech from "mob rule," protection of religious belief, etc. But there is no protection for an individual's possessions, for personal property. To the extent that property is gained by trading away the hours of one's life, it represents their liberty. We don't allow the majority to force the minority into involuntary servitude, but they can be forced to give up property which represents the same number of hours. The same applies to everyone, of course, but at present only about half of people are paying FIT, so the net has already been narrowed considerably. It seems proper that we establish a limit on just how much property any one person owes to the government (i.e. to other people), some basic protection against the actions of the majority. I don't see that in our present system, and I don't see any other mechanism that prevents the many from taking everything from the few.

And since "the few" are likely a disproportionately large number of ER types, this issue is of importance here.
I think this has been a major objection to democracy for centuries - "the mob will steal from the wealthy". In 1792, most (maybe all?) of the 13 states restricted suffrage to people with "property". That was their solution. But, they rapidly expanded suffrage. "All men created equal" was hard to ignore.

This note from Madison, written 30 years after the constitutional convention seems to say that he had argued for a requirement that one house of Congress should only represent property owners. However, 30 years later, with expanded suffrage, the feared theft hadn't occurred. Property: James Madison, Note to His Speech on the Right of Suffrage

His explanation seems to be upward mobility. Why should I vote to soak the rich if I expect to become the rich? IIRC, Tocqueville had the same observation (no reference).

I think that's a good point. If people believe that they or their children are likely to be rich, they don't see a benefit in expropriating wealth. I'll guess that the belief in upward mobility is waning in the US, but I don't have data.

Practically, I think most people consider themselves "taxpayers". They pay sales tax, property tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, gasoline tax, etc. Those taxes are generally regressive. Only income and inheritance/estate taxes are clearly progressive. I can imagine retirees on SS, paying no FIT at all, still complaining about excessive gov't spending.

I'll agree that I'm opposed to means testing SS, if "means" are defined as "accumulated assets" rather than "lifetime earnings". That's about the only type of "stealing from the rich" that I see as relevant to most of the people here.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 12:12 PM   #198
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
packrat44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: near Canadian border and near Mexican border
Posts: 1,142
When my parents retired they drew their SS benefits. At the time, it looked as though they could live on their investments without the income from SS. They were LBYM type people. Over the years their income was greater than their expenditures. About 5 months ago my father had to enter a nursing home. About 1 month ago my mother had to join him. Their cost for the nursing home is about $7k/month/each - $168k/year for the 2 of them. Plus, they still have the cost of maintenance and taxes on their house. They do not want the house sold because they think they can return and function adequately - not reality.

My father told me a week ago they had hoped to leave an inheritance to all the children but the high cost of nursing care was rapidly diminishing their savings.

Point is, some may think they have more income than they need when they are of the age where they can receive SS benefits. But income and expenditures do not do not remain constant throughout our lives. The only way we will know we have more than we need is when we die there is still money in the pot. A person can set their trust/will in such a way that any excess can be distributed in the best way you see fit, whether that be their children or charities of their choice. Not taking SS benefits so greedy politicians can mishandle the funds is not in my plans.
__________________
Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. That's my story and I am sticking to it.
packrat44 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 05:07 PM   #199
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,874
Quote:
Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
..............
Will there be the space alien ship arriving to restore order to this failed experiment called human race?
Sure, just like the Spanish arrived to save the Incas.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2013, 05:25 PM   #200
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,391
While we are on a diversion...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
Will there be the space alien ship arriving to restore order to this failed experiment called human race?
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
Sure, just like the Spanish arrived to save the Incas.
More like this Twilight Zone episode: "To Serve Man".

__________________

__________________
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:00 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.