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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-19-2005, 12:10 AM   #181
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

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Originally Posted by retire@40
If the "cons" amount to a financial death sentence, the "pros" don't have much relevance.
Exactly.
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-19-2005, 11:44 AM   #182
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

I’m not a Marxist but I play one on message boards.

Martha mentioned some time back that there was a difference between ‘fair’ and ‘equal.’ I see a difference too and would like to show what I perceive as a crucial distinction and, I hope, may lead you to a different conclusion about the so called “fair tax.”

Marx’s most famous quote, to my knowledge: “From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.” This turned into a big mess for the Marxist/Communist regime(s).

But if you look at it on a simple level and reduce its size so that the important components and processes are easily visible to the eye, then one might see something remarkable. The basic family unit of mother, father, sons, daughters, perhaps grandparents and grandchildren in addition operate in a way that follows the Marxist rule offered above. For example, we don’t always expect Grandpa to go out in the bean fields all day harvesting, hoeing, etc. He’s older now, maybe four hours in the hot sun is enough. Same with the baby. We don’t expect a six month old to work in the bean field. We may require things of a toddler though: “OK, John-John, don’t poop your pants now.” For the most part we don’t treat people inside the family equally—we treat them fairly. This works the same on the other half of the quotation, “To each according to his needs.” If we give the same foods or pay to everyone in the family in some weirdly graduated sense of equality, then the human race wouldn’t exist—probably. If everyone got a pound of steak and two pounds of mashed potatoes rationed out each day, there would there be a mess. Little baby would probably die because he needs milk. Great Grandpa with no teeth might be stuck eating only potatoes and die of malnutrition at some point. “Fair’ would be giving each family member what they need to survive—what they need. In a small social unit, the behaviors are often spontaneous and correct. ‘Fair’ would be requiring of each member what he or she is capable of giving to keep the family unit strong. “Fair” would be distributing to members what is needed to keep the family unit strong. What does “strong” mean . . . I’m not going there.

This tradition of behavior, this core value of understanding of the real meaning of “fair” goes back past to the beginnings of mankind, to the Garden of Eden, and maybe even further back. (I suspect a good Christian would embrace the Marxist quote above as representing very important family values--special roles for the mother, special roles for the father, special things given to fathers or babies, etc.) The ideas in the Marxist quote were derived inductively from experience within the natural groupings of society and then applied back to them in a similar fashion.

One problem with Marxism and a reason for its collapse that I see was the misapplication of ‘fair’ and ‘equal,’ twisting it around to misshape the natural, intelligent workings of the world. But I won’t go there at this time. “Equal” at a birthday party would be bringing the cake out and giving each member the same size portion. Personally, I believe that giving a large portion to a baby would be bad. I would hope the mother just put a finger in the frosting and stuck the finger in the baby’s mouth. That might be the right thing to do—unless the baby had a sugar allergy. I don’t know until I’m there.

I think it is important to delineate a position on fairness and equality before attacking or supporting the fair tax. (Many on this thread here have applied ideas from both sides of the issue well.) For example, I think ‘equal opportunity’ is important in a democracy. But this is a special situation that applies in different ways to different groups of people. Old people opportunities are different from young people opportunities. Government recognizes this when it focuses on education or IRAs. A uniform “fair tax code” doesn’t unless special amendments are made. Wasn’t “fair tax” supposed to reduce the complications? In fact, one supporter of this code suggested that the first thing after the “theorem” is out was a needed amendment: Let’s fix it for the poor. Not a good way to start a theorem or tax code idea. How will this system not turn into a large pile of “fairness” amendments over time? Why would you want to do something that intrinsically is no better than any other system? Hmmm! I suggest here that someone is just trying to temporarily relieve the burdens of complexities or sneak a bunch of money to a certain group of people. I could prattle on forever.

One more point. Look at the poor. What do they need to function better, to make them better, ‘stronger’ people? What sort of social engineering would help their situation? Look at the rich. Will giving them even more money make them better, “stronger” people? You can easily guess what my opinion is. I think extremes of any kind show up symptomatically—sooner or latter--as bad behavior in the social group. The middle class can take care of itself with minor interference.

Plato said “Justice is giving everything its due.” This can be misapplied if the “slice and dice” required beforehand is done wrong. Look at what happened to the poor Marxists. Fair tax folks your cleavage is bad. You need to reexamine your theory, IMO. Otherwise, I enjoyed the stimulating ideas because I haven’t thought about this stuff in years. I enjoy ALL types of diverse opinions everywhere I go. I think there are an infinite number of connections between an infinite number of objects and subjects out there. I would like to say someday that I have experienced all of life’s possibilities AND enjoyed most every one. Thank you.

It also amuses me to no end to think that the Bible may be a Marxist operations manual in disguise.

--Greg
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-19-2005, 03:50 PM   #183
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Hello:

My 'Marxist manual" remark to my mind is not as offensive as it may seem at first glance. If the Bible is God's word, his truth revealed to mankind, then for non-Christians finding something of value in there wouldn't be a suprise to any Christian. The Marxists rejected God, catagorically, but, perhaps, applied a portion of his word. They very probably applied it to the real world incorrectly. Because of this lack, their system failed. There are many wonderful, glorious things in the Bible. How people interprete them--or see that truth and then apply it in the real world--may be flawed. We are not perfect creatures. But we should all attempt to become better and stronger. We each go about this in a different manner, even on a daily basis. Useful and true things should be used on this path. I didn't see my remarks as offensive to a Christian whose faith is strong. I saw it as showing how the human mind works--it makes connections between things, hopefully real things. I saw a particular reality in the Bible regarding family and a connection to a Marxist ideal. Is it possible that Marx derived it from the Bible or that this thing somehow exists in God's creation, the world, and Marx perceived independently? I can see both possibilities. I made a comment on only one. I also believe that God reveals things in other places besides the Bible.

--Greg
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-19-2005, 04:23 PM   #184
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
Hello:

My 'Marxist manual" remark to my mind is not as offensive as it may seem at first glance.
*snip*

I didn't see my remarks as offensive to a Christian whose faith is strong.

--Greg
Well, the early Christians were communists, in the communal sense:

From Acts Chap. 4:
As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
32
6 The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.
33
With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.
34
There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale,
35
and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

Karl Marx, from The Criticism of the Gotha Program 1875

* "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."



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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-19-2005, 10:17 PM   #185
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

That system only works if the people love each other, as the early Christians did.* It doesn't work when applied to an entire country, since there are too many people who don't love the others, and take advantage of them.

Communism never worked because the non loving people refused to produce anything for the benefit of others.* They just ate the stuff that the few altruistic workers produced, and everyone starved.* The government responded by establishing a dictatorship that forced people to work for the benefit of others (mostly for the benefit of the dictator and his cronies).* Slaves produce inefficiently.

Capitalism works on a national level because even most selfish people will produce quite a lot if they are allowed to keep most of what they produce.* Thus a majority of the population is productively engaged, and there is plenty of stuff to go around.
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-20-2005, 09:55 AM   #186
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

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Originally Posted by Michael
That system only works if the people love each other, as the early Christians did. It doesn't work when applied to an entire country, since there are too many people who don't love the others, and take advantage of them.

Communism never worked because the non loving people refused to produce anything for the benefit of others. They just ate the stuff that the few altruistic workers produced, and everyone starved. The government responded by establishing a dictatorship that forced people to work for the benefit of others (mostly for the benefit of the dictator and his cronies). Slaves produce inefficiently.

Capitalism works on a national level because even most selfish people will produce quite a lot if they are allowed to keep most of what they produce. Thus a majority of the population is productively engaged, and there is plenty of stuff to go around.
Michael--I have problems accepting the logic of your argument. As a Christian it seems to me that you should then embrace communism as a worthy goal, while attempting to encourage people to beome more loving and better people. To my mind, the core of capitalism is acquisition of money and goods, qualities of the mind and heart that when encouraged can often lead to bad decisions. Things become unbalanced when this aquistion motive becomes too strong. Am I wrong?

Yet, I see (although I may be wrong) that many some Christians embrace capitalism as a key component of their political activity and encourage it in an unbalanced manner. My Christian friend says that government should considerably reduce spending on the poor because this is encouraging bad behaviors. He says "It's my money. I should decide where most of it goes--not the gov't." My argument against this is that a national concensus of good is formed when we do things as a body politic--encouraging 'collective' good behavior. I see him as trying to destroy that collective good. Am I wrong in this perception? The attempt to collectively encourage collective good is good; the attempt to politically force the decision process down to the individual level and take it out of the national consciousness is less good.

These are ideas I have expressed to my friend in the past. He has not responded to me as yet in a way that will persuade me. Both my friend and I both admit that people are flawed and make mistakes about how, when and where the money is distributed. This to me is separate issue. Thank you. I'm listening.

--Greg
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-20-2005, 08:55 PM   #187
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Quote:
...embrace communism as a worthy goal, while attempting to encourage people to beome more loving and better people.
It just doesn't work when the majority of people do not love their neighbors as much as they love themselves. Christians will always be a minority of the total population, so communism will never work on a national scale.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14 NIV
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-20-2005, 09:18 PM   #188
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

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Both my friend and I both admit that people are flawed and make mistakes about how, when and where the money is distributed.
There is the problem.* Poorly designed programs can wind up hurting more people than they help.* How do you convince politicians to design programs that efficiently help people, instead of mostly just the special interest groups that finance their campaigns?

Look at smoking.* The government spends millions on an anti smoking campaign, then gives billions to subsidize tobacco farmers.* The net result is 2 government programs working against each other, and billions wasted.* Its no wonder people have lost confidence in the politicians.

If you can find a way to fix the system, people will have confidence in government programs.* As long as absurd things like this keep happening, people will prefer to give their money to organizations that corrupt politicians can't mess up.

I am open to suggestions as to how to fix the political system.* I am a strong advocate of helping people.
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-20-2005, 09:34 PM   #189
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael
There is the problem.* Poorly designed programs can wind up hurting more people than they help.* How do you convince politicians to design programs that efficiently help people, instead of mostly just the special interest groups that finance their campaigns?

Look at smoking.* The government spends millions on an anti smoking campaign, then gives billions to subsidize tobacco farmers.* The net result is 2 government programs working against each other, and billions wasted.* Its no wonder people have lost confidence in the politicians.

If you can find a way to fix the system, people will have confidence in government programs.* As long as absurd things like this keep happening, people will prefer to give their money to organizations that corrupt politicians can't mess up.

I am open to suggestions as to how to fix the political system.* I am a strong advocate of helping people.
"Helping people" is good. "Political system" can't be fixed. Be prepared
for more of the same, only worse.

JG
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-21-2005, 09:22 AM   #190
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Though not religious, I do see personal and societal value in some religious beliefs, though I can find non-religious reasons for the same beliefs/actions. However, giving the government very much power over the purses/lives of the citizens usually results in abuse/waste/fraud/curruption and ineffective programs...

Elected, LIMITED governments and capitalistic economies seem to me to be the best compromise for allowing individuals to pursue their aspirations and keep the fruits of their labor.
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-21-2005, 09:29 AM   #191
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

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Originally Posted by Have Funds, Will Retire

Elected, LIMITED governments and capitalistic economies seem to me to be the best compromise for allowing individuals to pursue their aspirations and keep the fruits of their labor.
Obviously I agree. However, we are now headed in the opposite direction,
even under a Republican administration. The train left the station long ago
and it has no brakes.

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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-21-2005, 10:53 PM   #192
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael

Capitalism works on a national level because even most selfish people will produce quite a lot if they are allowed to keep most of what they produce. Thus a majority of the population is productively engaged, and there is plenty of stuff to go around.
I would have agreed with this statement in theory, until some yahoo invented "the corporation." So now we have these legal entities which have all the "rights" that people enjoy (more, actually, because they conrol all the good lawyers and most legislatures), but cannot be held "personally" responsible for anything. and guess what....they own the government.

Likely to be the end of capitalism as we know it--the balance may have tipped too far.

On the other hand, if there were no corporations, how could I invest in equities....
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-21-2005, 11:02 PM   #193
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael
It just doesn't work when the majority of people do not love their neighbors as much as they love themselves. Christians will always be a minority of the total population, so communism will never work on a national scale.
Christianity is not the only religion that teaches this. If the problem is that people do not love their neighbors as much as themselves, the solution in no way requires that a majority of the population be Christian.

I do, however, agree that a lack of regard for one's fellow human being is at the root of a lot of the problems in the world.

"Think about how stupid the average person is. And then consider the fact that half of them are even dumber than that."

--George Carlin
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 08-22-2005, 09:56 AM   #194
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Good points by Bosco

Corporations and global trade are largely the same the Mercantile economic Adam Smith hoped his "Wealth of Nations" model would supplant.

Also, as far as people's attitudes being the basis for much of the world's ills....Same thing Adam Smith observed. He wrote that there must be a pre-existing moral basis in order for his "capitalism" to function properly. The market is NOT morality. Economics is not a religion. he also advocated that a major role of government was to run schools so that the entire society would get the necessary moral education....

Don't know how well that would go over today, especially among the "free market" types
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 09-07-2005, 08:34 PM   #195
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Thought I would allow someone to remove my fingernails with pliers before resurrecting this thread, but just couldn't pass up this one:

MONEY finds flaw in 'FairTax' bestseller
"Book advocating a national consumption tax misleads readers on central point, MONEY Magazine says."

http://money.cnn.com/2005/09/06/pf/t...rtax/index.htm

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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 09-07-2005, 09:05 PM   #196
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

It's nice see the Money Senior Editor agreeing with me (see my Aug 13th reply within this thread)....

I felt like the big dog JG after writing that!?

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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 09-07-2005, 09:21 PM   #197
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Thought I would allow someone to remove my fingernails with pliers before resurrecting this thread, but just couldn't pass up this one:
MONEY finds flaw in 'FairTax' bestseller
"Book advocating a national consumption tax misleads readers on central point, MONEY Magazine says."

http://money.cnn.com/2005/09/06/pf/t...rtax/index.htm
REW
Thanks a lot, REW-- I'll be right over with my "Marathon Man" toolbox...
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 09-07-2005, 10:29 PM   #198
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Imagine how much we could reduce prices if we went back to slavery.
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 09-08-2005, 08:40 AM   #199
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

I've kept bringing this same point up over and over again over the years, ever since people started talking about "consumtion taxes" or "National sales tax".

If all of a sudden people's wages and salaries were "tax free" every employer would simply CUT everybody's wages and salaries down to the "take home pay" level. After all that's what you're living on now isn't it? Voila! It's gonna go to the company's bottom line, not the worker's.
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!
Old 09-08-2005, 09:43 AM   #200
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Re: The FairTax - gaining steam!

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
MONEY finds flaw in 'FairTax' bestseller
"Book advocating a national consumption tax misleads readers on central point, MONEY Magazine says."
So people get a smaller paycheck. Didn't see that on the "fair" website. Maybe they should change the name from "fair" tax to the "DPAD" tax (Don't Pay Attention to the Details).
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