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Old 11-24-2008, 09:48 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud;752337 .....
[URL="http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/542.html"
The Tax Foundation - Number of Americans Outside the Income Tax System Continues to Grow[/URL]


"In addition to these non-payers, roughly 15 million individuals and families earned some income last year but not enough to be required to file a tax return. When these non-filers are added to the non-payers, they add up to 57.5 million income-earning people who will be paying no income taxes.
Even 57.5 million is not the actual number of people because one tax return often represents several people. When all of the dependents of these income-producing people are counted, roughly 120 million Americans 40 percent of the U.S. population are outside of the federal income tax system. "

Of this number (57 mill), it appears that about 26% of them have full time jobs...
And it appears 57 million is almost enough to elect a president:

Obama: 65 million
McCain: 57 million
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:02 PM   #42
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I saw a chart recently that showed since the year 2000 thru 2007 something like $880 billion in new income was generated. Of that the top 10% of income earners got all but $44 billion. The most successful pay the most taxes because they make the most money. Many of us who work very hard for these successful folk are pushed to accept less and less so that they can do well. I'm all for people being rewarded for taking risks starting businesses but a major reason our economy has nosedived is there aren't enough decently paid people to buy all those cars, houses, etc that are going begging for buyers. If business owners, particularly the largest corporations, would be more generous with pay then more of us could buy what they're selling. Forcing them to "spread the wealth" won't work either. Simply put if business owners aren't more generous voluntarily it will lead, as it has, to a gov't hellbent on ramming it down their throats. They have only themselves to blame by being greedy and stingy.
Seems to be that one of the reasons business owners are so greedy and stingy is because consumers want to buy products at low prices. Now the employers can choose to pay people more and increase the price of their goods, but people will stop buying the goods and the employees that formerly viewed their employere as being greedy and stingy will be unemployed.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:30 PM   #43
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Dex, do you have a source for stating that the concentration of wealth is within historic norms? I've heard otherwise, but the only online source I've turned up so far is
I'll have to look for it.
But the chart labeled
Table 3: Share of wealth held by the Bottom 99% and Top 1% in the United States, 1922-1998.

Showed what I said about when you start to do the measurement. See the 1970s
197270.9%29.1% 197680.1%19.9% 197979.5%20.5% 198175.2%24.8%

The other aspects we are missing are:
1. An objective standard to know what a good distribution is.
2. A distribution in other developed countries - Europe & Japan
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:50 PM   #44
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The Heroes Act of 2008 has a little bump in the road for wealthy Americans planning to renounce their US citizenship in order to save some money. Upon renouncing their citizenship, all their assets over $600K will be immediately subject to cap gains taxes as if they'd been sold:


(from page 39 of the PDF linked above)
"In general, the provision imposes tax on certain U.S. citizens who relinquish their U.S. citizenship and certain long-term U.S. residents who terminate their U.S. residency. Such individuals are subject to income tax on the net unrealized gain in their property as if the property had been sold for its fair market value on the day before the expatriation or residency termination (“mark-to-market tax”). Gain from the deemed sale is taken into account at that time without regard to other Code provisions. Any loss from the deemed sale generally is taken into account to the extent otherwise provided in the Code, except that the wash sale rules of section 1091 do not apply. Any net gain on the deemed sale is recognized to the extent it exceeds $600,000."

..... and, from page 40, in part:
"The provision applies to any U.S. citizen who relinquishes citizenship and any long-term resident who terminates U.S. residency, if such individual (“covered expatriate”) (1) has an average annual net income tax liability for the five preceding years ending before the date of the
loss of U.S. citizenship or residency termination that exceeds $124,000 (as adjusted for inflation after 2004 – $139,000 in 200828); (2) has a net worth of $2 million or more on such date; or (3) fails to certify under penalties of perjury that he or she has complied with all U.S. Federal tax
obligations for the preceding five years or fails to submit such evidence of compliance as the Secretary may require.
"

I'm sure there must be ways around this, and those wanting to leave will find them. Good riddance to 'em.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:23 PM   #45
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Seems to be that one of the reasons business owners are so greedy and stingy is because consumers want to buy products at low prices. Now the employers can choose to pay people more and increase the price of their goods, but people will stop buying the goods and the employees that formerly viewed their employere as being greedy and stingy will be unemployed.
You're assuming that companies on average are already compensating their employees the maximum they can afford to. Some very well might be, but many could afford to do better without charging customers more etc. I'm not talking about making us wealthy, or the excesses of various unions. Just pay us enough to give us some choices, have a decent life. There's more to life than being cutthroat SOB's exploiting people to get ever richer.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:36 PM   #46
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Just pay us enough to give us some choices, have a decent life. There's more to life than being cutthroat SOB's exploiting people to get ever richer.
Do you work for a corporation or a commune?

Who's being exploited? Don't workers freely exchanging their time, talents, and effort for payment from their employers? Any employee who believes he can get a better overall package (pay, work environment, benefits, even intangibles such as mutual loyalty) with another employer should do so, and should not wait like serf wishing his master would be more benevolent.

Workers have a duty (to themselves) to seek out the best deal they can. Employers have the same obligation. Works great.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:46 PM   #47
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I find it interesting when people apply a different criteria to a corporation than what people general see and do around them.

A corporation should be generous with their employees - pay more than the market rate.

I've never heard a person say -
"No, I want to pay you twice the market rate:
to cut my lawn
to clean my car
to clean my house
to cut my hair
to clean my teeth.
etc. "

I've also never heard a person say:
"I want you to hire another person - even if you don't need them - to:
to cut my lawn
to clean my car
to clean my house
to cut my hair
to clean my teeth.
etc. "
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:58 AM   #48
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It is darn tough not to pay taxes if you have a job... but it certainly doesn't surprise me to hear half the people do not pay taxes. I know what it takes not to pay income taxes in the US and you must be either only a child, or retired, or not working (like a housewife).
No support for this... but it was easy to do a search and find that it is darn easy NOT to pay taxes if you have a job... edit to add.... we are talking income taxes here... not all the others....

The Tax Foundation - Number of Americans Outside the Income Tax System Continues to Grow


"In addition to these non-payers, roughly 15 million individuals and families earned some income last year but not enough to be required to file a tax return. When these non-filers are added to the non-payers, they add up to 57.5 million income-earning people who will be paying no income taxes.
Even 57.5 million is not the actual number of people because one tax return often represents several people. When all of the dependents of these income-producing people are counted, roughly 120 million Americans 40 percent of the U.S. population are outside of the federal income tax system. "

Of this number (57 mill), it appears that about 26% of them have full time jobs...
The article you referenced is quite illuminating.. Let me just quote a few other sections of that article that explain who is not paying taxes:
"Broadly speaking, the 42.5 million zero-tax filers are: low-income, young, female-headed households, part-time workers, and beneficiaries of the $1,000 per-child tax credit or the Earned Income Credit."
"The 42.5 million non-payers are largely low-income. Indeed, 91 percent of them earned less than $30,000 per year and 96 percent earned less than $40,000. Fewer than 1 percent will earn more than $75,000 per year a group comprised largely of business owners whose tax liabilities will be erased due to business losses, carry-overs from prior year AMT payments, or foreign tax credits."

I guess it boils down to one's outlook on life, but I have known and talked to people who are in the lowest income bracket. They are the janitors and taxi drivers who do the grunt work in the US. These are the lower 20% of the bell curve - people who either lack the intelligence or never had the opportunity to 'climb the ladder of success' in the US.

It is easy to say these are the lazy or unmotivated segment of the population that are a drain on the rest of the hard working people in the US. I used to think that was true. But over the years I have learned that life simply deals some people a bad hand. And they suffer for it. They can't buy a house, a new car, or help pay for their child's college education - and most times it is through no fault of their own.

I have no desire to place a heavier tax burden (or any tax burden) on a person or family that is struggling simply to survive. Taxes should be paid by those most able to afford them. I spent many years living my life as one of those fortunate ones who lived a very good life in America, never short on money. Yes, I paid my income taxes - and of course I complained bitterly at the time.

But looking back now I think it is only fair that those of us who could pay, did pay. And the others who made slightly more than minimum wage (some of whom were my employees) could spend all of their income simply putting food on the table. That's only fair.
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:43 AM   #49
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"Wouldn't be a government worker, would you, Restonham?
Ha"

As a matter of fact, I was a career soldier and then a civil servant with DoD. And now that I am retired from both, I am a consultant back to the government. And then, one day, in the not too distant future, I will stop being a consultant and collect social security. By any standard, I guess that makes me a triple dipper.
Well you are a good sport; and I am a good profiler.

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Old 11-25-2008, 07:36 AM   #50
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Do you work for a corporation or a commune?

Who's being exploited? Don't workers freely exchanging their time, talents, and effort for payment from their employers? Any employee who believes he can get a better overall package (pay, work environment, benefits, even intangibles such as mutual loyalty) with another employer should do so, and should not wait like serf wishing his master would be more benevolent.

Workers have a duty (to themselves) to seek out the best deal they can. Employers have the same obligation. Works great.
But the problem is that in today's service economy finding a better paying job is tough. Yes there are good jobs out there for people with the right skills, but not enough of them. And companies who are always seeking to improve their stock price are seeing their employees as a source of profit enhancement. Thus the constant reduction of benefits, the slowing of wage growth while annually increasing healthcare costs, etc. I put in the majority of my working life into a major corporation that promised if I stuck with them I'd receive good pay and a good retirement. They are highly profitable and aren't under pressure to put jobs offshore. I'm a courier and pkgs can't be delivered here by someone in Mexico. The emphasis is always on our stock price. I'm 47, have no desire to switch into something else at this point. Easy to make those remarks but if you've put 21 years of your life into something and it goes bad you may feel different about it.
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Old 11-25-2008, 08:39 AM   #51
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But the problem is that in today's service economy finding a better paying job is tough. Yes there are good jobs out there for people with the right skills, but not enough of them. And companies who are always seeking to improve their stock price are seeing their employees as a source of profit enhancement. Thus the constant reduction of benefits, the slowing of wage growth while annually increasing healthcare costs, etc. I put in the majority of my working life into a major corporation that promised if I stuck with them I'd receive good pay and a good retirement. They are highly profitable and aren't under pressure to put jobs offshore. I'm a courier and pkgs can't be delivered here by someone in Mexico. The emphasis is always on our stock price. I'm 47, have no desire to switch into something else at this point. Easy to make those remarks but if you've put 21 years of your life into something and it goes bad you may feel different about it.
What you describe is a lesson what NOT to do for anyone seeking early retirement. You have broken many of the fundamental rules of following the path to ER: 1) Never count on a company or organization being around for your entire lifetime. Companies go bankrupt, they merge, they so many things that will break their promise of a good pension when you retire, 2) Be in control of your own finances - never trust some other organization with your future, 3) Beware of working for one company for too long... you are likely to be trapped by the "golden handcuffs", ie, when you are making too much money to quit, but not learning new skills where you are.

I could list a few more rules, but I think you get the idea. You must be in control of your own finances and your own life (including career). The road to ER is littered with the bodies of people who died from broken promises by well-intentioned big companies.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:31 PM   #52
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What you describe is a lesson what NOT to do for anyone seeking early retirement. You have broken many of the fundamental rules of following the path to ER: 1) Never count on a company or organization being around for your entire lifetime. Companies go bankrupt, they merge, they so many things that will break their promise of a good pension when you retire, 2) Be in control of your own finances - never trust some other organization with your future, 3) Beware of working for one company for too long... you are likely to be trapped by the "golden handcuffs", ie, when you are making too much money to quit, but not learning new skills where you are.

I could list a few more rules, but I think you get the idea. You must be in control of your own finances and your own life (including career). The road to ER is littered with the bodies of people who died from broken promises by well-intentioned big companies.
Fair enough, but this is where I'm at and have to make the most of it. So while all you folks who did it the right way are enjoying the States, looks like I'll be sitting on a beach in South America. In the long run I'll be ok, but most people in similar straits will slog thru to the bitter end because they'll never be aware of alternatives. Or aren't willing or afraid to try anything different.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:15 AM   #53
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Fair enough, but this is where I'm at and have to make the most of it. So while all you folks who did it the right way are enjoying the States, looks like I'll be sitting on a beach in South America. In the long run I'll be ok, but most people in similar straits will slog thru to the bitter end because they'll never be aware of alternatives. Or aren't willing or afraid to try anything different.
AlmostThere - I find that a little disrespectful to those of us who don't choose your path. It's not a matter of not being "aware of alternatives" or not being "willing or afraid to try anything different"

I am well aware of the alternative of retiring overseas - and as to being "not willing or afraid to try anything different", well I could tell you about some things I've done in my life that might indicate otherwise to you (as could others on this board, I'm sure), but that's not the point.

Frankly, I choose the US over a 2nd or 3rd world country. My family is here, I have security here (finanicial, medical, political, social) and that's important. I like the climate, I like the people, I like the amenities. I actually like living in the US and prefer it over any other country.

If you choose a different path, I say fine & good for you - but don't put the rest of us down as we're sitting on the beach in Destin, FL, scuba diving in the Keys, camping in the Rockies (or whatever/wherever)
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:31 AM   #54
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AlmostThere - I find that a little disrespectful to those of us who don't choose your path. It's not a matter of not being "aware of alternatives" or not being "willing or afraid to try anything different"
More than one poster around here thinks his way is the way, whether it be where to live, how to live, or how to invest.

I agree with someone around here who said the game isn't over until we are tucked into the earth, so until then proclamations of what should be done are premature.

Regarding Arica- I read the piece, and I can't think of a more boring life. Great place for a short vacation with a compatible someone, but an awful place to spend a lot of time. But obviously Almost thinks it will suit him. And why should it not? Presumably he knows what he wants. But even more certainly, he doesn't know what others want, or can afford, or would be repelled by. So likely his criticisms of those who don't want to pack off to some remote place where they would have no connections or familiarity are because he is insecure about his own decision to do so.

Ha
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:38 PM   #55
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Do you have a source for the CEO's pay? I would be interested to read it.

Concentration of wealth is within historical norms. People that who want to raise that issue start measuring from the 1970s when wealth concentration declined due to the economic issues at the time. In other words the wealthy lost more money than the average person.

CEO pay is not the cause of the disparity in wealth. It is an issue politicians raise as a class warfare issue and distract people from the true causes. If CEO pay was reduced to the average employee wage, it would not help the average employee.

Yes the bailouts and other issues will eventually break the country.
Here is one example I found regarding U.S. CEO pay VS foreign.

http://www.cab.latech.edu/~mkroll/51..._05/Group6.pdf
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:36 PM   #56
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AlmostThere - I find that a little disrespectful to those of us who don't choose your path. It's not a matter of not being "aware of alternatives" or not being "willing or afraid to try anything different"

I am well aware of the alternative of retiring overseas - and as to being "not willing or afraid to try anything different", well I could tell you about some things I've done in my life that might indicate otherwise to you (as could others on this board, I'm sure), but that's not the point.

Frankly, I choose the US over a 2nd or 3rd world country. My family is here, I have security here (finanicial, medical, political, social) and that's important. I like the climate, I like the people, I like the amenities. I actually like living in the US and prefer it over any other country.

If you choose a different path, I say fine & good for you - but don't put the rest of us down as we're sitting on the beach in Destin, FL, scuba diving in the Keys, camping in the Rockies (or whatever/wherever)
I believe you would be covered under the part of my statement "not willing." And obviously because you are on this forum you would be better informed than average. I was talking abour the average person out there with no hope of retiring early in the U.S. because he doesn't make enough to even consider it. In his mind it's just the way it is. But present an alternative to him such as living overseas, or fulltime RVing, or anything different than what he knows, and most likely he'll be unwilling to try, or even fearful of what might go wrong.

Concerning Arica. I can go to the beach, I can go the markets, surf the internet, watch satellite tv, go to a huge duty free shopping district in Peru, take my dogs for walks, surf, catch very economical buses to some of the world's most beautiful locations, or fly there even faster, go to a casino, go deep sea fishing, surf, or just hang out in very pleasant weather. Probably a few other things too. Life is what you make it. If my choice is to work until I drop or go to Arica, better not stand in my way. And while Arica is very affordable, if you want to see an area that is as beautiful as about any place on Earth, go to Google Images and search for Pucon. One of the places I'll spend my time in. I'm not anti-American, but it's getting tougher for average people to have anything. I bet when your ancestors talked of leaving Europe they got criticised too!
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:39 PM   #57
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AlmostThere - I find that a little disrespectful to those of us who don't choose your path. It's not a matter of not being "aware of alternatives" or not being "willing or afraid to try anything different"

I am well aware of the alternative of retiring overseas - and as to being "not willing or afraid to try anything different", well I could tell you about some things I've done in my life that might indicate otherwise to you (as could others on this board, I'm sure), but that's not the point.

Frankly, I choose the US over a 2nd or 3rd world country. My family is here, I have security here (finanicial, medical, political, social) and that's important. I like the climate, I like the people, I like the amenities. I actually like living in the US and prefer it over any other country.

If you choose a different path, I say fine & good for you - but don't put the rest of us down as we're sitting on the beach in Destin, FL, scuba diving in the Keys, camping in the Rockies (or whatever/wherever)
I believe you would be covered under the part of my statement "not willing." And obviously because you are on this forum you would be better informed than average. I was talking abour the average person out there with no hope of retiring early in the U.S. because he doesn't make enough to even consider it. In his mind it's just the way it is. But present an alternative to him such as living overseas, or fulltime RVing, or anything different than what he knows, and most likely he'll be unwilling to try, or even fearful of what might go wrong.

Concerning Arica. I can go to the beach, I can go the markets, surf the internet, watch satellite tv, go to a huge duty free shopping district in Peru, take my dogs for walks, catch very economical buses to some of the world's most beautiful locations, or fly there even faster, go to a casino, go deep sea fishing, surf, or just hang out in very pleasant weather. Probably a few other things too. Life is what you make it. If my choice is to work until I drop or go to Arica, better not stand in my way. And while Arica is very affordable, if you want to see an area that is as beautiful as about any place on Earth, go to Google Images and search for Pucon. One of the places I'll spend my time in. I'm not anti-American, but it's getting tougher for average people to have anything. I bet when your ancestors talked of leaving Europe they got criticised too!
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:04 PM   #58
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Almost There, what you say is fair enough - early retirement can be achieved by simply adopting a simpler, less expensive way of life. That is much easier to achieve in a foreign country.

Some people may think living in a foreign country would be a big step down from living in America - and in many ways it is. On the other hand, if you are looking for a slower pace of life and a chance to get away from the social pressures of "keeping up with the Jones", then living in a foreign country can be superior to living in the US. It is a decision each person must decide by him/herself.

Finally, I think it is important to emphasize that if you relying on the company you work for to provide a way for you to retire early, I hope you have a good pension program. Most companies are more of a hindrance than a help to ER. If you are risk adverse and always choose the safe road, then you are going to have few choices for ER other than living a much simpler lifestyle when you do decide to retire. But, like I say, maybe that's okay with you.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:54 PM   #59
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.... On the other hand, if you are looking for a slower pace of life and a chance to get away from the social pressures of "keeping up with the Jones", then living in a foreign country can be superior to living in the US. ....
I don't understand you at all on this.

Do you suggest people might want to move to a foreign country to avoid social pressure to keep up with the Jones?

Why must one move to a foreign country in order to not "keep up with the Jones"? And "social pressure"? It's never been an issue for me here in the good ole USofA.

(BTW - "keeping up with the Jones" is not a uniquely American thing)
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:58 PM   #60
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....

if you want to see an area that is as beautiful as about any place on Earth, go to Google Images and search for Pucon. One of the places I'll spend my time in. ....
I know places in East Texas (and elsewhere in the US) that are about as beautiful as any place on earth. Beauty is often in the eye of the beholder.

One thing I have learned though is: Wherever you go, there you are.
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