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Old 06-11-2021, 09:08 AM   #101
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First, I would watch government spending a lot more closely. What happened to the deficit Hawks? There seem to be few and are well hidden. By now they should be on the endangered species list. Spending drives taxes (I include inflation as an indirect tax.)

Subsidies for people who purchase $50,000+ EVs? Really?

Then, the one tax law I would change is how long term capital gains over one year are handled. I would do away with the capital gains tax rate. And, I would adjust any gain for inflation. I would also allow capital losses to be deducted from other income, since it would all be taxed the same.

Yes, I realize the very wealthy have a ton of other legal means to avoid taxes. What else is new?

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ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.
Just a thought: Aren't our income tax records supposed to be private? Is this not a huge violation of our privacy rights sanctified by a 'good cause'?
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:34 AM   #102
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We like to think that, but journalists give us what we want. If most of us didn’t prefer to read and share crap, selling more ads, they wouldn’t keep feeding it to all of us.
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I'm not sure what your point is. I (and many in this thread) don't want this. I want accurate, relevant, unbiased journalism.

I didn't click on the story, partly because I don't want to give them the click, mostly because from the excerpts, it's drivel, and why waste my time?

I think it may be more accurate to say these writers (I won't call them "journalists") are writing what they want. And what they want is clicks. Which means any headline that will draw the most clicks, and I'd bet those clicks come from a small segment of the population, it isn't representative of "us" (the majority).
I'm probably wasting my time (again).

FWIW, you've done this in other threads. I draw a conclusion that may not apply to you, and you choose to take it personally **. "We" is just a collective we. I said "most" and "some" not you personally **. If the shoe doesn't fit, why do you insist on wearing it and assuming you've been insulted **? **more so in the other thread

There is no question that sensational stories, even popular dis/misinformation, generates more clicks than ordinary or positive news. I did NOT say that applies to everyone, but to the majority. The journalists I'm talking about work at for profit media channels. Clicks boost ad revenue or data mining revenue. Do you think journalists are just interested in clicks without regard for supporting media channel profit goals?

I'm done with this point on this thread.
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:44 AM   #103
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Here is a pretty interesting GAO assessment - there is no good news - and, hasn't been since I began reading this sort of material 30 years ago.

https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-21-275sp.pdf

Just the single graph, from 2015-2020 (which follows the same look since the year or so when Clinton was POTUS (not his doing, obviously), is incredibly alarming - not so much that the ratio of spending more than taking in, but the fact that it happens year after year.

The Debt cost.
The Medical cost.
The Wars cost.
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:45 AM   #104
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I find it amusing that that the cry of "Make the Rich Pay Their Fair Share" is usually heard the loudest, from those who are either paying no tax at all, or even making money on the deal.

What's the statistic these days? Something like 47% paying no federal taxes at all? So in essence, you can single out any one person, who paid federal taxes, no matter how small the bill, and say that person paid more than nearly half the country! Talk about "fair share!"

One thing I'm curious about, when they throw out a number like that 47%, does that include ALL residents, or just those who actually filed a tax return? If it's only those who didn't file a tax return, then the actual number might be even higher. My uncle, for instance, hasn't filed a tax return in years. His only source of income is SS, plus drawing down an inheritance he got in 2015, when my Grandmom (his Mom) passed away. Every year, when I go to the tax man to get my taxes done, I bring my uncle's information, just in case, but the tax man always says "he doesn't have to file". I guess he might have to start filing, when he finally starts getting into his IRA, but that's a few years off (2024, if he waits until 72).

I think the problem is, the concept of "Fair" is that it's more of an idea, an opinion, rather than a cold, hard fact. Even if you try to look up the definition, there are all sorts of nuances. For instance, the first definition I found was "marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism."

But when it comes to taxes, I'd say it's more like "marked by self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism : free from impartiality and honesty."

And, as has been said over and over again, in these forums and elsewhere, "Life isn't fair."
I have a relative who hasn't filed a tax return in years, due to low income.

It really caused him a problem of getting the Covid-19 stimulus checks. Hopefully your Uncle got his stimulus checks

If not he should file a 2020 yr tax return as the stimulus credit is a refund even without income or tax owing.
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:56 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
First, I would watch government spending a lot more closely. What happened to the deficit Hawks? There seem to be few and are well hidden. By now they should be on the endangered species list. Spending drives taxes (I include inflation as an indirect tax.)

Subsidies for people who purchase $50,000+ EVs? Really?

Then, the one tax law I would change is how long term capital gains over one year are handled. I would do away with the capital gains tax rate. And, I would adjust any gain for inflation. I would also allow capital losses to be deducted from other income, since it would all be taxed the same.

Yes, I realize the very wealthy have a ton of other legal means to avoid taxes. What else is new?
I'd go with a flat tax, for everyone without exceptions, and remove all the deductions. It's like sales tax except on income.

That way everyone would have an interest in what the gov't spends the money on, as none would be getting a free ride, ensuring more participation in the democratic process.

Of course what I want/think matters not to the legions of tax consultants and legislators
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:19 AM   #106
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I'd go with a flat tax, for everyone without exceptions, and remove all the deductions. It's like sales tax except on income.

That way everyone would have an interest in what the gov't spends the money on, as none would be getting a free ride, ensuring more participation in the democratic process.

Yes, that would solve the problem of people that pay nothing into the the spending pot, from voting how the pot is spent.
And please don't say, "But they pay payroll taxes" because then I'll have to remind you, the are buying a retirement income, they are buying an income if they become disabled, they are buying income for their children if they die early, they are buying income for their spouse if they die early.
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:30 AM   #107
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I'm probably wasting my time (again).

FWIW, you've done this in other threads. I draw a conclusion that may not apply to you, and you choose to take it personally **. "We" is just a collective we. ...
And I'm part of that collective "we". So maybe don't use such a broad brush, instead of blaming me for your choice of words?

edit/add: Let me expand on that with a better example. Do "we" all "deserve" getting spam email, because maybe 1 out of 1,000,000 people who get the Nigerian Prince email click on it and follow up? Of course not, "we" don't click on those emails, only a small, non-representative, minority do. I'd bet it's a similar trend with these click bait articles - the people who drive the clicks are probably a fairly small minority of "we", but enough to gain some income for the publishers. I don't blame "we" for that.

-ERD50
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:35 AM   #108
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... What's the statistic these days? Something like 47% paying no federal taxes at all? ...

One thing I'm curious about, when they throw out a number like that 47%, does that include ALL residents, or just those who actually filed a tax return? If it's only those who didn't file a tax return, then the actual number might be even higher. ...
I've wondered that exact same thing. It is always stated as "those who filed", so I'm assuming it is a much higher % of the adult population that pays zero FIT.

There must be a number out there, adults versus the number that filed (counting MFJ as two filings). Anyone know how to find that?

-ERD50
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:48 AM   #109
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I've seen a few of these articles lately and the majority of the "loopholes" they use is just not realizing many gains. They need such little of their wealth to live on that they only need to live off dividends or a small portion of capital gains that they realize. If their wealth is in an investment in a stock that doesn't pay dividends and they only need to live off <1% of their wealth then they'll only pay a tiny fraction of the unrealized gains that may occur that year. For example, if warren buffet was worth $100 billion last year, his stock gains 10% boosting his wealth this year by $10 billion but he "only" sells $100 million to pay for his expenses, he'll "only" pay taxes on the realized gains so <$20 million (depending on its basis) on $10 billion in unrealized gains or <0.2% tax on his total gains.

Obviously, there are lots of lesser-known loopholes in the tax code that are only available to billionaires but most of what they do to "avoid" taxes is also available to everyone (not realizing gains) but it's just hard for non-billionaires to live off <1% of wealth without any ordinary income coming in.
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:52 AM   #110
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I've wondered that exact same thing. It is always stated as "those who filed", so I'm assuming it is a much higher % of the adult population that pays zero FIT.

There must be a number out there, adults versus the number that filed (counting MFJ as two filings). Anyone know how to find that?

-ERD50
The original paper that floated the 47% in 2009 used the term "tax units" and in a note says "includes both filing and nonfiling units". It is only a one-page paper: https://www.urban.org/research/publi...ew/full_report

Other studies use "households". So I don't think it is individual people, but economic units or a theoretical number of tax returns if every household filed.

A later article broke down the composition of the zero income tax group. It also estimated the number to be 44% in 2019.

https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxv...-who-you-think

Both the Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation websites do good analysis (leaning slightly left and right, respectively).
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:58 AM   #111
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"Billionaires Don't Pay Taxes?"

Wrong. Billionaires do pay taxes.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:05 AM   #112
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They are trying to pave the way for a wealth tax.
A wealth tax would, I imagine, be strongly favored by those on the far political left, but since it would take a Constitutional amendment to establish such a tax, there is zero chance of its ever seeing the light of day. Not something I worry about, no matter how many click-bait articles are written along these lines.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:31 AM   #113
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Loopholes in the tax law are put their by our elected representatives. Therefore, I must assume that as a whole We the People think the loopholes are good things. After all, we elected them.
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Old 06-11-2021, 12:26 PM   #114
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I think the thread has gotten a bit off topic.

I'm going to try to close out my participation by noting that everyone has an opinion on who should pay, and how much - but, writ broadly, most folks push back when they are called upon to pay.

The raw data is clear, and the outcome is known - we are running deficits, increasing high deficits, with increasingly high debt - and, this is going to sound political, but it is simply my assessment of what I think are facts: only one of the two political parties will even discuss raising taxes.

Tick tock.
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Old 06-11-2021, 12:27 PM   #115
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So if billionaires would have to pay tax on their unrealized gains, a fun game would be to watch them get credit for their unrealized losses!
"Cue the accountants!"
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Old 06-11-2021, 02:42 PM   #116
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I think the thread has gotten a bit off topic.

I'm going to try to close out my participation by noting that everyone has an opinion on who should pay, and how much - but, writ broadly, most folks push back when they are called upon to pay.

The raw data is clear, and the outcome is known - we are running deficits, increasing high deficits, with increasingly high debt - and, this is going to sound political, but it is simply my assessment of what I think are facts: only one of the two political parties will even discuss raising taxes.

Tick tock.
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