Democrats & Liberals Archives

Obama for Fairer Taxes

President Bush’s solution to everything is tax cuts. His “across the board” tax cuts give token cuts to the non-wealthy and huge cuts to the wealthy. Barack Obama in his recent speech on taxes, touted his scheme for turning the tables in the interest of fairness: cutting taxes for the non-wealthy at the expense of the wealthy, who he would ask to pay more than the tiny or no tax they have been paying.

Here are a few of his tax proposals in favor of the non-wealthy:

  • WORK TAX CREDIT - The most regressive tax workers endure is the tax deducted from their pay for future Social Security benefits. To help workers on the bottom of this pile, Obama is proposing a $500 tax credit for the first $500 deducted.

  • MORTGAGE INTEREST TAX CREDIT - Two-thirds of Americans do not itemize their taxes and thus do not receive the home mortgage interest deduction that is available to more affluent citizens who do itemize. Obama would correct this by offering a new 10% mortgage interest tax credit to those who do not itemize.

  • IRS TO PREPARE FORMS - Almost everybody considers preparing the tax form a pain. But it is especially hard on workers who cannot afford to pay for tax-form preparation. Since most of these forms are straightforward, Obama says the IRS should prepare the forms and send them out; the taxpayer would sign and return the form together with any money, if required.
To counter the losses from these actions, here are a few ways Obama would get more funds from the wealthy, who have not been paying their fair share:
  • CLOSE CORPORATE LOOPHOLES - There are many, too many to list. We know that many prosperous corporations pay NOTHING in income taxes. This is grossly unfair. I'm a little unhappy that we will be told in the future which loopholes Obama will recommend be closed.

  • REMOVE TAX BREAKS FOR HEDGE FUND MANAGERS - There is no reason why hedge fund managers should be treated differently from everyone else.

  • INCREASE CAPITAL GAINS TAX - It's not clear how much. They are talking about raising it from 15%up to 28%. I think it should be raised more. Why should someone who does not work for his income pay less than somewone who does work for it?

  • PENALIZE TAX HAVENS - It is not clear now how.

  • GET RID OF TAX SHELTERS - They should not be allowed, especially those that have no economic purpose other than to save on taxes.
Obama's approach sounds good. It would be the first step in making our tax system fairer. We have a long way to go, however, before we get the very wealthy to pay what they truly owe.

Posted by Paul Siegel at September 19, 2007 5:51 PM
Comments
Comment #233519

“To counter the losses from these actions, here are a few ways Obama would get more funds from the wealthy, who have not been paying their fair share:

According to IRS data from 2004 (updated 9/2006), the top 1% of wage earners pay over 36% of all income taxes. The top 5% pay over 57%, the top 10%, over 68%, the top 25% of wage earners pay almost 85% of all income taxes.

Is Obama’s idea of the “wealthy paying their fair share” that all income taxes are paid by the top 25% of taxpayers?

Posted by: Snardius at September 19, 2007 6:32 PM
Comment #233522

We know that many prosperous corporations pay NOTHING in income taxes. This is grossly unfair.

We don’t know any such thing.

Besides, corporations don’t pay taxes, the cost of their tax bill is built into the price of the goods or services they provide. If you cut corporate tax rates to zero, the price of their product will go down…good for the consumer, no?

Why should someone who does not work for his income pay less than somewone who does work for it?

The vast majority of capital gains go to individuals who are either retired or saving for retirement and who hold mutual funds and stocks. Raising the capital gains tax on these hard working people only reduces their rate of return making them more dependent on Social Security to retire.

Posted by: Snardius at September 19, 2007 6:43 PM
Comment #233526

IMO I think a flat tax rate for everyone would be the fair way to go. A 10% to 15% rate would be fair. Example $10,000 you pay $1,000, $100,000 you pay $10,000 per year in taxes, no deductions very little paperwork.

Posted by: KAP at September 19, 2007 7:02 PM
Comment #233527

Paul

These are all very general. I like the earned income credit. Bush raised that one too, BTW.

Taxing captial gains is a silly idea. Many countries do not tax them at all. It discourages investment and sometimes you really do not have a net gain. For example, if I sell a stock that has gained $100 and buy another stock for the same price, I have to pay taxes on a captial gain I really did not take. Rather than do that, I am likely to stay in a stock I no longer really consider optimal. When lots of people do this, it leads to great inefficiencies.

Our corporate income taxes are already among the highest in the world. Most Euro countries, which you all usually call progressive, have much lower rates. Ireland has only 12%.

We should tax to give the government revenue. You can argue that we should tax in such ways the maximize long term growth (and so long term revenue).

You have to remember that taxes are part of a system. Raising the rates on “the rich” does not always result in their paying more. In fact, the rich pay more and a greater % of taxes now than they did when rates were higher. Despite what Dems say, raising taxes is not always the answer.

Posted by: Jack at September 19, 2007 7:11 PM
Comment #233544

KAP,

“IMO I think a flat tax rate for everyone would be the fair way to go.”

That still leaves the power to increase the tax rate in the hands of the congress. Each individual needs to control the amount of tax he pays. The only fair way to do that is to repeal ALL income and payroll taxes and replace them with a consumption tax called The Fair Tax. You can read more about it Here.

Posted by: Snardius at September 19, 2007 8:33 PM
Comment #233551

The current tax system is essentially REGRESSIVE.

Why not create a simplified NEUTRAL tax system?

Which tax system do you prefer?

Also, the money system is REGRESSIVE.
Why? Inflation is like a REGERSSIVE tax.

All sales taxes are REGRESSIVE.

The current tax system is so abuse, it is REGRESSIVE.

Illegal immigration is like a REGRESSIVE tax (something perpetuated for votes (mostly DEMs), and REPUBs (cheap labor and DEMs).

Posted by: d.a.n at September 19, 2007 9:09 PM
Comment #233552

I agree—give us a flat tax with slight modifications. Those with an income below a certain level should remain on a graduated scale which prevents the extremely poor from paying taxes. For somebody making 20 grand a year, even 10% or 15% would be an enormous burden and much more than they have to pay now. If the rate isn’t graduated, those near the cut-off point would have to much incentive to either hide income or actually not make it in the first place.

Simply trying to soak the rich and shift even more tax burden onto them as Obama proposes is just not going to work. In fact, it will backfire as the wealthy simply move more of their assets offshore and find the loopholes that will always be there in any tax system, and actually shrink the tax base.

Posted by: Liam at September 19, 2007 9:16 PM
Comment #233561

Snardius, good stuff above on the FairTax consumption tax. Kudo’s.

There is no reasonable equity of distribution under the current INCOME tax system. What’s more, the Tax Code has become a “tinkerer’s paradise” for 53% of the lobbyists who game it in Washington DC. It’s a lucrative business, and the U.S. TAXPAYER pays for ALL of it in higher prices (i.e., a hidden tax which is incomprehensible to the average working person).

Prices after FairTax passage would look similar to prices before FairTax - not “30% higher” as opponents contend - competition would see to it. So, the FairTax rate (figured as an income-tax-rate-non-comparative, sales tax) on new items would be 29.85% (on the new, reduced cost of items because business isn’t taxed under FairTax - thus lowering retail prices by 20% to 30%), or 23% of the “tax inclusive” price tag - this is the way INCOME TAX is figured (parts of the total dollar).

The effective percentages, that different income groups would pay under the FairTax, are calculated by crediting the monthly “prebate” (advance rebate of projected tax on necessities) against all likely spending that citizen families (1-member and greater, Dept. of HHS poverty-level data) are likely to spend. (A single person would receive ~$200/mo. A family of four ~$500 - in addition to working members no longer having tax withholding confiscated from the fruits of their labor every two weeks.) Prof.’s Kotlikoff and Rapson (10/06) concluded,

“…the FairTax imposes much lower average taxes on working-age households than does the current system. The FairTax broadens the tax base from what is now primarily a system of labor income taxation to a system that taxes, albeit indirectly, both labor income and existing wealth. By including existing wealth in the effective tax base, much of which is owned by rich and middle-class elderly households, the FairTax is able to tax labor income at a lower effective rate and, thereby, lower the average lifetime tax rates facing working-age Americans.

“Consider, as an example, a single household age 30 earning $50,000. The household’s average tax rate under the current system is 21.1 percent. It’s 13.5 percent under the FairTax. Since the FairTax would preserve the purchasing power of Social Security benefits and also provide a tax rebate, older low-income workers who will live primarily or exclusively on Social Security would be better off. As an example, the average remaining lifetime tax rate for an age 60 married couple with $20,000 of earnings falls from its current value of 7.2 percent to -11.0 percent under the FairTax. As another example, compare the current 24.0 percent remaining lifetime average tax rate of a married age 45 couple with $100,000 in earnings to the 14.7 percent rate that arises under the FairTax.”

Further, per Jokischa and Kotlikoff (circa 2006?)

“…once one moves to generations postdating the baby boomers there are positive welfare gains for all income groups in each cohort. Under a 23 percent FairTax policy, the poorest members of the generation born in 1990 enjoy a 13.5 percent welfare gain. Their middle-class and rich contemporaries experience 5 and 2 percent welfare gains, respectively. The welfare gains are largest for future generations. Take the cohort born in 2030. The poorest members of this cohort enjoy a huge 26 percent improvement in their well-being. For middle class members of this birth group, there’s a 12 percent welfare gain. And for the richest members of the group, the gain is 5 percent.”

Posted by: Ian at September 20, 2007 1:32 AM
Comment #233580

Can we get back to how Obama is using envy to promote class warfare and pander for votes now?

Posted by: kctim at September 20, 2007 10:15 AM
Comment #233598

Snardius,
The top 1% may pay 36% of the taxes, but they have at least 40% of the money (the 40% figure is from 2001—from everything I’ve heard, they now have more than that). That’s a 4% underpayment by the top 1% right there. If you consider income that is not immediately needed for basics like food, clothing, and shelter, the top 1-5% has practically all of the money. Additionally, their incomes (through capital gains) are taxed at a lower rate than working people’s. Why is rectifying that envious or unfair?

Jack,
I’m no economist by any means, but your arguments sound ridiculous to me.

Taxing captial gains is a silly idea. Many countries do not tax them at all. It discourages investment and sometimes you really do not have a net gain. For example, if I sell a stock that has gained $100 and buy another stock for the same price, I have to pay taxes on a captial gain I really did not take.

So your holdings increased by $100.00, but they didn’t, because you used your new money to buy something with. Heck, all of my money shouldn’t count as income, then. I spend almost all of it.
Our corporate income taxes are already among the highest in the world. Most Euro countries, which you all usually call progressive, have much lower rates. Ireland has only 12%

Good to see that you agree with nationalized health care, Jack, after all, most progressive countries have it. Aren’t you always the one saying how much better our economy is than Europe’s? Maybe it’s the higher corporate taxes! We should increase them! (Just kidding, but I think it’s a silly argument).
Raising the rates on “the rich” does not always result in their paying more. In fact, the rich pay more and a greater % of taxes now than they did when rates were higher./

How could that be? The only way the rich could pay a higher percentage of total taxes with a lower rate is if they had an even larger increase in the percentage of taxable money that they control. If true, this is proof that the tax cuts have disproportionately favored the rich, and that the money has been flowing upward under the current tax system.
Despite what Dems say, raising taxes is not always the answer.

And despite what Giuliani and the rest of the republicans say, lowering taxes is not going to solve all of our financial problems, either. Lowering taxes is not always the answer. The Bush tax cuts, despite any good they have done, are also the single biggest factor in the size of our deficits, and have not led to increased revenues compared to before the tax cuts.

Posted by: Brian at September 20, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #233610

The dollar is weaker than ever, and that’s partly due to our debt. There’s greater economic disparity in this country than ever before.

Republicans! You are killing us!

Posted by: Max at September 20, 2007 3:04 PM
Comment #233614

NOTE: There’s appears to be some confusion above.
Some simply refer to tax as a flat tax.
Is that a flat sales tax, a flat income tax.
Some refer to a federal sales tax.
Is that a simple sales tax, or the FairTax.org plan (which is a 30% Naitonal Sales Tax with a pre-bate and elimination income taxes).
_______________________

(1) The 17% NEUTRAL INCOME TAX PLAN with no tax by anyone on income below the poverty level (e.g. the first $10,000; a number established annually by the government); no tax loop holes, and no taxes on corporations that simply get passed on to consumers as another hidden sales tax (all sales taxes are REGRESSIVE); and everyone pays an EQUAL percentage of income tax and only on income above the poverty level (eliminating the motives to evade the cut-off threshold). To me, that seems most fair. No one (rich or poor) pays any tax on the income below the poverty level, and only income above the poverty level is taxed the same 17% for everyone. An equal tax rate is neutral; neither regressive or progressive. 17% is based on federal tax revenues (about $2.3 Trillion in 2006) and GDP (about $13.5 Trillion). Over time, after the 77 million baby boomer bubble (13,175 senior citizens becoming eligible for entitlements per day for many years), the 17% could conceivably be lowered. If 17% isn’t enough (and it should be), then the federal government should cut spending, and they should start with the rampant pork-barrel, graft, waste, and corporate welfare.
_______________________

(2) The current tax system, which is a mixture of a progressive tax system and a myriad of tax loop holes that let the wealhty pay less tax as a percentage of income. Warren Buffet now pays less tax as a percentage of income than a secretary making $60,000 annually since capital gains are only taxed at 15% , but the average income tax rate is 20%.
_______________________

(3) The 30% National Sales Tax (the FairTax.org plan, with pre-bates), which would most likely tax those at the lower income levels more as a percentage of income unless the wealthy spend all of their money (as most people at the low income levels do). It would probably allow the wealthy to pay less tax as a percentage of income since the people with incomes approaching the lower spectrum have to spend most of their money to get by (thus, losing upto 30% of their income to the 30% sales tax). Sales taxes are regressive unless everyone spends all of their income. This isn’t likely for the wealthy (a comparison of the 30% National Sales Tax with the 17% NEUTRAL INCOME TAX system described above).
_______________________

(4) The progressive income tax system would increase the tax rate as income increases. I consider this unfair and no better than the opposite situation where the percentage of income increases as income decreases. To me, this is truly what I would call “soaking the rich”. None of the other 3 tax sytems above can be accused of soaking the rich.
_______________________

    DEFINITIONS:
  • REGRESSIVE TAX: the less you earn, the higher your tax rate relative to income (regardless of how tax is paid; i.e. sales tax or income tax).
  • PROGRESSIVE TAX: the more you earn, the higher your tax rate relative to income (regardless of how tax is paid; i.e. sales tax or income tax).
  • NUETRAL TAX: regardless of your income, you pay the same tax rate relative to income (regardless of how tax is paid; i.e. sales tax or income tax). Of course, many systems choose to not tax the lowest income levels since that simply pushes people onto welfare.
_______________________

Now, which of the FOUR tax plans above do you prefer?
Or, if you have a better plan, what would it be?

By the way, the current tax system is REGRESSIVE.
It is all well and good to say the wealthy pay most taxes, but do they pay an EQUAL percentage based on income?
Because the one question constantly asked in the end, regardless of the tax system, is will people’s income be taxed evenly?
If we are constantly asked this question, why shouldn’t income be taxed equally (with a little help for the poor, rather than pushing them onto welfare rolls)?
Such as a 17% income tax, with no tax on anyone’s income below the poverty level, and the elimination of all tax loopholes and corporate taxes that merely end up as hidden sales taxes passed onto consumers
(NOTE: All sales taxes are REGRESSIVE).

Posted by: d.a.n at September 20, 2007 3:47 PM
Comment #233615

Paul,

We’re in the “promise” stage of selecting a POTUS. They all promise a better life for everyone. They’re going to tax us less and give us more.

At this point in the race they’re all full of $h!t.

I tend to think David Remer is right about America’s financial future and none of us want to face the real facts, so we’ll keep on and on and on until everything falls completely apart. IMO at this point Edwards is being the most honest and the most realistic about the economy, especially regarding taxes, but elections are seldom won on truth.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 3:55 PM
Comment #233616
Can we get back to how Obama is using envy to promote class warfare and pander for votes now?
Perhaps that requires some knowledge of tax systems first?

I don’t Obama’s suggestion will help much, because it is still far too complex and ripe for abuse. It might make the system less REGRESSIVE, but it will still be a mess. It is too complex (by design).

I don’t approve of class warfare, but we do need to recognize the reality that some (not all) people abuse vast wealth and power to control and influence government. A good example of it is the fact that 83% of all federal campaign donations come from a tiny 0.15% of all 200 million voters. The remaining 99.85% of all 200 million voters can’t complete with that if we are to have this government that is FOR-SALE. Especially not when 90% of all elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money (usually the incumbent).

Posted by: d.a.n at September 20, 2007 3:56 PM
Comment #233618
At this point in the race they’re all full of $h!t.
I agree! : ) Posted by: d.a.n at September 20, 2007 4:00 PM
Comment #233620

There are a few things each candidate claims to support, but none of them even come close to supporting the top 10-to-15 most important problems facing the nation; growing dangerously in number and severity.

And some that say the claim to support certain things raises the question: Why have those things not been supported so far?

And few even noticed that the Fed chairman (Bernanke) is saying (if we don’t do something soon), Americans will be looking at a 14% drop in the standard of living for the next several decades, and that 14% drop won’t be evenly distributed. Not when 90% of the U.S. population only has 17% of all wealth, and 5% of the U.S. population has 60% of all wealth (not to mention the $9 Trillion National debt, $12.8 Trillion spent out of Social Security, and the PBGC $450 Billion in the hole).

Posted by: d.a.n at September 20, 2007 4:13 PM
Comment #233624

“Perhaps that requires some knowledge of tax systems first?”

No d.a.n, that would require a topic about which tax system is best, not a topic about how a Presidential candidate is telling people that he will steal from one person and give to them, if they vote for him.

You know I respect and enjoy the info you give us, but I don’t think Paul was going for a debate on which way to tax is best. Instead, I believe he is following Obama’s lead and saying vote for my party and we will give you something in return for your vote.

Posted by: kctim at September 20, 2007 4:34 PM
Comment #233625

Brian,

“Additionally, their incomes (through capital gains) are taxed at a lower rate than working people’s. Why is rectifying that envious or unfair?”

First, capital gains are not “income” they are gains realized from investing capital. Invested capital provides jobs and the wealthy are not the only taxpayers who benefit from such gains. Anyone who owns equities can realize capital gains and equities are owned by all people in all income groups, not just the wealthy. If there were no tax on capital gains, we’d have more jobs and a healthier economy which benefits us all.

Secondly, it seems a little unfair that 1% of the taxpayers pay more than 1/3 of the tax bill every year, regardless how much money they have. Why should a doctor, lawyer, or other professional who invested time and money to educate themselves pay a higher percentage of their income to the IRS just because they’re successful? Why should a small business owner who risks all they have and provides jobs too, be forced to pay a higher tax rate than the people they employ? Your message seems to be more about punishing successful people than it is about tax policy.


Finally, reducing the tax rate results in an expansion of the economy and the tax base causing tax revenues to increase.

So, if lower tax rates result in an increase in revenue to the government then how can you state tax cuts are “the single biggest factor in the size of our deficits”…?

Income - spending = surplus/deficit.

Posted by: Snardius at September 20, 2007 4:34 PM
Comment #233631

Max,

The dollar is weaker than ever, and that’s partly due to our debt.

The ratio of our debt to GDP is at 38 percent which is actually below the post–World War II average of 43 percent. So it’s not the debt that’s weighing on the dollar.

It’s the Fed who’s job it is to maintain the purchasing power of the dollar…and Democrats are in control of the purse strings.

Posted by: Snardius at September 20, 2007 4:58 PM
Comment #233635

(NOTE: All sales taxes are REGRESSIVE)

d.a.n.

Yes they are!!!!!!!!!!

One little thing I’d add is that the IRS has been used for the actual transfer of wealth for decades now. I used to do family members taxes for them throughout the years and I was shocked at just how profitable it could be for an unmarried person to have kids!!!!!!!!

Or how someone that paid NO taxes could still receive a refund based solely on filing status or number of dependents!!!!!!!!!

Excuse me, but I have no problem with welfare, I think we should ALL be required to pitch in to help out every one of our fellow citizens in need, but it should be done through WELFARE! Welfare should not be a dirty word. Using the IRS as an arm of our welfare agencies is dead wrong though.

Our tax system should be a tax system only! Keep it simple and make it truly fair! I tend to prefer a progressive tax rate beginning at 0.1% of $1.00 and gradually increasing to cover the needs of our society, but I’m also open to the idea of a flat tax beginning at 150% of the poverty level.

Just get rid of all the BS in the tax code! The best years I had dealing with taxes were the years I was self employed. Yes, I paid more in employee taxes, including Social Security, unemployment, etc, but I had the greatest flexibility imaginable when it came down to investments, I just put too many eggs in the wrong basket.

Four out of six years I actually got more money back from the Fed IRS than I paid in!!!!!!!!! I grinned at the time, but in actuality it amounts to YOU paying ME thru the IRS! It’s time to fix the tax code and it won’t be done without correcting taxation of corporations.

The so called “conservatives” love to look back at century old family values. Maybe we should return to “century old” taxation when nearly the entire tax burden was borne by those with wealth! Of course that was before the MIC!

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 5:26 PM
Comment #233636

“and Democrats are in control of the purse strings.”

Snardius,

Yeah, you bet ………. in less than 10 months we screwed everything up! Are you real?

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 5:30 PM
Comment #233640

Capital gains are not income?

Any money you get is income. Please. Lets not let creative semantics get in the way of good common sense.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 20, 2007 5:37 PM
Comment #233642

Definitions of income on the Web:

* the financial gain (earned or unearned) accruing over a given period of time
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* Income, generally defined, is the money that is received as a result of the normal business activities of an individual or a business. For example, most individuals’ income is the money they receive from their regular paychecks.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income

* The amount of money received from employment (salary, wages, tips), profit from financial instruments (interest, dividends, capital gains), or other sources (welfare, disability, child support, Social Security and pensions).
www.msun.edu/stuaffairs/finaid/glossary/i.htm

* money or its equivalent received in exchange for labor, for services, from the sale of goods or property, or as earnings on investments.
www.ots.treas.gov/glossary/gloss-i.html

* For corporations, same as earnings. For individuals, money earned through employment and investments.
www.unisys.com/common/investors/glossary/i.asp

* A term used to refer to the calculated result of adding the revenue, gain, expense and loss transactions generated by a company. If revenue plus gains less expenses and losses results in a positive number, then the company has generated income during the specified period.
www.theaccountspayablenetwork.com/html/modules.php

* Your income is the total amount of money you receive from all sources, including wages, commissions, bonuses, government or retirement benefits, compensation claims interest and dividends on all investments.
www.banks.adopto-finance.com/glossary.html

* payment in money for services or work, or from property or investments.
library.thinkquest.org/J003358F/terms.html

* Money received from wages (earned) or from investments (unearned).
www.clericalmedical.co.uk/Business/Reference/Glossary.asp

* regular payments from an investment derived from interest on cash or bonds, dividends on shares, or rent from properties.
www.btonline.com.au/content/resources/glossary.htm

* The return from an investment. Can be derived from interest, dividends or appreciation in the value of asset that is realized when the asset is sold.
www.finance.gov.ab.ca/business/ahstf/glossary.html

* Total amount of money earned by an individual from all sources.
www.vec.virginia.gov/vecportal/lbrmkt/glossary.cfm

* As defined in the Current Population Survey, income includes money income (prior to payments for personal income taxes, Social Security, union dues, Medicare deductions, etc. …
www.agingstats.gov/chartbook2000/glossary.html

* Money that is derived from assets held and earnings (such as rent and interest) but not “purchase money” (land converted into money).
www.courts.govt.nz/maorilandcourt/glossary.htm

* The amount of money one earns. This can be through one’s job or through investments, etc..
www.mcwdn.org/ECONOMICS/EcoGlossary.html

* 1. The amount of money (nominal or real) received by a person, household, or other economic unit per unit time in return for services provided or goods sold. 2. National income. 3. The return earned on an asset per unit time.
www-personal.umich.edu/~alandear/glossary/i.html

* Money that is earned by a company.
www.ktec.com/sec_news/hs_busplan/definitions.htm

* Description: Flow of money, goods or services deriving from the productive use of assets. Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries
europa.eu.int/comm/research/biosociety/library/glossarylist_en.cfm

* represents money that you have received in advance of providing the goods or services to your customer. Unearned revenue is a liability of your business until you provide the goods or services you agreed to provide to the customer.
www.ventureline.com/glossary_U.asp

* The monetary payment received for goods or services, or from other sources, such as rents or investments; revenue; receipts.
hafoundation.org/about/glossary/

* Generally, the return in money or property derived from the use of principal. Examples include rents, interest, dividends, royalties and receipts from business operations. The definition of income for purposes of all types of split-interest trusts varies slightly from state to state.
www.ashland.edu/estate/glossary.html

* Gross earned income, less business expenses, but before any other deductions. Income includes salaries, wages, fees, commissions, bonuses, business profits or other payments for personal services. It does not include unearned income from savings, investments, or real property.
www.protectyourincome.com/glossary.asp

* Dividends or interest received by owners of equity or bonds respectively. Dividends represent a portion of earnings paid to shareholders while interest is compensation to bondholders in the form of cash or more bonds for the lending of capital. Reinvested income can significantly add to returns. See Projected Income.
www.zacks.com/help/glossary/index.php

* Sources of revenue such as salary, bonuses, interest, investment income, etc.
www.ubcd.com/terms.asp

* The money or other benefit coming from the use of property, skill, or business.
www.mtgmortgages.com/glossaryI.htm

* Funds received for use within the University for services and products rendered. Income sources consist of tuition, fees, sales, gifts and grants, and other miscellaneous income steams.
www.fis.psu.edu/fo/BAGloss.htm

* typically refers to the interest and dividends paid to investors in bonds and stocks.
www.pbucc.org/pension/tools/glossary.php

Posted by: womanmarine at September 20, 2007 5:38 PM
Comment #233647

“I think we should ALL be required to pitch in to help out every one of our fellow citizens in need”

Why is your version of help better than mine K-Dem?
You believe in pitching in and giving something for nothing will help…I believe giving something for nothing does nothing but promote further imcompetence.
I don’t want to force you to support and believe as I do so that you cannot help in your way, why must I be forced to “help” in your way?

Womanmarine
I’m curious as to which definition the IRS uses to define income. Do you know which definition they use?
Thank you.

Posted by: kctim at September 20, 2007 5:51 PM
Comment #233654

KansasDem,

“Yeah, you bet ………. in less than 10 months we screwed everything up! Are you real?”

Yes, I’m real. And just what, economically, is screwed up? Unemployment is at historic lows (lower than at any time during the Clinton years). The stock market is approaching all-time highs. Wages are increasing at a rate the Fed calls “an inflation concern.” The deficit has been cut by more than half.

I fail to see where the problems are except for a few homeowners who took on more of a mortgage than they could afford.

Posted by: Snardius at September 20, 2007 6:19 PM
Comment #233655
Paul Siegel wrote: Obama’s approach sounds good. It would be the first step in making our tax system fairer. We have a long way to go, however, before we get the very wealthy to pay what they truly owe.
I agree. Our current tax system is REGRESSIVE. It wasn’t supposed to be, but it is. Warren Buffet can confirm it. He paid a lower income tax rate than a secretary making $60K per year. Other wealthy people have admitted it isn’t fair, but I didn’t hear of any of the wealthy sending a check to the IRS to make up for it. NOTE: Being wealthy is not a crime, but using it to control and influence government should be. Yet it isn’t.
d.a.n wrote: “Perhaps that requires some knowledge of tax systems first?”
kctim wrote: No d.a.n, … that would require a topic about which tax system is best, not a topic about how a Presidential candidate is telling people that he will steal from one person and give to them, if they vote for him.
Sorry kctim, but I disagree. It’s difficult to talk about which taxes are good for the poor or good for the wealthy without understanding something about which taxes and systems are:
  • REGRESSIVE
  • NEUTRAL
  • PROGRESSIVE
  • or a MIXTURE (like the current tax system which is a really a MESS).

After all, how else can people decide if Obama’s tax changes are good or not …

  • if people don’t know which taxes are REGRESSIVE in nature (i.e. such as corporate income taxes which are passed onto consumers as a hidden sales tax and hidden sales taxes are always REGRESSIVE),

  • or whether capital gains taxes are income taxes (and we already have a dispute about that),

  • etc.

kctim wrote: Instead, I believe he [Paul Siegel] is following Obama’s lead and saying vote for my party and we will give you something in return for your vote.
Well, I seriously doubt that Paul Siegel would characterize it that way at all. I think Paul Siegel believes Obama’s suggestions are a step in the right direction.

I think they are a very slight step in the right direction in some ways, but mostly a step side-ways.

As for your take that it is all about buying votes (quid pro quo), that may be true. But we should examine each of these proposals by Obama first before drawing that conclusion. If the changes help make things more fair, what is wrong with that? Not that I think that will be the end result. In fact, I’m not sure Obama really understands how the things he is proposing are REGRESSIVE, or PROGRESSIVE, or NEUTRAL, or INCREASING COMPLEXITY.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 20, 2007 6:24 PM
Comment #233657

“Why is your version of help better than mine K-Dem?”

kctim,

Pure ideology on my part. I admit that. I believe we should all support a safety net for our fellow citizens. Pure ideology! I also believe it’s proven to be beneficial to the overall economy, but for the most part I simply believe that anyone who enjoys the fruits of our society should participate in funding that society whether they’re willing to do so or not.

If the majority disagrees then the safety net will go away ……….. then we’ll see what happens.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 6:44 PM
Comment #233660

“And just what, economically, is screwed up?”

Snardius,

I quoted you in my first response and I’m quoting you again. You seem to think debt doesn’t matter. Well, I disagree, debt does matter. Look at this chart:

http://www.lafn.org/politics/gvdc/Natl_Debt_Chart.html

And your numbers are nonsense. look at this graph:

http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

The national debt is pushing 70% of GDP! And that’s not including repayment of the Social Security trust fund!!!!!

I thought Reagan pulled the slickest trick by any politician in years! Reagan convinced everyone that they were getting a big tax cut, then increased Soc. Sec. taxes (which was supposed to fix soc sec for all time) and then pumped that “trust fund” into the general fund.

And con-swerve-atives laughed at a “lock box”! Bush again today declared Social Security bankrupt although it is the ONLY government program that actually has a surplus. Yeah, the Neo-Cons have raided that surplus to pay for wars and shit, but the surplus exists …… in weaker dollars for ALL Americans!

But, cheer up ……. Gingrich is only $30 Million from jumping into the race for POTUS.

http://tinyurl.com/2f5nwh

Oh, I almost forgot that it was Bush and a Republican Congress that increased Medicare spending with NO way of paying for it! And the true beneficiaries are the drug companies and the insurance providers.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 7:26 PM
Comment #233680

KCTim:

Here you go, you figure it out :) :)

IRS FAQ Interest/Dividends/Other Types of Income

Posted by: womanmarine at September 20, 2007 10:27 PM
Comment #233682

Jack said: “In fact, the rich pay more and a greater % of taxes now than they did when rates were higher.”

That is debatable. But, the following is not. The national debt has risen 3.35 Trillion Dollars as a result of lowering taxes on this group who pay the lion’s share of tax revenues, along with middle class cuts.

War on terror including Iraq = .61 trillion. Katrina = under 200 billion. Homeland Security above pre 9/11 levels = about .6 trillion.

Total = 1.4 trillion. The typical lay retort about 9/11, Katrina, and War on Terror accounting for the debt increase is bogus, and does not explain the shortfall of 2 trillion dollars.

Where did the 2 trillion shortfall come from? Republican’s tax cuts have created 2 trillion dollars in national debt by failing to produce revenues equal to the President’s and Republican Congress’ budgets after deducting the costs of Katrina and post 9/11 additional expenditures.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 20, 2007 10:37 PM
Comment #233684

This discussion is quite rediculous. We should all be able to agree that the current tax system is unacceptable, and I have yet to hear why the flat tax won’t work… Sure, the rich pay more, the poor pay less (that’s why it’s a percentage!) and it should be taken straight from income (you shouldn’t have to file taxes). It shouldn’t matter how many kids you have or if you have a house or not. And if you happen to be poor, I’m sorry, but at least your paying the least amount of tax, the poorer you are.
And as for health insurance… Doesn’t anybody get that the reason health care costs are so high is BECAUSE of insurance??? I worked for an insurance company for seven years and it’s the biggest ripoff ever! It should be abolished for all but catestrophic health issues. You’d see a dramatic reduction of costs immediately!
By the way… Does it seem the original blog was written for a 5th grader or is it just me? I’m more than happy to follow up with my less than perfect grammer. hehehe…

Posted by: Nolan at September 20, 2007 10:43 PM
Comment #233689

KansasDem,

“And your numbers are nonsense. look at this graph:”

I got my figures from the Heritage Foundation and yours are from a guy named Steve…(I’m Steve Stoft and this is my web site. I’m building it with a little help from my friends and volunteers, but so far, it’s mostly my work. I’m a Ph.D. economist…

Who’s numbers are nonsense?

Hyperbole isn’t fact…

Posted by: Snardius at September 20, 2007 11:30 PM
Comment #233704

KansasDem- I would believe my own CPA any time, over
anything heritage foundation has to say an can’t
trust those who recommend that ultra, right winged
republican stink tank.

Posted by: -DAVID- at September 21, 2007 4:08 AM
Comment #233721
Jack wrote: You have to remember that taxes are part of a system. Raising the rates on “the rich” does not always result in their paying more.
Mathematically, it should. There must be something wrong somewhere else? Could it be the myriad of tax loop holes?
Jack wrote: In fact, the rich pay more and a greater % of taxes now than they did when rates were higher.
Perhaps, because of more tax loop holes, which are more effectively used and abused as time goes on.

However, we also now have a lower capital gains tax rate (15%) than the average tax rate paid by a large percentage of American tax payers.

Can you prove that the wealthy pay a higher percentage of gross income to income taxes?
If so, this I have to see.
And please don’t bother to list tables of adjusted income after a huge percentage of their income was deducted for any number of tax loop holes.

MYTH: The wealthy pay a larger percentage of gross income to income taxes.

FACT: The United States Federal Income Tax system is effectively REGRESSIVE (just ask Warren Buffet (2nd richest person in the country) paid a smaller percentage of income to income taxes than a secretary making $60K because of tax loop holes and a lower income tax rate on capital gains than the average tax rate paid by most Americans).

Our current tax system is a mixture of what was supposed to be a PROGRESSIVE tax system, and a million tax loop holes that effectively (and cleverly) results in a tax system that is REGRESSIVE.

There are other REGRESSIVE systems working against the less wealthy (aside from the REGRESSIVE tax system).
Let’s list all of them …

  • (1) REGRESSIVE TAX SYSTEM (as described above).

  • (2) We have a REGRESSIVE money system.
    A dollar in 1950 is now only worth 11.59 cents.
    Inflation is 863% .
    How is that REGRESSIVE ?
    Simple.
    Unless you are wealthy enough to buy assets that preserve wealth (e.g. real estate, gold, corporations, banks, etc.), then inflation is like a REGRESSIVE tax. It especially hits those on fixed incomes hardest. It erodes savings. The less weatlhy one is, the more they are disadvantaged. Inflation encourages spending (and discourages saving) to avoid erosion of the dollar falling in value each day. Even at 4% , $100 erodes to only $66.48 in 10 years. Remember 14% inflation around year 1980? $100 erodes to $63.61 in only 3 years, $47.04 in 5 years, and $22.13 in 10 years. Some people say some modest inflation is good, deflation is bad, and too much inflation is bad. So, if inflation is bad, and deflation is bad, then why is some inflation good? Isn’t that like saying some bad is good? Go figure.

  • (3) We have REGRESSIVE sales taxes everywhere.
    All sales taxes are REGRESSIVE.
    The poorer you are, the higher your taxes are as a percentage of your income. Especially the poor who have to spend most (or all) of their income just to get by.
    Yet, get this, there some pushing for a BILL to pass a 30% Sales tax. That call it the FairTax, but it is about the farthest thing from fair. Why? Because ALL sales taxes are REGRESSIVE. If voters let this come to pass, I will have no sympathy for them. They will get (again) what they deserve.

  • (4) We have a REGRESSIVE immigration system.
    Some abuse the immigration system for profit and votes. Over $70 Billion per year of net losses are shifted to tax payers (due to burdens on schools, hospitals, ERs, heatlhcare, CDC, Medicaid, welfare, law enforcment, highways, prisons (29% of all incarcerated in federal prisons are illegal aliens), insurance, voter fraud, job displacement, crime, etc.).

  • (5) Corporate income taxes are like a hidden REGRESSIVE sales tax, because they are simply passed onto consumers. It is an unnecessary over-complication. So who do you think Corporate income taxes really hurts or helps? Do you really think the wealthy owners of corporations are not passing that cost on as higher prices and lower salaries? This is not a free pass for corporations to pollute, use, and abuse the environment and nation’s resources. Corporations should bear the costs and penalties for all damages they cause and tax payers should no longer pick up the bill for corporations that cause pollution and harm. Taxes are not the proper method to make corporations accountable. Steep fines, jail sentences, and law enforcement is the way to deal with corporate abuses. Also, perks to employees from corporations is a form of income and must be taxed. Otherwise, the CEOs and wealthy will simply live off the perks of the corporations. Again, this is a law enforcement issue that shouldn’t be addressed with taxes on corporations that simply get passed on to consumers.

  • (6) We have a REGRESSIVE and corrupt Congress that votes on pork barrel, waste, graft, and corporate welfare. $30 Billion (or more) per year.

What has been the result of all this warfare by some that abuse vast weatlh to control and influence government, and the rest of us?
See for yourself. Notice a trend since 1980?
The rich are getting richer.
The poor are getting poorer.
And the middleclass is stagnant.
Since 1950, GDP increased per capita about 2.7 times. Where did most of that wealth go? And why?

Jack wrote: Despite what Dems say, raising taxes is not always the answer.
I think the government is getting more than enough money. It already takes a whopping 19% of GDP (GDP=$13.2 Trillion in 2006).
The problem is the that the wealthy are currently NOT paying an EQUAL percentage of their gross income (NOTE: the word gross; before deductions due to a myriad of abused tax deductions and loop holes).

What needs to occur is not more complex rules that make the system easier to abuse and more costly to calculate.

What is needed is a NEUTRAL income tax system, with a poverty level deduction (for everyone; no sense in taxing income below the poverty level and pushing people onto welfare unnecessarily), and elimination of ALL tax loop holes.

But the tax system, illegal immigration, pork-barrel, corporate welfare, inflation, and all of those REGRESSIVE systems above are all because of a more fundamental problem, and NONE of them will get any better as long as too many voters repeated reward bought-and-paid-for politicians for stabbing the in the back (despite giving Congress a dismal 18% approval rating). Until then, voters have the government that they deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 21, 2007 10:08 AM
Comment #233736
Snardius wrote: The ratio of our debt to GDP is at 38 percent …
Not true. It is closer to 66% (based on National Debt only; not all federal debt).

First of all, our total federal debt is more than the $9 Trillion National Debt.
Current GDP is about $13.7 Trillion (projected to be $13.8 by the end of 2007).
National Debt currently $9.02 Trillion.
$9.02 Trillion Debt / $13.7 Trillion GDP=65.8%
The only time it was worse in the last century was in (and after) World War II.
However, we did not also have in 1950 the huge $12.8 Trillion Social Security, hundreds of billions of unfunded Medicare liabilities, and $450 Billion PBGC pension debt.
So, if you include all $22 Trillion federal debt, the ratio becomes $22 Trillion Debt / $13.7 Trillion GDP = 161% (which has never been worse).

Snardius wrote: The ratio of our debt to GDP is at 38 percent which is actually below the post–World War II average of 43 percent. So it’s not the debt that’s weighing on the dollar.
Debt encourages inflation. Why? Because inflation reduces debt. So there most certainly are nefarious motives for inflation. Between year 1950 and now, we have had 863% inflation, which is why $8.63 in year 1950 is only worth $1.00 now. GDP increased per capita about 2.7 times between 1950 and now, but where did it go?
Snardius wrote: It’s the Fed who’s job it is to maintain the purchasing power of the dollar…and Democrats are in control of the purse strings.
Who owns the Federal Reserve? Is the Fed doing a good job of controling inflation? Do you think easy credit and debt have anything to do with the Banks that can earn interest on new loans that consist of 89% new money (9 to 1 ratio)? Imagine a game of Monopoly where one person can print all the money they want. What happens? Before long, everyone else is in debt or broke. How is it that everyone that creates wealth is in debt to the banks? Some people say inflation is bad and deflation is bad, but a little inflation is good. Isn’t that like saying a little bad is good? After all, if inflation has been under control since 1950, why is a dollar in 1950 now only worth 11.59 cents? Even a mere 3.4% inflation (average for year 2006) can turn $100 into only $90.14 in 3 years, $78.49 in 7 years, and $70.76 in 10 years.

Inflation: 1% ____ 2% ____ 3% ____ 4% ____ 5% ____6% ____ 7% ___ 10% ___ 12% ___14%
YEAR:$100.00_$100.00_$100.00_$100.00_$100.00_ $100.00_$100.00_$100.00_ $100.00_$100.00
01 __ $99.00 _ $98.00 _ $97.00 _ $96.00 _ $95.00 _ $94.00 _ $93.00 _ $90.00 _ $88.00 _ $86.00
02 __ $98.01 _ $96.04 _ $94.09 _ $92.16 _ $90.25 _ $88.36 _ $86.49 _ $81.00 _ $77.44 _ $73.96
03 __ $97.03 _ $94.12 _ $91.27 _ $88.47 _ $85.74 _ $83.06 _ $80.44 _ $72.90 _ $68.15 _ $63.61
04 __ $96.06 _ $92.24 _ $88.53 _ $84.93 _ $81.45 _ $78.07 _ $74.81 _ $65.61 _ $59.97 _ $54.70
05 __ $95.10 _ $90.39 _ $85.87 _ $81.54 _ $77.38 _ $73.39 _ $69.57 _ $59.05 _ $52.77 _ $47.04
10 __ $90.44 _ $81.71 _ $73.74 _ $66.48 _ $59.87 _ $53.86 _ $48.40 _ $34.87 _ $27.85 _ $22.13
15 __ $86.01 _ $73.86 _ $63.33 _ $54.21 _ $46.33 _ $39.53 _ $33.67 _ $20.59 _ $14.70 _ $10.41
20 __ $81.79 _ $66.76 _ $54.38 _ $44.20 _ $35.85 _ $29.01 _ $23.42 _ $12.16 _ $07.76 _ $04.90
25 __ $77.78 _ $60.35 _ $46.70 _ $36.04 _ $27.74 _ $21.29 _ $16.30 _ $07.18 _ $04.09 _ $02.30
30 __ $73.97 _ $54.55 _ $40.10 _ $29.39 _ $21.46 _ $15.63 _ $11.34 _ $04.24 _ $02.16 _ $01.08

Snardius wrote: So it’s not the debt that’s weighing on the dollar.
Not true.

Debt does weigh heavily on the dollar because debt creates a strong motive to raise inflation to reduce the debt. So debt is a factor. To exacerbate things, total nation-wide personal debt is high too (about $20 Trillion). The interest on the $9 Trillion National Debt is over $1 Billion per day. At the moment, the government is borrowing the money to pay the interest. So the National Debt grows by more than $1 Billion per day. Try that with a couple of credit cards and see what happens. The Fed and government are gambling the GDP will increase enough to take off some of the pressure, but that may not be possible. After all, it took 56 years for GDP to increase (per capita) by about 2.7 times. Thus, infaltion is likely to remain high (over 1%) for many decades to come.

And that is probably why the Federal Reserve and federal government have perpetuated the incessant inflation for so many years. However, since the federal government lacks the discipline to control spending, the debt continues to grow to nightmare proportions. Immigration (legal or not) may be another result of massive debt (thinking it will increase GDP). However, that will probably only exacerbate the problem since the immigrants and impoverished and less educated.

There will be consequences for all of it. Hopefully, the consequences will be spread out over many decades into the future. But that is not really fair to saddle future generations with so much debt. At 4.5% interest on the $9 Trillion National Debt, it would take 153 years to pay off that debt.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 21, 2007 11:53 AM
Comment #233743


The top 25% of our people recieve 90% of the wealth generated in this country and they pay 85% of the taxes. It is not a very good bargain. If the 75%, who recieve 10% of the wealth for their labor, can be made to pay a greater percentage of the tax burden, the wealthy would recieve a better deal. Of course, the best solution would be no taxes for the wealthy. If this were the case, their generosity would be overwhelming, Im sure.

Posted by: jlw at September 21, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #233762


Paul S: Obama’s tax proposals are traditional Democratic tax code tinkering to redistribute wealth in favor of the workers. It is no different than the current Republican efforts on behalf of redistribution of wealth to the top.

What I would have liked to have seen from Obama is a simplified version of the tax code. Because of the way that Capitalism works, the simplified version must be progressive. There should be only one deduction for business and one for individuals.

Business should be allowed to deduct legitimate business expenses. The ability to claim individual life choices as legitimate business expenses should be eliminated. Business should be encouraged, but not given carte blanche.

The child deduction for individuals has caused me to pay a greter tax burden than my wage pers over the years. However, I don’t feel cheated because I consider it the price I pay for receiving Social Security without having offspring to support me. Therefor, I think a limited child deduction should be the only deduction for individuals. I suggest a full deduction for the first two children, 2/3rds deduction for the third, 1/3 deduction for the forth and no deduction for more. I think that the tax code should encourage child production, but not over encourage it.

I can see no reason to encourage marriage with the tax code as long as divorce is a prevalent option.

Capitalism concentrates wealth into the hands of a few by demeaning the value of labor. Because of this, there is no option but a progressive tax in which the more you make, the more you pay.


Posted by: jlw at September 21, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #233775
but a progressive tax in which the more you make, the more you pay.
Do mean nominally or percentage of income?

A flat percentage of 17% (like this plan) means a person with $1 million above the poverty level pays $170K in income tax and a person with $50K above the poverty lever pays $8500 in income taxes.
Both are 17% of their gross income over the poverty level.

However, a PROGRESSIVE tax system as I understand it is one that charges a higher income tax rate percentage; as income increases, the income tax rate percentage increases too.

All sales taxes (such as the 30% National Sales tax (i.e. the FairTax.org plan)) are REGRESSIVE. That is, as your income decreases, your tax as a percentage of income increases. Most people reject REGRESSIVE tax systems as unfair.

As for the deductions and such, that’s not a bad idea about a decreasing deduction per dependent (after the first two). Especially with such high divorce rates, and the world population growing by 249,000 people per day (10,375 per hour).

What I would have liked to have seen from Obama is a simplified version of the tax code.
Me too. Most would.

And Obama knows who butters his bread.
That’s why his proposal won’t change much if ever passed. The problem with tax loop-holes is that if you allow one, then before long, there are thousands. Once you start down that slope, it can only end badly.

The voters could fix this (taxes, immigration, Social Security, Iraq, inflation, etc.) if they wanted to bad enough. But they don’t. 40% to 50% of the 200 million eligible voters don’t even bother to vote. Most of the rest pull the party-lever and reward incumbents for the fine job they are doing. Winning seats is all that matter, even if the nation’s growing list of pressing problems continue to grow to nightmare proportions … at least until the consequences provide the motivation to do something different.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 21, 2007 3:22 PM
Comment #233826

“MORTGAGE INTEREST TAX CREDIT “

this is nonsense. people that don’t itemize, do so because it is of no benefit to them. if the standard deduction is more than the total of thier deductions, why would they itemize? sounds like more class warfare to me.


“IRS TO PREPARE FORMS “


here’s another stellar idea. if i have to explain this one then there’s no point in going any further. lets make the IRS even bigger, and more intrusive then it already is.

it’s real simple, if you pay a lot in taxes, when they’re cut you’ll save more. if they’re cut 3%, 3% of tax paid on an income of 100k is always going to be more than that of 25k. this is just more rhetoric designed to demonize those evil rich people.

http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=6

Posted by: dbs at September 21, 2007 5:30 PM
Comment #233926

“…there is no option but a progressive tax in which the more you make, the more you pay.”

The Progessive Income Tax…the more you make the less you get to keep.

Karl Marx

Posted by: Snardius at September 22, 2007 12:39 PM
Comment #233930

Snardius quoted: The Progessive Income Tax…the more you make the less you get to keep.

Snardius is in serious need of remedial math.

20% tax, $100 wages. You keep $80.
20% tax, $200 wages. You keep $160.

The more you make, the more you keep. $160 > $80.

Snardius, EBAY has a number of 4th grade math books for sale real cheap.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 22, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #233961

David,

How disingenuous of you.

You should know that a person in a 15% tax bracket gets to keep more of his earnings as percentage of his income than someone in a 39% tax bracket.

Good luck selling your 4th grade math books…are you sure you don’t still need them?

Posted by: Snardius at September 22, 2007 4:55 PM
Comment #233968

Snardius,
What David R. Remer questioned (and appropriately) was your statement:

the more you make the less you get to keep.

There are several other ambiguous statements in this thread that fail to distinguish the very important difference between more or less tax (nominal) or more or less tax rate (percentage).

So the statement:

the more you make the less you get to keep.

That is mathematically impossible even in a PROGRESSIVE tax system. Here is a better example:

20% tax, $100 wages. tax=$20 and you keep $80
30% tax, $200 wages. tax=$60 and you keep $140

The more you make, the more you keep. $140 > $80 (not less).
Thus, even in a PROGRESSIVE tax system, the more you make, the more you keep. What you really meant to say is the more you make, the smaller percentage of your income that you get to keep.

You accurately clarified that in your follow up…

Snardius wrote:
… a person in a 15% tax bracket gets to keep more of his earnings as percentage of his income than someone in a 39% tax bracket.

However, I’m splitting hairs, because I knew what you meant (i.e. based on percentage). But there are some that truly may not understand that.

Myself, I have the same philosophical problem with the PROGRESSIVE tax system that most people (excluding the FairTax.org 30% National Sales Tax proponents) have with a REGRESSIVE tax system. That is why I prefer a NEUTRAL tax system in which only income above the poverty level is taxed at an EQUAL percentage (e.g. 17% … at least until the 77 million baby boomer bubble passes).

A neutral rate will eliminate the justified excuses of trying to “soak the rich”.
A neutral rate can not be called REGRESSIVE, though many try.
After all, there has to exist a neutral rate somewhere, because there has to exist a point exactly between REGRESSIVE, and PROGRESSIVE.

You know, I almost got fooled by that FairTax.org plan.
First of all, I thought it was a 23% National Sales tax.
But it is really a 30% Sales Tax.
I’m betting they are really regreting having tried that ruse.
But the bottom line with any sales tax is that it is REGRESSIVE.
You may hear and see a lot of song and dance about how fair it is, but there is no way to mathematically prove that any sales tax is not REGRESSIVE.

We already have too many REGRESSIVE taxes.
Some are obvious, such as (e.g. sales taxes).
Some are hidden (e.g. corporate income tax that is passed onto consumers as a hidden REGRESSIVE sales tax, and reduced salaries for employees).
Some are indirectly REGRESSIVE, such as property taxes, illegal immigration, and inflation, and interest on loans.
In fact, the banks raising some peoples’ Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) from 6% to 14% is nothing more than a manifestation of uchecked greed.
Our current tax system is effectively REGRESSIVE because of thousands of tax loop holes that benefit the wealthy (which is why Warren Buffet had a smaller income tax than a secretary making $60K per year).

At any rate, it won’t change as long as too many voters repeatedly reward their politicians for stabbing them in the back.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 22, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #233971

CORRECTION: which is why Warren Buffet had a smaller income tax RATE than a secretary making $60K per year.

SEE how easy it is?

Posted by: d.a.n at September 22, 2007 5:45 PM
Comment #233976

d.a.n, you can lead them to math books, but, you can’t make them open one to study it. No wonder Japan is kicking our asses with our own economic and automobile design templates. They make math and science a constant education from K thru MBA.

Not like Americans who think they are arguing something meaningful by making blatantly false statements like the more you make the less you keep in a progressive tax or flat tax schema. Pretty incredible. I am so proud of my daughter learning Spanish, and Japanese now, and Chinese in college. She will no doubt find that knowledge indispensable to her options if American education does not improve dramatically.

What’s really shocking is that many of our Congress persons have this same mathematical incapacity. Truly frightening as they vote on trillions of dollars of spending and taxation. No wonder our national debt keeps growing.

In 2003 I wrote here that Bush and Congress would leave a 10 trillion dollar national debt behind as Bush leaves office. Republicans called that prediction crazy. We are past 9 trillion and shooting for 10 as I type these words.

In fact, if Congress shut down in January of this year, before Democrats got hold of the spending, the Republican bills and programs would have crossed the 10 trillion mark by Jan. 2009 without another dime being allocated.

Now we have to worry about the Democrats exempting bill after bill of spending from their PayGo rules. Bankrupting America’s future has never been so easy, for neither party is willing to shoulder fiscal responsibility anymore. It would give the other party a political advantage, so they irresponsibly think.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 22, 2007 7:25 PM
Comment #234008

why should high income earners be responsible for bearing the brunt on supporting the government. the highest wage earners pay more in taxes than the lowest earners make in a whole year. a more reasonable answer to this dilemma is a 10% across the board income tax as well as capital gains that would make it F A I R, if fair is really what you ara seeking. but most people who want to tax the wealthy are the same ones who want to continue depending upon the government to help support them with all types of assisstance(i.e. food stamps, welfare, and housing). why should i help people who will not help themselves. our forefathers would be disgusted.

Posted by: chris at September 22, 2007 10:41 PM
Comment #234016
chris wrote: why should high income earners be responsible for bearing the brunt on supporting the government.
How about a NEUTRAL income tax? Everyone would pay a NEUTRAL tax rate. That is, an equal income rate. Do you not agree?
chris wrote: the highest wage earners pay more in taxes than the lowest earners make in a whole year.
True. But a percentage is what is important. After all, that is what you suggest below …
chris wrote: a more reasonable answer to this dilemma is a 10% across the board income tax as well as capital gains that would make it F A I R, if fair is really what you ara seeking.
Absolutely. Fairness is paramount. Secondary is generating sufficient funds. 10% is not enough because thing have been so thoroughly mismanaged. 77 Million baby boomers have a majority of the votes. They will not allow their entitlements to be eliminated. Thus, a 17% NEUTRAL INCOME tax is required (that’s a little less than the 19% of GDP that the Federal government already takes; I figure about 6% cut in spending is possible).
chris wrote: but most people who want to tax the wealthy are the same ones who want to continue depending upon the government to help support them with all types of assisstance(i.e. food stamps, welfare, and housing). why should i help people who will not help themselves. our forefathers would be disgusted.
I agree for the most part. We can’t all live at the expense of everyone else.

However, hundreds of millions of Americans have had taxes deducted from their income for Social Security and Medicare (15.3%).
Should they kiss it goodbye?
77 Million baby boomers will not be easy to ignore, even if we had a right to.
They paid into the system.
That doesn’t mean we should keep giving them everything they are capable of voting for.
It won’t work.
Some spending cuts are inevitable.

Look closely at this plan.
It is better in many ways.
It is a simplification of the existing system.
It is the easiest system to implement.
It is a NEUTRAL income tax (neither REGRESSIVE or PROGRESSIVE). It taxes all income an EQUAL percentage and eliminates ALL tax loop holes.
It doesn’t tax anyone’s income below the poverty level (i.e similar to a prebate, but no prebate is necessary; the income tax simply isn’t withheld until it exceeds the poverty level; no sense in taxing below the poverty level and unnecessarily pushing people onto welfare; no need for the complexity and potential abuses of a prebate system).
It doesn’t impose an income tax corporations because those are simply passed through as REGRESSIVE hidden taxes on consumers.


Posted by: d.a.n at September 22, 2007 11:58 PM
Comment #234035

d.a.n.,

I only have one objection to your “neutral” tax plan…the power to change the tax rate is still vested in the congress. They can raise the rate any time they chose.

With the Fair Tax, the power to control how much tax is paid is vested in the taxpayer by controlling consumption.

Posted by: Snardius at September 23, 2007 11:26 AM
Comment #234087
Snardius wrote: With the Fair Tax, the power to control how much tax is paid is vested in the taxpayer by controlling consumption.
Yes and No. It depends on income.
  • Yes for those that don’t have to spend most (or all) of their income just to get by.
  • No for those that have to spend all of their income to get by.
And since it depends on income, why not leave it tied directly to income? Especially if the question about any tax system is: Is it REGRESSIVE, PROGRESSIVE, or NEUTRAL relative to income? Therefore, the FairTax.org’s 30% Sales Tax is not fair since it is REGRESSIVE. The only way it can be fair is if one thinks REGRESSIVE taxes are fair.

I noticed Neal Boortz (at boortz.com) supports the FairTax.org’s 30% Sales Tax system, and sent him an E-Mail explaining it was REGRESSIVE and to consider a NEUTRAL income tax. His single response E-Mail had one word in it: Yawn.
So, I can only conclude:

  • that he thinks a REGRESSIVE tax is fair

  • or that he doesn’t care whether it is fair or not.

  • or that he doesn’t know it is REGRESSIVE.

  • or that he doesn’t know what REGRESSIVE means.

At any rate, I congratualted him on his extraordinary skill at reducing facts, reasons, and logic down to a single empty remark.

What is more important is that any tax or system we create, we must try to make sure it is not REGRESSIVE.
I prefer a neutral tax (i.e. equal percentage of income tax).
The prebates and poverty level deductions are not much different than the standard deductions we already have, or the poverty level deduction that everyone gets.
The real issue is whether any tax is REGRESSIVE, PROGRESSIVE, or NEUTRAL.
The wealthy don’t like PROGRESSIVE taxes. They call it “soaking the rich”.
The poor and lower income groups don’t like REGRESSIVE taxes. They are simply unfair.
Strange that no one calls it “soaking the poor” or “soaking the middle income group”, because it is.
So why not choose a NEUTRAL income tax? Then perhaps we’ll get more compliance and less evasion and complaining?

The problem today, causing the growing disparity in this country is a large (an growing) number of REGRESSIVE systems:

  • [01] the ridiculous federal tax system which is effectively REGRESSIVE
  • ,
  • [02] inflation is like a REGRESSIVE tax, since the poor are limited in ways of preserving wealth with property, gold, stocks, homes, etc.; the mismanaged money system creates inflation; predatory interest rates and lending practices (raising ARMs from 6% to 14%); and the Fed gets to earn interest on money created out of thin air; how did this ever come about?

  • [03] all sales taxes are REGRESSIVE

  • [04] corporate income taxes are like hidden REGRESSIVE taxes passed on to consumers; I doubt the owners of corporations absorbed that tax?

  • [05] property taxes in many cases are REGRESSIVE, since like sales taxes, as income decreases, the property tax as a percentage of income increases.

  • [06] caps on Social Security taxes is a REGRESSIVE tax

  • [07] illegal immigration is like REGRESSIVE tax, causing job displacement and many costs are shifted to tax payers that already pay REGRESSIVE sales taxes and REGRESSIVE income taxes for the burdened social servcies.

_____________
Some Facts about different taxes:
  • FACT # 1: a flat sales tax can never be a PROGRESSIVE TAX. That is a mathematical certainty.

  • FACT # 2: a flat sales tax can never be anything but a REGRESSIVE TAX unless everyone spends all of their income, at which point it becomes a NEUTRAL TAX.

  • FACT # 3: since everyone does not spend all of their income (especially most of the wealthy), all flat sales taxes are always REGRESSIVE taxes.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 23, 2007 8:17 PM
Comment #234088

chris, the wealthy depend on the government as much or more than the middle class. Where would the wealthy of Microsoft be without the highway systems to deliver their software, police enforcement to protect their mansions and big ticket toys, the courts to protect their contracts, the SEC to protect their investments, the FAA to protect their overseas shipments, the FCC to protect their advertising and marketing messages, the copyright and trademark offices to protect their proprietary rights, the State Dep’t. to protect their products from counterfeits overseas, and the military to protect their wealth within this nation?

The wealthy utilize tremendously more government services than the working middle class do. So, yes, they should foot a commensurately larger portion of the bill. But that’s the ethical argument. Then their is the economic argument which stipulates government get the resources to fund its services where it can. Taxing consumers too greatly curtails consumption and consumption is 2/3 of what holds up our economy. Taxing investors too much at the wrong time, can curtail production and jobs, which in turn curtails consumption. The balance has been struck for many decades on a progressive tax system which resulted in this expansive economy we enjoy today.

If taxing progressively were the threat those on the right claim it will be, our economy would never have survived this long and continued to grow in the face of progressive taxation. I personally favor a flat tax system that excludes corporations or the poor from taxes, but, critics have a valid argument that a flat tax is regressive. Though less regressive than a sales tax, by far. The flat tax has the advantage that most Americans view it as the fairest plan. That is a huge plus given the 100’s of millions lost on this issue in opportunity cost over the years.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 23, 2007 8:18 PM
Comment #234112

David R. Remer- I have not seen any figures on
Companies that have moved off shore nor how most
oil companies, being foreign, Do they pay their
fair share?

Posted by: -DAVID- at September 23, 2007 11:08 PM
Comment #234123
I personally favor a flat [TYPE?] tax system that excludes corporations or the poor from taxes, but,
Where TYPE=income ? Right? Me too.
critics have a valid argument that a flat tax [TYPE?] is regressive.
How is a flat income tax REGRESSIVE ?

If a flat income tax is REGRESSIVE, doesn’t there have to be another reason for it? Perhaps what ever that reason may be is a separate issue?

If a flat income tax is REGRESSIVE, doesn’t that mean that the wealthy are receiving back more benefits from government as a percentage of their income? Not from Social Security and Medicare. Those are essentially subsitence amounts. From additional services of some sort? Use of the courts and legal system? But they also pay a larger amount of tax by virtue of the nature of a flat income tax percentage. The wealthy aren’t likely to use welfare. Do the wealthy use the highways, streets, libraries, police, etc. to a greater extent than the increased nominal taxes paid via a flat income tax? And utilities such as water and electricity are usually charged based on amounts used. So while the wealthy may use some services more, do they receive so much that a flat income tax is truly REGRESSIVE? Maybe I’ve overlooked something, but it seems to me that while the wealthy may use more government services, they pay more taxes by virtue of a percentage to make up for it.

The problem I have with the current tax system is that it is truly REGRESSIVE and that is unfair and immoral. These seven things:

  • inflation; banks get interest on new money created out of thin air; predatory lending and loan shark type interest rates

  • REGRESSIVE federal income tax due to tax loop holes for the wealthy

  • caps on Social Security taxes

  • corporate taxes passed on as hidden taxes to consumers

  • all sales taxes (and there are many)

  • property taxes

  • immigration (for cheap labor)

… are all REGRESSIVE. That’s why when Lou Dobbs calls it warfare on the middle class (and the poor included of course), he may be much more correct than he realizes.

When you start looking at the whole picture, and so many REGRESSIVE systems, it is hard not to conclude that so many things can only be anything but the many manifestations of unchecked greed; exploitation, usury, and all immoral.

David, I think it’s great that your daughter is learning several different languages (and that you encourage it). Education is very important. Especially in a voting nation. But she may have to move out of the country to make use of them. Why? Check this out. This is one of the most blatant examples of corporate greed I have ever seen. Here is a law firm that T_E_A_C_H_E_S how to avoid hiring Americans (see video at: www.youtube.com/programmersguild , or at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU ). See the other videos and reports on that page, including this one: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU&mode=related&search=

And if you look at the voting records of most in Congress, you will see many vote for more H1B Visas, more Green Cards, more and more and more ways to import cheap labor (and potential new Democrat voters). All manifestations of unchecked greed.

Yet, most voters reward those very same incumbent politicians with 90% to 95% re-election rates.
So, while that may infuriate many voters, the majority of voters are actually selling themselves out by repeatedly rewarding the incumbent politicians behind that are selling them out.

Curious about your politicians voting record on H1B visas, green cards, and importing cheap labor?
Just go to:

  • ontheissues.org/Senate/N_A_M_E_of_CONGRESS_PERSON.htm#Immigration

  • (e.g. insert appropraite name with underscore(s): Hillary_Clinton, or Luis_Gutierrez, or Nanci_Pelosi, etc.)

    Posted by: d.a.n at September 24, 2007 7:55 AM
    Comment #234127

    d.a.n. asked: “Where TYPE=income ?”

    Yes, quite right.

    The flat tax is regressive in a similar fashion but, not as deeply so, as the sales tax. Here are the reasons.

    A flat tax reduces middle class disposable income which could otherwise be invested for a return on investment to offset the flat tax rate. The wealthy on the other hand, have far greater sums available after paying the flat tax, to invest and offset their flat taxes paid with investment earnings, to the point of even having earned more investment income than they paid in flat tax, for some like Bill Gates, Trump, and Pickens.

    Second is the issue of deferred investment earnings. A flat tax is incurred only on income received. For the wealthy, a great amount of earnings are diverted directly back into investments, and thus are not taxed while they create even greater earnings. This advantage is not as accessible to wage earners if at all, depending on how much greater their income is to their living expenses.

    The Flat Tax therefore, does not address wealth accumulation and redistribution nearly as effectively as a progressive income tax does. But, the Flat Tax does continue to generate revenue from earnings spent by the wealthy at a far greater rate than would a sales tax.

    Lastly, the Flat Tax is most favored by the public as being the fairest. But, that opinion may change in time after it is implemented, because it would become readily apparent that greater wealth accumulation into a small percentage of hands, would continue as it currently does, failing to solve the problem of a squeeze on consumers ability to bail the nation out of economic declines through consumption, as they did in 2001-2003.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at September 24, 2007 8:47 AM
    Comment #234134

    K-Dem
    “If the majority disagrees then the safety net will go away ……….. then we’ll see what happens”

    Ah yes, majority rules in a democracy, I keep forgetting that is what our country has become.
    That is also why gays can’t marry btw. Thank goodness for majority rules eh.

    Posted by: kctim at September 24, 2007 10:40 AM
    Comment #234159
    The flat income tax is regressive in a similar fashion but, not as deeply so, as the sales tax. Here are the reasons.
    Nor the current tax system which is REGRESSIVE because of thousands of tax loop holes.
    A flat income tax reduces middle class disposable income which could otherwise be invested for a return on investment to offset the flat income tax rate. The wealthy on the other hand, have far greater sums available after paying the flat income tax, to invest and offset their flat income taxes paid with investment earnings, to the point of even having earned more investment income than they paid in flat income tax, for some like Bill Gates, Trump, and Pickens.
    I’m not quite on board with this one. Yes, the have more money after paying taxes, and they can invest it. But I don’t think that makes it REGRESSIVE.
    Second is the issue of deferred investment earnings. A flat income tax is incurred only on income received. For the wealthy, a great amount of earnings are diverted directly back into investments, and thus are not taxed while they create even greater earnings. This advantage is not as accessible to wage earners if at all, depending on how much greater their income is to their living expenses.
    OK, this is a good point. However, to reinvest it, they had to receive it. Once they received it, it is taxable. Interest income is taxable. Capital gains are taxable. As for stocks, when the stock is finally sold, the capital gains are taxable income. And if that takes more than a year, that is OK. In fact, due to inflation, the money spent to buy the stock was worth more a year ago. Therefore, the stock investment better be good to preserve value and yield a capital gain. If the stock is held for 5 years, the tax would be due when sold, which would be the income over the five year period. If the stock resulted in a loss, then no tax is due. It is treated as a wash. However, that loss can not be deducted from the annual income, since there would be no deductions of any kind. The only thing that may be considered a deduction is that no one pays income tax on income below the poverty level. Thus, if there are forms of income that can be re-invested (rolled over) without reporting income, then solution perhaps should be to tax it before it is rolled over. Bonds would be taxed when they are eventually converted. Thus, the flat income tax would cover the gains for the full length of the investment. Real estate may increase in value, but unless it is your primary home, isn’t there a capital gains tax on that too? If not, they perhaps there should be (this should be adjusted for inflation; otherwise tax is being paid on income that really does not exist). Thus, it seems some of the current holes in the income tax system could be closed with elimination of all tax loop holes and the proper identification of all income. If all the tax loop holes are eliminated, and untaxed roll-overs or re-investments are disallowed, then a flat income tax system should be a NEUTRAL income tax. Now, if that is impossible to do, then a slightly PROGRESSIVE tax scale might make sense. However, eliminating the myriad of tax loop holes will do wonders for raising more revenues and more fairly (i.e. since the current system is REGRESSIVE). It is at least a big step in the right direction.
    The Flat Income Tax therefore, does not address wealth accumulation and redistribution nearly as effectively as a progressive income tax does.
    It can if all income is taxed, all tax loop holes are eliminated, and income is taxed before it is re-invested or rolled over. Then it will be as close to a NEUTRAL tax system as possible. To change the income tax rate to be PROGRESSIVE to compensate for it becomes a guessing game, will fuel criticism and invite loop holes. But if there are forms of income that are not easily taxed, then a PROGRESSIVE tax scale is justified. To my knowledge, I only know of eight (8) things that are currently not taxed:
    • (1) interest on state issued municipal bonds (in some states?)
    • (2) carpooling
    • (3) selling your primary home; exempt any gain less than from $250K (single) to $500K (joint)
    • (4) employer provided healthcare insurance
    • (5) employer provided life insurance
    • (6) employer provided disability insurance.
  • (7) upto $5,250 used for some types of education.
  • (8) some employer provided perks (e.g. parking, mass transit fares) under $100
  • Of those, the interest on municipal bonds are the only one of major concern. All of the others could be taxed and/or ignored. That is, no system will be perfect.
    But, the Flat Income Tax does continue to generate revenue from earnings spent by the wealthy at a far greater rate than would a sales tax.
    Yes, all sales taxes are definitely regressive, no matter how small.
    Lastly, the Flat Income Tax is most favored by the public as being the fairest.
    Yes, I it would be IF all tax loop holes are eliminated, and all forms of income are taxed equally. City, states, and counties should adopt the same thing and eliminate all sales taxes.
    But, that opinion may change in time after it is implemented, because it would become readily apparent that greater wealth accumulation into a small percentage of hands, would continue as it currently does, failing to solve the problem of a squeeze on consumers ability to bail the nation out of economic declines through consumption, as they did in 2001-2003.
    Perhaps, but I think a flat income tax only on income above the poverty level, with all loop holes and deductions eliminated, and elimination of corporate taxes, etc. would be vastly better than what we have now, and any other plan presented thus far. If a slightly PROGRESSIVE scale was needed, it wouldn’t have to vary much. Certainly not like now; ranging from 0% to 35%.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at September 24, 2007 2:02 PM
    Comment #234227

    D.a.n said: “Interest income is taxable. Capital gains are taxable.”

    This is not what I understand is on the table for proposals of a flat tax. My understanding is proposals to date exempt capital gains until they are received as cash disbursements. Capital reinvestment plans where capital gains remain in the investment account purchasing more investments, are not subject to flat tax proposals.

    I would have to go back and look at one or two of the proposals out there to be sure.

    At any rate, I agree, that if investment earnings were taxed upon accrual to the investment account, it would not be regressive. But, then you are talking about an uproar as to what to do with capital investment losses, deduct them from flat taxes owed? Isn’t that just another wealthy loophole? Investors will not tolerate having to pay flat tax on earnings but without credits for investment losses.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at September 25, 2007 12:19 AM
    Comment #234238

    To keep it simple and fair, if no capital gain is realized (i.e. a loss), there’s nothing to tax. But I would not allow for any deductions of gross income on losses on investments. Why? Because the income that bought the investment should have already been taxed. That is, don’t allow reinvestments to avoid taxation.

    Re-investing is like compounding interest.
    But, unlike interest that can’t go backwards, an investment may change in value (perhaps even turn into a loss). But if there is a capital gain it should reported at the moment it is received or re-invested.

    Also, the 17% income tax system I’ve proposed is different than all of the others that fail to eliminate all tax loop holes and suggest a higher rate than 17%.

    As for Obama’s tax changes, I don’t think they’ll end up helping much, and they certainly don’t make the ridiculously complex tax system any less complex.

    Posted by: d.a.n at September 25, 2007 2:17 AM
    Comment #234239
    But, then you are talking about an uproar as to what to do with capital investment losses, deduct them from flat taxes owed?
    No. That’s tough. And if all capital gains are taxed when received or re-invested, the tax was already collected on the income that bought the investment. Posted by: d.a.n at September 25, 2007 2:20 AM
    Comment #234259

    D.a.n., the problem though is determining when an investment produces a net gain or loss. The only realistic way to do this from an accounting standpoint is at the time such investment earnings are paid out of the account into the hands of the investor, or, the investment earnings are transferred to another investment vehicles, stock, bond, etc.

    As long as the earnings are reinvested in the same account as the initial principle investment, earnings and losses are fluid and undeterminable until the earnings are paid out, or, the entire remaining principal in the event of a loss is moved out of that investment vehicle.

    GAAP has undergone incredible headaches and gyrations over trying to account for earnings and losses in place within an investment fund, including the very high cost of monitoring losses and gains within an investment account on a repetitive time interim basis such as Dec. 31 of each year for tax purposes, as opposed to very much lower cost of assessing net gains and losses at the time of disbursements or moving funds out of that investment vehicle into another.

    There has been an ongoing tug o war over this issue at least since I became introduced to it in the early 1980’s. Still, saying it’s expensive in overhead to monitor and assess and tax, is not to say that it is undoable. It is very doable, but, the overhead costs will continue to be a source of lobbying for change or exemption until the funds are paid out, or reinvested in another investment instrument, stock, bond, etc.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at September 25, 2007 10:22 AM
    Comment #234328
    D.a.n., the problem though is determining when an investment produces a net gain or loss. The only realistic way to do this from an accounting standpoint is at the time such investment earnings are paid out of the account into the hands of the investor, or, the investment earnings are transferred to another investment vehicles, stock, bond, etc.
    Yes, it seems logical that the best time is when it is liquidated (whether for re-investment or not), and only gains whould be relavent. Losses simply shouldn’t be taxed since there were no gains. Tax payers shouldn’t be allowed income tax deductions for losses.
    As long as the earnings are reinvested in the same account as the initial principle investment, earnings and losses are fluid and undeterminable until the earnings are paid out, or, the entire remaining principal in the event of a loss is moved out of that investment vehicle.
    But funds re-invested should equate to a liquidation prior to a re-investment. If not, there must be some creative tax loopholes I am not aware of. Such tax loopholes, if they exist, should be eliminated.
    GAAP has undergone incredible headaches and gyrations over trying to account for earnings and losses in place within an investment fund,
    Yes, because they are doing it wrong by trying to evaluate values before they are liquidated. If done that way, then retroactive losses must be considered, and greatly over-complicates everything. I remember (in year 1999, 2000, 2001) the evaluation of stock options before they were ever liquidated and when the market crashed, people then owed taxes on stocks that became worth much less shortly after the tax year ended; before they were liquidated. What they should do is wait until the investment is liquidated (even if re-invested and/or rolled over). After all, no one can reap the benefits of the investment until it is liquidated. When finally liquidated, the tax can be determined once when it is finally liquidated. Until liquidated, the whole investment (unlike interest) may never yeild a capital gain. If there is a loss, then there would be zero tax due. And the loss should not be an income deduction, because that would essentially be paying people to lose money. For example, if I lose my wallet with $500 in it, and I’ve already paid tax on it, I shouldn’t get to offset that loss on next year’s taxes. I would then be getting compensated for my own irresponsibility.
    including the very high cost of monitoring losses and gains within an investment account on a repetitive time interim basis such as Dec. 31 of each year for tax purposes, as opposed to very much lower cost of assessing net gains and losses at the time of disbursements or moving funds out of that investment vehicle into another.
    Yes, those high costs should be avoided by not trying to evaluate losses at all, and only gains when finally liquidated (whether re-invested or not). That is, the investment may be growing in value for 5 years, but would incur taxation when sold. If re-invested (similar to the power of compounding interest), the capital gain will still eventually be taxed once when liquidated. Other property is similar, such as a real-estate investment. When sold, the capital gain is finally realized. However, there is one little complication. To be completely fair, inflation really should be accounted for too. After all, a $100 investment is really only worth $82.82 after 7 years (between 2000 and 2007). But, perhaps we could ignore that little detail which makes the tax slightly PROGRESSIVE.
    There has been an ongoing tug o war over this issue at least since I became introduced to it in the early 1980’s. Still, saying it’s expensive in overhead to monitor and assess and tax, is not to say that it is undoable. It is very doable, but, the overhead costs will continue to be a source of lobbying for change or exemption until the funds are paid out, or reinvested in another investment instrument, stock, bond, etc.
    Yes, some of the accounting costs would still exist, but the accounting costs would be reduced very significantly if we simply eliminated all of the tax loop holes that require the unnecessary tracking of losses, expenses, corporate income taxes, and the thousands of deductions in the millions of lines of IRS code.

    The existing tax code is a nightmare.
    Many of the over-complication are by design.
    Over-complications make things ripe for abuse.
    It appears Congress likes the tax system just the way they have perverted it (among other things).
    There are many types of incomes and tracking them can be much easier with much needed simplificaitons (i.e. remove all tax loop holes and deducations).
    And I believe we both agree it would be much easier to monitor and track incomes than hundreds of billions of sales transactions taxed at 30% (not even including the potential 8.5% state, county, and city sales taxes; imposing about a 38.5% on every sale; bound to guarantee black markets galore).

    Of course, I realize that a 17% Income Tax System that I propose, and the many things we discuss endlessly are pie in the sky. None of it is likely to pass until the voters finally get fed-up enough to VOID irresponsible incumbent politicians. None of it will change as long as too many voters are more concerned about winning seats for THEIR party instead of the health and future of their own nation. None of it will change as long as too many voters repeatedly reward incumbent politicians for perverting the tax code, for perverting or ignoring the laws for profit and vote, for legal plunder via eminent domain abuse, for perverting and/or ignoring the constitution, ignoring Article V of the Constitution, and for the many REGRESSIVE systems imposed upon the ill-informed and complacent voters; ironically, rewarding the politicians that use and abuse the voters; capitalizing on their apathy, complacency, and disinterest.

    Posted by: d.a.n at September 25, 2007 4:37 PM
    Comment #234395

    D.a.n. said: “Yes, those high costs should be avoided by not trying to evaluate losses at all, and only gains when finally liquidated (whether re-invested or not). That is, the investment may be growing in value for 5 years, but would incur taxation when sold.”

    And here again, is where the flat tax becomes regressive. If Bill Gates or T. Boone Pickens has a few billion in investments earning compounding interest and between 10 and 35% per year on equities on average, their spending on a flat tax rate amounts to a miniscule portion of their growing wealth, which would pass on to the heirs protected as well, as some flat tax proponents insist estate taxes be eliminated. Gates or Pickens would experience a .2% tax rate on total income while the middle class wage earner experiences nearly the full brunt of the flat tax on their total income/wealth.

    I am for the flat tax, with estate taxes on wealth above a certain level say, 5 million dollars. But, it is a regressive tax when all is said and done. One other approach would be a two tiered flat tax, a lower rate for the middle class and below, and a higher rate for the very wealthy.

    Then the benefits of the flat tax like no loopholes is realized, and it remains progressive, which could also eliminate the need for estate taxes depending on the rate and cut off point for the very wealthy, 15%, and 28% respectively, which would apply also to heirs, since upon receipt of their inheritance, they are realizing new income sources just like a middle class person receiving an annual bonus above and beyond normal pay, to be taxed as additional income. As long as an inheritor leaves the inheritance in investments, they don’t pay tax on it ever again after the 28% is applied upon initial receipt of it.

    This does allow the potential for massive accumulations over generations in single family’s portfolios, while insuring everyone pays to maintain the nation and society that facilitated their wealth accumulation and protected it for them.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at September 26, 2007 1:45 AM
    Comment #234485
    And here again, is where the flat tax becomes regressive. If Bill Gates or T. Boone Pickens has a few billion in investments earning compounding interest and between 10 and 35% per year on equities on average,
    First, you make a good point about some of the difficulties of wealth that remaines unliquidated, but I think those things can be dealt with. Most already are being dealt with.

    Yes, if the flat income tax system fails to tax some forms of income, it becomes a REGRESSIVE tax.

    However, if all income is taxed, then it will be a NEUTRAL tax (where income is all taxed at an equal percentage); neither REGRESSIVE or PROGRESSIVE.

    Interest income can be (and is) reported annually (via 1099-INT), and even if coumpounded, all of that interest is still taxed.
    The other investments (stocks, bonds) that produce capital gains can be taxed (and most are taxed, except for some state municipal bonds) when liquidated (like stocks which are currently taxed on 1040 Schedule D).

    Also, deductions for losses should be eliminated.
    There are too many unneccessary problems tracking both losses and gains annually; especially when the investment has not yet been liquidated.
    Yes, I understand that no income tax can be assessed until the investment is liquidated, but the owner can not benefit from the capital gain until it is finally liquidated. Some things are like that. For instance, if you buy a commercial building as an investment, and sell it 5 years later for triple the original price, you make a tidy capital gain. Assessing the value and trying to tax it each year of the 5 years you owned it becomes an accounting nightmare. Especially if the value goes up, and then down, and then up again. Unfortunately, this is the nature of many types of investments. But, eventually, the income tax will be paid. Now, if that investment is inherited without being liquidated, the current appraised value would have to be taxed at 17%. That is a one time event, and would not require the messy business of past losses. Then, there after, any new income or capital gains (when liquidated or passed on to another person) is taxed at 17%. If a person inherited a privately owned corporation, they may not want to liquidate it. If the corporation is short on cash, they may have to liquidate or borrow to pay the 17% tax, but getting away without paying the tax is not an alternative. If the wealthy want to ensure their corporations are shut-down and completely liquidated due to the 17% tax, then they should make sure that corporation has some assets to pay the tax.

    … their spending on a flat tax rate amounts to a miniscule portion of their growing wealth,
    Yes, their spending may be a small portion of their wealth (one of many reasons why a flat sales tax is a very bad idea), but under a flat income tax, they would pay an equal percentage, so isn’t that a NEUTRAL tax (neither PROGRESSIVE or REGRESSIVE)? Also, a flat income tax percentage already guarantees that the wealthy pay more by virtue of being a flat percentage (i.e with a flat 17% income tax, that total tax on $1,000 is ten times more than the tax on $100 which is ten times smaller too).
    which would pass on to the heirs protected as well,
    Yes, but with the 17% income tax system I am proposing, that is income that would be taxed when passed onto an heir. Like a gift, or winning the lottery, or gambling winnings, or any form of income, they would all be taxed at the same 17% (see line 14). Some states charge ridiculous inheritance taxes (50% or more). Inheritance income is still income to whoever receives it and should be taxed at the same flat 17%. There is a common exuse use that inheritance tax causes corporations to be shut down and causes job loss. That’s a crappy excuse. It it is a good and competetive corporation, then the person that inherits the corporation can borrow to pay the 17% tax, or liquidate some of the corporation’s assets. And perhaps the previous owner should have planned for that? At any rate, allowing the new owner to avoid taxation after just receiving a massive windfall would ensure that much wealth is NEVER taxed.

    It is unfortunate that we have any taxes, but we reap the benefits of society, so we all must contribute something. None of us are an island, and none of us can participate in society without affecting it in some way; without benefiting from it in some way.

    as some flat tax proponents insist estate taxes be eliminated.
    Inheritance taxes should not be eliminated. It is income. And it is the easiest way of getting it to boot. Inheritance should simply be taxed at least at the same 17% income tax rate as everyone else.
    Gates or Pickens would experience a .2% tax rate on total income while the middle class wage earner experiences nearly the full brunt of the flat tax on their total income/wealth.
    Yes, if income is not taxed. But not if all of their income is taxed at the same 17% . And until liquidated or passed on as inheritance, they have not received the income (capital gain). If it is interest income (even if compounded), that is already calculated annually. And interest income doesn’t ever decrease nominally like some other investments.
    I am for the flat tax, with estate taxes on wealth above a certain level say, 5 million dollars.
    Hmmmm … I prefer no exceptions or exemption levels. No deductions. No tax loop holes. If a single one is allowed, it is unfair to someone, and there will then be many to follow. The unfairness is part of the reason for the creative and complex tax laws.
    But, it [flat income tax] is a regressive tax when all is said and done.
    Only if the flat income tax system fails to tax all income.

    Also, there is a little PROGRESSIVENESS built into the 17% tax system if there is never any adjustment for inflation.
    For example, a nominal capital gain is an increase in value above the original investment.
    But a real capital gain is an increase in real value above the original investment (adjusted for inflation).
    If a person buys an office building, sells it 10 years later at 3 times the original price, that sounds like a pretty good gain. Right?
    However, if inflation was a steady 4% all 10 years, the capital gain isn’t really 3 times the original price. It is only 2.08 times the original price.
    But the income tax is paid on the difference in the original price and the price at liquidation.
    Now this little detail may affect the wealthy mostly, but it affects everyone the same percentage … so it’s fair enough.
    After all, inflation is harder on the poor like a REGRESSIVE tax, so it sort of evens out.

    But, it [flat income tax] is a regressive tax when all is said and done.
    Only if the flat income tax system fails to tax all income.

    Somewhere between REGRESSIVE and PROGRESSIVE must be a line (i.e. NEUTRAL).
    Perhaps you are saying a flat income tax in theory is NEUTRAL, but would not be NEUTRAL in reality?
    However, if all income is taxed that same flat 17%, then it would be NEUTRAL. Right? Not REGRESSIVE?

    One other approach would be a two tiered flat tax, a lower rate for the middle class and below, and a higher rate for the very wealthy.
    Hmmmm … I prefer no exceptions, because once one is allowed, many others will follow and provide the excuse for other exceptions.

    The flat income tax can only be REGRESSIVE if not implemented correctly.
    I’d prefer no exceptions. Not for purist or perfectionist reasons, but because exceptions are unfair, and give rise to more unfair exceptions.

    Also, the argument was used previously that the wealthy use more tax-payer-provided services.
    But do they use more tax-payer-provided services as a percentage of their income?
    I haven’t seen a study to prove that on the whole.
    The wealthy may use our courts more.
    The wealthy may use our highways and airports more.
    But the wealthy also pay more tax by virtue of paying an equal percentage of income tax.

    Then the benefits of the flat tax like no loopholes is realized, and it remains progressive, which could also eliminate the need for estate taxes depending on the rate and cut off point for the very wealthy, 15%, and 28% respectively, which would apply also to heirs, since upon receipt of their inheritance, they are realizing new income sources just like a middle class person receiving an annual bonus above and beyond normal pay, to be taxed as additional income. As long as an inheritor leaves the inheritance in investments, they don’t pay tax on it ever again after the 28% is applied upon initial receipt of it.
    Yes, that is a good point about investments that are inherited but not liquidated.

    Therefore, inheritance income should be taxed like all other types of income.
    In that special case, the current value of the investment (i.e. the current stock price, current appraisal value, etc.) must be calculated and taxed 17%.
    Otherwise, wealth can be passed on and on to many generations without ever being taxed.

    This does allow the potential for massive accumulations over generations in single family’s portfolios, while insuring everyone pays to maintain the nation and society that facilitated their wealth accumulation and protected it for them.
    Yes, massive accumulations of that type is a tax loop hole that must be closed.

    Thus all income must be taxed.
    No exceptions of any kind for for anyone.
    The only income that is not taxed is the income below the poverty level and that applies to the weatlhy too; no exceptions).

    I think too often that when we perceive something as unfair and try to fudge it instead of fixing it, we end up with more and more fudging and adjusting … until finally we have the utterly ridiculous and REGRESSIVE tax systems we have now. There is something to be said for simplicity sometimes. Especially when we know complexity makes things more vulnerable to abuse. If we strive for fairness with NO complex exceptions, we may finally get the wealthy to pay their EQUAL percentage of income tax.

    Posted by: d.a.n at September 26, 2007 7:11 PM
    Comment #234493

    D.a.n. said: “Yes, I understand that no income tax can be assessed until the investment is liquidated, but the owner can not benefit from the capital gain until it is finally liquidated.”

    Not entirely true. The very wealthy can borrow against investments, to invest more. If the investment pays off, they pay back the loan out of investment gains, keep the remainder of the gains invested, making them wealthier, and never paid taxes in the process. Not exactly an option to middle and lower income folks, I think you would agree.

    And that is the weakness of the flat tax system. The wealthy can continue to get even wealthier and redistribution of wealth is not achievable even if it becomes necessary to save the economy through stimulating consumption. Not that it works as it should, but, the advantage of a progressive income tax system is that during the good economic times, tax rates can be elevated on the very wealthy as a hedge against raising taxes on consumers during an economic downturn or times of unaffordable national debt.

    The flat tax system lacks this flexibility. However, since, our current progressive income tax system is not being used in this manner, it is not much of a loss if a flat tax replaces it. But, that makes the estate tax issue even more crucial in a flat tax system, since, it is devastating to a nation’s economy to have too much of its wealth tied up into too few hands who don’t spend it to stimulate the economy during downward trends when consumption stimulus is most needed. Estate taxes too would be necessary to help maintain a constant flat tax rate instead of having to adjust frequently during economic peaks and troughs.

    Of course, all this is academic and moot unless Congress can get spending in balance with revenues. No sign of that happening in our future.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at September 26, 2007 9:38 PM
    Comment #234509
    Not entirely true. The very wealthy can borrow against investments, to invest more. If the investment pays off, they pay back the loan out of investment gains, keep the remainder of the gains invested, making them wealthier, and never paid taxes in the process.
    Why would there be “never paid taxes in the process”?

    For example:
    (1) A person borrows against other unliquidated investments (collateral).
    (2) Capital gains are created from investments of the money borrowed.
    (3) Investments are liquidated and the loan is repaid (perhaps years later).
    (4) Income tax is due for the capital gains.
    (5) Also, interest would have been paid on the loan making.
    (6) The original investment borrowed against still exists (unchanged).
    Thus, under that scenario, the capital gain would be taxed when liquidated to repay the loan.

    Not exactly an option to middle and lower income folks, I think you would agree.
    True. Wealth can be used for collateral. Wealth has its advantages. But we can’t stop people from borrowing money for investments. Also, it’s not that easy to make money while paying interest on a loan. For example, consider the following:
    • (1) inflation is 4%
    • (2) the loan interest rate is 6%
    • (3) and the money from the loan is inevested and yields a good rate of 11.62% per year for 10 years (which is a great return rate; I’d love to know where to earn a constant 11.62% every year for 10 years).
    That would only turn a profit of 1.62% (1.62% = 11.62% - 4% inflation rate - 6% interest rate). After 10 years, that’s only a 1.46% return per year on the original investment after inflation, intestest, and income taxes (i.e. a $100 investment earning 11.62% rate per year, with 4% inflation rate, 6% interest rate, and paying 17% income tax on capital gains would only yield a profit of $14.46 after 10 years). And if inflation were to jump above 5.62% , the invested loan is a loss.
    And that is the weakness of the flat tax system.
    Well, Yes and No. Wealth can be used for collateral, but capital gains income from the investment should still be taxed as income.
    The wealthy can continue to get even wealthier and redistribution of wealth is not achievable even if it becomes necessary to save the economy through stimulating consumption.
    Yes, I doubt the wealthy will save us. They’d probably just move somewhere else. That’s easy to do when you are rich.

    And that is why fair taxation is important.
    But we currently have seven (7) REGRESSIVE systems working against us:

    • [1] the ridiculous federal tax system which is effectively REGRESSIVE
    • ,
    • [2] inflation is like a REGRESSIVE tax, since the poor are limited in ways of preserving wealth with property, gold, stocks, homes, etc.; the mismanaged money system creates inflation; predatory interest rates and lending practices (raising ARMs from 6% to 14%); and the Fed gets to earn interest on money created out of thin air; how did this ever come about?

    • [3] dozens and dozens of REGRESSIVE sales taxes (city, state, county sales taxes, fuel taxes, telephone excise taxes and fees, etc.)

    • [4] some think corporate income taxes are good for the people, but they are more like hidden REGRESSIVE taxes passed on to consumers; the owners of corporations didn’t cut their salaries; they increased them drastically instead.

    • [5] property taxes in many cases are REGRESSIVE, since like sales taxes, as income decreases, the property tax as a percentage of income increases.

    • [6] caps on Social Security taxes is a REGRESSIVE tax.

    • [7] illegal immigration is like a REGRESSIVE tax, causing job displacement and many burdens and costs to be shifted to tax payers that already pay REGRESSIVE sales taxes and REGRESSIVE income taxes for the burdened social servcies.

    If we fix all of those (yes, I know it’s unlikely to get better until it gets much worse and painful), then we might finally get somewhere.

    Not that it works as it should, but, the advantage of a progressive income tax system is that during the good economic times, tax rates can be elevated on the very wealthy as a hedge against raising taxes on consumers during an economic downturn or times of unaffordable national debt.
    Well, if taxes need to be raised, why not just raise the flat tax on everyone? Or … cut spending! ? What a novel idea, eh? I can hear ‘em now in D.C.: “Cut spending? What does that mean?”
    The flat tax system lacks this flexibility.
    Well, that depends on what you mean by flexible. I think making it too flexible opens the door to complexity, which makes it ripe for abuse.
    However, since, our current progressive income tax system is not being used in this manner, it is not much of a loss if a flat tax replaces it.
    Yes. The current system, while PROGRESSIVE in rate structure, is actually REGRESSIVE due to exceptions and complexity.
    But, that makes the estate tax issue even more crucial in a flat tax system, since, it is devastating to a nation’s economy to have too much of its wealth tied up into too few hands who don’t spend it to stimulate the economy during downward trends when consumption stimulus is most needed.
    Well, that’s why it must be taxed the same 17% when inherited, or when liquidated.

    Some people will say, but that’s double taxation and that their father/mother/grandfather/etc. already paid tax on that income.
    Tough. When the person inherited it, it is income, and it is income they did not even work for.
    So stop whining and pay up like everyone else.
    Otherwise, as you acknowledge, wealth would be passed down to many people for many generations without ever being taxed.
    So, all income, no matter where it comes from, should be subject to the same flat 17% income tax.

    Estate taxes too would be necessary to help maintain a constant flat tax rate instead of having to adjust frequently during economic peaks and troughs.
    Absolutely. Inheritances must be taxed too.
    Of course, all this is academic and moot unless Congress can get spending in balance with revenues. No sign of that happening in our future.
    Sadly, I agree.

    It won’t get better until it gets much worse.
    I wish a rosier picture could be painted (and there are those around that can somehow), but the probable outcome I see from all of this is a continued decline of America.
    And the main reason is not because the problems can be solved.
    It is because most voters are too easily manipulated, and too brainwashed to pull the party lever and repeatedly reward 90% to 95% of incumbent politicians with re-election, despite giving Congress a dismal 11% to 18% approval ratings before and after elections. It makes no sense, and can only be explained as pure delusion. And it won’t change until it becomes too painful. This is the human factor that is overlooked by the rose-colored glasses crowd. The corruption in Congress, and too many voters that reward them for it will not result in positive change. It may take decades for things to decay to the point that enough voters finally snap out of their party-lever-pulling syndrome, or an economic meltdown may come on much faster and more painfully. I think the later may be better because the longer it is allowed to decay, the harder and longer it takes to recover. The cure is pain and misery, and I think a good dose of it is already in the pipeline.

    Posted by: d.a.n at September 27, 2007 12:48 AM
    Comment #234604

    We seem to be in agreement. Spending discipline combined with a flat tax, would be perceived to be the fairest arrangement answering most people’s criticisms from both sides of the political spectrum. Estate taxes are necessary to prevent rule by dynastic wealth and smooth out peaks and troughs of economic cycles and prevent too many adjustments to the flat tax rate.

    The voters must demand better performance and results from their politicians by withholding their vote from incumbents and giving it instead to challengers who will get it, as to why the incumbent got the boot and act accordingly for better performance and results to insure they too don’t get the boot.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2007 2:57 PM
    Comment #234739

    Yep. Repeatedly rewarding do-nothing politicians will essentially make them more lazy, incompetent, and corrupt.

    The last election (7-Nov-2006) only saw a small (relavitive to past elections increase in anti-incumbent voting (94% of incumbents were re-elected), despite the very low approval ratings for Congress. The problem is that while voters give Congress low approval ratings, most voters really blame the OTHER party, and the IN-PARTY is always a little more corrupt.

    Now Congress’ approval ratings are down to a record low 11%. This will probably translate into some more anti-incumbent voting. Not as much as one might expect based on a dismal 11% approval rating because of the extremely powerful tendency to pull the party-lever; a very powerful misplaced loyalty.

    I suspect we’ll see more anti-incumbent voting in 2008. However, it will take much more than the last election’s puny 4.4% anti-incumbent voting of 7-NOV-2006 to ever get the message across to Congress. Too many voters refuse to believe that 95.6% to 99.5% re-election rates has anything to do with Congress’ corruption, incompetence, ignoring pressing problems, and allowing numerous REGRESSIVE system to worsen as the wealt disparity trend worsens.

    Congress _ Years _ TOTAL_DEM_REP_IND_TOTAL_DEM _REP_IND_ RE-ELECTION RATE
    92nd __ 1971–1973 _ 100 _ 54 _ 44 _ 2 _ 435 _ 255 _ 180 _ 0 __ 98.0%
    93rd __ 1973–1975 _ 100 _ 56 _ 42 _ 2 _ 435 _ 242 _ 192 _ 1 __ 98.1%
    94th __ 1975–1977 _ 100 _ 61 _ 37 _ 2 _ 435 _ 291 _ 144 _ 0 __ 93.3%
    95th __ 1977–1979 _ 100 _ 61 _ 38 _ 1 _ 435 _ 292 _ 143 _ 0 __ 99.9%
    96th __ 1979–1981 _ 100 _ 58 _ 41 _ 1 _ 435 _ 277 _ 158 _ 0 __ 97.8%
    97th __ 1981–1983 _ 100 _ 46 _ 53 _ 1 _ 435 _ 242 _ 192 _ 1 __ 94.1%
    98th __ 1983–1985 _ 100 _ 46 _ 54 _ 0 _ 435 _ 269 _ 166 _ 0 __ 96.6%
    99th __ 1985–1987 _ 100 _ 47 _ 53 _ 0 _ 435 _ 253 _ 182 _ 0 __ 97.9%
    100th _ 1987–1989 _ 100 _ 55 _ 45 _ 0 _ 435 _ 258 _ 177 _ 0 __ 98.4%
    101st _ 1989–1991 _ 100 _ 55 _ 45 _ 0 _ 435 _ 260 _ 175 _ 0 __ 99.8%
    102nd _ 1991–1993 _ 100 _ 56 _ 44 _ 0 _ 435 _ 267 _ 167 _ 1 __ 98.9%
    103rd _ 1993–1995 _ 100 _ 57 _ 43 _ 0 _ 435 _ 258 _ 176 _ 1 __ 98.8%
    104th _ 1995–1997 _ 100 _ 48 _ 52 _ 0 _ 435 _ 204 _ 230 _ 1 __ 92.1%
    105th _ 1997–1999 _ 100 _ 45 _ 55 _ 0 _ 435 _ 207 _ 226 _ 2 __ 99.1%
    106th _ 1999–2001 _ 100 _ 45 _ 55 _ 0 _ 435 _ 211 _ 223 _ 1 __ 99.5%
    107th _ 2001–2003 _ 100 _ 50 _ 50 _ 0 _ 435 _ 212 _ 221 _ 2 __ 99.1%
    108th _ 2003–2005 _ 100 _ 48 _ 51 _ 1 _ 435 _ 205 _ 229 _ 1 __ 98.8%
    109th _ 2005-2007 _ 100 _ 44 _ 55 _ 1 _ 435 _ 202 _ 231 _ 1 __ 99.2%
    110th _ 2007-2008 _ 100 _ 49 _ 49 _ 2 _ 435 _ 233 _ 202 _ 0 __ 95.6%

    Posted by: d.a.n at September 28, 2007 2:37 PM
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