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Date: 08/26/13 07:24 PM

115 Responses to Churches Get $83 BILLION In Tax Avoidance [Pic+]

  1. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm
    Link: Churches Get $83 BILLION In Tax Avoidance - Should they?
  2. Profile photo of geckohead
    geckohead Female 50-59
    591 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm
    Oh yes they should. Be taxed. Like every other corporation. In the name of...oh please.
  3. Profile photo of obhwfgirl
    obhwfgirl Female 18-29
    582 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm
    I am 1000% against taxing churches. I advocate for a separation of church and state. If we start taxing churches, then they have a right to have a voice in our government. It would go beyond stupid crap like "In God We Trust", we would have to subsidize religious busineses, religious missions, religious schools.

    You think that asking religious institutions to pay for contraception for their employees was a mess, just start telling churches that their tax dollars have to pay for abortion clinics or for gay couples` tax breaks.

    No. Let the churches keep their money and, in return, they can impose their religious moral views on their congregations instead of every American citizen (any more than they already do).
  4. Profile photo of Andrew155
    Andrew155 Male 18-29
    2579 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:02 pm
    I don`t know what it is a taxable activity when private citizens get together to form a closer community (not much of that these days) and donate to stock the local soup kitchen.

    Besides, people respond to incentives, and usually not in the way you intend. That alleged 83 billion would dry up overnight.

    It`s even dumber than the Corporate tax - one of the dumbest taxes. "Yeah, those corporations have a lot of money - let`s get `em!". Only thing is that - people respond to incentives! Basic economics. It basically means that the company will respond by charging customers more, nothing else. You pay the Corporate tax, not Richy.

    There are 3 things a company can do with profits. Give bonuses, pay dividends, and invest in company. The first two are subject to tax anyways. The third should never be discouraged.

  5. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm
    I should`ve know this was an HG submission.

    Tax exemptions ARE NOT subsidies. The whole narrative starts with a false premise, it`s neo-liberal BS.

    Unions don`t pay taxes either and they are a HUGE influence politically, but you won`t hear liberals say they should be taxed.
  6. Profile photo of mcssls
    mcssls Female 70 & Over
    695 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm
    Westboro should put the bill for all churches of all kinds
  7. Profile photo of Bravosmith
    Bravosmith Male 30-39
    44 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm
    If ya`ll want to keep church and state separate, then so be it... keep them separate (including money). And to you, obhwfgirl... the church and government have 1 thing in common, they like to give to the "needy" the difference is the church asks nothing in return. Democrats want votes in return. BIG DIFFERENCE girly.
  8. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm
    mcssls: Westboro isn`t a member of any council of churches, it`s a one family group.
  9. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm
    obhwfgirl

    "If we start taxing churches, then they have a right to have a voice in our government."

    Did you really just imply they don`t? The Mormon church and catholic church have poured tens of millions of dollars into lobbying and marketing to fight gay marriage among other things. The president and congressmen routinely meet with religious leaders to discuss policy. Etc, etc.

    "just start telling churches that their tax dollars have to pay for abortion clinics or for gay couples` tax breaks."

    Tough s.hit. We all pay for things we don`t like. Pacifists` tax dollars fund war. Animal activists` money funds pharmaceutical animal research. Racists` tax dollars go to minority welfare. You don`t get to pick and choose what your tax money is used for other than voting.
  10. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm
    Andrew155

    "just start telling churches that their tax dollars have to pay for abortion clinics or for gay couples` tax breaks."

    Other social clubs are taxed. The shriners, rotary clubs, 4H, etc. They have some non profit tax exemption but I believe they still pay property tax, etc.
  11. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36875 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    When the "don`t tax churches" started there were only small parish`s. A few large cathedrals but not many. They were not international money-raising corporations. . . other than Rome that is.

    Time to re-evaluate the tax exempt philosophy.
  12. Profile photo of 747Pilot
    747Pilot Male 18-29
    1455 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm
    oh look, it`s that time again! Time for the two minutes of hate!

    That`s right, listen to big brother telling you to hate, and make sure you don`t fake it!

    Seriously, these people who hate faith are so desperate these days, that i wouldn`t be surprised if they flip out if they find out a dollar bill was in a church collection plate..
  13. Profile photo of Draculya
    Draculya Male 40-49
    14657 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm
    I say we should pass legislation to burn the churches/ temples/ mosques and make all religion illegal.
  14. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm
    HG: "church(es) have poured tens of millions of dollars into lobbying and marketing"

    So do the unions, in fact they not only spend millions on lobbyists and TV ads, they pay people to picket for them and directly fund politicians campaigns.
  15. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:44 pm
    Crakr

    "I should`ve know this was an HG submission."

    It is a legitimate financial article from the Washington Post. I gave no slant in my submission or description. I just thought it would make for an interesting debate.

    "Tax exemptions ARE NOT subsidies"

    You are splitting hairs. They end up doing the same thing. If I pay taxes and the government gives me the money back to fund a project it is a subsidy, but if I just kept the money the whole time it is exemption. The net result is the same.

    "Unions don`t pay taxes either"

    They are exempt of some taxes but they do pay taxes in other ways. Churches pay NO taxes. They don`t pay sales tax when they buy stuff, they don`t pay property tax, priests don`t even have to pay into social security.

    "you won`t hear liberals say they should be taxed."

    They should be taxed.

    Did you even read the article before you took a position.
  16. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:50 pm
    Let me be very clear one time for crakr and 5cats:

    Churches do wonderful things and help people greatly. The soup kitchens, clothing drives, shelters, etc should OF COURSE be tax exempt.

    However the buildings, operations, bibles, and everything else that ISN`T going to actual charity shouldn`t be. Let alone the giant stadium mega churches, jumbo trons, and million-dollar homes of some clergy.

    According to a survey of Christian Today:

    Average church budget: 43% for salaries, 20% for facilities (mortgage, etc.), 16% missions, 9% programs, 6% administration and supplies, 3% denominational fees, 3% other.

    All corporations have charitable divisions and those divisions are tax exempt, but that doesn`t mean the WHOLE corporation should be.
  17. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm
    Let me also say, in my opinion, opera houses, symphonies, the arts, etc should not be tax exempt. I say that as an artist and patron of the arts.

    Nor should unions, lobbying groups, and political organizations.

    In my opinion, the only groups that should be tax exempt are those that feed, clothe, shelter, educate, the needy.

    Maybe throw in those that protect the environment and animals as well.

    Everything else should be supported by donations from private citizens, NOT susidized by the government through tax exemption. If those private donations are able to be written off to encourage philanthropy, so be it.
  18. Profile photo of Zeegrr60
    Zeegrr60 Male 40-49
    2106 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm
    When a church pays taxes, hell will freeze over. If there were a god, he would weep.
  19. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm
    "You are splitting hairs. They end up doing the same thing."

    Wrong, they are two different things. There are a number of very important differences which exist between traditional subsidies and tax exemptions which need to be clarified. Most importantly, there is no exchange of money. At no time does the government transfer funds from the public coffers to a church or religious group. Instead, the government simply refrains from taking money from them.

    This effort to tax churches is a blatant attempt to muzzle them, it`s coercive and violates the free expression clause of the 1st amendment.
  20. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm
    Crakr

    "Wrong, they are two different things."

    I know I just said what you re-said. I know no money changes hands. However the net result is the same, as I said.

    "This effort to tax churches is a blatant attempt to muzzle them, it`s coercive and violates the free expression clause of the 1st amendment."

    Bulls.hit. So then the KKK should be tax exempt so as to not violate their free expression?
  21. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm
    If we are going to insist on taxing the individual with income taxes, I will continue to be against the direct taxation of any group - churches and corporations included.

    We should tax consumption in my opinion. Contrary to popular belief, such a system is progressive.
  22. Profile photo of OldOllie
    OldOllie Male 60-69
    15841 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm
    The power to tax is the power to control or destroy. That`s the reasoning behind exempting churches from taxes. If the Baptists wanted to wipe out the Methodists, all they would need is majority on the city council. They could then find some pretext to raise their taxes so high they could not pay, and seize their property for non-payment.

    England had (and still has) an OFFICIAL church (C of E), and the government openly discriminated against other denominations. The only way to end that practice of preferential treatment of one denomination and discrimination against others was to create a "wall of separation" which meant, among other things, exempting churches from taxes. That wall also protects the state from the church. If you tear it down, you may find yourselves being forced to pay tithing to the largest church in your own town or have your property seized if you don`t.
  23. Profile photo of Agent00Smith
    Agent00Smith Male 18-29
    2581 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm
    America was founded on the rejection of taxes.
  24. Profile photo of ElijaBlack
    ElijaBlack Male 18-29
    275 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm
    thats like saying if there were more kwik trip lovers on the city council they would tax holiday stations more how bout we just tax them all the same.
  25. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm
    Agent00Smith

    "America was founded on the rejection of taxes."

    Are you serious?

    America was founded on the rejection of taxation without representation.

    However, the constitution, the founding document of our country, lays out the rules of taxation.

    So, obviously, you don`t know what the f.uck you are talking about.

  26. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 11:33 pm
    OldOllie

    "That`s the reasoning behind exempting churches from taxes. If the Baptists wanted to wipe out the Methodists, all they would need is majority on the city council. They could then find some pretext to raise their taxes so high they could not pay, and seize their property for non-payment. "

    I don`t find that to be REMOTELY accurate.

    If it was then when the Republican party was in power they could tax all democrats higher and vice versa.

    The constitution specifically stipulates "all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."
  27. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm
    HumanAction

    "If we are going to insist on taxing the individual with income taxes, I will continue to be against the direct taxation of any group - churches and corporations included. "

    I don`t necessarily disagree with that. But that isn`t what this debate is about. Since we DO tax groups, should churches be exempt from all taxes the way they are?

    If churches spend less than 10% of their budget on ACTUAL charity then shouldn`t the rest of the organization be taxed the same as any other school or social club? That is what it is for the most part.

  28. Profile photo of onoffonoffon
    onoffonoffon Male 30-39
    2383 posts
    August 26, 2013 at 11:45 pm
    Since when has it been a fight between taxes and tithes? Oh yeah I forgot... forever!
  29. Profile photo of ferdyfred
    ferdyfred Male 40-49
    13631 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 12:11 am
    Sky fairy doth move in very dodgy ways it appears
  30. Profile photo of drawman61
    drawman61 Male 50-59
    7752 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 12:28 am
    I-A-B, I, for one, appreciate the juxtapositioning of this post and the one below.
    There is no more proof that ANY of these God`s exist than there is of the Loch Ness monster. Yet so many of you will hand over your earnings, your first born, your dignity without question.
    You will kill or be killed for the right to say yours is the one true God.
    L Ron Hubbard even STATED he would start a religion because that was where the big money was and people still pay up.
    If you really believe in Jesus and everything he stood for, do think he would find the hoarding of this vast wealth acceptable?
  31. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 12:29 am
    HG: "So then the KKK should be tax exempt so as to not violate their free expression?"

    So then atheists like you shouldn`t be tax exempt either. You should be taxed another 10%, the amount you avoid tithing to a church.

    Since you`re all about taxing free expression, yours should be too.
  32. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 1:00 am
    Drawman: L Ron Hubbard was a sci-fi looney tunes hustler. Scientology isn`t a religion, and never should`ve been classified as such anywhere, many countries classify it as a cult. So if you believe anything that idiot wrote, you deserve the result.

    "If you really believe in Jesus and everything he stood for, do think he would find the hoarding of this vast wealth acceptable?"

    No, he wouldn`t. But you have to understand that a lot of the churches so called "wealth" lay in the work people have done for it (paintings, building, furnishings) and voluntarily given (gold, silver, relics) which has appreciated in value over the centuries.

    Taxing that would surely bankrupt most churches and or result in their charities being closed.

    As I said before, this isn`t about taxation as much as it`s about atheists wanting the churches to shut up politically.
  33. Profile photo of Listypoos
    Listypoos Male 40-49
    3069 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 2:18 am
    HolyGod,

    "The constitution specifically stipulates "all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."

    I confess I`ve never read your constitution fully, but have wondered when I`ve been to the US why each state sets a different level of sales tax. That line from the constitution appears to say they shouldn`t, and if a sales tax is collected it should be the same percentage throughout the US.
  34. Profile photo of Listypoos
    Listypoos Male 40-49
    3069 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 2:19 am
    "Taxing that would surely bankrupt most churches and or result in their charities being closed."


    Surely there must be a downside though.
  35. Profile photo of nosecret
    nosecret Male 18-29
    62 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 3:33 am
    if my church had to pay out more money, I would give more. losing tax privileges would weaken many church, but greatly strenghten some.
    can the antichurch imagine this: a hugely influential church who is now nursing the government through a fresh tax base? lol
  36. Profile photo of auburnjunky
    auburnjunky Male 30-39
    10339 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 6:02 am
    It`s not avoidance if they are exempt.
  37. Profile photo of DromEd
    DromEd Male 40-49
    1947 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 6:02 am
    1) Seems more like a ploy to destroy religion than anything else.

    2) 80 Billion to the federal treasury would be about a 3.2% increase in total receipts . But seeing as the annual deficit is about 16 times that amount it really isn`t going to do diddly poo.

    3) History shows that large organizations will wield political power. It`s just the way it is. The real problem lies with corruptible politicians.

  38. Profile photo of McThstlpnts
    McThstlpnts Female 18-29
    1540 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 6:32 am
    Smaller churches that barely bring in enough money to maintain the church should not be taxed. The million dollar "churches" should most definitely pay taxes.
  39. Profile photo of Zeegrr60
    Zeegrr60 Male 40-49
    2106 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 7:46 am
    if taxes are an abridgement to free speech,I want my tax money back.
  40. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36875 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 7:57 am

    "Smaller churches that barely bring in enough money to maintain the church should not be taxed."
    It`s God`s Will they should fail. The guv`ment should not interfere.
  41. Profile photo of papajon0s1
    papajon0s1 Male 40-49
    579 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 7:58 am
    Once again the anti-church folks don`t see the good and grossly under-reported work of the vast majority of people of faith. You only see what gets on the news and shows like John Stewart. But the story is about taxing churches. Does anyone honestly think the government can do more good with that money than a church? Really, you do think the government is better? Tell that to the innocent people Obama is about to bomb in Syria. Or maybe we can have another law to give money to all of BO`s cronies oh sorry a "Stimulus"? Or maybe we can use that money to pay for a fraction of a percent of what Obamacare will ultimately cost?
  42. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 7:58 am
    @HolyGod

    Since we DO tax groups, should churches be exempt from all taxes the way they are?
    Gotcha. In that case, then yes, I think they should be. Actually, all non-profits should be.

    I don`t like creating special privileged groups. Philosophically, I believe that everyone should be subjected to exactly the same treatment under the law (not that it could ever happen); this is one of the primary reasons I am against progressive income taxes - people are treated differently due to the "group" they are placed in. Many people don`t seem to realize, but the ability in the tax code to "group" people creates the ability to introduce loopholes.

    Now that my rant is over, my answer is "yes" - they should be taxed.
  43. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 8:37 am
    Human: "I don`t like creating special privileged groups."

    These are NOT privileges, these are RIGHTS. #1, right at the top of the Bill of Rights, the most important of all, Free Speech and Exercise of Religion. Compromise that and there won`t be any Free Speech or Exercise of Religion anymore.

    When the government can, by the threat of levying taxes, muzzle Free Speech then we`ve become a totalitarian nation.

    This is why HG is such a hypocrite, as an atheist he cries "Separation of church and state", then belies that by wanting churches taxed.

    If you want to see that separation broken, then I want prayer back in the classroom, nativity scenes back in public parks, the 10 commandments back in every court, the desecration of American flags made illegal and the bible welcomed back in every school.
  44. Profile photo of patchgrabber
    patchgrabber Male 30-39
    5812 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 8:43 am
    These are NOT privileges, these are RIGHTS. #1, right at the top of the Bill of Rights, the most important of all, Free Speech and Exercise of Religion. Compromise that and there won`t be any Free Speech or Exercise of Religion anymore.
    Wait, so if I`m taxed then my free speech is somehow compromised? Since a tax would likely apply to mosques and temples and such as well, I don`t really see a violation of your 1st Amendment. Churches are already way too active in politics, they might as well be taxed for it. The IRS is being sued right now because of their failure to penalize churches from intervening in politics.
  45. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36875 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I`m okay with taxing churches AS LONG AS we tax other large corporations. But as long as GE & Exxon & Texaco aren`t paying taxes, why should the mormon church or scientology?
  46. Profile photo of madduck
    madduck Female 50-59
    7619 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 8:50 am
    Churches should not be tax exempt for the portion of their income which represents profit- even if that profit is hidden . Many churches are run exactly like businesses with the CEO being paid a vast wage- if something claims to be non-profit then it should stop hiding the profits in the expense column. Lose the idea of a church being an arm of religion, and look at the way it operates- you sell salvation for cash donations- you run as a business..
  47. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:08 am
    @CrakrJak

    That`s about the most liberal interpretation of the First Amendment I`ve ever read. I pray that no one interprets the Second Amendment so loosely.

    I have absolutely no idea how you`ve justified taxation as an infringement on freedom of speech.

    As for religion, firstly, taxation, when applied universally, does not establish a religion. Secondly, taxing the income of an organized church does not prohibit your free exercise of that religion. Jefferson made it perfectly clear that the Constitution, especially in this regard, applies to the individual`s opinions; neither actions nor organization are covered protected.

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions..." - Thomas Jefferson
  48. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:31 am
    Crakr

    "So then atheists like you shouldn`t be tax exempt either."

    I paid $22,000 in income tax last year. I promise I`m not tax exempt.

    "You should be taxed another 10%, the amount you avoid tithing to a church."

    You are saying tithing should be mandatory? I don`t give money to an atheist club or organization. If I did, they should be taxed on it. You choose to give money to your social club, and that`s fine. But that money doesn`t all go to charity. Most of it goes to the administration of the social club and should be taxed accordingly in my opinion.
  49. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:35 am
    papajohns01

    "Once again the anti-church folks don`t see the good and grossly under-reported work of the vast majority of people of faith."

    I already said churches do good. But I also already showed that, what I consider charity, only accounts for about 10% of their operating budget. Shouldn`t the rest be taxed?
  50. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:41 am
    DromEd

    "80 Billion to the federal treasury would be about a 3.2% increase in total receipts . But seeing as the annual deficit is about 16 times that amount it really isn`t going to do diddly poo."

    Perhaps. But Romney wanted to cut funding for PBS and that is only around $300 million and Planned Parenthhood gets $400 million. If $300 million to educate or $400 million for healthcare is enough money to worry about then certainly $80 Billion is right?
  51. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:43 am
    HumanAction

    "Actually, all non-profits should be."

    See I just don`t think that a group that spends every penny it gets on feeding the hungry and clothing the poor should receive the same tax benefit as a group that supports a symphony and spends a large portion of its budget on throwing parties to raise more money. Those just aren`t the same to me in the "charity" category.
  52. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:46 am
    Crakr

    "This is why HG is such a hypocrite, as an atheist he cries "Separation of church and state", then belies that by wanting churches taxed."

    A churches land and buildings should be subject to property tax. If a church buys crackers, sorry "the body of christ", they should pay sales tax.

    How the hell does that dismantle the separation of church and state?
  53. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:49 am
    HumanAction

    "We should tax consumption in my opinion. Contrary to popular belief, such a system is progressive."

    I don`t want to totally hijack the thread, but if you want to stick around after the thread is dead I`d like to go back and forth on this a bit.
  54. Profile photo of Jowsh
    Jowsh Male 18-29
    1237 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:57 am
    No
  55. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:01 am
    @HolyGod

    Those just aren`t the same to me in the "charity" category.
    Hence why I`m against taxing any group directly. I guess this is my logical statement:

    If we`re going to tax groups, then all groups should be taxed equally; else if we`re going to tax incomes, then all incomes should be taxed at the same rate; else, we should have a federal sales tax only.

    To me, any attempt to create a group and provide a penalty or privilege will necessarily result in corruption. The more complicated a system, the more corruption and damage done. By keeping the rules simple and universal, we minimize potential damage.

    Introduce a subsidy for healthy food and over the next 20 years, peanut butter will be considered a healthy food. How do we calculate that damage?

    Best to apply rules to all or none, in my opinion.
  56. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:06 am
    @HolyGod

    but if you want to stick around after the thread is dead I`d like to go back and forth on this a bit.
    Hahaha - the "back and forth" part makes it sound like you are anticipating an argument. I should be around, though I can`t guarantee a hasty response.
  57. Profile photo of patchouly
    patchouly Male 40-49
    4746 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:08 am
    They are tax exempt because they arranged to be, a long time ago. Now, folks have caught on to it and it`s time to make them pay.

    And...don`t give me that crap about them "doing good". Have you seen the majesty of the churches they build? Have you seen the behind the scenes look at the guys in charge and their salaries? If I promise to "do good" with the money, can I not pay taxes too? I promise I will give 5% of my tax payments to charities and the poor and keep the rest for "administration costs".
  58. Profile photo of drawman61
    drawman61 Male 50-59
    7752 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:47 am
    . But you have to understand that a lot of the churches so called "wealth" lay in the work people have done for it (paintings, building, furnishings) and voluntarily given (gold, silver, relics) which has appreciated in value over the centuries.

    @Crakr, it`s not really voluntary, is it? It`s brainwashing to believe they might have a chance if there is a magical land after death. That`s why it`s called God-fearing. It might as well be called bullying in the name of God.
    I`ve said it before but I think these religious leaders would have most to fear if God appeared tomorrow. Explain why you are sat in such luxury whilst people are starving in the world.
  59. Profile photo of DinVen
    DinVen Male 30-39
    390 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm
    To answer the OPs question. Of course not!
  60. Profile photo of soundman655
    soundman655 Male 50-59
    1558 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm
    Shut every one of them down!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  61. Profile photo of nubblins
    nubblins Female 18-29
    1743 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm
    These big `for profit` mega churches definitely should be taxed.

  62. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36875 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    "I don`t want to totally hijack the thread, but if you want to stick around after the thread is dead I`d like to go back and forth on this a bit"
    Why don`t you get IAB to open a Chat Room for that topic?
  63. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm
    OK HumanAction.

    Let`s hear your tax plan....
  64. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm
    @HolyGod

    Ideally, my first choice would be for all taxes to be collected by the states. The federal government would collect taxes from the states directly.

    If the fed is going to insist on collecting from each person, then I`d suggest a federal sales tax. Everyone pays a percent of what they buy; therefore, those who consume more, pay more. Worried about people saving their money? Don`t be; it`ll be spent at some point - that`s the purpose of money. It`s very simple and has no loopholes.

    Otherwise, I`d support a negative income tax. Everyone is entitled to a base income - enough to survive on. Those who make more, pay a flat tax rate on the marginal income. Businesses or organizations that spend money in lieu of distributing it as income (ie: business lunches) pay the same flat rate on every dollar they spend; they don`t get a guaranteed baseline.
  65. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm
    @HolyGod

    It should also be noted that all income, including capital gains, is taxed as income. I would try to keep it as simple as possible with very few rules.
  66. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm
    "How the hell does that dismantle the separation of church and state?"

    Haven`t you been reading what I wrote? It`s called the "Free Exercise" clause of the 1st amendment. Anytime a government can get it`s grubby fingers into something via taxation it can by coercion influence it`s behavior. And if you don`t think the IRS influences your behavior as a taxpayer, then your wrong.

    If you run a small business you have to follow their rules or pay the price in audits and fines. If you work out of your home, you have to follow their rules as to how your home office is set up.

    Not only all that but if churches treated like businesses then all church records will be able to be scrutinized and the government will force them into all the equal opportunity rules, including hiring non-believers and providing services like gay weddings.

    That would definitely break the separation of church and state clause as well.
  67. Profile photo of obhwfgirl
    obhwfgirl Female 18-29
    582 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm
    @HolyGod

    "The Mormon church and catholic church have poured tens of millions of dollars into lobbying and marketing to fight gay marriage among other things."

    And that is a violation of separation of church and state. The solution to the lobbyist problem is to ban this kind of activity rather than accepting more religious influence into our political system.

    If we don`t take their tax money, then they have absolutely no right to INSTITUTIONAL representation in our government. (There`s nothing we can do about individuals who believe in religion. Also religious-affiliated organizations where the primary purpose is not worship of a religion -- e.g a religious hospital or university -- should be taxed.) I am in favor of separation of church and state because any religious argument in lawmaking then becomes irrelevant.

    I don`t think the money is worth inviting more, rather than less, religious influence into our political system.
  68. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm
    HumanAction

    "I`d suggest a federal sales tax. Everyone pays a percent of what they buy; therefore, those who consume more, pay more."

    OK. Let`s look at that.

    1. So you would get rid of ALL tax except sales tax? No property tax, no estate tax, no capital gains tax, no income tax, nothing?

    2. Does that mean we get rid of social security?

    3. State taxes are eliminated and the federal government dolls out the money to the states?

    4. Government spending for 2013 is projected at $6.4 Trillion. We all agree that is too high. What`s an optimistic number? $5 Trillion? Could we really get $5 Trillion in sales tax revenue?
    tinyurl.com/5oesd7

    5. US retail sales is around $375 Billion a month. That is $4.5 Trillion in sales.
    tinyurl.com/86zmkhn

    What am I missing here?

  69. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm
    Crakr

    I`m always confused when you talk about this fear of government destroying religion as if the government is some secular organization out to get the religious minority.

    Every president we have ever had identifies as christian.

    47 of 50 senators identify as religious.

    99% of congress identifies as religious.

    Who do you think is out to get religion in this country?
  70. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm
    @HolyGod

    1. Yes, only one tax - one very large tax.

    2. Preferably.

    3. No; states always have the authority to tax in addition to. The fed would get its tax dollars only from one source.

    4. Realistically or idealistically? I think it could be cut about 50% without seriously losing anything of importance (about $3.2t). Idealistically, I`d like to see it under $1t. I think the states could take over a lot of the responsibilities.

    5. Those are just retail sales. I`m saying tax every exchange. If money changes hands, it`s a purchase and should be taxed as such. If a business buys material, it should be taxed as a purchase.

  71. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm
    @HolyGod

    The primary reason for doing it this way is transparency. Right now, most people have taxes deducted automatically from their paycheck. Only once a year do they really feel the weight of excessive taxation.

    For some of us, we write a big fat check every 3 months; it hurts to write $5k worth of checks to governments every 3 months. I think the average person would be much more outraged with current taxes if they were reminded constantly.

    I`ve seen estimates that total taxation is around 40-50%. Can you imagine how furious people would be if there was a 50% sales tax?

    In addition to transparency, it`s almost bulletproof. The only thing someone can do to "get around it" is save. I don`t think that`s such a bad thing.
  72. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:37 pm
    HumanAction

    3. So you could have states with 10% sales tax PLUS a federal sales tax of, what? 25%? So total sales tax on an item could be 35%?

    4. That was ALL government spending. Federal, state, and local. So let`s keep things federal if states have their own taxes. Federal is $4 Trillion. Let`s be realistically optimistic and use $3 Trillion.

    5. So services are taxed as well? OK then, what`s the number we are taxing? What is your annual taxable nut?
  73. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm
    @HolyGod

    3. Yep. States can impose property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes... I wouldn`t limit the ability of the states to tax because ultimately, they still need to compete with one another for residents (consumers).

    4. Fair enough; I was just going off your numbers. I still think we could trim 50% without serious losses. Let`s use $3t as a placeholder so we aren`t stuck debating what`s ultimately going to be a philosophical point.

    5. Yea, anytime anyone spends money on anything, it`s subjected to the "consumption" tax. I`ll have to do some serious looking to find a reasonable figure for you. I`m not even 100% where to start looking for that.
  74. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm
    @HolyGod

    Alright, if you`re still with me, I`ll be faster with the answers now. Everything I needed to wrap up this evening is done.
  75. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm
    HG: "I`m always confused when you talk about this fear of government destroying religion as if the government is some secular organization out to get the religious minority."

    I can cite many examples of the government squashing religious displays and suppressing religious speech. And although many congressmen say they are "religious" they don`t follow the tenets of their own religion politically. Democrats are especially noted for being hypocrites on religious matters.
  76. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm
    HumanAction

    5. OK. I can`t find anything either. What I have found on CATO or other advocates for the system don`t give the number.

    What would your percent be? 23%? That is what I see tossed around frequently. I think that is Fair Tax`s number.

    If we need $3 Trillion and we tax 23%, that nut would need to be $13 Trillion. I don`t think that it could be even close to that high. Do you?
  77. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm
    @HolyGod

    I haven`t fleshed out their sources, but here are the numbers I`ve been seeing for private (individuals/households spending on products and services) spending in 2010:

    $10.35 trillion

    So, without taxing any businesses for their consumption, we would be looking at a 30% national sales tax. I imagine that business purchases must be in the same ballpark. If so, that would leave us with a 15% national sales tax and no income tax - assuming I`ve made no mistakes.

    I don`t think that is a terrible starting point. Of course, all state taxes are still on the table.
  78. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:04 pm
    @HolyGod

    Oh, here`s the source that links to their source: International Business Times
  79. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm
    Crakr

    "Democrats are especially noted for being hypocrites on religious matters."

    That is such bulls.hit. Because of abortion and gay marriage?

    Jesus talked about helping the poor, taking care of the sick, protecting the environment, and being peaceful WAY more than he talked about abortion or homosexuality.

    You honestly think the teachings and actions of jesus more align with the republican party than the democratic party? You are out of your mind.
  80. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:07 pm
    @HolyGod

    I`m actually not sure if that $10.35 trillion includes taxes or not... I assume it is counted as post income-tax spending, so I didn`t adjust...

    If it`s pre-tax dollars, then the percent would need to be higher.
  81. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm
    @CrakrJak

    I can cite many examples of the government squashing religious displays and suppressing religious speech.
    I would like to see these. I believe that I will likely be able to find an action - something not protected by freedom of speech nor by separation of church and state - that led to the aforementioned squashing.

    Separation of church and state does not mean that church and state don`t interact. Rather, it means that the state will not endorse one religion over the other, nor will it prevent you - an individual - from holding beliefs and opinions.

    However, your actions that are a result of those beliefs are not protected by the Constitution. Any actions incited by religious beliefs are still subject to civil legislation.
  82. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:29 pm
    HumanAction

    OK. Let`s say the number is $20 Billion since we can`t find anything. So we`d need 15% sales tax to cover it. Average existing sales tax is 9.5%. So that is a combined sales tax of 25% (rounded).

    How does that not GREATLY penalize the bottom 50% in this country?

    Because income taxes would be eliminated so they have more to spend?

    Over half of Americans pay no federal income tax right now. So how would they benefit from this system?
  83. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:39 pm
    @HolyGod

    How does that not GREATLY penalize the bottom 50% in this country?
    Well, to get straight to the point, it would "penalize" them relative to the current setup; it would cost them more than it does now to maintain the exact same standard of life. Nothing is perfect.

    That being said, I do think the current system where they pay exactly 0% to federal income taxes is unjust. Everyone who can benefit from government services should have some skin in the game. We make smarter choices and tolerate tax increases less when we are directly impacted.

    Because income taxes would be eliminated so they have more to spend?
    No; it would be close to a net-zero effect. I think the two extreme ends would end up paying more than they currently do.

    So how would they benefit from this system?
    They wouldn`t; that`s part of the point.
  84. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:49 pm
    HumanAction

    "it would "penalize" them"

    See, this is where we hit a wall. I`m not in favor of any system that makes life more difficult on the people that work their asses off in this country without much to show for it already.

    If you make $50,000 a year and you have a family and a modest house you are living paycheck to paycheck. Now all of a sudden everything you buy and all your bills go up 25%?

    I just can`t see doing that to people.

    Now if you make $20 million a year and you are currently taxed at 25% you pay $5 million in taxes. But under your system, let`s say you spend $10 million a year, you`d have $1.5 Million in taxes.

    So you are taking from the poor and giving to the rich. How can you think this is a good idea?
  85. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm
    @HolyGod

    I see two major problems with the tax system: first, some people pay nothing; second, some people game the system.

    While it might sound good that some people pay nothing, it`s actually quite devious and will always end up being ~50% of the population. If it starts at the bottom 10%, politicians will continue to offer it to the next contender until they buy enough votes; this always happens. The problem then is that half the voting population doesn`t care about increasing taxes! That`s insane.

    Next, we have people who shouldn`t pay only 14% paying only 14% to taxes. This is because the system is complex and allows loopholes. The only way to combat it is to simplify the rules.

    Does this mean some people will be worse-off than before? Probably. The net benefit surely must be greater than the cost though, right? We can even get rid of the IRS!
  86. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 10:59 pm
    So you are taking from the poor and giving to the rich. How can you think this is a good idea?
    Whoa, I never said this. Taxes are collected from all citizens and used for public services; none of the collected money is redistributed to the rich. Surely I never said otherwise.

    In reality, here is an example of one of our philosophical disagreements.

    You seem to think that the government has a claim to our income (by extension, property and life) before we do. Because of this, whenever taxes are raised on the poor or lowered for the rich, you see it as a flow/redistribution to the rich.

    I disagree with the entire premise. I don`t think government has a right to our earnings before we do. I think government has a right to charge us for the services we use. So, when taxes are lowered on anyone, there is no flow/redistribution.
  87. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 11:16 pm
    HumanAction

    "Whoa, I never said this"

    Yes. Of course not. I didn`t mean literally, but effectively that is what it does. The government would take more money from the poor while taking less money for the rich.

    If you make $50,000 you need every penny to get by. If you make $20 million you already have more than you can spend. WHY would you take those extremes even farther?

    This would CRIPPLE the lower class and middle class.
  88. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 11:21 pm
    HumanAction

    "I think government has a right to charge us for the services we use."

    That is what taxes are. Roads. Defense. Regulation. Education. The support of those less fortunate. We ALL use those services.

    We, who are FORTUNATE enough to pay taxes, should understand that our burden is higher so that those who take care of our services and do the jobs that we wouldn`t want to do can have a life.


  89. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm
    @HolyGod

    I didn`t mean literally, but effectively that is what it does
    Only if you accept the premise that the money belongs to the government first and that they allow you to keep a portion of it. Otherwise, any change in tax rates has no effect on flow from one group to the other.

    If you make $50,000 you need every penny to get by.
    Give me a break. My first two years in business I was lucky to get 35k and I still maxed my Roth IRA each year. Living is not as expensive as most people think it is.

    WHY would you take those extremes even farther?
    I though we established that the rich and poor would both pay more? Any flat rate tax will necessarily result in the rich and the poor paying more and the middle class paying less.

    This would CRIPPLE the lower class and middle class.
    The current system has already done this.
  90. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 11:56 pm
    HumanAction

    "I though we established that the rich and poor would both pay more?"

    No we didn`t. In my example the guy who makes $20 million a year and spends $10 million of it has his taxes go from $5 Million to $1.5 Million.

    The poor pay way more and the rich pay way less.
  91. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 27, 2013 at 11:58 pm
    HumanAction

    "Give me a break. My first two years in business I was lucky to get 35k and I still maxed my Roth IRA each year. Living is not as expensive as most people think it is."

    I`m not talking about a single 20 something starting a business. I`m talking about the guy who is 40 and has a wife, a couple kids, and a mortgage.
  92. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 12:08 am
    The poor pay way more and the rich pay way less.
    Mitt Romney paid 14%. In my system, he would at least pay 15%. All of his businesses expenses (not just profits), would be taxed too; that has to add up quickly. Now, he doesn`t necessarily spend all of his income this year, but that`s fine. Even if it is spent 500 years later, it still gets taxed. Eventually, all money gets spent.

    Now, not every wealthy person takes advantage of loopholes to that extent, but many do, and many do worse. I can`t fathom the wealthy, on the average, paying less this way.
  93. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 12:10 am
    I`m talking about the guy who is 40 and has a wife, a couple kids, and a mortgage.
    Since I have to bring it up, he shouldn`t have a mortgage in that case. I supported myself and my gf (who was in college) on my income. We didn`t have any furniture in our living room for the first couple of years. I understand that kids are expensive, but the basic life necessities are not.
  94. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 12:23 am
    I`m out for now - got to get some sleep before work.

    To be continued... -_-
  95. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 12:27 am
    HumanAction

    "Mitt Romney paid 14%. In my system, he would at least pay 15%"

    Well sure, if I recall correctly, he had no income that year, so he paid no income tax. All his taxes were capital gains tax.

    "I can`t fathom the wealthy, on the average, paying less this way."

    In my example they pay way less and I believe that is more typical than romney. Most wealthy still work.
  96. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 1:13 am
    HumanAction

    "Since I have to bring it up, he shouldn`t have a mortgage in that case."

    OK. He shouldn`t have kids either. Plus he should never take vacations, or go out to eat, or have cable, or go see movies.

    Look, people deserve a life. They deserve to own something. They deserve to have something to show for their work, and not only when they are rich.

    I need people picking up my garbage. I need people landscaping my yard. I need people cooking my food. I`d like to think they can provide those services to society and still enjoy their lives somewhat.
  97. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 3:31 am
    HG: "You honestly think the teachings and actions of jesus more align with the republican party than the democratic party?"

    Jesus would be rather upset about the holocaust of the unborn. Not to mention the current government policies that lead to single parent families and cradle to grave multi-generational welfare.

    If you honestly believe that Jesus would want prayer taken out of schools, the 10 commandments removed from the court steps and nativity scenes removed from parks, Then your the one that`s insane sir.
  98. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 6:16 am
    @HolyGod

    In my example they pay way less and I believe that is more typical than romney. Most wealthy still work.
    The problem is that you`re stuck on the notion that the money must be spent each year; it can be spend whenever. All money is eventually spent. If more money is saved one year than another, the only outcome is that some future year will balance that out.

    So, since we are not collecting at the point of income and all income is eventually spent, the long-term outcome is that 15% of all income is taxed. Period.

  99. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 6:22 am
    @HolyGod

    Look, people deserve a life. They deserve to own something.
    Again, I never said otherwise.

    I`d like to think they can provide those services to society and still enjoy their lives somewhat.
    Look, I`m not trying to stick it to poor people because of some vendetta. I want poor people to make more money too. I`m just not so focused on this one aspect of the economy that I can`t see the big picture.

    50% of Americans don`t feel the repercussions of raising income taxes. Put plainly, they have less than a vested interest in changes to income tax laws. One-half of all voters don`t feel any repercussions from tax increases. The only possible endgame is corruption and economic disaster.

    Ignore the poor for a minute and decide whether or not you think it is wise that half of voters aren`t impacted by changes?
  100. Profile photo of obhwfgirl
    obhwfgirl Female 18-29
    582 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 7:02 am
    @Crackr

    "If you honestly believe that Jesus would want prayer taken out of schools, the 10 commandments removed from the court steps and nativity scenes removed from parks, Then your the one that`s insane sir."

    So what do you say then to the people who don`t believe in Jesus? Your church is tax free and therefore you get to use it, not the government, as the soapbox to preach your religion.

    You have every right to pray in school. You have no right to force others to do so. The problem you have with abortion is yours. Don`t get one. But you have no right to forbid me from getting one if that`s what I chose and you have no right to use government to ban it because of your religious beliefs.
  101. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 8:43 am
    Crakr

    "If you honestly believe that Jesus would want prayer taken out of schools"

    Mathew 6:6

    "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

    Maybe you should read your bible more.
  102. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 9:49 am
    HumanAction

    Here is the way I look at it:

    The working poor and middle class consume and work providing a service to society. That is their contribution. They should be rewarded with the ability to have a modest life and enjoy it.

    The rich consume, work providing a service to society, and pay taxes that keeps society functioning. Is their burden greater? Yes. But so is the reward.

    It is better to be rich and pay taxes then be poor and not pay taxes wouldn`t you agree? Because if it weren`t preferable ANY rich person could choose to be poor and not pay taxes. Since it is the preferable position why are you so concerned with how "unjust" it is when it is the choice you and I both make? Nobody is FORCED to pay taxes because nobody is FORCED to be wealthy enough to have to do so.

    In my opinion, paying taxes in this country is an honor.
  103. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 9:50 am
    HumanAction

    "Ignore the poor for a minute"

    We aren`t just talking about the poor. We are talking a fair percentage of the middle class. We are talking about half the people in this country. We are talking about 10s of millions of people who are currently barely making it all of a sudden being flat out unable to make it.

    "whether or not you think it is wise that half of voters aren`t impacted by changes?"

    That happens all the time. We vote on laws that don`t affect us constantly. People went out in droves to vote on gay marriage issues that affect 10% of this country at most.
  104. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 9:52 am
    Crakr

    "Jesus would be rather upset about the holocaust of the unborn. Not to mention the current government policies that lead to single parent families and cradle to grave multi-generational welfare."

    I`m against abortion. I`ve been pretty vocal about that. I don`t see how single parenting is a political issue. I`m pretty sure welfare is something he would greatly support. I`m sure Jesus would rather have every person in the world go without a yacht or a mansion than ONE child go hungry.

    You and I both know that the teachings of Jesus more closely align with my personal views and the views I express on here than yours. That`s kind of shocking considering you worship him and I don`t.
  105. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 10:34 am
    @HolyGod

    They should be rewarded with the ability to have a modest life and enjoy it.
    Absolutely agree; my entire lineage - immediate family included - is full of lower middle-class. My grandfather was a steel mill worker; my step-father is a welder and my mother is an RN. Only my brothers and I have transcended lower middle-class.

    Since it is the preferable position why are you so concerned with how "unjust" it is when it is the choice you and I both make?
    It is definitely the preferable position. The concern is the potential to cause real economic harm to everyone. One need only to look at a graph of wealth disparity over time to realize that progressive taxation and redistribution results in wealth disparity.

    In my opinion, paying taxes in this country is an honor.
    That sounds like a blank check to tax anything.

  106. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 10:39 am
    @HolyGod

    We are talking about 10s of millions of people who are currently barely making it all of a sudden being flat out unable to make it.
    Call it a miscommunication. By "poor" I was referencing the bottom 50% that pay no income taxes; my mistake with wording.

    People went out in droves to vote on gay marriage issues that affect 10% of this country at most.
    Oh sure, but that`s considerably different. Do those voters (the hetero 90%) have anything to lose or gain? No. They have no incentive to vote against gay marriage.

    Taxation is much different. The most obvious incentive is to lower your own costs; this drive is responsible for the fact that the "exempt" will always be about 50% of the population. The next incentive is to tax the other guy, because there is a perceived gain - redistribution in some form.

    Follow the incentives to find the outcomes.
  107. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 10:43 am
    @HolyGod

    I don`t get it. It seems as if every one of our conversations become a debate about morality yet, from our past conversations, I think we`re probably about 99% identical in our moral opinions.

    Neither of us want poor people to starve; we both believe there is a moral obligation for the wealthy to provide for the poor.

    Our disagreements are ALWAYS economic or philosophical - not moral.

    In this case, it`s philosophical.
  108. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 10:43 am
    HumanAction

    "Absolutely agree"

    How can you agree but then advocate for a system you admit will put a considerable more amount of financial strain on those in our society that are already strained the most?

    "One need only to look at a graph of wealth disparity over time to realize that progressive taxation and redistribution results in wealth disparity."

    Well, one may see that. But I don`t. How do you make the argument for causation? I`m sure some look at the tax cuts for the rich, the opening up of loop holes and de-regulation that has been happening since Reagan as being the cause for the disparity.
  109. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 10:46 am
    HumanAction

    "Neither of us want poor people to starve"

    OK. But I advocate so that the less fortunate have MORE money in their pocket at the end of the day and you are advocating a system you admit would result in them having LESS money in their pocket.
  110. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 10:49 am
    HumanAction

    "every one of our conversations become a debate about morality"

    I find it amoral to have a 100 foot yacht when children are starving to death. Perhaps you find it amoral as well. However you find it MORE amoral for the government to intervene and tell people what they can and can`t do with their money.

    Is that an accurate assessment?
  111. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 11:02 am
    @HolyGod

    How can you agree but then advocate for a system you admit will put a considerable more amount of financial strain on those in our society that are already strained the most?
    The current system is responsible for the strain on the non-wealthy. I can expand on this if you want, but it will be lengthy.

    How do you make the argument for causation?
    Businesses cannot offer $2/hr. Nobody would accept that job. With redistribution, businesses can offer lower wages because the taxpayer will ensure a living wage. As more money is redistributed to the non-wealthy, wages will stay low.

    Unfortunately, income from employment is different from income via redistribution. The entire economy slows with redistribution as there is no product or service to increase wealth. In addition, the recipient receives no skills to get a better job; thus, they are trapped.
  112. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 11:04 am
    @HolyGod

    But I advocate so that the less fortunate have MORE money in their pocket at the end of the day and you are advocating a system you admit would result in them having LESS money in their pocket.
    Sure. At the same time, I advocate a system where net national wealth is greater.

    While your solution may relieve the poverty of an individual, my solution moves the entire national poverty line. I just think the long-term dividends for everyone will outweigh the short-term negatives.
  113. Profile photo of HolyGod
    HolyGod Male 30-39
    6925 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 11:08 am
    HumanAction

    "Sure. At the same time, I advocate a system where net national wealth is greater."

    If every person in the bottom 99% had $1,000 taken from them and given to the top 1%, who then invested it, the "net national wealth" would undoubtedly be greater. That doesn`t make people better off.

    A guy working 100 hours to feed his kids doesn`t get a whole lot better off because the dow closes up 200 points.
  114. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 11:09 am
    @HolyGod

    I find it amoral to have a 100 foot yacht when children are starving to death.
    Me too. However, let`s not kid ourselves and imply that we are saints. We are both better off than most people in this country.

    Do you not find it immoral to have a 4k sq. ft. home with a $600 electricity bill while kids are starving? My point here is that the "100 ft yacht" is an arbitrary point of wealth you`ve decided on. The same principles you`re using would also suggest that the size of your house is immoral.

    Is that an accurate assessment?
    I don`t see it as grades of immorality. An action is either moral or immoral. My forcibly taking of another`s property is immoral, so I cannot advocate it.

    Buying a 100-ft yacht is immoral so I will not do it. I have no reason to believe that I have the authority to tell others how to live their lives.
  115. Profile photo of HumanAction
    HumanAction Male 18-29
    2357 posts
    August 28, 2013 at 11:13 am
    @HolyGod

    That doesn`t make people better off.
    The difference being that your scenario relies on involuntary/forced exchanges where mine allows voluntary exchanges only.

    Voluntary exchanges ONLY happen because both parties perceive that they are getting the better deal. This perception would keep wealth fairly well dispersed.

    Judicial systems are there to protect individuals from coercion.

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