Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Tax Wealth's Avoidance of Combat

By Baldrson in Op-Ed
Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 03:00:29 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Wherein the author didactically submits his answer to the age-old question: "How much should the government pay you for threatening you with the draft?"


Didactically submitted for your consideration -- a not-so-modest proposal to tax wealth for avoidance of combat (defined herein to mean any duty in a combat zone):

Since we're worshipping markets these days, let's let the wealthy set the retainer fee paid to young men who are obligated to serve if called for combat duty. The size of the monthly check sent to each combat retainee is set equal the minimum bid that lets the son of a wealthy family escape combat duty. Combat duty, like the draft itself, would be dependent on a lottery system, but among those within the armed services.

Q: But how would you fund such a retainer paid to millions of young men?

A: Tax net assets. Property rights are ultimately just a social construct protected by the government so when time comes to defend the government the beneficiaries of that social construct should pay for it.

Q: You said "let the wealthy set the retainer fee" -- why wouldn't they just set it to $0 so they pay no such wealth tax?

A: They set the retainer fee by bidding against each other to keep their own sons out of combat roles.

Q: That's outrageous! A market to let the wealthy openly buy their way out of combat roles?

A: Yes, you heard right. The wealthy already frequently manage to avoid the draft, let alone combat roles. Let's open the process so we can discover the market price of avoiding the risk of combat service, as valued by the wealthy.

Q: What's the difference between this system and the "commutation" system used in the Civil War where $300 could buy your way out of the draft?

A: The differences are enormous:

  1. Those still vulnerable to the draft were not paid $300 each -- there was no net asset tax revenue to fund it -- and therefore deeply resented the system. The draft riots are often attributed to the system of "commutation".
  2. The $300 figure was not reached by market mechanisms where the wealthy were trying to outbid each other.
  3. The $300 figure was a one time payment -- not an on-going series of payments that adjust up and down depending on the risks of war -- the way any rational insurance premium should.
There are others, but together just these differences could add up to hundreds of billions of dollars a year in transfers and much greater social stability.

Q: If the poor are more willing to serve then why not just pay them what they demand rather than what the rich are willing to pay?

A: The wealthy need for us to believe that the government places no higher value on the lives of their sons than on the lives of the sons of the poor. At present that belief is maintained primarily through propaganda and manipulation of social identity. This unfairly exploits people who have strong altruistic tendencies. This is unsustainable. It squanders society's social capital. Hypocrisy in high places doesn't pay in the long run.

Q: But "Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue." isn't it?

A: Hypocrisy isn't legal tender. Money is.

Q: Well, how can you ever expect such an absurd idea to make it through the political process when the wealthy are so influential over that process compared to the families that are struggling enough already trying to raise sons, let alone monitor the political process?

A: I'll answer that question with another. Which would you prefer: A tax on wealth, or attacks on wealth?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o modest proposal
o social construct
o commutatio n
o social identity
o social capital
o Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue.
o legal tender
o Also by Baldrson


Display: Sort:
Tax Wealth's Avoidance of Combat | 117 comments (93 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
Yay! Baldrson's back! (3.00 / 3) (#2)
by LilDebbie on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 03:58:39 PM EST

How do you plan to drive up bidding? Would you apply artificial scarcity by allowing only n draft exceptions per year?

And why bother with a net asset tax approach? Straight cash payments would seem to make more sense.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

huh? (none / 0) (#5)
by Peahippo on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 04:47:11 PM EST

Bidding would be driven upward as people see a list of, say, 11500 people for this month, with 6500 mandatory draftees, while their precious little son or daughter is at #6499 on the latest list. That'll get the fuckers writin' a few checks. After a few rounds of bidding during each month, the Final List comes out, and we'll see if they've written enough zeroes on the last few checks. If not, then their precious little Imperial son or daughter will have to don a uniform and go into the meat grinder of Iraq, Iran, Syria or Indonesia. After all, it's for Freedom {tm} and Liberation {tm} during the Perpetual War on Terror {tm}, so everything should turn out for the best one way or another. And just think of the boost for the domestic cemetary industry!


[ Parent ]
Ahh (none / 0) (#7)
by LilDebbie on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 05:22:39 PM EST

So you would be bidding on position on the draft list. Gotcha.

I still think that would result in low bid amounts. If you're bidding against all families, then you just have to outbid the poor, which would only cost a couple hundred bucks, that is, bupkiss when divied up amongst all those who actually get drafted.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Oh, so this idea screws the poor? (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by cburke on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 10:02:05 PM EST

Gee, I never would have thought!

This is a step beyond the "let's make insider trading legal" idea in the realm of taking greed and corruption that poisons society in secret and making it legal and explicit because hey, it happens anyway.

[ Parent ]

Good point (none / 0) (#50)
by Peahippo on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 01:26:31 PM EST

In a truly random draw, I just realized that in a list of 10000, there would be about 100 megarich candidates. Each could toss out about $100000 (i.e. pocket change for them) and automatically be excluded from the 30% selection window as they fall right to the bottom of the list. Then the next 1000 rich could toss out $10000 each (i.e. pocket change for them) and also automatically be excluded from the 30% selection window (to the next-to-bottom positions). You're right. All the wealthy (who pay) would be excluded from the selection window.

But of course, when you offer a buyout program like this, you have to expect that you'll end up with a mass of poor-to-middle classes and a wad of cash, whereas before without such a program you end up with a mass of poor-to-middle classes and a few rich boys.

Ahh! Class warfare made obvious!


[ Parent ]
Been there, done that (none / 0) (#6)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 05:02:28 PM EST

except maybe for the bidding part. Look up "commutation".

You forgot to blame us (2.50 / 4) (#9)
by The Jewish Conspiracy on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 05:53:23 PM EST

Seriously. You know in your heart we'll drive the price up so high that the even the richest of goyim will still go and die for some of the other goyim's wealth-building.

Everyone knows that Jews never really serve in the military.

+1 FP! (none / 1) (#16)
by gr3y on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 10:32:05 PM EST

And I enthusiastically suggest you re-title it: "A Modest Proposal."

I am a disruptive technology.

+1FP, war. (1.33 / 3) (#17)
by vera on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 12:09:43 AM EST



And now topically, (none / 0) (#20)
by Kasreyn on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 01:32:41 AM EST

You also fail to prove that high-level hypocrisy is unsustainable. It seems to have been going on for a long time. In the Civil War, well-to-do factory owners and friends of mayors paid sodbusters to go die in their shoes, and settled down to the important task of war profiteering, safely behind the lines. The poor bearing the brunt of war is certainly nothing new. So how is it unsustainable?


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
As people whine about it more and more (none / 0) (#33)
by trane on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 04:45:46 PM EST

it becomes more open and explicit, and obviously against the spirit if not the letter of the law, and things slowly change. Chalk it up to the power of whining.

[ Parent ]
Drafts not meant to be fair (none / 0) (#21)
by dimaq on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 03:14:59 AM EST

Neither drafts nor chance of draft nor fear of draft were ever meant to be fair. Draft is a concept from the days when kings technically owned all their subjects and could force them to do what they pleased. Treat it for what it is.

The anarcho-libertarian "draft" (2.75 / 4) (#28)
by Baldrson on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 11:55:12 AM EST

As the father of anarcho-libertarianism, Lysander Spooner, said:
the theory of our Constitution is, that all taxes are paid voluntarily; that our government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily entered into by the people with each other; that that each man makes a free and purely voluntary contract with all others who are parties to the Constitution, to pay so much money for so much protection, the same as he does with any other insurance company; and that he is just as free not to be protected, and not to pay tax, as he is to pay a tax, and be protected.

Now, the question is from whence does this mutual-insurance company's infantry come? Mercenaries are one obvious source for anarcho-capitalists, but if you go back even deeper into history you'll find yourself in pre-civil societies where various clans were in a mutual-insurance relationship where the token of exchange was the word -- the word of a man and his neighbor that they would come to each other's mutual aid in times of emergency. Words were exchanged and were either honored or resulted in war against the dishonorable. The powerful emotions surrounding the draft during times of emergency arise from its origin in this more primitive setting. The big problem kings and later presidents face when they invoke the draft is their hypocrisy. The kings generally relied on something like Christianity to crease a false sense of "brotherhood" as a means of lowering the price of mercenaries and raising the degree of tolerance for cowardice by the politically favored. Presidents aren't much different in that regard, relying less on conventional religion and more on state-as-religion to achieve the same results.

When drafting people kings and presidents sometimes have to trigger the "that man is dishonorable for avoiding the draft!" reflexes so as to draw attention away from the fact that they have built their governments upon a hypocritical foundation stating "we're all brothers" so they're clans could get away with consuming the lives of others.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

father of what? (none / 0) (#77)
by dimaq on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:55:36 AM EST

you lost me there with that long word

[ Parent ]
how this will be manipulated (none / 1) (#22)
by m a r c on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 06:47:56 AM EST

If the size of the draft intake increases, wouldn't this directly increase the retainer fee, as more wealthy would be subject to the draft, and hence a higher bid result overall?

The logical conclusion of this would be for the goverment to increase the draft size such that it offset the high cost of war that it must bare. With reference to your last question on 'attacks on wealth' i don't see its relevance to our current situation, as this seems to me to be a way to reduce the cost of war on an imperialistic warmongering goverment.
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.

Combat duty...dependent on a lottery system (none / 0) (#27)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 11:09:21 AM EST

Wouldn't work. In a place like Iraq there are no front lines, and truck drivers are at as high a risk as infantry. The only way that would work would be if they were bidding on permanent Stateside assignments, of which there are very few at the low ranks. Mostly recruiters, and people in training facilities.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

doesn't follow (none / 1) (#30)
by Delirium on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 03:09:15 PM EST

The property-rights-are-protected-by-government argument would only narrowly justify two things: Domestic police forces, and defense against foreign invasion. However, neither of these are the typical use of a draft. World War II, for example, was not fought to protect the property of Nebraska farmers; Nazi Germany could've taken over all of Europe and Nebraska would've been A-OK, because the Germans did not have anywhere near the resources necessary to successfully mount an invasion of North America. If they had tried to do so, then a draft to defend the U.S. would fall within your criteria, but as things stand, the draft did not—we were engaged in what was judged to be the worthy goal of defending other countries, not engaged in a war to protect the personal property of Americans.

(The same is true of all other U.S. wars of the 20th century and later.)

Different argument (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by Baldrson on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 03:46:24 PM EST

When you speak of Nebraska farmers and WW II, you are striking very close to home for me -- being from Iowa. My father volunteered to go fight the Germans before Pearl Harbor and he was an Iowa farm boy from a rural Quaker church. He says he did it "For my country." He definitely had the impression -- particularly after the Des Moines (he lived within a day-walk) speech by Charles Lindberg and the brouhaha surrounding it -- that it would be necessary to go fight the Germans before they came to the US.

Now, I'm not sure what the result would have been of a retainer fee system such discussed above would have been -- but I'm sure it would have rendered the rich and the powerful a bit more careful about the way they used the good faith of my father.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Awesome. Great Idea. (none / 0) (#32)
by Fon2d2 on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 03:59:44 PM EST

Where do I sign up?
Let's make it a law!
*didn't read the article*

i'm a white anglo saxon protestant (none / 1) (#34)
by black man white body on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 06:25:13 PM EST

as such baldrson's got my back so a big f*ckin +1 FP for this sh*at

I wonder (none / 0) (#36)
by minerboy on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 07:07:02 PM EST

What the real correlation between service in the armed forces, and socio-economic class is. Notable examples of upper class service is Lincoln's son in the Civil War, Teddy Roosevelt, and Collegues in the Spanish American war, the Kennedies and Bush's in WWII.

It was standard folk wisdom that Viet Nam vets were largely of lower Socio-economic classes, and that's where the idea that the wealthy don't do their share of service comes from. There are other bits of folk wisdom that suggest that is true, and their is certainly instances of rich using their influence to avoid the draft - G.W. Bush for instance, But it would be interesting to see real numbers.



Vietnam (none / 0) (#52)
by joib on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 02:49:40 PM EST

It was standard folk wisdom that Viet Nam vets were largely of lower Socio-economic classes

Um, that's why it's called "the Vietnam Sacrifice of Anyone Too Poor or Too Minority to Not Legally Avoid the Draft", right? ;-)

[ Parent ]

Republicans are notoriously unpatriotic (none / 0) (#87)
by mcgrew on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 07:11:42 PM EST

George Bush, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, etc etc etc. Deferrments, national guard, etc.

They slap that "support our troops" sticker on their car and then bitch about taxes. You want to support your troops? Pay your fucking taxes, traitor!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Doesn't work. (3.00 / 3) (#37)
by mjfgates on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 07:56:04 PM EST

I have a few problems with this notion: First, the amounts are wrong. There aren't nearly as many rich folks as poor ones. Probably not even as many rich folks as there are combat vets. If you only charge a rich guy for one combat retainee's payment, you run out of money instantly. You'll probably need to charge each rich guy for, I don't know, ten retainee payments or so.

Second, this would be an additional way for rich people to keep their kids out of harm's way. The current method (corruption and bribery) would still work fine. If bribery was cheaper than the payments, and it would be, they'd probably just stick with bribery.

Third... I don't really want to set up a program to funnel money to young men. Twenty year old boys are just too stupid to be allowed to have cash beyond the minimum necessary to survive.

Doing the arithmetic. (none / 0) (#38)
by Baldrson on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 09:01:38 PM EST

Kennekill's chart of the distribution of US wealth shows that the wealthiest 10% own about 70% of all wealth or about $30 trillion dollars.

Let's say this wealthiest 10% is a bunch of idiots who can't really invest their own money so they have it all deposited in the ROI equivalent of US treasuries (ie: think of the security of having the the IRS do your interest payment collection for you). The interest rate on the national debt is about 6% so you have an annuity stream going to the idiots of $1.8 trillion per year or $150 billion per month.

So we have $150 billion per month to divide up among how many draft retainees?

There are less than 14 million males from ages 18 through 25. Let's assume we have to pay out to all of them every month and we're going to leave the poor idiot rich with just their principle because they were too stupid to do better than use the IRS as their collection agency.

The retainer payment to each young man would be about $10,000 per month.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Re: Doing the arithmetic (none / 0) (#53)
by Markusd on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 02:57:35 PM EST

Let's say this wealthiest 10% is a bunch of idiots who can't really invest their own money so they have it all deposited in the ROI equivalent of US treasuries

This is a pretty strong assumption. How do you think they made it to the top 10%? Investing in t-bills?

Besides, this about $30 trillion dollars you're talking about, is largely paper assets, not cash. If you "taxed" it by forcing all these people to sell, you'd have stock market crashes, large companies without there leadership, etc. Sounds like a quick way to a depression to me. If you want a way to tax the wealthy, go for an inheritance tax.

[ Parent ]

You don't understand finance. (none / 1) (#54)
by Baldrson on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 05:56:44 PM EST

First you need to understand the net present value calculation, which is, formally speaking, the standard way bankers answer the qeustion: "How big of a loan can I make to this guy using his assets as collateral?"

Once you understand that is the way bankers value assets you can see why the liquidation crash you're concerned about just won't happen. People will take out loans using their assets as collateral just as middle class people have been doing on their home equity recently -- since many are having to dig into their home equity to go to the grocery store.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Corruption could result in massive assassinations (none / 0) (#39)
by Baldrson on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 09:10:32 PM EST

Second, this would be an additional way for rich people to keep their kids out of harm's way. The current method (corruption and bribery) would still work fine. If bribery was cheaper than the payments, and it would be, they'd probably just stick with bribery.

With all that testosterone were out there smelling potential money from the rich scum who were continuing to bribe their way to a coward's glory, I suspect things would clean up real fast or there would be a whole lot of guns going off in the general direction of the centers of corruption real fast.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Twenty year old boys with REAL ESTATE grow up fast (none / 0) (#40)
by Baldrson on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 09:14:58 PM EST

Third... I don't really want to set up a program to funnel money to young men. Twenty year old boys are just too stupid to be allowed to have cash beyond the minimum necessary to survive.

You're making the mistake of forgetting that the vast majority of your ancestors were around twenty years old and you wouldn't be here if they didn't have some good reason to grow up real fast.

Real estate is a really good investment that most young men would make even if not required to make it -- if they could just get leg up.

Once they made investments in real estate all of a sudden they have a stake in the game and their behavior changes toward their government, their women, themselves and their children who are on their way.

Deprive young men of real estate and you get what you see now.

If you want to make it a requirement that the retainer fee goes into real estate or even land under some sort of managed fund then we can discuss that -- but what we can't discuss rationally is your contempt for the young men who gave you life over all those countless generations.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

LOL! You maniac! (none / 1) (#48)
by Exergetic Analysis on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 11:56:11 AM EST

Three consecutive replies to the same comment. Out of control.

[ Parent ]
splitting a thread (none / 0) (#62)
by speek on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 11:46:05 AM EST

He replied to each of three points with three posts - that seems a very reasonable way to keep people on point in this medium.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Doesn't work (none / 0) (#60)
by Metasquares on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 11:20:34 AM EST

According to the Paredo principle, 20% of the population should control 80% of the wealth. I don't know if these numbers are exactly accurate in practice, but they most likely serve as a good estimate of how much would need to be paid. I would appreciate it if you didn't generalize 20 year-olds, however. I'm 20 and I manage my finances (and though they began as "the minimum necessary to survive", that is no longer the case) better than most adults do. I agree that some, perhaps most, 20 year-olds would squander the money, but you could have stated your argument more eloquently instead of making such a generalization.

[ Parent ]
Pareto distribution fails for land (none / 0) (#63)
by Baldrson on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 11:48:51 AM EST

The fundamental problem with the Pareto distribution is while it may make sense for some non-monopoly, non-subsistence assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual-funds, retirement accounts, etc. (see the last pie chart at this link) it simply makes no sense when economic rent on fundamentally monopolized subsistence assets (e.g. land values) are taken into account.

For that you need a far better model. One such better model of what is going on is given by the (now only archived) paper: Wealth Condensation in Pareto Macro-Economies. The abstract:

We discuss a Pareto macro-economy (a) in a closed system with ¯xed total wealth and (b) in an open system with average mean wealth and compare our results to a similar analysis in a super-open system (c) with unbounded wealth [1]. Wealth condensation takes place in the social phase for closed and open economies, while it occurs in the liberal phase for super- open economies. In the ¯rst two cases, the condensation is related to a mechanism known from the balls-in-boxes model, while in the last case to the non-integrable tails of the Pareto distribution. For a closed macro-economy in the social phase, we point to the emergence of a "corruption" phenomenon: a sizeable fraction of the total wealth is always amassed by a single individual.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

It's a new way to enslave the middle class. (none / 0) (#83)
by Russell Dovey on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:51:09 PM EST

That's the beauty and insidiousness of this gloriously evil idea; the way it will create yet another money sink/status indicator for the washed masses of middle-class drones who already spend so much on cars, entertainment, college, etc.

Brilliant.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Another Way to approach this (none / 0) (#41)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 11:04:33 PM EST

Enact a wealth tax to pay compensation to the families of folks that die in combat--and give a nice heft exemption to families of folks that serve in combat duty or die in the line of duty. This would dramatically change the dynamics _within_ these families.

Maximizing revenue (none / 0) (#42)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 11:08:29 PM EST

There is a real interesting question here of at what point would the most money be extracted from the rich. How much would the tax be and what would be the number of rich folks serving in the military? I suspect it would be more than it is now-the wealthy are excempt from the military and don't really pay for the privilege.

Probably less than $150B/mo or $10k/retainee/mo (none / 0) (#46)
by Baldrson on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 10:20:31 AM EST

As discussed in "Doing the arithmetic", based on wealth distribution alone, a T-bill-like (6%) annuity stream from the top 10% wealthiest would be about $150B/mo or $10k/retainee/mo. Adjust thet 6% up or down slightly and the bottom 90% would still probably end up paying effectively no wealth tax due to those households directly or indirectly receiving a portion of the annuity stream greater than the amount they pay.

This is a pure transfer program so from that standpoint the net income to the government is 0. No money is directly extracted for government use from this.

Greater velocity of the economy, however, would show up: first as subsistence demands for small family and small business supplies. The result would be an increase in government revenue at all levels from income, capital gains, sales and property taxes. Lower government costs would show up from lower crime rates reducing law enforcement/penal system costs. Greater family stability would decrease welfare and education costs. The net income to the government would be almost immediate and could be a large portion of the overall budget deficit -- possibly eliminating it entirely.

Now the question is: Are the wealthiest actually going to bid that high per month to keep their sons out of harms way?

It seems rather likely that government policies would change dramatically in areas where military operations are concerned, as wealthy interests became much more prone to find peaceful solutions to their conflicts with non-cooperative nations. So they could easily find themselves utterly escaping the need to bid their sons out of harms way and therefore the tax.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

re: Probably less than $150B/mo or $10k/retainee/m (none / 0) (#75)
by interstel on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 01:31:22 AM EST

It seems rather likely that government policies would change dramatically in areas where military operations are concerned, as wealthy interests became much more prone to find peaceful solutions to their conflicts with non-cooperative nations. So they could easily find themselves utterly escaping the need to bid their sons out of harms way and therefore the tax.

So in the end a still better solution than the current one as the rich would now actively work towards peaceful solutions instead of letting violence have the upper hand.

Interstel

[ Parent ]
Sorry baldrson (3.00 / 3) (#47)
by communistpope on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 10:36:06 AM EST

ever since we found you talking about us on stormfront.org we haven't trusted you.

link please (none / 0) (#70)
by edg176 on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 08:43:35 PM EST

Can you provide a link to this stormfront stuff from balderson? thanks

[ Parent ]
Here it is. (none / 0) (#71)
by communistpope on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 09:16:51 PM EST


http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?p=1416782&highlight=kuro5hin# post1416782
He seems to be mostly ignored by the stormfront community. I'd say he is more intelligent than the so called leaders such as david duke. But he lacks the abillity to connect to his own people. He connects more with the people here than he does there.

[ Parent ]
thanks[n/t] (none / 0) (#113)
by edg176 on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 04:01:32 PM EST



[ Parent ]
so what about conscientious objectors? (none / 0) (#51)
by pyramid termite on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 01:58:46 PM EST

are they going to have to pay?


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.

Freedom of religion, freedom of association (none / 0) (#55)
by Baldrson on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 07:31:49 PM EST

This gets into First Amendment rights and ultimately to the foundation of all social issues:

Freedom of association.

The right of secession should be absolute. The only question is how territory should be divided and how migrations to new sovereignties are handled.

If someone believes that they have a better way of handling conflict than war then they should be free to form a new sovereignty with others of likemind and move to a territory reserved for their living experiment.

If they are invaded and no one comes to their aid then it is safe to say their experiment failed.

Let others learn from their, positive or negative, example.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Its called the volunteer army (none / 0) (#58)
by selkirk on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 10:41:04 AM EST

We already have exactly this system.  Its called the volunteer army.

Young men and women register their willingness to go into combat by volunteering for military service.  The government levies a tax on wealth (income) and pays the volunteers for their service.  When the number of volunteers fails to meet demand, the government offers more pay, thus stimulating supply.  To do this, they must levy a higher tax on wealth.  Those who want to avoid combat simply pay their taxes and don't volunteer.

Aren't free markets wonderful?

You missed that Q and A (none / 0) (#59)
by Baldrson on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 11:16:44 AM EST

Q: If the poor are more willing to serve then why not just pay them what they demand rather than what the rich are willing to pay?

A: The wealthy need for us to believe that the government places no higher value on the lives of their sons than on the lives of the sons of the poor. At present that belief is maintained primarily through propaganda and manipulation of social identity. This unfairly exploits people who have strong altruistic tendencies. This is unsustainable. It squanders society's social capital. Hypocrisy in high places doesn't pay in the long run.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

But if the poor set the price... (none / 0) (#72)
by smithmc on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 10:43:32 PM EST


Q: If the poor are more willing to serve then why not just pay them what they demand rather than what the rich are willing to pay? A: The wealthy need for us to believe that the government places no higher value on the lives of their sons than on the lives of the sons of the poor. At present that belief is maintained primarily through propaganda and manipulation of social identity. This unfairly exploits people who have strong altruistic tendencies. This is unsustainable. It squanders society's social capital. Hypocrisy in high places doesn't pay in the long run.

But if the poor set the price, where is the hypocrisy? If those who would receive the retainer set the price, then we know exactly how much they value their lives. What could be more honest than that?

[ Parent ]

re: But if the poor set the price... (none / 0) (#74)
by interstel on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 01:27:17 AM EST

But the poor do not set the price. The rich do since you can not for the most part get elected to any government position of power in the United States for decades if you do not make more than say $100,000 per year.

And even though we supposedly have representative democracy it performs more like a plutocracy. And your average House or Senate spokesman doesn't speak for 70% of their constituents anymore.

Interstel

[ Parent ]
It IS a plutocracy (none / 0) (#86)
by mcgrew on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 07:10:36 PM EST

And if your average pol represented teh voters rather than the multinational (foreign owned) coprporations that own them lock, stock, and barrell, that latest bankrupcy deform bill they just passed pretty much unanimously would have never reached a vote.

I know who I'm not voting for next election - the guy that pretends to represent me now. I'm fucking sick of the fact that a rich foreigner has more access to my elected "representatives" than I do.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Government's incentive to create an underclass (none / 0) (#76)
by Baldrson on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:52:10 AM EST

The system you advocate creates a government incentive to produce an underclass willing to risk death for a decent diet, standard medical care, clothes and a roof over their head.

In other words, pretty close to the sort of armed forces you have now working over in Iraq.

Maybe this is your idea of a wise way to run a country.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Income is creation of wealth -- it isn't wealth (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by Baldrson on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 11:21:36 AM EST

That craetion of wealth is taxed rather than possession of wealth is precisely what is wrong with the tax base. Taxing creation rather than possession is precisely backwards from the fundamental standpoint of proper statecraft.

When you create something you are not costing society anything. When you possess something you are: the cost of defending your right to possess that thing.

It's that simple.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Taxing wealth doesn't work... (none / 0) (#64)
by issachar on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 01:57:27 PM EST

For the very simple reason that the first thing people do is hide their assets. If they can't hide them, they lowball their assessed value to reduce their tax bill. It's harder for most people to hide their income (or lie and say that it's half what it is), than it is to hide their assets or say they're worth less than they are.

So to make this work, you'd have to do a LOT more audits and they'd be a lot harder to do. You'd have to invade people's privacy more than you do now. This is not a good thing.

The other problem is that you tax wealth repeatedly. When you tax income, I pay x% tax once and that's it. When you tax wealth x%, you come back next year and take another x%. This sounds fine if you are jealous of people who have more than you and are only thinking about how this applies to them, but how does it affect everyone else? Consider retirees or other people living off their life's labours. They've earned their money. Is it fair to keep taking x% of it every year year after year?

Also think about what taxing wealth does to the motivation to save money. If you save it, it will be taxed repeatedly. If you spend it now, you don't lose as much to taxes. People will save less for the future.

What does this do to home ownership? If I own a house I have to pay x% of it's value in tax every year. What if I lose my job. I have to keep paying that tax and if my income can't support the payments I have to sell my house.

It sounds nice if you're into wealth redistribution, but it just doesn't work in the real world.

Oh, and your last paragraph about how possessing something means that you're costing society as it defends your right to possess that thing? So, I possess a life. So does everyone else. Your argument also justifies a head tax.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

Underground assets vs underground activity (none / 0) (#65)
by Baldrson on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 02:22:58 PM EST

For the very simple reason that the first thing people do is hide their assets. If they can't hide them, they lowball their assessed value to reduce their tax bill. It's harder for most people to hide their income (or lie and say that it's half what it is), than it is to hide their assets or say they're worth less than they are.

All of these objections can be handled by the simple expedient of taxing only assets with declared market value and not enforcing property rights for undeclared assets, combined with mandatory transfer of ownership of any asset, at its declared market value, under eminent domain "just compensation" when any other citizen offers said compensation.

No audits necessary.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

mandatory transfer (none / 0) (#78)
by thejeff on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 09:52:25 AM EST

This is one of those ideas that seems perfectly logical and rational, but fails so badly to take human beings into consideration.

Companies and business assets would probably work fairly well, though even there problems can be foreseen. Established large business could buy assets from up and coming competition, forcing them to either pay overinflated taxes to avoid it, or be driven out of business.
People would lose out even more. Homes are the most obvious example. Moving is a such a disruptive, time consuming process, not to mention the sentimental attachment most people have for their homes, that you'd have to overvalue them just for some security.

not enforcing property rights for undeclared assets
Does this apply to all stuff, or just 'assets'? Do I have to give the government a complete list of everything I own if I want it to have any legal protection; clothes, books, cds, toys, etc? This list has to be public too, otherwise how can anyone know what compensation to offer.

"You listed those pants as a $20 asset. I'll pay that. Take them off and give them to me now."

[ Parent ]

So... (none / 0) (#91)
by issachar on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:50:52 AM EST

define the difference between stuff and an asset. When you find that definition, look just on the "stuff" side of the equation. That's what people will buy to hide their assets.

Well, that and move their assets out of the country.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

Stuff vs Assets (none / 0) (#93)
by thejeff on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 07:44:26 AM EST

Which is why I don't like this plan. For it to work, you couldn't allow the distinction, but that means to have a legal right to your possessions you have to register them with the government. I'm seeing a new vast bureaucracy.


[ Parent ]
so...works fine IF we're okay with asset seizure (none / 0) (#90)
by issachar on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:48:51 AM EST

So to make this work, we just have to give away the right to say no to a purchase offer. Forget it. I want the right to refuse to sell because I LIKE the asset I own. Say my parents give me an antique chest when they die. It has a declared market value, but I don't want to sell it because I have an emotional attachment to it because my family bought it. I'm not going to be forced to sell it because someone can outbid me on my own property. That's just silly.

As for not enforcing property rights on undeclared assets. Yeah right. That'll work right up until we find the first grandma who has "forgotten" to include her jewlery on her tax form all that time and it goes missing. No one's going to be fine with the police refusing to recognize that a crime has occured. Or even better, when it turns up later with some guy registering "his" jewlery to pay the tax on it the police won't enforce the woman's property rights. Your plan wouldn't last 10 minutes after a six o'clock news story like that.

It IS a nice idea in theory. It just fails the practical test. When it requires draconian measures or covoluted enforcement, it won't work in the real world. It's sort of like communism that way. Great idea except for it not working. (Not that there's anything remotely socialist about your plan as far as I can tell).


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

Eminent domain is already asset seizure. (none / 0) (#96)
by Baldrson on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:04:06 PM EST

We're fine with eminent domain and that is asset seizure. Even little old ladies have to move when the freeway is coming through. Sure it makes the 10 o'clock news and sure some people whine.

Eminent domain works.

The practical effect of some household assets not being declared is simply that when the house's value is declared it is protected as a property right which means against trespass. If someone breaks and enters your house he can end up in prison. If he takes grandma's undeclared jewelry while there he can still end up in prison.

There are old people who are greedy. Never before in the history of the west has the intergenerational conflict been more intense nor so genocidal -- just look at the demographic vacuum that the bureaucrats claim must be filled by immigrants from societies where the government didn't feed the elders their own grandchildren and call it a "real estate boom" or "stock market boom".

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Eminent domain is completely different (none / 0) (#99)
by issachar on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 11:00:46 PM EST

First of all eminent domain can ONLY be exercised by the government. It cannot be exercised by citizens.

Second of all eminent domain is exercised for demonstrable community benefit. You're talking about forced asset sale as a way to prevent possible tax evasion. I declare my family home at value X. I'm not evading tax, but your scheme forces me to say yes to ANY offer from ANY citizen for the house for X dollars. Completely different.

As for the jewlery exception. So now you're going to have only some assets subject to the "not enforcing law" doctrine. So watch those assets get "forgotten". The problem with this "forgetting" is that it's easily mistaken with actual forgetting.

You're running into a problem. The cure is worse than the disease.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

Known assets (none / 0) (#100)
by Baldrson on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 07:59:57 AM EST

In practice the assets, other than land, that would be taxed would be those with some other legal documentation on the public record. You think this is a bug. It is, in fact, a feature.

The state _does_ have a compelling interest in minimizing auditing due to the interference in people's privacy required by auditing. This is an enormous public benefit.

If you don't want these things taxed or purchased out from under you under any circumstances then do what you would do with any asset you didn't want stolen: protect them yourself. That's a wise move in any case. Just don't expect the government to sympathize with you when they are dug up and disappear, unless the hole is on your declared land, and then only to the extent that someone dug a hole on your land without your consent.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

So... (none / 0) (#110)
by issachar on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 04:58:44 PM EST

You still haven't addressed your "forced sale" idea. Good luck with convincing people to give up their right to say no.

So now you're saying that the stolen jewlery would not be investigated by the police and that grandma better go get the bad men herself? A couple of replies ago, you said that the crook would go to jail. Now it seems that Grandma has to protect the jewlery herself because the police won't do it. Which is it?

Or were you just saying that the crook would go to jail for the Break & Enter and not the theft? But he wouldn't of course. He goes in to register "his" jewlery and the conversation goes like this:

Grandma: "He stole that from me".
Guy: "No, I found it on the sidewalk", do you have proof I was in your house?"
Grandma: "No, but it's mine".
Guy: "Prove it".
Grandma: "Here's a photo of me wearing last week"
Guy: "Hey. That looks nice, but it can't be yours because you didn't declare it as an asset".
Grandma: "Oh no, poor George bought it overseas and brought it back for me then died of a heart attack. I must have forgotten".
Cop: "Sorry, you didn't declare it, we won't enforce your ownership, and you can't prove he was in your house, he's free to go".

Good luck convincing people to give up income tax for your wonderful ivory tower ideas on taxation.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

Property taxes already repeatedly tax (none / 0) (#66)
by Baldrson on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 02:26:54 PM EST

The other problem is that you tax wealth repeatedly. When you tax income, I pay x% tax once and that's it. When you tax wealth x%, you come back next year and take another x%.

This is already what local jurisdictions do to real estate and people still invest in real estate. Your argument doesn't hold any water until the level of taxation is so large that, on average, a typical investor in the area can no longer make any money. If you look at the analysis I did of net present value at ROI rates equivalent of treasury instruments -- where the IRS is your effective collection agency and you can be brain-dead for all practical purposes -- the critical point for asset taxes is around 6% and that's assuming investors are effectively brain-dead.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Head taxes (none / 0) (#67)
by Baldrson on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 02:31:03 PM EST

Oh, and your last paragraph about how possessing something means that you're costing society as it defends your right to possess that thing? So, I possess a life. So does everyone else. Your argument also justifies a head tax.

That's a reasonable point and it is reasonable to debate whether human capital should be counted toward the total assets. However, assessment of the value of human capital is a severe problem outside of slave societies. Slavery was outlawed. Therefore there is good justification to outlaw human capital taxation since ownership and assessment are part of the same philosophical category as slavery.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Taxing wealth repeatedly (none / 0) (#68)
by Anonymous Cowpart on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 05:16:34 PM EST

Is it fair to keep taking x% of it every year year after year?

If you consider tax from the viewpoint of paying for costs incurred by the government in the process of serving your interests, I would say it is irrelevant whether those taxes are levied on income or wealth.
This is something many people don't seem to consider - taxes are the way the government's bills are payed, and they need paying year after year, regardless of whether you are living off wealth or income.
The fact that you haven't made any money in year x, does'nt mean the government didn't have costs associated with you - police was available, roads were kept, etc.

[ Parent ]
That doesn't address the wealth tax problem (none / 0) (#89)
by issachar on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:29:36 AM EST

Taxing wealth has the fundamental problem that it is not directly linked to your ability to pay. Income tax is.

Sure the government's bills need to be paid year after year. Fortunately, a country also has income year after year, so the government can still pay the bills.

Moreover, the costs associated with "you" may not in fact be proportionate to your wealth. Criminals, the chronically under-employed, the unemployed, are all examples of people who cost a lot of money. A rich guy living in a rich neighbourhood may in fact cost much less than you think because he lives far away from the high crime areas. Then there's costs that are static. If we tax based on your cost, we should have head tax for those.

I just don't think that's a fair way to tax people. Taxation based on ability to pay is more ethical.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

So tax consumption instead. (none / 0) (#73)
by smithmc on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 10:46:42 PM EST


Also think about what taxing wealth does to the motivation to save money. If you save it, it will be taxed repeatedly. If you spend it now, you don't lose as much to taxes. People will save less for the future.

So tax consumption instead. It doesn't unfairly tax the creation of wealth, there is no double taxation, and it encourages savings. To address any concerns about the regressivity of a consumption tax, allow a large but reasonable deduction for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, etc.

[ Parent ]

So what's the problem with income tax? (none / 0) (#88)
by issachar on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:21:50 AM EST

Sales tax is a consumption tax. I've been told that it's the least damaging to the economy, of all taxation, but I won't vouch for that statement as I can't back it up myself.

But sales tax does have the regressive problem you mentioned. Exceptions & deductions are a partial solution, but run into political problems. Exceptions become a maze of red tape as every politician gets "their" exception in. The other problem with sales tax is that it encourages the development of a black market. Income tax has the same problem, (all taxes do), but I suspect that the problem is worse with high sales tax.

Another problem you may not have considered is this: Sales tax cannot be applied on income spent outside the country. The rich tend to spend their income abroad more than the poor do. That's a tough regressive problem to account for. You also run the risk of making your businesses uncompetitive globally. If you eliminated income tax (or even severely reduced it), you'd have to radically increase your sales tax in order to maintain your tax base. Suddenly goods & services in your country cost drastically more than in other countries.

One big advantage of sales tax is that it does encourage saving though...

Still, I fail to see the problem with income tax. A minimum number of brackets making the tax code simple so people understand it, few deductions to make it very difficult to avoid taxes by hiring expensive accountants that the underprivileged can't afford, deductions in actual dollar amounts to make them disproportionately useful to the less fortunate, and a large basic deduction so that the very very poor pay no income tax at all. Everyone pays tax according to their ability to pay. What's the problem?


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

Coupla things... (none / 0) (#94)
by smithmc on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 10:51:19 AM EST


Everyone pays [income] tax according to their ability to pay. What's the problem?

My biggest beef with the income tax is that it smacks of penalizing people for their productivity, which is just fundamentally wrong. "Hey, you've worked hard, studied like crazy, and managed to be successful! Guess what! That means we're gonna slap you with extra taxes!" It seems to me that if we're going to tax something, let's tax something "bad" (i.e. excessive, conspicuous consumption) rather than something "good" (productive hard work).

The other thing is, we're not all socialists - we don't all agree with "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". The government provides services, which cost money. People should pay for what they get. When you go to the supermarket, they don't charge you more for a gallon of milk because you make more, do they?

[ Parent ]

Government services are not consumer goods (none / 0) (#97)
by squigly on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 06:03:12 PM EST

You're not obligated to pay for the milk.  You can simply choose not to have any milk.  Or you can buy from someone else.  You have choice.  Capitalism is the systyem we use to offer this choice.  The reason for this is because it works reasonably well.

Government services are not optional.  Paying for them is not optional.  So, since it has to be paid for, it makes sense to charge for it in a way that causes minimum impact.  Taxing based on ability to pay has this effect.  It's a system that works.  It's also a system that offers a choice.  And once again, you have a choice.  If you don't want to pay income tax, you don't have to.  Simply stop earning money.

[ Parent ]

Right to regulate productivity? (none / 0) (#106)
by smithmc on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 03:50:37 PM EST


Government services are not optional. Paying for them is not optional. So, since it has to be paid for, it makes sense to charge for it in a way that causes minimum impact. Taxing based on ability to pay has this effect. It's a system that works. It's also a system that offers a choice. And once again, you have a choice. If you don't want to pay income tax, you don't have to. Simply stop earning money.

Why should I have to make this choice? Why is it not more sensible to base government revenues on things that are at least remotely tied to the services which government provides? For instance, one of government's roles is to tax property - so have a property tax. The more property you own, the more you pay. The rich pay more, and the poor pay less. Another thing the government does is sanction and enforce contracts. The sale of goods or services involves at least an implied contract. So have a sales tax. The more things you buy or sell, the more you pay. The rich pay more, and the poor pay less. But to apply this logic to earned income, would imply that it's the government's job to provide or guarantee my income - and I reject that on principle.

[ Parent ]

problem: (none / 0) (#109)
by issachar on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 04:48:46 PM EST

Many things the government does has a cost unrelated to your ability to pay or static.

Military is one example. That has a static cost. It's not as if it costs more to defend one citizen than another. So using your logic that should be split evenly. Head tax. Widely regarded as unjust as it is a heavy burden on the poor and makes it harder for the poor to cease being poor. The ability to start with something and be successful is the American Dream. Head taxes kill the American Dream.

Or there are costs where poor people cost the government MORE than rich people. (Think crime in a poor neighbourhood, or government provided health care). So poor people should have higher tax rates. That's just not right.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

What about military spending? (none / 0) (#111)
by smithmc on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 09:02:58 PM EST


Many things the government does has a cost unrelated to your ability to pay or static. Military is one example. That has a static cost. It's not as if it costs more to defend one citizen than another.

But the value of a good or service is determined not only by its cost, but also by its value to the recipient. People with more property and possessions benefit more from the military than people who have less. So again, a property tax could be appropriate, or maybe a combination of a head tax and a property tax. Meanwhile, another question regarding military spending is why we spend so damned much. If the US actually spent what was required to defend the borders and people of the US, we'd be spending a lot less.

[ Parent ]

hmm... (none / 0) (#112)
by issachar on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 01:22:23 AM EST

I think you'd have a hard time proving the rich benefit more military protection than the poor. People don't exactly value their lives in relation to how much money they have.

You also haven't addressed the issue of expenses where the poor cost more money than the rich. Social welfare, public education, etc.

And if you want to get your ideas into the tax code, I'd forget about a head tax.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

So... (none / 0) (#114)
by Shajenko on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:38:32 AM EST

Tell me who would get hurt more, among two people who who don't live in New York, if New York were severely damaged in a terrorist attack - your average joe, or someone who owns significant real estate holdings in New York?

[ Parent ]
well... (none / 0) (#115)
by issachar on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:29:18 AM EST

I think it's a bit odd you'd choose the exclude the people most affected by the terrorist attack from your example. It sort of predicts the answer.

I'd say the guy most affected is the guy blown into tiny little pieces. Or failing that the guy whose relative or friend is killed. Money pales by comparison.

But if you really want to limit the discussion to cash... Cash damage to the average joe is less in dollar terms than it is to the real-estate tycoon. But the effect is much more painful to joe because his cushion is much less. But really... Military protection isn't all about protecting financial assets. It's primarily about protecting people. And they all value their own lives equally.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

That's not an inherent problem of income tax (none / 0) (#98)
by issachar on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 10:38:02 PM EST

The feeling of being penalized for working harder isn't a feature of income taxes. It's a feature of progressive income taxes. i.e. an income tax where the percentage of your income taken as taxes increases as your income increases. It's counterpart is the flat income tax. With flat tax your rate is static. x% is taken off no matter what you earn. Basically, there's only one tax bracket.

The advantage of having a progressive tax is that you can lower the rates for the under-privileged which I think is a good thing. Some people seem to think the point is to raise taxes for the richer people. That betrays a bit of the "punish the rich" attitude you're complaining about. I guess it depends on your motivation for the brackets.

I think the important thing if we have a progressive tax is to not always think the solution is to raise the rates on the higher brackets. That's not fair and it's not right.

And I'm not a socialist. Well, at least I don't think I am. I favour "each according to his ability" because I believe it's the Christian thing to do. So I also favour cheerful charity. Taxation isn't charity and it cannot replace charity.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

Weird (none / 0) (#103)
by ghjm on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 09:51:45 AM EST

I own a house, and I already do have to pay x% of its value every year in property taxes.

So what about a system that charges property (asset) tax and head tax, but also features income-tax-like exemptions and credits?

-Graham

[ Parent ]

why? (none / 0) (#108)
by issachar on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 04:43:22 PM EST

you pay property taxes, but this is a minor part of most people's tax bill and it's definitely a minor part of revenue from all the levels of government. Wealth taxation would get ALL the money from asset taxes.

But the real problem with this silly wealth tax proposal is that it serves no purpose. Income tax (compared with wealth tax) is easier to implement, harder to cheat on, cheaper (so less tax money is spent getting those same taxes) and does not discourage people from making money as Baldrson seems to think. The desire to make money is strong and the only way taxes can kill it is if the taxes are so high that you can't make money. (So don't charge 75% marginal rate on your top brackets and you've got no problem).


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

Yes, but,,, (none / 0) (#84)
by Eccles on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:45:25 PM EST

We already have exactly this system. Its called the volunteer army.

Our all-volunteer army is already overstretched and subject to stop-loss orders of questionable legality that further erode recruitment. So the talking heads speak of reinstating the draft (none of whom would have been eligible for it.)

[ Parent ]
well.. (none / 0) (#92)
by issachar on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:58:08 AM EST

If you're having trouble getting people interested in serving in the army you could raise the draft, or you could just up the pay.

Higher pay = more people wanting the job.


---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#102)
by Eccles on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 09:39:01 AM EST

I e-mailed the show saying essentially exactly that, but I didn't stick around to see if they read it on the air.

[ Parent ]
Baldrson's back! & his argument makes sense! (none / 0) (#69)
by nlscb on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 07:51:14 PM EST

God help me. I feel so dirty. I know there is some black helicopters and tinfoil hats hidden in the article somewhere.

However, I still beleive an all volunteer army paid at market rates is the best mechanism by which to maintain our armed forces. This is a "2nd best" solution.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

This is frickin' dumb. (none / 0) (#79)
by ghjm on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 10:45:13 AM EST

You don't have the vaguest clue how free markets work. Why in the name of Adam Smith do you want the government involved in price-setting?

The solution to this is to re-enact the practices of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. From the government's point of view, the system works as follows:

1. Selective Service continues to work the same way it does now.
2. Whenever a draft is required, print up an appropriate number of draft notices, each with a unique serial number. Choose randomly from the eligible pool. Send a draft notice to the official mailing address each selected Selective Service registrant.
3. When someone reports for service, take the unique serial number from their draft card and record that the associated Selective Service registrant has discharged their obligation. Send a notice to this effect to their official mailing address.
4. At the time of induction, do NOT check that the name of the draftee is the same as the name of the Selective Service registrant who was originally called.
5. If a given serial number is still outstanding when its deadline passes, find the Selective Service registrant and subject them to whatever gruesome punishment you can think of.

From the point of view of a poor draftee:

1. You get your draft notice.
2. You have to go to war.
3. We're so sorry. Now get on the truck.

From the point of view of a rich draftee:

1. You get your draft notice.
2. You take out a classified ad that says "I'll pay you to serve my enlistment."
3. Unemployed poor people respond to the ad.
4. Pick one and pay them a bit of money up front.
5. Poor person goes to war.
6. Wait until you get the notice from Selective Service that your obligation is satisfied.
7. Pay the rest of the money.

From the point of view of a volunteer enlistee:

1. Talk to Army recruiter.
2. Determine that Army is best career choice for you, for whatever reason.
3. Before you enlist, look in the classified ads for rich draftees.
4. Negotiate the best deal you can.
5. Now you get paid both by the army, and by the rich guy. w00t!

Market forces will set the amount the rich people have to pay (and by implication, how rich you have to be in order to avoid the draft). The government is not involved.

-Graham

Government's incentive to create an underclass (none / 0) (#81)
by Baldrson on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:26:23 PM EST

As I pointed out to someone else with your view of human value:

The system you advocate creates a government incentive to produce an underclass willing to risk death for a decent diet, standard medical care, clothes and a roof over their head.

In other words, pretty close to the sort of armed forces you have now working over in Iraq.

Maybe this is your idea of a wise way to run a country.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Proximity is not causality (none / 1) (#101)
by ghjm on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 09:33:18 AM EST

First of all, the system YOU proposed creates a government incentive to pander to the rich by reducing the "buy-out" price. The fact that the price is controlled by government means that it can and will be gamed by those with power to do so. My system actually has something to do with free markets, yours doesn't.

Morally, the two systems are equivalent: Both are designed to allow the rich to buy their way out of the system by providing a cash payment to the poor. If my system presupposes a given view of human value, then so does yours.

But more importantly, you have the cause and effect backwards. Any society interested in conquering the world has an incentive to produce armies. Armies require "an underclass willing to risk death for a decent diet [etc]".

For what it's worth, I agree with you that this is wrong. I don't think nations ought to view conquering other nations as a desirable goal. I don't think that involuntary military service is compatible with the ideal of freedom. And, if a draft exists, I don't think the rich should be permitted to exempt themselves (or their sons) from it.

But if you take all this as given - that a draft will exist, and that the rich will find a way out of it - then my system creates far fewer unpleasant side-effects than yours.

-Graham


[ Parent ]

Interesting, but wrong (none / 0) (#80)
by cdguru on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:08:31 PM EST

You are starting from an assumption that it seems a lot of people are ready to make, but is fundamentally wrong. You assume others place a value on life similar to your own - they do not. You assume that rich = bored evil-doer and I'm not even going to commment on that.

On the first assumption, it is important to understand that folks like Saddam Hussein and just about every other person in power in the Middle East has a slightly different take on things that you do. There are the "faithful" and there are infidels. Infidels are not "people", they are obstructions to a goal. "Using up" the faithful in pursuit of a holy goal is acceptable - that is what Jihad is, after all. These folks do not have the same goals that Western civilization does. You can argue that Western goals are "wrong" and that we should adopt their goals instead, but that is a different subject entirely.

Western civilization cannot "make peace" with these folks because they aren't interested in the same things. We want to contain or eliminate a threat and go back to shopping and watching TV. They want something different, and shopping isn't part of it at all. Frankly, we don't understand completely what they do want - it is outside of our understanding for the most part. So, assuming your average Iraqi, Palestinian or Iranian wants to live like your average American or someone in France is wrong. It is factually wrong - they don't - but even more so it is culturally wrong. It is typically Western to assume that because we want things that others do as well, and that they place a similar value on them. This is assuming "facts not in evidence" and building up from there.

There is plenty of evidence to indicate they view killing infidel humans like we view killing rats. You put the traps out and empty them when they are full. You don't hold ceremonies for the dead rats. Unless they can somehow get around the idea that we're people too - just like them - the idea of a peaceful co-existance is as foreign to them as it would be for us to negotiate with rats.

Now you may not like the realization that one day it is likely to come down to us vs. them - and only one will walk away, but that is the point of Jihad. Does this mean that every Muslim is our enemy who must be destroyed? No. It does mean there are people that have no intention of negotiating with us on reasonable terms and against these people we must win. At the same time, we must never lose sight that no matter how much they treat us like vermin to be exterminated, we must treat them like people. Does that mean we can't kill them? No, people get killed all the time. It does mean that we have to kill them as an enemy and not as we would exterminate vermin.

Open Class Warfare
As to the idea that somehow the rich should compensate the poor for bearing all the burdens in the world, well, that's silly. All a proposal like this would result in is a vast, uncontrollable riot. Don't you remember the 1960's? I guess not - you probably wern't born yet. If the "poor" have nothing to lose, they will destroy their infrastructure and everyone else's along with it. All this proposal does is show (with plenty of supporting evidence) that the "poor" are worth nothing as humans and only the "rich" count. Assigning a monetary value to human life is pretty low, even for crass Westerners. It would make us little better than the folks that want to destroy us.

Considering the proposal more seriously, what you are asking is pretty much to tax the rich out of existance - or at least the "semi-rich" and force them to be "average". While that might seem to have a funny kind of justice to some folks, it isn't going to work. Rich people got that way in one of a few relatively simple ways - they fell into it, or they fought for it.

If they fell into it, then maybe you might take it away without much of a fight. If they fought for it, they are likely to start over again and just become rich again. Wouldn't that really wreck things? If you change the rules so they can't win here, they will pick up and go somewhere else where they can win - and that society will receive the benefit of their efforts.

We have seen this happen over and over again in the last 500 years or so - people with motivation and aptitude get pushed out of one society and end up somewhere else - where they succeed.

The question you might like to ask instead is why everyone can't succeed. Don't tell me it is capitalism, because the same patterns have existed for thousands of years, regardless of the underlying economic system. Don't tell me it is because they are a minority and therefore somehow disadvantaged, because even in the US "White" does not equal "Rich", nor does "Black" equal "Poor". So what is it? Figure that out and maybe you have something worth talking about.

value of life (none / 0) (#85)
by Rhodes on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 06:27:42 PM EST

your comment about the value of life is totally off base, and wrong.

all insurance companies do put a value on your life,
 usually based on how much you earn or are worth.  

for instance, terry schiavo's medical bills were paid by a successful medical malpractice suit.

and oj paid $8.5 million in his civil suit
Civl suit discussion

is our "intrisinic" value greater than can be summed by accountants?  the answer by society is no.


[ Parent ]

right right (none / 0) (#95)
by khallow on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 12:10:08 PM EST

Out of curiousity, what do you really believe on the subject?

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Or the rich will just leave.... (none / 0) (#104)
by claes on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 12:52:03 PM EST

Someone pointed this out to me, and it makes a lot of sense. There is an upper bound on how much you can just "Tax the Rich" simply because they have the ability to simply move somewhere else.

-- claes

[ Parent ]

True, but... (none / 0) (#105)
by mister slim on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 02:10:30 PM EST

there is a limited number of options. Europe taxes more, many countries are less safe for the rich (Columbia's kidnappings, etc) and the cost of moving to a small island, with property valuation fluctutation, might remove the benefits. Not to mention the rich who stayed would probably see property taxes drop drastically. Basically, a complex system, but with a lot of room for tax increases and carrot and stick compensations at the moment.
__

"Fucking sheep, the lot of you. Yeah, and your little dogs too." -Rogerborg
[ Parent ]

They don't have to move (none / 0) (#107)
by issachar on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 04:36:24 PM EST

They just have to move their assets. The asset is subject to taxation, not the person. It's hard to move your income because you'd probably have to be permitted to work in the other country. Buying assets abroad is easier.
---
Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.
[ Parent ]
Wrong. (none / 0) (#117)
by vectro on Thu May 05, 2005 at 11:54:52 PM EST

Many (most?) countries, including the US, are more than happy to tax offshore assets of their nationals, at home or otherwise. In the USA, the income tax applies to all income, foreign-earned or otherwise (there is an exclusion of the first $80000 of foreign-earned income).

The point here is, if the government has physical control over your person (it does, if you reside in its territory), then it has the practical ability to tax you as it sees fit.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Wrong and uninteresting. (none / 0) (#116)
by OzJuggler on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 12:44:58 AM EST

I can read; can you?
You assume others place a value on life similar to your own.
No. Baldrson suggests that people negotiate with each other to reach agreeance on the value of their children's lives in the context of buying immunity from military service. Your entire troll-esque tangent on the value of life, including free bonus invocations of Jihadis and Saddam Hussein, was superfluous and utterly wasted.

what you are asking is pretty much to tax the rich out of existance
The only way you could know if the amount that the rich will have to pay under the proposed scheme would be enough to eliminate their rich status is if you had run the numbers using your own assessment of the monetary value the rich place on their own lives... thus making you guilty of doing exactly what you claimed was the flawed assumption of the article.
Assigning a monetary value to human life is pretty low, even for crass Westerners.
Assigning a monetary value to human life is a daily necessity in the study of the economics of fighting dropical diseases, stemming the spread of HIV, distributing foreign aid, calculating insurance premiums, and countless other rational and worthwhile acivities. Admittedly you never claimed to be rational.

What are you? Not even white Christian libertarian yanks are as stupid as you.
Must be all that dope from the sixties catching up with you.

people with motivation and aptitude get pushed out of one society and end up somewhere else - where they succeed.
Yes, it's an inspiration to us all.
In fact, I'd like to see you succeed somewhere other than kuro5hin.

OzJuggler
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

Tax Wealth's Avoidance of Combat | 117 comments (93 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!