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World Politics

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May 13, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Other than killing myself, I have done my part. I have no children, no legacy... Other than beer and bicycle parts I really don't consume anything near what you would consider excessive. I live reasonably small as do most of the people I know.

It sounds to me like you have a serious grudge against all mankind. I'm guessing if you had a magic wand and could make the world the way you'd like it to be you would still be miserable. That's a tough way to go through life.
For a moment I fell back in pure awe and amazement. How uncomonly proud you must feel about yourself. :rolleyes:
 
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rhubroma said:
For a moment I fell back in pure awe and amazement. How uncomonly proud you must feel about yourself. :rolleyes:
Ah, but Rhub we are only here for the blink of an eye. Try and enjoy yourself (if that's possible).
 
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Cobblestones said:
That would indeed be a great solution. Unfortunately, he won't get more than a handful of votes in congress. Probably Obama has flip-flopped on this, too (it was one of his campaign ideas).

And that is really at the heart of the problem. Interest groups representing maybe 1% of the population have both parties in their pocket.
I'd actually like to see the math on this. I'm guessing Bernie is doing what liberals always do when calculating tax increases... ignore human behavior.

There seems to be a three word solution to all of our economic and social challenges. Tax.The.Rich. Healthcare/Medicare, Social Security, Debt and Deficit. I don't know why I didn't listen sooner... hell, I'm not rich, it won't effect me.
 
May 13, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
I'd actually like to see the math on this. I'm guessing Bernie is doing what liberals always do when calculating tax increases... ignore human behavior.

There seems to be a three word solution to all of our economic and social challenges. Tax.The.Rich. Healthcare/Medicare, Social Security, Debt and Deficit. I don't know why I didn't listen sooner... hell, I'm not rich, it won't effect me.
Let's look at it this way. For how many years have was the solution to all problems 'don't tax the rich'. Since that did work out so well, I'm open for something new.

So, what do you think will happen? People will ask for smaller salaries so they have to pay less SS? More people getting compensation in stock options? Somehow I have my doubts that's going to make a huge dent in the calculation. Also, it's a very cheap tax to collect which makes it very cost effective.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Did anyone read this?

Questioning the Dogma of Tax Rates

The notion that low capital gains tax rates are a good thing because they promote investment, lead to job creation, encourage people to sell assets without fear of tax consequences and actually raise total tax revenue is so entrenched in both parties that the idea of equalizing capital gains and ordinary income rates is barely mentioned or, when it is, is quickly denounced. It’s become a third rail of tax policy and electoral politics. “It’s now so woven into standard thinking that it’s become a cultural norm,” a prominent hedge fund official told me this week.
...

Is that so unthinkable? It does seem intuitive that lower taxes and thus potentially greater rewards would encourage risk-taking and investment, and surely at some rate high taxes can discourage any endeavor. But even some hedge fund and private equity officials concede that the argument for lower capital gains rates rests more on faith than science. “I’ve seen study after study that says lower capital gains rates have no impact on behavior,” the hedge fund official told me.
...

Though controversial, this isn’t a new idea. The most prominently successful advocate of a drastically simplified tax code that treated ordinary income and capital gains the same was Ronald Reagan, who made it a centerpiece of his successful 1986 tax reform proposal. (The lower rate reappeared as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, championed by Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton.)
 
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Cobblestones said:
Let's look at it this way. For how many years have was the solution to all problems 'don't tax the rich'. Since that did work out so well, I'm open for something new.

So, what do you think will happen? People will ask for smaller salaries so they have to pay less SS? More people getting compensation in stock options? Somehow I have my doubts that's going to make a huge dent in the calculation. Also, it's a very cheap tax to collect which makes it very cost effective.

Ah yes, back to the rich don't pay taxes (or their fair share). Nevermind the data. Maybe we can trot Buffett back up to the mic so he can say something else in his own self interest.

So, what do you think will happen?
I don't know. Let's say I'm a salaried worker in a skilled labor job, I dunno, maybe a chemist. Maybe I make $150,000 per year. Under normal SS tax rules, my limit would be 6.2% up to about $107,000 (about $6,600) with my employer matching this for a total of about $13,200. Under Bernie's proposal, my contribution would go up to $9,300 with the employer match to equal about $18,600. If my income were $200k, my contribution would be $12,400. BTW, how will this provide a climate for business to hire more people as they now have a significant increase in cost for high salaried workers?

Let's say I'm a sole proprietor, then I get to pay both halves. So I'm a SP and I compensate myself 200k I pay nearly $25,000 in SS tax alone. Add to that my Federal Income Tax bill of slightly over $44,000, my State income tax will be around $17,300... then there's property tax, sales tax and my car registration, utility taxes... you get the picture.

So, on the surface you might say, "well, the major taxes are still less than half of what you make, so you still have money"... But here's how I look at it. Currently, the line at which a person pays almost no federal income taxes is around $44,000. At that I'm paying very little in State income tax and a couple thousand dollars in SS tax. So if I can cruise and keep most of my 44k, what's my incentive to get educated, work hard to make 200k when I know I will lose almost half of that every year? Literally, there is an economic incentive for me not to achieve anything that might reward me with more compensation. Is this fair in your view?

Don't get me wrong, I am glad Social Security is there... it needs to be there and it needs to be solvent. But are you at all concerned at just dumping the finances of this country on a handful of it's citizens and just demanding to be paid by them?
 
Mar 13, 2009
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rhubroma said:
No, to human stupidity.

We have invented a market system which demands ever larger quantities of production and consumption, or else recession.

Meanwhile by 2050 Planet Earth may well have 8 billion homo rapiens on it, with diminishing resources of water, fossil fuels, deforestation, contaminated lakes and rivers, anemic seas and wasted mineral and other vital deposits: such that the entire world will be firmly on the senseless path to the complete despoilment of its biosphere, and the only thing there will be left for humans to do will be to find a way to escape from swimming in our own foul detritus.
With the exception of Buddhism the great world religions tell us how unique and special we are among all created things, when the truth is that human beings are only gifted at consuming with a ferocious rapacity, that's as clamorous as it is unedited, all the things required for life, including our own, on the planet. While science and the economy has led us to believe that we can overcome all the natural limits, without having to control our own voracious appetites and desires. And somehow we contrive to even believe that we are healthy and sane animals!

Now I know you to be a guy of action, a world class business man as they say, a natural force of work, enterprise and fastidiousness; so keep it up and perhaps you will one day arrive at correcting the problem.
I stumbled on to this discussion and find it very interesting.

Unfortunately I have been thinking similar thoughts lately. A grudge against mankind? Yeah, in a way it amounts to that - and admitedly it isn't always easy to deal with.

The concept of the necessity of growth is forced on us by right and left wing parties (of course in France right wing is already far left by US standards). However, as rhubroma reminds us, constant growth will eventually, and relatively quickly, lead the planet down the road to disaster. We have to come up with a plan, and the only solution I can see is for all of us to reduce our footprint significantly. Of course this will lead to major problems in our way of functioning but we will have to find a way to deal with that. The toughest hurdle will be the natural tendancy for the majority of mankind to be selfish and put his own interests ahead of the common good. It won't be easy convincing those SUV owners to recycle them into bicycles with cargo trailers.

Personally I am pretty pessimistic about the outcome of all this, but life goes on.
 
May 13, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Ah yes, back to the rich don't pay taxes (or their fair share). Nevermind the data. Maybe we can trot Buffett back up to the mic so he can say something else in his own self interest.



I don't know. Let's say I'm a salaried worker in a skilled labor job, I dunno, maybe a chemist. Maybe I make $150,000 per year. Under normal SS tax rules, my limit would be 6.2% up to about $107,000 (about $6,600) with my employer matching this for a total of about $13,200. Under Bernie's proposal, my contribution would go up to $9,300 with the employer match to equal about $18,600. If my income were $200k, my contribution would be $12,400. BTW, how will this provide a climate for business to hire more people as they now have a significant increase in cost for high salaried workers?

Let's say I'm a sole proprietor, then I get to pay both halves. So I'm a SP and I compensate myself 200k I pay nearly $25,000 in SS tax alone. Add to that my Federal Income Tax bill of slightly over $44,000, my State income tax will be around $17,300... then there's property tax, sales tax and my car registration, utility taxes... you get the picture.

So, on the surface you might say, "well, the major taxes are still less than half of what you make, so you still have money"... But here's how I look at it. Currently, the line at which a person pays almost no federal income taxes is around $44,000. At that I'm paying very little in State income tax and a couple thousand dollars in SS tax. So if I can cruise and keep most of my 44k, what's my incentive to get educated, work hard to make 200k when I know I will lose almost half of that every year? Literally, there is an economic incentive for me not to achieve anything that might reward me with more compensation. Is this fair in your view?

Don't get me wrong, I am glad Social Security is there... it needs to be there and it needs to be solvent. But are you at all concerned at just dumping the finances of this country on a handful of it's citizens and just demanding to be paid by them?
Well, is it fair that workers below the limit of about $100k pay a higher percentage of their income to SS? Wouldn't it be fairer if everybody pays the same percentage? You do realize that most people would think it fair to have a progressive tax, such as the federal income tax?

Even with a progressive tax there's still incentive to educate and earn more. Hell, even just to educate yourself so to not have a mindnumbing job would be an incentive. Why do you think people went to university in the Soviet Union?

A progressive tax is considered fair because the first part of your income is going to food, shelter, clothing healthcare etc. which everybody has to have. Stuff beyond that can be considered luxury and that's why that part of the income can be taxed more.

Instead we have quite a few regressive taxes such as the cap on SS taxes. Another example would be sales taxes. Everybody has to pay the same base amount for essentials such as food and clothes. Since these essentials will be a larger part of the available income of poorer folks, but the sales tax rate is constant, sales tax is in essence regressive.
 
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Anonymous

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Cobblestones said:
Well, is it fair that workers below the limit of about $100k pay a higher percentage of their income to SS? Wouldn't it be fairer if everybody pays the same percentage? You do realize that most people would think it fair to have a progressive tax, such as the federal income tax?

Even with a progressive tax there's still incentive to educate and earn more. Hell, even just to educate yourself so to not have a mindnumbing job would be an incentive. Why do you think people went to university in the Soviet Union?

A progressive tax is considered fair because the first part of your income is going to food, shelter, clothing healthcare etc. which everybody has to have. Stuff beyond that can be considered luxury and that's why that part of the income can be taxed more.

Instead we have quite a few regressive taxes such as the cap on SS taxes. Another example would be sales taxes. Everybody has to pay the same base amount for essentials such as food and clothes. Since these essentials will be a larger part of the available income of poorer folks, but the sales tax rate is constant, sales tax is in essence regressive.



Wouldn't it be fairer if everybody pays the same percentage?
I'm all for a flat tax. Let's say the rate is 18%, zero deductions. In fact, I'm for canning the IRS and having the BOE collect a national sales tax, zero deductions. Clean, simple, efficient, no underground economy.

I'm curious. What is an appropriate tax rate for 'the rich' and how do you define them?
 
May 23, 2010
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Scott SoCal said:
I'm all for a flat tax. Let's say the rate is 18%, zero deductions. In fact, I'm for canning the IRS and having the BOE collect a national sales tax, zero deductions. Clean, simple, efficient, no underground economy.

I'm curious. What is an appropriate tax rate for 'the rich' and how do you define them?
their name is not scotty
 
Jun 22, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Wow. Please re-read the above.

It's not sabatoge, it's a different economic/political philosophy. What should the right do? Abandon what they believe in to staisfy you and the far left? Tell me, when does your side compromise?

Obama has his health care legislation. He has it. Tell me, why does the bulk of this legislation on happen in 2014? Why not now? I think you know why.

This is a classic case of the right thinking the left is wrong and the left thinking the right is evil. I highlighted a few of your words to demonstrate.
Obamacare is an emasculated torso of what it should have been. Guess why.


Yes Scott, I very deliberately used strong and emotionally charged words because I'm f***ing mad. I accept a broad political spectrum, I accept the need for give and take in politics, and I understand that there clearly is a need for the right to have a political voice. What makes me so damn mad is the simple fact that your "different economic/political philosophy" espoused by the right wing, Christian, lunatic fringe, is one that is so insanely far to the right of what any other established 'right wing' parties stand for, that we really need a new label. Not even 'extreme right wing' is apt. How about the 'Hun wing'?

Moreover, the US has been built on these fundamentally right wing, 'Christian', ethics and values, which appear to breed distrust of central government. Look where two centuries of this has got the country.

Quite apart from the most insane electoral process ever devised by man, constant reference to an out of date 200 year old document desperately in need of revision for the modern world, a paralyzed central government due to a pathetic, derisory legislature where scoring partisan points has become more important than the greater good of the nation - quite apart from all that, how about the highest murder rates, most people imprisoned, foreign wars, the obscene profits in 'health care', the obscenity of the banks, the obscenity of a President controlled by big business and oil - Jesus, I could go on. And now, the loony right thinks all that hasn't been bad enough, they want to do the same, but even more so! They want to regress, not progress. Their view of the world at large is so tragically blinkered, that they really appear to have no idea of how totally out of step they are with any modern thinking. Honestly, it makes me want to weep.

I have no idea how far you go along with these extreme loonies, and I also have no wish to get into any personal aggro, so I'll leave it at that. I think I've made my overall view pretty clear by now.


PLEASE, CAN WE HAVE A SUBFORUM FOR TAX/ECONOMY DISCUSSIONS!!!!

(We've been bombarded with stats and calculations of late, and I imagine that I'm not the only one who can't be bothered to work them through. Can the numbers freaks have their own place, please?)
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
...But here's the thing; When government spends a dollar it first had to remove that dollar from the ecomony, or it had to borrow that dollar and pay the debt service with dollars removed from the economy. The only real way the federal government can raise money is to remove it from the economy.

...
think about this. this is simply not true. even if it were, i've given examples where the government has increased the size of the economy (interstate highway system, internet) with spending. some government spending, because of the size of the resources it commands, has a greater effect than the dollar amount spent. economies are not a zero-sum game. they increase (or contract) depending on many factors. when an economy increases in size it is not at the expense of other economies. even when parts of the economy expand it is rarely completely at the expense of another part.

but to your original point that government spending removes money from the economy; if you give this a little thought, you will see that this is not always true. first of all, as i said above, the economy is not fixed in size. second, if the economy is good, companies are raking in profits and they are paying investors and investing in their own infrastructure, it is true that the government taxing may be removing money from the economy to the detriment of the economy. however, if the government finds a use at such a time that increases the size of the overall economy (viz. interstate highway system, 1950s). there may be a short term loss but a long term gain. the US' situation is such that companies are profitting and not using these resources. they are parking the money in government bonds, etc. while the economy is contracting. if the government starts spending on projects that increase employment, the size of the economy will increase and it will encourage those companies to invest their idle resources.

look, this discussion is a bit frustrating. you offer slogans and i counter with real examples where those slogans fail. rinse. repeat. as i have said before, with some of the things you have asserted without evidence, there are narrow situations where they may hold true. but the economy behaves differently depending on conditions. there is never and will never be a one-size-fits-all solution to running an economy.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Funny, that's what comes to my mind when I think of what Liberals have done with health care. Universal health care (single payor, govt run) is not the best delivery system but it is the single best way to keep liberals in power in perpetuity. Create the largest entitlement imaginable thrusting dependency upon literally everyone and what do you get?

Not better or more affordable health care.
and you base this dogma on what? the US' health care system is the most expensive in the world and far less efficient than countries with universal health care. it may not be the best way, but like democracy, it is better than all of the others. furthermore, there are numerous countries with universal health care and conservative governments.
 
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Anonymous

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Amsterhammer said:
Obamacare is an emasculated torso of what it should have been. Guess why.


Yes Scott, I very deliberately used strong and emotionally charged words because I'm f***ing mad. I accept a broad political spectrum, I accept the need for give and take in politics, and I understand that there clearly is a need for the right to have a political voice. What makes me so damn mad is the simple fact that your "different economic/political philosophy" espoused by the right wing, Christian, lunatic fringe, is one that is so insanely far to the right of what any other established 'right wing' parties stand for, that we really need a new label. Not even 'extreme right wing' is apt. How about the 'Hun wing'?

Moreover, the US has been built on these fundamentally right wing, 'Christian', ethics and values, which appear to breed distrust of central government. Look where two centuries of this has got the country.

Quite apart from the most insane electoral process ever devised by man, constant reference to an out of date 200 year old document desperately in need of revision for the modern world, a paralyzed central government due to a pathetic, derisory legislature where scoring partisan points has become more important than the greater good of the nation - quite apart from all that, how about the highest murder rates, most people imprisoned, foreign wars, the obscene profits in 'health care', the obscenity of the banks, the obscenity of a President controlled by big business and oil - Jesus, I could go on. And now, the loony right thinks all that hasn't been bad enough, they want to do the same, but even more so! They want to regress, not progress. Their view of the world at large is so tragically blinkered, that they really appear to have no idea of how totally out of step they are with any modern thinking. Honestly, it makes me want to weep.

I have no idea how far you go along with these extreme loonies, and I also have no wish to get into any personal aggro, so I'll leave it at that. I think I've made my overall view pretty clear by now.


PLEASE, CAN WE HAVE A SUBFORUM FOR TAX/ECONOMY DISCUSSIONS!!!!

(We've been bombarded with stats and calculations of late, and I imagine that I'm not the only one who can't be bothered to work them through. Can the numbers freaks have their own place, please?)
PLEASE, CAN WE HAVE A SUBFORUM FOR TAX/ECONOMY DISCUSSIONS!!!!

(We've been bombarded with stats and calculations of late, and I imagine that I'm not the only one who can't be bothered to work them through. Can the numbers freaks have their own place, please?)
No, we can't. it inseparable.

Otherwise all we'll get on this thread is broad platitudes like what you just wrote above.

I'm ****ing mad too. I'm mad that people can't anymore have a civil discussion about fixing what's wrong. I'm mad that our political process is so corrupt that it makes 3rd world tin-horn dictatorships look mild. I'm mad that both political parties in the US are far more interested in 'winning', or beating the other side than doing what right for the people of this country. I'm mad at the sheer disingenousness of all our our entire political process.

I'm mad that you and I can't have a discussion on a internet forum, exchange ideas and argue our points without the finger wagging over-the-top rhetoric.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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gregod said:
Scott SoCal said:
and you base this dogma on what? the US' health care system is the most expensive in the world and far less efficient than countries with universal health care. it may not be the best way, but like democracy, it is better than all of the others. furthermore, there are numerous countries with universal health care and conservative governments.
It looks like you're responding to Velocity, whereas Scott wrote your quoted text.:)

edit - that didn't come out right, but my response was obviously directed at gregod.
 
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gregod said:
Scott SoCal said:
and you base this dogma on what? the US' health care system is the most expensive in the world and far less efficient than countries with universal health care. it may not be the best way, but like democracy, it is better than all of the others. furthermore, there are numerous countries with universal health care and conservative governments.
the US' health care system is the most expensive in the world and far less efficient than countries with universal health care.

Show me. And for the love of all that is holy don't cite the WHO unless you know a little about how their survey was conducted.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
No, we can't. it inseparable.

Otherwise all we'll get on this thread is broad platitudes like what you just wrote above.

I'm ****ing mad too. I'm mad that people can't anymore have a civil discussion about fixing what's wrong. I'm mad that our political process is so corrupt that it makes 3rd world tin-horn dictatorships look mild. I'm mad that both political parties in the US are far more interested in 'winning', or beating the other side than doing what right for the people of this country. I'm mad at the sheer disingenousness of all our our entire political process.
I'm mad that you and I can't have a discussion on a internet forum, exchange ideas and argue our points without the finger wagging over-the-top rhetoric.
We're not all economists or people well versed in tax law, so you'll just have to live with broad platitudes from me. Of course, politics and economics overlap, especially now. But come on, we're not all into serious number crunching, or am I really in a minority of one? If so, I'll shut up.

I'm sure that you knew that I would totally agree with what I bolded above. So, we do have a basis for discussion! I shall try to reduce my finger wagging and temper my rhetoric....but I ain't promising.;)
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Ah yes, back to the rich don't pay taxes (or their fair share). Nevermind the data. Maybe we can trot Buffett back up to the mic so he can say something else in his own self interest.



I don't know. Let's say I'm a salaried worker in a skilled labor job, I dunno, maybe a chemist. Maybe I make $150,000 per year. Under normal SS tax rules, my limit would be 6.2% up to about $107,000 (about $6,600) with my employer matching this for a total of about $13,200. Under Bernie's proposal, my contribution would go up to $9,300 with the employer match to equal about $18,600. If my income were $200k, my contribution would be $12,400. BTW, how will this provide a climate for business to hire more people as they now have a significant increase in cost for high salaried workers?

Let's say I'm a sole proprietor, then I get to pay both halves. So I'm a SP and I compensate myself 200k I pay nearly $25,000 in SS tax alone. Add to that my Federal Income Tax bill of slightly over $44,000, my State income tax will be around $17,300... then there's property tax, sales tax and my car registration, utility taxes... you get the picture.

So, on the surface you might say, "well, the major taxes are still less than half of what you make, so you still have money"... But here's how I look at it. Currently, the line at which a person pays almost no federal income taxes is around $44,000. At that I'm paying very little in State income tax and a couple thousand dollars in SS tax. So if I can cruise and keep most of my 44k, what's my incentive to get educated, work hard to make 200k when I know I will lose almost half of that every year? Literally, there is an economic incentive for me not to achieve anything that might reward me with more compensation. Is this fair in your view?

Don't get me wrong, I am glad Social Security is there... it needs to be there and it needs to be solvent. But are you at all concerned at just dumping the finances of this country on a handful of it's citizens and just demanding to be paid by them?
excellent example. there are two reasons. first, with that 200k income, you command much more borrowing power. if you want to borrow money to buy a house, even with your tax burden, you will still be able to live in a better neighborhood with better schools, roads, etc. and have a nicer house. the second reason is more subtle. because you went to college, you have increased your social/economic mobility. it is easier for you to go from 200k to 300k than it does for a person earning 44k to go to 66k.

a third reason that just occurred to me is that you will be able to retire with more money with that 200k, as well.
 
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Anonymous

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gregod said:
think about this. this is simply not true. even if it were, i've given examples where the government has increased the size of the economy (interstate highway system, internet) with spending. some government spending, because of the size of the resources it commands, has a greater effect than the dollar amount spent. economies are not a zero-sum game. they increase (or contract) depending on many factors. when an economy increases in size it is not at the expense of other economies. even when parts of the economy expand it is rarely completely at the expense of another part.

but to your original point that government spending removes money from the economy; if you give this a little thought, you will see that this is not always true. first of all, as i said above, the economy is not fixed in size. second, if the economy is good, companies are raking in profits and they are paying investors and investing in their own infrastructure, it is true that the government taxing may be removing money from the economy to the detriment of the economy. however, if the government finds a use at such a time that increases the size of the overall economy (viz. interstate highway system, 1950s). there may be a short term loss but a long term gain. the US' situation is such that companies are profitting and not using these resources. they are parking the money in government bonds, etc. while the economy is contracting. if the government starts spending on projects that increase employment, the size of the economy will increase and it will encourage those companies to invest their idle resources.

look, this discussion is a bit frustrating. you offer slogans and i counter with real examples where those slogans fail. rinse. repeat. as i have said before, with some of the things you have asserted without evidence, there are narrow situations where they may hold true. but the economy behaves differently depending on conditions. there is never and will never be a one-size-fits-all solution to running an economy.
Of course the government can increase the size of the economy. I never said it couldn't. Our economy is several trillion dollars larger than it probably should be. Is that a good thing in your view?

look, this discussion is a bit frustrating. you offer slogans and i counter with real examples where those slogans fail. rinse. repeat. as i have said before, with some of the things you have asserted without evidence, there are narrow situations where they may hold true.
You have not countered or really responded to many of my points. Where does government income come from?? You cannot say taxed dollars are not removed from the economy. I don't necessarily consider this a detriment UNLESS the rate of taxation limits growth and economic tax producing activity that results in lower revenue to the treasury. This can and does happen and it's not at all hard to demonstrate.

I'll respond to more of your post a bit later but for now I gotta keep the wife happy and it is now dinner time on the west coast:)
 
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