I'm excited for a tax-specific thread.
PLAYER57832 wrote:Frist, I would increase the Social Security payments made by everyone, but particularly lower wage workers. We face a crisis in the future as these people won't have enough to live upon in retirement. Savings through 401K and IRAs doesn't work well for that group for a lot of reasons. For discussion (only -- purely arbitrary figure, I don't have time to crunch the real numbers right now), say anyone making $50K or less would be required to pay double. BUT, that extra payment would be "theirs". It would be like a 401K in that they would recieve direct return from it, but not like a 401K or old style pension in that they cannnot withdraw money early. That money would NOT be available for the government to "borrow" or use for anything other than SS.
While admirable, it's going to be hard for politicians to sell this to their constituents who have already paid in to social security. I'm not certain how much money that would raise, but it would not help the budget deficit mainly because the extra money paid in by the lower wage workers (since when is $50K a low wage?) would not go to social security, it would go to a separate fund where the expenditures (payouts) would be break-even with the revenues (the new social security taxes).
This is not about lowering the deficit, it is about ensuring that future workers are protected into retirement., something that won't happen as things stand right now.
This essentially replaces the old style pension with a social security type government program. It won't be quite as lucrative, but will help provide a minimum fall back for retirees in the future.
The 50K is arbitrary, somewhat, but I remember reading somewhere that 401Ks only work for those making more than 75K or so its not entirely abstract. Even so, focus on the idea, not the total. I already said the total was just to give the general idea.
PLAYER57832 wrote:I would create a long term unemployment program to go along with the current one. For the long term bit, I would like to see some way to include self-employed individuals. We don't want people (essentially) closing their businesses for a couple of months to go on unemployment, but if they are not able to restart in 6 months or a year, then they need help.. but again, it needs to have added requirements, such as true proof of applying for jobs, enrollment in education programs, etc, etc. As a part of this program, I would include a kind of mortgage forbearance or payment. AS long as the mortgage is below the average rent for an area, the owner would be allowed to either pay just interest while in the program OR would be able to borrow the money to pay the basic mortgage.
I like this one, although my unemployment program idea would cost a lot more (and I think would be more helpful than yours). I'll get to that later. This also seems less like a tax issue and more like a spending issue.
Its about tax because it means fewer people burdened. Right now, Congress keeps passed extended unemployment benefits. People need them, but the system was not set up for that. Basically, the original idea of unemployment insurance was good, but needs to be updated. The additional tax won't need to be quite as high as the current system, because fewer people will be in it. Even so, yes.. it will be additional.
Basically, this and the other moves are about a kind of "forced responsibility". You can call that "nannism" or you can say that these are things people just are not able (or willing) to do on their own, but that need doing. That is a role of government.. making people do what is truly needed when necessary.
PLAYER57832 wrote:I would hold banks at least equally responsible for downturns in home mortgages. Bankers, not buyers are the experts. When they offer a loan for a house for $200K, then most average people have tended to think that the bank offered that because they knew the house was truly worth that much. It is a reasonable thought. They ARE the experts, not most buyers of houses. The bank should, at a minimum, have to "eat" half the loss and restructure the loan accordingly.
I absolutely, whole-heartedly, and without reservations vehemently disagree with this and find it repugnant. If someone who wishes to purchase a home does not understand the concept of income, expenditures, and interest rates, that person should be subject to whatever negative things happen to them.
OH bull... buying a home should not require a real estate degree. In fact... gee there is no such thing.
thegreekdog wrote:And yes, I've had people try to sell me homes I could not afford and I find that equally repugnant. But I'm not in favor of letting people live in a house they cannot afford for five years before kicking them out and letting them get out of paying for the home.
ah, but see, this is not about people buying houses they cannot afford, it is about houses losing value because banks artificially keep the prices up, knowing they won't lose.. the homeowner would. Note that nowhere in this did I say that people should not have to pay.. I am saying that banks gain fully when there is a gain, they should take some responsibility when there is a loss as well, in this case, half.. and refinance under the same interest or lower. Nothing in that translates to "letting people stay for free for 5 years" as you imply, but nice try at hyperbole.
thegreekdog wrote:This also seems less like a tax issue and more like a spending issue (and not even government spending).
Yes.. and no. We are paying to bail out these banks. I am saying the idea that owning a bank automatically entitles you to make a profit is just wrong. AND, making us take the hit is wrong.
PLAYER57832 wrote:For businesses, I would cut out entertainment deductions, deductions for things like company cars and so forth. Direct supplies to make products, direct employee costs and taxes/fees are would stay as deductions, but not most everything else. Its up to the company to decide if buying a car is profitable for them or not, not for tax payers to give a tax break because they want one.
Agreed to a certain extent, although you have a warped sense of why companies purchase cars. I have been looking for studies indicating how much tax revenue is estimated to be lost based on various deductions, but my inclination here is that eliminating the entertainment deduction (the meals and entertainment deduction is I believe limited to 2% of income, I think) is not going to do much.
I used cars just as a "top of the hat" and easy to understand example. Right now, a lot of things that everybody needs get to be deducted if they can be considered "business expenses". The real impact is that this becomes a kind of back-handed subsidy, or a way of, again, penalizing wages more heavily than investment or business income. At a minimum, I think they should be equal.
In honesty, I would like a graduated system whereby initial wages, up to a certain point (say the mostly arbitrary but neat figure of 100K, just as an example) is given a lower tax rate, anything after that a higher rate. BUT.. uniform.
One thing I am sort of on the fence about is inheritance tax, which might surprise you. It has, fundamentally already been taxed. Still, the standard is to tax money when it is transferred and that can be a pretty big transfer. I think it should be easier to pass on businesses and even things like houses, particularly historically significant houses, but maybe taxing straight money and stock holdings is OK. (and yes, I realize that stocks equal ownership... but not quite in the same way as direct ownership).
Anyway, my feeling is that there should be 2 premise behind taxes. First, the amount of income needed to meet output. Listening to the Republicans talk, it almost seems as if they think they can just wave a magic wand and magically (or free marketedly) get things like schools, roads, natural resource protections, etc, etc. History disagrees. The market is good at squeezing profit from things. That includes turning inventions into other things when there is a lot of new tech "out there" or very ready to be discovered. WE have seen a LOT of that in the past few decades and some people have sort of come to expect that this will continue. But, when you start to look at things like real limits in resources, technology advances that are looming... and our ability to provide educated people to work on those solutions, then the picture is not so great right now. Too much of the Republican plan is about "meism" or "support big business and the rest will just take care of itself". They say that without fully acknowledging some very special circumstances that allowed our current state to be...things like the advent of lasers and computers, things like women and minorities more fully entering the workforce and things like a huge influx of illegal workers willing to take much lower wages than most citizens for the equal job.
The bottom line.. if the free market were really and truly about improving society, then it would not be standard for appliances to just die after 5 years of use. (down from 10 just 15 years ago!) AND, we would not have tons of waste in dumps while Europe is recycling away a lot of what we throw away. The free market is great for what it does, but understanding its limits is as important as understanding its strengths. Taxes are needed to allow the government to do the things that the free market cannot or won't efficiently. And yes, "government" is NOT a synonym for "inefficient". It can be... but that is partisanship and individual greed, not "government". We can fix those two things without removing the government part.
Ironically, when you want to look at true partisanship and greed.. big business thrives on those things. Where the market does work, it needs those things. BUT... because we have not recognized the limits of the market, we have let Politicians convince us that doing away with government is "the answer" instead of letting the free market operate where it does well and letting other systems.. be it central planning or a science/data driven mechanism or some other amalgamate, operate where they do well.
Pretending that it has to be solely one or solely the other is the REAL problem. Not being willing to listen to diverse and different ideas because one has to hold to a specific "ideology" is the problem. Remember, people create ideologies. People can create new ones, if given a chance.
Taxes are a big part of that (but only part).