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Thread: Who is John Galt?

  1. #11
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
    Given that increase in taxes results in a decline in revenues, do you advocate increasing taxes on this 50%, or do you advocate further decreases for the 50% that do pay?
    I believe that it requires a close examination of how it is determined who pays taxes or doesn't, and in what amounts.

    I do not have the information to do this examination and evaluation.

    It boils down to 1/2 the population generating the wealth that supports the other 1/2. Even a small amount of tax on 150 million people (who currently don't pay taxes) would be a windfall to whittling down the deficit.

    Logic would dictate, that since these 150 million do not pay anything now, it could not result in decreased revenue if they paid "something" ... even $100/year; even $50/year.

    The logic you cite only applies if you are increasing tax on those already paying some tax.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    Originally Posted by YardleyLabs
    And yet, we now live in an age with lower taxes,

    That may change if the Bush era tax cuts are allowed to expire. That seems to be the "plan". Taxes will increase without any of the Congresspeople having to vote for a tax increase.


    greater opportunities for individuals to profit directly from their efforts,

    At least if you are in banking or an illegal resident

    fewer social limitations on behavior (a big deal to Rand),

    Fewer limitations for some, more limitations for others.

    and less governmental regulation than existed when Ayn Rand wrote the book.

    I find that hard to believe after hearing that all toy manufacturers will have new regulations for testing toys after the lead paint from China debacle.

    Does govt "regulation" include standardized payments for govt programs like Medicare & Medicaid ... thereby regulating what health care providers can charge?


    For all the complaints about our inexorable move toward socialism and government totalitarianism, I would love to see evidence -- tax rate changes over the last 50 years,

    We'll just have to see how the formual works after the current tax rates expire to see how they compare with the previous 50 years.

    greater restrictions on corporate and personal behavior, etc. -- to support the thesis.

    Obamacare may be a good start on making a change in this. A fine for a certain behavior might be considered a "restriction" of sorts.There is something very wrong with only 50% of the population paying taxes.
    Even if the Bush tax cuts expire, we will still be looking at tax rates that are significantly lower than in 1957 when the book was published. In part because of lower taxes and in part because of technology improvements, it is much easier for a small business to be launched and to grow enough to make its owners wealthy than was the case in 1957. At the other extreme, there are many fewer controls on the ability of major corporations to create monopolies without governmental interference, for banks to engage in any kind of business and for other major businesses to prosper than was true in 1957. There are more laws today that prevent businesses and individuals from denying opportunities to others based on race, religion, gender, etc. There are fewer constraints based on politics (1957 was the height of McCarthyism and the black lists), global reach, etc. With respect to governmental regulation, there is more of a mixed bag. Anti-trust litigation was much more prevalent in 1957 than today. Banking laws prevented interstate banking, global banking, or business crossover between S&L, commercial, and investment banking. All telephone companies and utilities operated as intensely regulated, government controlled monopolies. Communication companies operated under much tighter constraints over ownership and content than exist today. Buying liquor in my state (Tennessee) meant bootlegging because possession and sale were illegal. In Oak Ridge, the primary distributor of illegal liquor was the police department, which owned its own still to convert cooking sherry into drinking sherry (however bad) and also resold the liquor they confiscated during raids. If you were black, you were forced to attend separate and not even close to equal schools and were excluded from every restaurant in town. If you conducted almost any business activity on Sunday, you would be fined or jailed. In 1958, several boys in our high school were expelled when they had their hair cut into mohawks. A boy in my elementary school was suspended when he showed up with a "DA" hair style. Prayers at the beginning of every school day were mandatory, and every prayer was drawn from the New Testament (we needed to make sure the Jews got the message). Where in America today is the government directly involved in imposing such a rigid sense of social order? And no, the government was not involved in setting rates for physician services in 1957. There was no such thing as Medicare and Medicaid. It was accepted that physicians would be paid nothing for much of the service they provided. My doctor worked three days per month providing free care at a clinic in the Cumberland Mountains where people from miles around walked in hoping to be helped. Most were not. Old people without assets generally had the good graces to die at home without care for problems that would be treated today. Is that the kind of freedom that represents the "change" we want?
    Last edited by YardleyLabs; 06-01-2010 at 01:34 PM.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Jeff, I won't quote your whole post ... but it boils down to are we closer now, than we have been before to: to each according to his need; from each according to his ability?

    I think we are.

    because of lower taxes and in part because of technology improvements, it is much easier for a small business to be launched and to grow enough to make its owners wealthy than was the case in 1957.
    Some small business owners might disagree with this.

    for banks to engage in any kind of business
    I guess so, since we don't have any basic usury laws that would preclude credit card companies from charging 30% interest? And even the NY Times ran an editorial on how weak the newest law on financial reform is.

    and for other major businesses to prosper than was true in 1957.[/
    I don't believe that back in 1957 the govt mandated the mileage standards for auto makers. Would auto makers not have smartened up without govt mandates?

    The State of PA has mandated that utility companies decrease electrical usage to certain levels on a certain timetable or be fined for failing to meet the reduction quota. That will reach into everyone's life who uses electricity.

    All telephone companies and utilities operated as intensely regulated, government controlled monopolies.
    I still have access to only one phone company, one electric company, and one cable TV company. To remove the regulation without removing the monopoly doesn't serve much good.

    In 1958, several boys in our high school were expelled when they had their hair cut into mohawks.
    Ironically, we have come full circle as some schools now believe dress codes would be beneficial.

    Old people without assets generally had the good graces to die at home without care for problems that would be treated today. Is that the kind of freedom that represents the "change" we want?
    Obamacare could give us "that kind of freedom" ... not the "change" most people envisioned when they pulled the lever for him in 08.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    Jeff, I won't quote your whole post ... but it boils down to are we closer now, than we have been before to: to each according to his need; from each according to his ability?

    I think we are.
    ....
    Obviously, it is hard to address that statement without some definition. To use a simple definition, I would suggest looking at the median income in each period and the percentage of the population earning more than three times the median income in the same periods. That gives you a crude but explicit view of income distribution. If your statement is correct, I would expect to see a decline in the percentage of the population earning at least three times the median income because of the shift of resources from the highest income groups to meet the needs of the lowest income groups. By contrast, a shift in the reverse direction -- a shrinkage in the percent of the population earning three times the median income -- would indicate that your assertion is false.

    What we actually see is that in 1957, the median income was $5,000 and that 1.85% of the population earned more than $15,000. In 2008, the median income was $50,000 and the percentage of the population earning more that $150,000 was 20.6% (sources: http://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-030.pdf and http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-236.pdf). To me, that suggests that your assertion is not just incorrect but way off base. One could do more sophisticated analyses, and factor in more variables, but there is no question that, by any reasoned measure, that income has shifted dramatically toward the wealthiest segments of the population over the last 50 years in America which is incompatible with the notion that we have become more socialist in the same period.
    Last edited by YardleyLabs; 06-01-2010 at 03:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    As much as I often disagree with you Marvin, I always take heed of your comments.....but I do not recall ANYTHING about our money NOT being wasted. I think we can all agree on that. Whether its being wasted on corporate tax breaks or feeding hungry children is where political differences lie, but I think we all agree its being wasted.
    When you reach the point that you agree with me more than you disagree you will be a much wiser individual . The inference by the original poster was that taxes are not an unnecessary burden. He disappeared when some low hanging fruit became available .

    I don't believe in corporate federal tax breaks, & would like to see the policy of incentives to get businesses to locate in a particular state stopped. If it's not available to all then it should be available to none. Beyond that I believe in free & fair markets, were more individuals in emerging markets able to find gainful employment there would be less chaos in the world. Does it make you happy to know that many of the products coming from China are done in sweat shop conditions? But on the OH, a bad job is better than no job.

    As for feeding the vulnerable, no issue with that, but when they show in Air Jordan's & a really nice jacket somethings out of whack. What I would do beyond what is done is to examine the root cause. Possibly sterilization for the mom & a vasectomy for the absent father would work as a deterrent. The big issue is that those administering the progtrams have a vested interest in perpetuation. Just like drugs, fix the program, wouldn't need so many cops .

    What I would really like to get back to is the original subject junbe presented, what about Ayn Rand's novels?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    If you actually believe that tripe, then you are less of an intellectual powerhouse than some of those less knowledgeable on this forum believe you to be.

    It is our money, & it is being wasted unnecessarily!!!!!!
    Which part is being wasted? The trillion that goes to Military Spending each and every year? How about the 40 billion that goes to subsidize Oil Conglomerates each year? Or maybe The Homeland Security Budget?
    Or perhaps it's the local taxes that are being wasted. Should we privatize our police forces? How about Fire Departments? Privite roads and bridges. Woul you rather pay tolls for profit or taxes to build and maintain them?
    We privatized our hospitals over the last 20 years. Hows that working out? Or maybe we should just scrap Social Security. Toss it. Right now. How many on this board are collecting Social Security? How many have parents or grandparents collecting it? You ready to step in and fill the void so we can cut that program out right now? Or maybe medicare? Retired folks don't really need that do you? Oh, lets not forget eduction. We don't need public schools and public universities. Let everybody pay Ivy League prices to get an education. Damn socialism anyway. This is America. We don't need it!
    Taxes are socialism. It's my money.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    What we actually see is that in 1957, the median income was $5,000 and that 1.85% of the population earned more than $15,000. In 2008, the median income was $50,000 and the percentage of the population earning more that $150,000 was 20.6% (sources: http://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-030.pdf and http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-236.pdf). To me, that suggests that your assertion is not just incorrect but way off base. One could do more sophisticated analyses, and factor in more variables, but there is no question that, by any reasoned measure, that income has shifted dramatically toward the wealthiest segments of the population over the last 50 years in America which is incompatible with the notion that we have become more socialist in the same period.
    I'm not sure this statistic totally addresses the question: are we closer now, than we have been before to: to each according to his need; from each according to his ability?

    In 1957, when the median income was $5000, gas was $.25 a gallon. Today it is $2.79 (subject to change by $1 upward at any given moment!) ... that is a multiple of 11 (while the median income figure has increased by a multiple of only 10).

    Back in 1957, cable TV did not exist. Everybody had an antenna. Today there is hardly anyone who pays less than $50 (including taxes) for the least expensive cable TV service. Interestingly, when I drive through some of the lowest income areas of our 3 local cities, there is hardly ANY home that does not have a TV satellite dish mounted on it.

    It is not clear whether the median income figures you cite take into account inflation.

    And it's possible that you may not believe this is the only statistic that is pertinent, as you stated on another thread:

    I agree that we are facing the potential for long term social and economic instability. However, I believe that the massive shift of wealth to a smaller and smaller portion of the population, and the virtual destruction of our middle class are the primary factors contributing to this trend.
    This statistic says the middle class has shrunk; whereas the median income statistic might indicate the middle class has increased.

    We could go on playing a statistics game, but we are really talking about a "concept"; a mental outlook that is subscribed to by the general populace and/or those who make the laws and create govt programs.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    How do today's tax rates compare to when the book was written in 1957?





    How about before the Bush tax cuts?



    The top rate today is at 35% starting at $373,650, in 1957 a 34% rate kicked in at $16,000. So today's 35% rate kicks in at a level 23 times where it did in 1957. The median income of $5000 in 1957 paid a marginal rate of 22%, whereas the median income of $50,000 today pays a marginal rate of 15%.
    Last edited by Buzz; 06-02-2010 at 08:29 AM.
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    Senior Member junbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
    I've read it twice. Do you have a point?

    I thought the book brought up some points that would be great for a discussion on this forum. Maybe someone who has not read the book would take an interest and read the book.

    Thanks for asking.

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  10. #20
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by junbe View Post
    I thought the book brought up some points that would be great for a discussion on this forum. Maybe someone who has not read the book would take an interest and read the book.

    Thanks for asking.

    Jack

    I wasn't trying to be smart. I was just curious specifically how the book applied to current events.
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

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