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CA: Schwarzenegger announces commission to overhaul tax structure
Sac Bee ^ | 10/30/08 | Kevin Yamamura

Posted on 10/30/2008 3:47:24 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger established a new state commission Thursday to overhaul the state's tax structure after facing significant volatility tied to stock market losses that already have hamstrung this year's budget.

The Republican governor, joined in Los Angeles by Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, blamed the state's latest budget problem on a tax system that relies on the top 1 percent of earners to pay a significant share of revenues. He said changes are necessary to even out the state's revenues over time to stabilize funding for state programs.

Schwarzenegger did not specify exactly what types of different taxes he would seek, though Democrats in the past have suggested expanding taxes beyond retail and assessing services, such as lawn mowing or auto repair.

The governor signed a $103.4 billion general fund budget in September, but experts now believe the state could be $10 billion short of what was in that spending plan. The governor essentially confirmed that estimate Thursday, saying state "revenues have taken a major dive of 10 percent."

"We are paying for the price right now of this outdated revenue system," Schwarzenegger said. "Just as we have signed the budget a month and a half ago, we are now already having a major problem. The stock market has come down 20 percent since then. And, of course, our revenues have taken a major dive of 10 percent."

The new panel, formally titled the Commission on the 21st Century Economy, will have 12 members, with six appointed by the governor, three by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and three by Bass. Schwarzenegger expects them to begin meeting in November and report their findings by April 15.

(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Politics/Elections; US: California
KEYWORDS: calbudget; california; caltaxes; commission; overhaul; parsky; rino; schwarzenegger

1 posted on 10/30/2008 3:47:24 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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Commission on the 21st Century Economy

The Black Hole Gang


2 posted on 10/30/2008 3:48:48 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "You know, when you can't ask a question of your leaders anymore, that gets scary,")
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To: NormsRevenge

A little late isn’t it?


3 posted on 10/30/2008 3:49:28 PM PDT by Fred (The Democrat Party is the Nadir of Nihilism and OBAMA IS A MARXIST)
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To: Fred

It’s a tragedy what the Left has done to a once nice Republican state in just 25 years.


4 posted on 10/30/2008 3:54:40 PM PDT by blue state conservative
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To: NormsRevenge; SierraWasp; Amerigomag; tubebender; Carry_Okie; ElkGroveDan; Czar; DoughtyOne
the Commission on the 21st Century Economy, will have 12 members, with six appointed by the governor, three by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and three by Bass.

WASS!

In related news...

Schwarzenegger warns sales tax increase might be needed

5 posted on 10/30/2008 3:57:20 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: NormsRevenge
He said changes are necessary to even out the state's revenues over time

Psst Arnold. I have the answer, but just between us...cut spending! Now go do it and you can take credit for the idea.

6 posted on 10/30/2008 3:59:05 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan (Reagan is back, and this time he's a woman.)
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To: Fred
Does anyone see the “irony” here? California is in trouble partly because they have, as Schwarzenegger says...”relied on the top 1% of earners to pay a significant share of revenues.”

He is essentially saying they can't tax the “rich” anymore. In fact, the so called “rich” are paying their fair share and more. It's the same with the Federal Income Tax - The top 1% pays 39% of our Federal Taxes. The top 25%, pay 86% of Federal Taxes. Conversely, the remaining 75% of American wage earners are paying...14% of all Federal Income Taxes.

At least Schwarzenegger sees this...OB and the Dems are still hung up on the rich paying their fair share.

Incredible...

7 posted on 10/30/2008 4:01:55 PM PDT by Herodes
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To: NormsRevenge

So are they looking for an actual overhaul, or are they just looking for more things to tax? The article seemed to suggest the latter.


8 posted on 10/30/2008 4:02:21 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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“We are paying for the price right now of this outdated revenue system,” Schwarzenegger said.

It was chugging along pretty good there for awhile until the boom bust.. but the legislature went even more nuts and the Gub obliged and joined with ‘em and spent and borrowed like crazy.


9 posted on 10/30/2008 4:03:52 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "You know, when you can't ask a question of your leaders anymore, that gets scary,")
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To: NormsRevenge
DO ya think if CA cut spending on all support of the illegal aliens (last check was $15 billion / year) that it just might fix the state's short fall?
10 posted on 10/30/2008 4:04:46 PM PDT by drypowder
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To: calcowgirl

I’m sure this is merely intended to facilitate tax reductions for Californians...


11 posted on 10/30/2008 4:05:46 PM PDT by Czar ((Still Fed Up to the Teeth with Washington))
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To: Herodes
ditto

Jack Welsh on Kudlow and Co. explains the exact same problem in Rhode Island
12 posted on 10/30/2008 4:07:14 PM PDT by Fred (The Democrat Party is the Nadir of Nihilism and OBAMA IS A MARXIST)
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To: NormsRevenge

Do as the Alaskans do, follow Governor Palin’s lead. Drill offshore.


13 posted on 10/30/2008 4:08:36 PM PDT by Fred (The Democrat Party is the Nadir of Nihilism and OBAMA IS A MARXIST)
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To: NormsRevenge

Do as the Alaskans do, follow Governor Palin’s lead. Drill offshore.


14 posted on 10/30/2008 4:09:01 PM PDT by Fred (The Democrat Party is the Nadir of Nihilism and OBAMA IS A MARXIST)
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To: NormsRevenge
Tax the entertainment business. Movie theaters, venues that do live music (a ticket tax, if you will), comedy club, etc. There could also be a sales tax targeted at material that is primarily used for entertainment. Microphones, musical instruments, movie film. Seems there's plenty of wealth to spread around. Oh, sports entertainment too - tax that.

All tongue in cheek obviously. Bread and circuses will be the last things taxed.

15 posted on 10/30/2008 4:09:49 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: NormsRevenge

Ha, ha, spread the wealth Arnie.


16 posted on 10/30/2008 4:14:40 PM PDT by pray4liberty (Watch, pray, and work. This election will separate the sheep from the goats.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Idiots!

Here’s the plan:

1) Cut taxes, across the board, especially on businesses.

2) Cut spending, across-the-board!

3) Put a dent in regulations, that have to be god-awful in California.

4) Finish the fence along So. Ca. border (it seems to be a sieve). On the southern part of that S.D. to L.A. Interstate, you see caution signs to watch for the illegals crossing the road. How are they getting in?

Tax revenues soar! Spending reigned in! Balanced budget, improved economy. Problem solved. Businesses feel welcome!


17 posted on 10/30/2008 4:17:45 PM PDT by bharrin742
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To: blue state conservative

Amen brother. I don’t even recognize this state anymore. It’s very sad.


18 posted on 10/30/2008 4:17:56 PM PDT by Chicos_Bail_Bonds
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To: NormsRevenge

Schwarzenegger announces commission to overhaul tax structure.

He should announces a commission to overhaul and reduce state spending


19 posted on 10/30/2008 4:28:11 PM PDT by chainsaw ( No racist radical Muslims in the WH)
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To: NormsRevenge
“We are paying for the price right now of this outdated revenue system,” Schwarzenegger said.

We are paying the price right now of OBSCENE spending and borrowing by government bureaucrats!

20 posted on 10/30/2008 4:42:41 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl
Its NOT the revenue, its the spending stupid! And the borrowing that finances it.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

21 posted on 10/30/2008 4:45:19 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Herodes
The top 1% pays 39% of our Federal Taxes. The top 25%, pay 86% of Federal Taxes. Conversely, the remaining 75% of American wage earners are paying...14% of all Federal Income Taxes.

Have you ever seen statistics such as:

• The top 1% of Federal taxpayers make up ___% of all income?

• The lower 75% of America's wage earners make up ___% of all income?

What you posted cannot truly be analyzed without knowing the other information. I don't know the answer, but I'd be curious. Sure--I pay fewer dollars than Larry Ellison and Jack Welch, but who doesn't?
22 posted on 10/30/2008 4:48:34 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl
I find these conservative analyses stating that low-income people don't pay taxes terribly self aggrandizing and dishonest.

Low income people pay a higher fraction of their income on Social Security, MediCare, property taxes in their rent, and sales taxes than any trust fund baby fears in their worst nightmare (corporate perks and "business expenses" anyone?). Yet these are NEVER counted when Republicans talk about taxes.

Just once I'd like to see an honest total revenue as a function of income study, including corporate pass-throughs. I'd bet it's quite different than these pompous a$$es propose and very possibly a way to enlist a real majority. Think of how many more people would think about spending if they truly understood what they're paying. Frankly, it is mystifying why Republicans spend so much time with such self-serving crap; all it does is keeps them out of power.

23 posted on 10/30/2008 5:31:13 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (If Barack Obama is Vladamir Lenin, Bill Ayers is Leon Trotsky.)
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To: calcowgirl
Many factors have convened to create California current plight but chief among them was the unpredictable:

California's taxing structure never contemplated its current circumstances. Tax structures contemplated traditional income and population demographics. The rise of the public sector, the rise of organized labor, the ebbs and flows of technology were all contemplated and would have been manageable were it not for an act of self serving compassion that, ironically, was instigated by Californians and implemented during the Reagan administration.

Few Californians of the Reagan era could have predicted the sudden shift from production to consumption within the past 15 years. Nor could they have reasonably predicted the precipitous flight of the means of production or the flood of marginally productive, uneducated with high birth rates since 1990.

Consider that immigration and its consequences (progeny) is today, the sole source of California's expanding population. Excepting the effects of immigration, California population is shrinking. Further exacerbating this anomaly , a significant, unforecast percentage of the educated, productive class is in a forced flight from the state as their employers avoid the confiscatory tax burden that has resulted from California's liberal governance and their attempts to redistribute wealth. Few, if any, within rational government circles in the 1980s, knew that the US would simply open it southern boarders to unrestricted immigration within a scant 25 years.

The final blow came as a result of the accelerated birth rates among the flood of new immigrants, shifting resources into the public safety net to support and maintain an accelerating and, by circumstance, unproductive class in the 0 to 14 year age demographic. By 2025 that class will consume over 50% of California's productivity utilizing the current taxing schemes.

24 posted on 10/30/2008 5:32:01 PM PDT by Amerigomag
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To: calcowgirl

Why not, that’s about the only thing he hasn’t screwed up since being elected. Might just as well make a clean sweep of it.


25 posted on 10/30/2008 5:38:04 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Our nation is uncomfortably close to having B.O. We need to use a Republican roll on by 11/04.)
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To: DoughtyOne
Take a look at 22 and tell me what you think.
26 posted on 10/30/2008 5:42:59 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (If Barack Obama is Vladamir Lenin, Bill Ayers is Leon Trotsky.)
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To: Carry_Okie

It depends on whether you think Social Security is a retirement program or a welfare program. If it’s a welfare program then FICA withholding is indeed a tax. If it’s a retirement program, like FDR said, then you can’t call it a tax.

Whenever the poverty lobby talks about taxes the poor pay they always include FICA, even though it’s supposed to be a retirement program—you get out what you pay in.

Those of us who max out of FICA contributions during the year are also maxed out of how much we can collect in retirement.

If you exclude FICA and include Earned Income Credit then the poor don’t pay any taxes at all. My welfare-addicted sister in law gets thousands back in EIC every year.


27 posted on 10/30/2008 6:21:56 PM PDT by blue state conservative
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To: Carry_Okie; calcowgirl

This is a premise I generally hear espoused by Democrats. That is not meant to be a slam. It is fertile ground for discussion. I believe it is one of the inequities that inspires lower wager earners to aspire to a better position. If people who live in the lower tier income wish to, they can take classes to better themselves. They can start their own businesses, small at first, then build.

There are a number of factors that go into this equation, not the least of them the idea that many who earn income in the bottom tier of society, are employed in transitional or entry level jobs. There are some professions where even those with college degrees can earn wages that are quite low on the first rung of their professions.

It would take a certain amount of study to honestly give this whole topic a fair review.

There are issues of income redistribution at the lower incomes. There are issues of lower tax rates in the lower income tiers. There are issues of transition, or entry level work. Then there’s the issue of two people becoming one and actually having twice the income they did before, and sharing expenses.

It may in fact be true that the lower income group pays a higher percentage for Social Security, Medicare, State Disability Insurance. They are also paying a much lower rate of income taxes, and in some instance getting income redistribution payments once a year.

I am inclined to not be quite as certain that there is a glaring inequity here that is scandalous in nature. I’d have to take a much more in depth look at all the factors and wage groups to see it more clearly than I do now. I’m just telling you what my gut says at this time.

In an ideal society, I am not convinced that it is always optimal to level out the playing field. The playing field was leveled out very nicely in the U.S.S.R. for instance. This defeated ingenuity, aspiration, dedication...

I’m not trying to imply that you are advocating this at all. I am merely stating that if we make things entirely equitable and easier for the lower tier, what inspires them to advance?

I’m going to have to admit that CalCowGirl’s figures in post 22 were impressive. It’s hard to take into consideration that the bottom 75% of our nation’s workers, pay only 14% of the income taxes, and not think that’s a fairly reasoned ratio. There’s also the issue of how far down the scale the top 25% goes too. I’ll bet you and I would both be surprised to know how low the wages are of the person who makes just more than 75% of the rest of the population.

Perhaps I digress. It’s an interesting topic. About mid week last, I found myself wanting to do a bit of research to find out what the situation is like in the $15 to $30k income bracket, as it relates to earned income tax credits.

In January I’m going to be reviewing the current tax tables in order to look at what is going on in the lower brackets. It should be an enlightening experience. I may drag out last years tax papers to give them a review, before that.

Take care.


28 posted on 10/30/2008 6:24:29 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Our nation is uncomfortably close to having B.O. We need to use a Republican roll on by 11/04.)
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To: Carry_Okie; Amerigomag; SierraWasp; Czar; NormsRevenge
Just once I'd like to see an honest total revenue as a function of income study, including corporate pass-throughs. I'd bet it's quite different than these pompous a$$es propose and very possibly a way to enlist a real majority.

Perhaps you, Amerigomag and I could apply for a grant. We can let SW, czar and NR critique it. ;-)

Seriously, I do agree with you. But keeping themselves in power seems to be their priority.

29 posted on 10/30/2008 6:48:24 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: Amerigomag

I agree with the way you portray what has happened in the last few decades but I think it was easily predictable—and in some cases part of the master plan. The environmental movement comes to mind. I also remember back in the early 1980s a relatively unknown Rep. Boxer launching an assault on defense contractors through changes to arcane laws and regulations leading to their decisions to also flee the state. While federal laws, there were related reasons that made it advantageous to get the heck out. There are too many examples of other laws to mention but the consequences should have been obvious to those who look further than the next election, IMO.


30 posted on 10/30/2008 6:57:13 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl
I think it was easily predictable—and in some cases part of the master plan.

I disagree. Utopians are not suicidal.

Few, if any, knew or predicted that more than 10% of a nation would voluntarily emigrate within two generations and even fewer would have predicted the organized capitulation of sovereignty to achieve political gain.

"We had to destroy the village nation to save it" rings in my ears.

31 posted on 10/30/2008 7:21:58 PM PDT by Amerigomag
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To: DoughtyOne; Carry_Okie

I’m not sure you understood my point on the statistics.

Many declare that “the top 1% pays 39% of our Federal Taxes.” But what if we found that “the top 1% makes 50% of all income.” Would it still be a lefty argument to suggest that there is an inequity there or to acknowledge that the statement is misleading when presented alone?

Or, conversely, what if the remaining 75% of American wage earners are paying 14% of taxes while making up only 10% of income?

Without knowing the total income numbers, declaring that “the top 1% pays 39%” is unfair is based on nothing more than emotion (or propaganda). It is trying to evoke the same type of emotion as the “spread the wealth around” crowd talking about “economic justice.” Neither of these camps seem to present the real numbers as C.O. suggested.


32 posted on 10/30/2008 7:42:45 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl; Carry_Okie

I believe there is merit to this line of reasoning. I’m sorry I didn’t understand where you were coming from, and if you (Carry_Okie) were coming at this more along these lines and I missed it, it wasn’t intentional.

I honestly didn’t see this argument in the statements both of you made, although it may have been right there. I thought you were focused on the idea that the social program taxes were unfair.

As strange as it may seem, I don’t remember seeing someone address the issue in the manner you have here CalCowGirl.

The 39% of taxes vs 50% of earnings and 10% of income vs 14% of taxes is not a statistic I have seen before. Is that truly the ratio? If so it would seem very strange for one of the two parties to take a pass on hawking the issue in terms like this.

It has been my understanding and intent, that the top scale paid somewhat of a disproportionate portion of the taxes. If that is not true, then I wouldn’t have a problem taking a look at it and considering some changes.

I will admit that I really do shy away from the greed arguments. I don’t consider well to do people to be greedy. Many of them gift massive amounts of money to various causes.

I also have reservations when it comes to corporations. What hurts corporations impacts stockholders, employees, production, and ultimately the purchasing public.


33 posted on 10/30/2008 8:14:16 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Our nation is uncomfortably close to having B.O. We need to use a Republican roll on by 11/04.)
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To: DoughtyOne; Carry_Okie
I don’t remember seeing someone address the issue in the manner you have here CalCowGirl.

What can I say? I'm a trailblazer. ;-)

The 39% of taxes vs 50% of earnings and 10% of income vs 14% of taxes is not a statistic I have seen before. Is that truly the ratio?

No. It was purely for illustration (pulled them out of the air). I'd love to see some real numbers. In post 22, I was asking the freeper who posted the stats if they had any stats on income. Without knowing the whole equation, the posted stats are meaningless (despite how many times we hear them reiterated).

It has been my understanding and intent, that the top scale paid somewhat of a disproportionate portion of the taxes. If that is not true, then I wouldn’t have a problem taking a look at it and considering some changes.

It's hard to determine what is "fair." If we had a "person tax," one could say that each individual should contribute the same dollar amount to operate the Federal government (they'd never survive!). But we don't--we have an "income tax." In this case, it is not surprising that the more income one makes, the more taxes they pay. When we hear of people making hundreds of millions of dollars in a single year, should they not pay tax on it just because they already paid a large amount? Would that argument work for Microsoft? (I don't think so). Had that individual not received the big salary, those same dollars may have been paid to employees--who would have been taxed on the income, or to investors--who would have been taxed for the dividend income. I'm just thinking outloud here--I don't know the answers.

I will admit that I really do shy away from the greed arguments. I don’t consider well to do people to be greedy. Many of them gift massive amounts of money to various causes.

I think there is a limit (a moral limit, so to speak--not anything that I think should ever be legislated). When some companies (like the banks currently being bailed out) pay their executvies hundreds of millions of dollars while pushing the law to the limit to report good short-term earnings, with no concern for the effect of their greed on the rest of America or wht they are leaving in their wake, I have a problem with it. That they then use those dollars to go fund their favorite charity choice doesn't excuse the behavior, IMO.

I also have reservations when it comes to corporations. What hurts corporations impacts stockholders, employees, production, and ultimately the purchasing public.

What helps corporations is not always good, contrary to the mantra that I think C.O. might have been partially referring to. If Corporations pay less tax, someone else pays more. So, there is less disposable income to keep the economy going or for the little guy to start a small business. If that corporation simply uses the money to increase the salary of it's CEO, who did it help? Not the shareholder, not the economy, not production, etc.

There is a balance between them--the old swinging pendulum. Without seeing a detailed study as C.O. described I am inclined to defer my opinion on which side the pendulum is actually leaning.

34 posted on 10/30/2008 8:56:56 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: blue state conservative
It depends on whether you think Social Security is a retirement program or a welfare program.

From the day it was instituted, it was never intended to be a retirement program; it was to indenture a constituency.

If you exclude FICA and include Earned Income Credit then the poor don’t pay any taxes at all.

This is simply not true, especially as regard sales taxes nor did you read my post carefully, as I included pass-throughs in the taxes the poor pay, particularly property taxes in rent.

35 posted on 10/30/2008 9:45:08 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (If Barack Obama is Vladamir Lenin, Bill Ayers is Leon Trotsky.)
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To: calcowgirl; DoughtyOne
There is a balance between them--the old swinging pendulum. Without seeing a detailed study as C.O. described I am inclined to defer my opinion on which side the pendulum is actually leaning.

Amen, especially as regards the fraction of income that exceeds the bare necessities of life. But beyond that, I wasn't talking as much about the actual rates as much as I was addressing the way the right talks about them in the public debate. The people we are trying to recruit into an opportunity economy see right through that sort of argument, especially when they see executives taking vacations on corporate jets etc. Everybody knows those benefits aren't taxed, just like we all knew how Teresa Heinz sneered at the idea she should pay much of anything. IMO, it is this kind of specious argument that allows the left to lump us in with the worst of their own malefactors where the backbone of the Republican Party is small business.

Thus, this "the poor don't pay taxes," crap, and that's what it is, fails to grab the opportunity to show those who might listen the way the left keeps them down. That makes me crazy. Give us honest measurements and thoughtful explanations and we'll start winning a lot more elections.

36 posted on 10/30/2008 10:05:26 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (If Barack Obama is Vladamir Lenin, Bill Ayers is Leon Trotsky.)
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To: Carry_Okie
Give us honest measurements and thoughtful explanations and we'll start winning a lot more elections.

Agreed. I have always believed the way to grow the party and to win elections is to educate the populace. The case against liberalism is a winner. Insulting everyone in the lower income brackets does not.

37 posted on 10/30/2008 10:53:16 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl
I don’t remember seeing someone address the issue in the manner you have here CalCowGirl.

What can I say? I'm a trailblazer. ;-)  Can't believe I gifted you with that setup.  I've got to be more careful.  ;-) back at you.

The 39% of taxes vs 50% of earnings and 10% of income vs 14% of taxes is not a statistic I have seen before. Is that truly the ratio?

No. It was purely for illustration (pulled them out of the air). I'd love to see some real numbers. In post 22, I was asking the freeper who posted the stats if they had any stats on income. Without knowing the whole equation, the posted stats are meaningless (despite how many times we hear them reiterated).  I understand.  I use hypotheticals too, to further a premise.  I more or less figured that was what you were doing here, but I needed to ask anyway.  I agree with your line of reasoning here.

It has been my understanding and intent, that the top scale paid somewhat of a disproportionate portion of the taxes. If that is not true, then I wouldn’t have a problem taking a look at it and considering some changes.

It's hard to determine what is "fair." If we had a "person tax," one could say that each individual should contribute the same dollar amount to operate the Federal government (they'd never survive!). But we don't--we have an "income tax." In this case, it is not surprising that the more income one makes, the more taxes they pay. When we hear of people making hundreds of millions of dollars in a single year, should they not pay tax on it just because they already paid a large amount? Would that argument work for Microsoft? (I don't think so). Had that individual not received the big salary, those same dollars may have been paid to employees--who would have been taxed on the income, or to investors--who would have been taxed for the dividend income. I'm just thinking outloud here--I don't know the answers.  If you reread this, I think you'll see how I could be somewhat confused with the toughts you have posted.  I get the general idea of what you're trying to address, but without you providing a little more specifiicity, I can't address exactly what you've got in mind.  Flesh it out a bit more, and I'll be glad to comment on point.

Let me throw out some thoughts and you can bounce some comments off them.  I'm going to go a bit contrarian on you.  I think that broadens the scope of our discussion, but don't take it to mean I'm putting up some shrines that I don't want to see touched.  That isn't my goal.  When I think of someone making $2 million per year, I am not overly concerned about it.  When it comes to taxes, I think they should pay a resonable amount.  I am not comfortable with them being seriously impacted by them though.

Let's face it, if a person is making $2 million per year, they are doing it because they are providing/causing/facilitating income for other individuals.  A guy making $2 million per year is producing something, employing people directly or indirectly, and is therefore already a cash generating cow for his employees, other employess who will sell his widgets, and the federal government.  I want this guy to remain incentivised to be productive, in fact to be expanshionist.  I want his funds to be freed up so he can do this.  I do not see the federal government as a better place for his funds.  Yes, he should be paying some taxes.  I'm down with that sista.  LOL  My main emphasis is more in line with telling the federal government that the gig is up.  Get off this guy's back.  Get off his worker's back.  Quit sapping the economy dry.  That is not what this nation was ever intended to be all about.  And so if we want relief for the rank and file middle class, or those conidered to be near or at poverty, I have the same message for the federal govenrment.  Get off their back too.

The best thing our government can do, is free up capital in the hands of successful capitalists so that there will be jobs for everyone.  Don't subsidize those at the bottom.  Don't redistribute wealth.  Allow the private sector to create wealth, and get out of the way.  This may sound harsh, but IMO it is the only way to go.  Whatever you subsidize, it will grow.  I would rather see the government in effect subsidize the private or public entreprenours, and not subsidize those who are not working or producing.  Once this policy was in place for five years or so, the economy would be humming, people would have had found a nitch, and they would be working themselves up the ladder.  I would be willing to see a weening process implemented, but this is the direction I think we should move in.

I will admit that I really do shy away from the greed arguments. I don’t consider well to do people to be greedy. Many of them gift massive amounts of money to various causes.

I think there is a limit (a moral limit, so to speak--not anything that I think should ever be legislated). When some companies (like the banks currently being bailed out) pay their executvies hundreds of millions of dollars while pushing the law to the limit to report good short-term earnings, with no concern for the effect of their greed on the rest of America or wht they are leaving in their wake, I have a problem with it. That they then use those dollars to go fund their favorite charity choice doesn't excuse the behavior, IMO.  That is fair enough.  I do want to point out that we have thousands of corporate slots to fill in this nation.  Those slots will be filled by a select few people who have experience in the mega-business environment and the comensurate mega-clout.  These people are a commodity like any other limited asset.  Corporations needing the services of individuals like this drive the compensation packages up.  These dollar amounts sound astronomical to you and I, but they aren't when you consider the corporate values they will be managing.  Mobil just reported a 22% increase in profits this last quarter over last year.  We're talking about tens of billions of dollars in profits, let alone the total volume of business and assets their corporate CEO oversees.  Let's say the guy gets paid anually $150 million dollars in cash and shares.  Is that a huge sum when we're talking about a trillion dollars in yearly business he oversees?  Not really.  If he is turning in good numbers for the corporation, he's worth every dime of it.  And if he isn't, he is still contractually guaranteed under his employment agreement.  This all sounds very unfair to those of us who sweat it out for a normal job.  Still, it is a business reality.  I don't get worked up over this.  When one of the corporations goes under and the CEO gets a severance package, that was what was negotiated up front.  It's still an absolute pittance when you consider the overall worth of these corporations.  And the idea the individual share holder gets hurt by this is not really realistic.  The value of this compensation probably affects a share by 0.0000015% or some such.  Overall, it's simply invisible.

Look, there are all sorts of financial ghurus who manage funds, run corporations, and finaincial insitutions.  A guy can be a wizzard for years, and do great things, then miss something and suddenly be the kicking boy for a real disaster.  That's the way it works.  Even the best of these guys get caught with their pants down.  Stuff happens. It's not always the top guy's fault.  The business climate goes south, a large segment of the business is negatively impacted by something that happens to another company that you can't control... these things happen.  I just don't get angry at the guys who work in this rarified air.

During this last melt down, our federal government pigs had their noses in the trough.  They were hawking nonsensical loans for the poor and minorities that didn't have a prayer of being repaid.  That's not the way to go about helping them.  The way to go about helping them is to provide a business environment where their services will be needed in some capacity.  This does bring me to my major problem with corporations, and it's a problem that is far from universally recognized or agreed with.  I don't like seeing our corporations move jobs off-shore.  I want their employees to be paying taxes in our nation.  I want our technology kept here.  I don't want to see our strategic national interests harmed by corporate decision making.

I say give corporats wide birth, when they support our economy.  And when they don't, make 'em feel it.

With banks and lending institutions, there needs to be oversight IMO.  I don't give them a complete pass in this last fiasco, but our government isn't doing it's job if it allows them to perpetrate criminal behavior.  And when money is involved, there is going to be criminal behavior, if there isn't oversight.  And there will be some even with oversight.  When our government officials force fiscally insane practices on them, then those government officials need to go to jail.  This 'get out of jail free' mentality when it comes to our Congressional members, is idiotic.  Janet Reno, some of the Clinton administration, possibly even some of the Bush administration, some members of Congress, and perhaps even some banking or lending institution managers, should be considered for a room at Levenworth.  What took place was very troubling all the way around.  And I'm not convinced it isn't going to be continuing.  The home bailouts of loans that should never have been floated in the first place are sheer loonacy.  And reducing the payments on them for another five years, is how we got in this mess in the first place.  Who the hell is minding the store folks?  Even a layman can see severe problems with this.

I also have reservations when it comes to corporations. What hurts corporations impacts stockholders, employees, production, and ultimately the purchasing public.

What helps corporations is not always good, contrary to the mantra that I think C.O. might have been partially referring to. If Corporations pay less tax, someone else pays more. So, there is less disposable income to keep the economy going or for the little guy to start a small business. If that corporation simply uses the money to increase the salary of it's CEO, who did it help? Not the shareholder, not the economy, not production, etc.

I agree with your premise in the first half of the first sentence here.  I've probably touched on this enough.  If my comments above didn't make sense, I doubt they will here.  I'll make a few comments, but I'll try not to be repetitive.  Who ultimately pays corporate taxes?  Corporate executives?  You know who does.  It isn't the corporation itself.  You and I do when we buy their products, when we hold their shares, when we receive our dividends.   Just a question here, so don't take it personal... how can you be upset about a corporate sallary equal to lets say $150 million, because it take money out of the economy, then support the idea a corporation should pay literally tens of billions more in taxes?  The CEOs sallary does impact the corporation.  I would submit it impacts the corporation in most instances positively.  It can also impact it negatively.  There are no guarantees in life.

There is a balance between them--the old swinging pendulum. Without seeing a detailed study as C.O. described I am inclined to defer my opinion on which side the pendulum is actually leaning.  So am I.

Perhaps I'm too easy on corporations and lending institutions these days.  I know that a man like Obama would love nothing more than to strip them bare to help the middle class (or poor).  The problem is, the value of the middle-classes 401(k)s would tank.  Corporate holdings of the insurance and investment industry would tank.  Who would wind up taking it in the shorts?  The very middle-class and poor people Obama would want to help.  Slashing our corporations is a very bad idea.  Is this a solid 100% rule to live by?  I don't think so.  Some corporate decisions have detramental affects on our nation, and I would like to see reasoned discussion on that.

Sadly, in this climate, there doesn't seem to be much reason in Congress.

Sorry this is so long.  Don't feel that you have to address every bit of it.  I will enjoy reading the response you do make.  You and I can disagree and discuss issues, and I value that.


38 posted on 10/31/2008 12:36:44 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Our nation is uncomfortably close to having B.O. We need to use a Republican roll on by 11/04.)
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To: Carry_Okie; calcowgirl
There is a balance between them--the old swinging pendulum. Without seeing a detailed study as C.O. described I am inclined to defer my opinion on which side the pendulum is actually leaning.

Amen, especially as regards the fraction of income that exceeds the bare necessities of life.  CO, why don't you explain what you think would fix this situation.  We already have an earned income tax credit.  We also have a sliding tax scale, so that the bottom earners pay a lot less or no income tax.  Don't these compensations offset the Social Security, Medicare, and SDI payments?  Let's say you don't think they do.  Would you favor forgiving these taxes?  Up to what earned income level would you forgive them?

Please also explain how many people you think fall into this category, that are not transitional.  Do you think 10%, 20%, 50% of our workforce exists in a long-term status of working poor, which qualify for this consideration?  Let's start somewhere and discuss in real world terms what you think would fix this.


But beyond that, I wasn't talking as much about the actual rates as much as I was addressing the way the right talks about them in the public debate. The people we are trying to recruit into an opportunity economy see right through that sort of argument,..  I honestly don't know what you want to do here?  IMO, the way you help these people, is you get them a better paying job, and you tell the federal government to accept the fact that it should cut it's appetite by 75% or more.  We are not going to recruit the poor, by savaging the people who are in a position to hire them.  Going after the incomes of people with more money, just means they won't be hiring as many workers.  You raise taxes on small businesses, they cut employees.  You lower taxes on small businesses and they expand and hire more employees.  This is simplistic, but it's not just blown smoke.

...especially when they see executives taking vacations on corporate jets etc. Everybody knows those benefits aren't taxed, just like we all knew how Teresa Heinz sneered at the idea she should pay much of anything. IMO, it is this kind of specious argument that allows the left to lump us in with the worst of their own malefactors where the backbone of the Republican Party is small business.  Unless you want to put a lid on corporate compensation packages and perks, you are going to see things like this.  CO, this is a class warfare arguement.  IMO, we do a disservice to ourselves if we allow the left to use class warfare arguements without responding on point.  Why would any corporate executive want to work for Kelloggs at $100k per year, if they could work for a much smaller business and make the same amount of money?  There would be less headaches, the same pay.  And if you think the smaller business should pay less than $100k, then why work as a CEO when you could work as a mid-level manager for the same pay?  And if you think the mid-level manager should make less, then why not just work on the floor (figuratively speaking), because you wouldn't have the headaches of management without the requisite compensation.  Can't you see the destructive effect this would have?

The market either sets these rates, or we jump off into a business environment with so many socialist geared regulations, that we have lost the battle without firing a single gun-shot.  We will have become a socialist business environment nation.

Thus, this "the poor don't pay taxes," crap, and that's what it is, fails to grab the opportunity to show those who might listen the way the left keeps them down. That makes me crazy. Give us honest measurements and thoughtful explanations and we'll start winning a lot more elections.  I don't have a problem with the honest measurements and thoughtful explanations, but I don't really see this quite the way you do.  I spent several decades making dirt poor wages, while I raised two children, supported a wife and a home, and put my children thorough six years of parochial school in a single wage earner environment.  And not once did I buy into what you are selling here.  I considered my plight to be mostly of my making.  I also continued to think that I would advance myself over time.  And in the end, I did so.

It seems to me that the arguement is that we do not explain why some compensation packages seem out of line, but they honestly aren't.  It seems that we are to tell coroporate executives that we are going to get their salaries in line with a socialist oversight program.  We are going to tax higher wage earners more.  We are going to go after corporations.  Then we are going to try to get the poor to join us, because we are better than the left.

The only problem is, they won't be joining a Conservative cabal if we do this.  They will be joining a socialist group, something we should be finding ways to avoid.

Bud, isn't what you are pushing simply a conversion on our part?  I thought we were supposed to be converting others to our way of thinking.

If you disagree, explain where I am going wrong.  I'll listen.

39 posted on 10/31/2008 1:25:19 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Our nation is uncomfortably close to having B.O. We need to use a Republican roll on by 11/04.)
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To: DoughtyOne
If you disagree, explain where I am going wrong. I'll listen.

A thoughtful discussion around here is rare enough that I'll be getting back to you on Shabbat.

40 posted on 10/31/2008 10:20:57 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (If Barack Obama is Vladamir Lenin, Bill Ayers is Leon Trotsky.)
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To: Carry_Okie

Good Carry_Okia. I just may learn something. You take care.


41 posted on 10/31/2008 11:44:25 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Our nation is uncomfortably close to having B.O. We need to use a Republican roll on by 11/04.)
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To: DoughtyOne
Sorry this is so long.

LOL! Yep--I'm a bit overwhelmed! I don't have enough time right now to give this the response it is due. So I too will get back to you. :-)

One quick comment:

My background is in corporate America (finance and law), mostly in one of those mega-corporations you refer to (top 100 of Fortune500 for decades, usually top-ten in California, etc). I've known several of those truly great CEOs on a first name basis. I believe corporations play an important role in our economic structure and are too often villainized with a broad brush. I have no use for the leftists who think that evil corporations should pay more taxes to fund their socialist programs. But I also recognize that there are corporations that act responsibly and those that do not.

More later (but it may be tomorrow).

42 posted on 10/31/2008 11:56:58 AM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: DoughtyOne

No commission to study needed, just eliminate 50% of government programs and fire 2/3 of the public employees.

Better yet close the public schools and make public education a felony!


43 posted on 10/31/2008 12:03:18 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: calcowgirl

No hurry, and the views you expressed here are my own. I realize it’s oversimplification to state that corporations are never a problem. They can be.

I look forward to your response, but don’t feel compelled to respond to all of it if you are short of time. I didn’t mean to lock you in to a detailed response. I try to cover a lot of peripheral issues when I discuss something where there may be disagreement, so the person I’m talking to will understand exactly where I am coming from. I know it’s tough to respond to that type of a post without taking time to do it.

I do view that as an unfortunate downside, so I apologize.

Take care.


44 posted on 10/31/2008 12:13:46 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Our nation is uncomfortably close to having B.O. We need to use a Republican roll on by 11/04.)
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To: dalereed

Commissions are the tool of political pussies.

Schwarzenegger is a political jelly-fish. He has no spine.

The federal mandate is to man the defense of the nation and facilitate trade. That’s it.

The federal government should at once find a way to ween social security away from government control. It should at once find a way to ween Medicare services away from government control. Both should be swapped out to personal income savings pools. People by the time they are thirty should have enough savings to be able to self-insure for most medical emergencies. They could have a medical policy with a $15 to $25k deductible to protect themselves, and take care of that much themselves.

If folks started saving when they were in their mid-twenties, they could easily have $15 to $25k in savings by age 30. The pool would include retirement and medical, but it would be there if needed.

By the time this person was 35 to 40, they would have enough money to pool with a spouse to place a large down-payment on a home.

By fifty they would have enough funds to be thinking early retirement, with a decent income. Working to 60-65 would be a choice.

My thoughts here would have to be tweaked, but we can do much better than what the government sets up for us. Get it out of the equation. Quit letting it manipulate the public with these services, and quit letting it steal the funds to do whatever it likes. Enough already.

Shrink the federal government by 75%.

In our states, I agree with your take on education. Pull the umbilical cord on Washington, D.C. within six months. Reorganize the schools to be community based. Trim the overhead down to size. Gut middle-management. Gut the political socialization aspects of education.

Create a parent reading room in these schools. Provide copies of every book there children are going to be exposed to during the year. Let the parents drop by the school regularly, and check these books out for themselves. Hold meetings to review education materials. Hold meetings to discuss what is going to be taught in the classroom, and listen to the parents. Knock off the attitude that educators know more than parents. While that will be true in some instances and on some points, PARENTS RULE (end of subject). Of course I am talking about reasoned parents who truly do have their children’s best interests at heart.

All the environmentalist oriented whack-job funding... it’s over. All the various commissions that do nothing but cause trouble, they’re over.

The state legislature should be convened about 45 to 60 days per years. Anything more would be subject to special sessions. Salaries would forthwith eliminated. If you couldn’t afford to sit in the Legislature don’t run. Keep one foot in the real world, the other in the Legislature.

I would venture to say that 50% of California’s budget could be lopped off. I may be wrong, but I’ll tell you, I’d be carving with an ax, not a pocket knife if I had the opportunity.


45 posted on 10/31/2008 12:38:08 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Our nation is uncomfortably close to having B.O. We need to use a Republican roll on by 11/04.)
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To: DoughtyOne; calcowgirl
CO, why don't you explain what you think would fix this situation. We already have an earned income tax credit. We also have a sliding tax scale, so that the bottom earners pay a lot less or no income tax. Don't these compensations offset the Social Security, Medicare, and SDI payments? Let's say you don't think they do. Would you favor forgiving these taxes? Up to what earned income level would you forgive them?

First of all, I’m not proposing anything specific; I'm addressing the ubiquitous Republican claim that the poor don’t pay taxes as dishonest; it is obvious that they do. It doesn’t make a good basis for discussion or teaching when we are trying to solicit support from low-income voters as the party of opportunity.

So, as to my personal policy preferences (so that you can grok on what I’ll say in a bit), I am predisposed toward sales taxes until they become so onerous that a black market develops. At that point, I’m more a fan of Friedman’s approach on a flat-tax basis. Obviously I would prefer to get rid of Social Security and MediCare entirely, but there is a floor on medical services beyond which we should not go because of the cost of communicable diseases to everyone.

The most regressive tax we have is property tax when one realizes that low-income people pay them in their rent. All of that said, my comment was not so much about what we should do as to how we should talk about what we should do to prospective voters.

Please also explain how many people you think fall into this category, that are not transitional. Do you think 10%, 20%, 50% of our workforce exists in a long-term status of working poor, which qualify for this consideration? Let's start somewhere and discuss in real world terms what you think would fix this.

Frankly, I have no clue. Nor is that germane to what I was saying:

But beyond that, I wasn't talking as much about the actual rates as much as I was addressing the way the right talks about them in the public debate. The people we are trying to recruit into an opportunity economy see right through that sort of argument,..

I honestly don't know what you want to do here? IMO, the way you help these people, is you get them a better paying job, and you tell the federal government to accept the fact that it should cut it's appetite by 75% or more. We are not going to recruit the poor, by savaging the people who are in a position to hire them. Going after the incomes of people with more money, just means they won't be hiring as many workers. You raise taxes on small businesses, they cut employees. You lower taxes on small businesses and they expand and hire more employees. This is simplistic, but it's not just blown smoke.

I am in no disagreement with you about how we treat employers, particularly small business (who get screwed more regularly than just about anybody).

I’ve written a whole booklet about all sorts of ideas about what we do for low income people, particularly as regards our failed education system, about which I would like to make a couple of points before going on. As citizens, you and I are party to an agreement with every child who enters a public school. While it is true that said product sucks pond water, the children had little to no choice about partaking of a system that is designed for them to become public dependents. These people are badly brainwashed. It is they who we need to convert to productive conservatives with their righteous anger directed at their former jailors.

You see, I am coming to the conclusion that although conservatives are very good at developing ideas about how things should be, we are very bad at conjuring doable ways of getting there. That is why it is fairly pointless to ask me about what I think should be done when what I’m about to lay out is a dynamic response on multiple fronts.

We have two challenges at building wealth. The first is converting the people sucking off our tax dollars into people who produce wealth instead of consuming it. Every such case involves a degree of capital investment.

Before the welfare state, the welfare state was churches and civic volunteer groups. They had two huge advantages over the welfare state: (1) nobody likes giving up their money, (2) nobody likes begging for money. Thus both transactants have a reason to end the relationship. The giver righteously expects a change in behavior out of the recipient.

Me: ...especially when they see executives taking vacations on corporate jets etc. Everybody knows those benefits aren't taxed, just like we all knew how Teresa Heinz sneered at the idea she should pay much of anything.

IMO, it is this kind of specious argument that allows the left to lump us in with the worst of their own malefactors where the backbone of the Republican Party is small business. Unless you want to put a lid on corporate compensation packages and perks, you are going to see things like this. CO, this is a class warfare arguement. IMO, we do a disservice to ourselves if we allow the left to use class warfare arguements without responding on point. Why would any corporate executive want to work for Kelloggs at $100k per year, if they could work for a much smaller business and make the same amount of money? There would be less headaches, the same pay. And if you think the smaller business should pay less than $100k, then why work as a CEO when you could work as a mid-level manager for the same pay? And if you think the mid-level manager should make less, then why not just work on the floor (figuratively speaking), because you wouldn't have the headaches of management without the requisite compensation. Can't you see the destructive effect this would have?

The market either sets these rates, or we jump off into a business environment with so many socialist geared regulations, that we have lost the battle without firing a single gun-shot. We will have become a socialist business environment nation.

Please show me where I suggested the government regulate executive pay. OTOH, I do think abuse of tax exempt foundations is rampant and should be looked at more closely.

Me: This "the poor don't pay taxes," crap, and that's what it is, fails to grab the opportunity to show those who might listen the way the left keeps them down. That makes me crazy. Give us honest measurements and thoughtful explanations and we'll start winning a lot more elections.

I don't have a problem with the honest measurements and thoughtful explanations, but I don't really see this quite the way you do. I spent several decades making dirt poor wages, while I raised two children, supported a wife and a home, and put my children thorough six years of parochial school in a single wage earner environment. And not once did I buy into what you are selling here. I considered my plight to be mostly of my making. I also continued to think that I would advance myself over time. And in the end, I did so.

It seems to me that the argument is that we do not explain why some compensation packages seem out of line, but they honestly aren't. It seems that we are to tell corporate executives that we are going to get their salaries in line with a socialist oversight program. We are going to tax higher wage earners more. We are going to go after corporations. Then we are going to try to get the poor to join us, because we are better than the left.

IMO, they are out of line, because the pattern of interlocking directorates as dictated by mutual fund managers is really creating a form of restraint-of-trade that is royally screwing both the customer and the stockholder. I’m pondering a law that one must voluntarily assign voting rights with stock managed by a third party. The way it is now, the cronies of mutual fund traderss are raiding corporate treasuries.

The only problem is, they won't be joining a Conservative cabal if we do this. They will be joining a socialist group, something we should be finding ways to avoid.

You are contrasting against issues I never advocated.

Bud, isn't what you are pushing simply a conversion on our part?

DO, as much as I like you personally, this is a habit you really must expunge in dealing with me. Just because I oppose something “our side” seems witlessly wont to do, doesn’t mean I support “the other side.” Unlike most folks, I am actually capable of new ideas. I live outside the box.

I thought we were supposed to be converting others to our way of thinking.

No, we are supposed to come up with BOTH ideas that work and ways of selling them. If you disagree, explain where I am going wrong. I'll listen.

LOL, to paraphrase Dan O’Neil, ‘Hear the sound of my keystrokes typing drown the sound of my postings hyping.‘

46 posted on 11/09/2008 5:04:43 PM PST by Carry_Okie (If Barack Obama is Vladamir Lenin, Bill Ayers is Leon Trotsky.)
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