Author Topic: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?  (Read 70010 times)

DCharlton

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #120 on: October 26, 2011, 03:34:10 PM »
Reading through the discussion today, I was repeatedly reminded of the Seven Deadly Sins.  It seems to me that part of the debate is about which of the Deadly Sins are more to blame for our financial woes. 

Liberals say it is the Greed, Gluttony, and Pride of the conservatives.

Conservatives say it is the Sloth, Envy and Lust of the liberals.

In the shouting match, all sides forget about the deadly temptation of Wrath.

I don't know I think it is all greed & hyprocracy. From Wall Street, Main Street, Occupy whatever street, Tea Parties, Political partys, Liberal, Conservative, etc.  The bottom line everyone says that they want the economy fixed but nobody wants the fix to negatively effect them.

The Liberals says it is the Greed, Gluttony, and Pride of the conservatives but they sure love their liberal Hollywood darlings whose incomes are the envy of every corporate CEO. (here is a sampling of incomes for 2010 - Jonny Depp 100 million, Lady Gaga 90 million; Stephen Spielberg 80 Million; Oprah over 300 million; Bono & U2 195 million). 

Conservatives say it is the Sloth, Envy and Lust of the liberals. But conservatives know better than anyone that it is envy & lust that drives a free economy (I need that new car, watch, retirement, home, 21yr old single malt scotch) and so they work hard so they can retire early and spend the rest of their lives in sloth.

Union workers care about the needs of the "common man" - unless of course that common man is a non-union scab.

Our senior citizens care about the youth of this nation (but not enough to give up any of their Social Security or Medicare so those young people might enjoy the same level of security)

The youth decry corporate greed (and text about it on their smart phones and IPads or talk about it over a good Macchiato at Starbucks).

It seems to me that when clergy get caught up in any partisan party, cause or faction they lose sight of the fact that the Gospel cuts through the political BS, revealing all of us for the sinners we are and calling us to be the saints we were intended to be.

That's sort of my point.  Although Lutherans don't often talk of the Seven Deadly Sins, I find them useful in this discussion.  But imagine that we were going to talk about political and economic issues in those terms.  Then, the Church might actually have something unique to contribute.  We would remind people that there are seven Deadly Sins and not three.  We tend to focus on those of which we consider our opponents most guilty.  We neglect the sins that are more characteristic or our side.  And both groups forget that Wrath is just as deadly as any other. 

So, in summary, I'm not saying that any set of Vices is more characteristic of one side or the other.  Instead, I'm saying that each side focuses on its pet list of sins, while neglecting to address the others.  The Church could through its teaching could help to provide some balance and realism.  "Yes, those on the left are correct to call our attention to Greed, Gluttony and Pride.  But those on the right are equally correct to call our attention to Sloth, Envy, and Lust.  However, both sides have left out Wrath.  Those who have a legitmate grievance can still succumb to evil when they let their anger get the best of them."
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 03:39:03 PM by DCharlton »
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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #121 on: October 26, 2011, 03:34:37 PM »
No they'd rather be able to write the loss off on their taxes than accept a lower rate of return on the loan.  Sad--no, tragic. No, sin.  Well, all three.
 
In my neck of the woods, banks have started tearing down homes they cannot sell on the glutted market and for fitting the property back to the cities. This is a better solution than modifying the loans of the previous owners keeping them in the houses and making payments and paying property taxes?

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« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 03:42:31 PM by Jim_Krauser »
Jim Krauser

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totaliter vivens

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #122 on: October 26, 2011, 03:39:47 PM »
I would like build further on the $21,997,800,000 that Peter and I were discussing. It has been rightly pointed out that the uberwealthy do not simply lock up their money in a huge vault. Although from the perspective of relative benefit to the economy they may as well do so.  The 183,125 jobs at $120,00 per year would benefit the economy to a far greater degree than $22 billion in 25 large pots. the middle class lives funded would build far more homes, buy far more cars, and pay far more taxes than do our 22 billionaires.

Money in the economy is like paint...it works best spread around, not left in a big bucket.

SPS

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #123 on: October 26, 2011, 03:40:56 PM »
A worthy observation about wrath.  And the minute a protester says we should burn down the stock exchange or tar and feather a mortgage banker, and the crowd cheers, the protesters should be ordered to disband lest they riot.
 
At the same time, calls for greater regulatory oversight of the financial sector is not a call to wrath but prudence, a virtue.
 
That's sort of my point.  Although Lutherans don't often talk of the Seven Deadly Sins, I find them useful in this discussion.  But imagine that we were going to talk about political and economic issues in those terms.  Then, the Church might actually have something unique to contribute.  We would remind people that there are seven Deadly Sins and not three.  We tend to focus on those of which we consider our opponents most guilty.  We neglect the sins that are more characteristic or our side.  And both groups forget that Wrath is just as deadly as any other. 

So, in summary, I'm not saying that any set of Vices is more characteristic of one side or the other.  Instead, I'm saying that each side focuses on its pet list of sins, while neglecting to address the others.  The Church could through its teaching could help to provide some balance and realism.
Jim Krauser

Pastor-Grace Evang. Lutheran Church, North Bellmore, NY

TravisW

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #124 on: October 26, 2011, 03:44:26 PM »
My main issue with the Occupy movement, as Pearson posted on page 1, is the lack of proper targeting.  Is the issue that CEOs make too much money?  If so, which ones?  Corporations are evil?  Which ones?  It can't possibly be all of them. 

There are some things that I would agree with.  I disagreed with the bank bailout in the first place, so I'm consequently irritated that the execs got big bonuses.  But that's the government's fault.  I'm disgusted by the purchase of candidates by way of our campaign finance system, but that's the government's fault, not the fault of people who want to influence candidates with dollar signs.  I'm disgusted with the idea that we have yet another valueless bubble potentially on the horizon (derivatives) but nothing is done about it.  I'm amazed that the Fed doesn't get a regular audit like any other bank.  I'm disgusted with the Frankenstein's monster that is our health care system, but it looks like that's only going to get worse in the future because the "health care reform" did little more than add bolts to the monster's neck. 

There is a lot to be disgusted with, but I see movements that are too vague as simply using up the steam of public discontent, only to have what's left be harnessed and fed back into the existing system of idiocy. 

totaliter vivens

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #125 on: October 26, 2011, 03:48:16 PM »
Interlude observation...

"I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one." :D

SPS

Scott6

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #126 on: October 26, 2011, 03:59:31 PM »
The middle class lives funded would build far more homes, buy far more cars, and pay far more taxes than do our 22 billionaires.

Yeah, again I'm not sure if I buy the economics behind this.  We rightly have a progressive tax rate that looks something like this:

For single filers:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $8,500, plus
15% on taxable income over $8,500 to $34,500, plus
25% on taxable income over $34,500 to $83,600, plus
28% on taxable income over $83,600 to $174,400, plus
33% on taxable income over $174,400 to $379,150, plus
35% on taxable income over $379,150.

For married filers:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $17,000, plus
15% on taxable income over $17,000 to $69,000, plus
25% on taxable income over $69,000 to $139,350, plus
28% on taxable income over $139,350 to $212,300, plus
33% on taxable income over $212,300 to $379,150, plus
35% on taxable income over $379,150.

Which would indicate that these guys would all be in the top tax bracket of 35% while those jobs at $120K would be in the 25% bracket.  So the amount of tax revenues is actually higher for the fat cats -- i.e., the government would get about $2.2 billion (10%) more from them than it would from a bunch of $120K guys and gals.

And somebody builds the $100 million super-yachts and homes that God would build if He could afford it...

Again, don't get me wrong.  I don't know why these guys need to be compensated so much.  But like w/ their spending or investing of the money, I don't see the economics behind it (unless, again, they threw the money into a big hole in the ground).

FWIW, I think that making the tax rate even more progressive is a good idea.  Maybe something like 40% for anything over $1 million, 45% for over $5 million, 50% for 10, and a nice 60% for anything over $30 million.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 04:07:34 PM by Scott Yakimow »

peter_speckhard

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #127 on: October 26, 2011, 04:17:48 PM »
I would like build further on the $21,997,800,000 that Peter and I were discussing. It has been rightly pointed out that the uberwealthy do not simply lock up their money in a huge vault. Although from the perspective of relative benefit to the economy they may as well do so.  The 183,125 jobs at $120,00 per year would benefit the economy to a far greater degree than $22 billion in 25 large pots. the middle class lives funded would build far more homes, buy far more cars, and pay far more taxes than do our 22 billionaires.

Money in the economy is like paint...it works best spread around, not left in a big bucket.

SPS
The money is spread around by being spent. The manufacturers of private jets, builders of mansions, etc. are all the middle class jobs being funded by the uberwealthy. The problem with you view is that it denies the first fact, which we aren't talking about "the $21 billion" we're talking about "their $21 billion" which was given to them on an entirely voluntary basis by investors hoping to get a return. My ideas about how his money could be better spent are no more relevant from a justice perspective than my ideas about how my neighbor's time could be better spent.

Erma S. Wolf

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #128 on: October 26, 2011, 04:23:52 PM »
The middle class lives funded would build far more homes, buy far more cars, and pay far more taxes than do our 22 billionaires.

Yeah, again I'm not sure if I buy the economics behind this.  We rightly have a progressive tax rate that looks something like this:

For single filers:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $8,500, plus
15% on taxable income over $8,500 to $34,500, plus
25% on taxable income over $34,500 to $83,600, plus
28% on taxable income over $83,600 to $174,400, plus
33% on taxable income over $174,400 to $379,150, plus
35% on taxable income over $379,150.

For married filers:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $17,000, plus
15% on taxable income over $17,000 to $69,000, plus
25% on taxable income over $69,000 to $139,350, plus
28% on taxable income over $139,350 to $212,300, plus
33% on taxable income over $212,300 to $379,150, plus
35% on taxable income over $379,150.

Which would indicate that these guys would all be in the top tax bracket of 35% while those jobs at $120K would be in the 25% bracket.  So the amount of tax revenues is actually higher for the fat cats -- i.e., the government would get about $2.2 billion (10%) more from them than it would from a bunch of $120K guys and gals.

And somebody builds the $100 million super-yachts and homes that God would build if He could afford it...

Again, don't get me wrong.  I don't know why these guys need to be compensated so much.  But like w/ their spending or investing of the money, I don't see the economics behind it (unless, again, they threw the money into a big hole in the ground).

FWIW, I think that making the tax rate even more progressive is a good idea.  Maybe something like 40% for anything over $1 million, 45% for over $5 million, 50% for 10, and a nice 60% for anything over $30 million.

Just to point out, Scott, that much of the income of those in the upper tax brackets comes from stocks and bonds (dividends, municipal bonds, loss sales for example) which are taxed at a different rate than straight income from salaries and wages.  Also, those in the upper brackets don't pay SSI above a certain level.  But this is why much of the compensation for the CEOs comes in the form of stock options.  Taxed differently, or not at all. 

Not saying this is wrong, or evil.  There are good arguments (or at least arguments  ;D) to be made for a different tax rate for, say, capital gains.  But it does need to be taken into account.  So unless you win the lottery grand prize of $400,000, most people with income over $380,000 a year aren't paying that 35% tax rate on the whole pot.

Scott6

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #129 on: October 26, 2011, 04:37:20 PM »
The middle class lives funded would build far more homes, buy far more cars, and pay far more taxes than do our 22 billionaires.

Yeah, again I'm not sure if I buy the economics behind this.  We rightly have a progressive tax rate that looks something like this:

For single filers:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $8,500, plus
15% on taxable income over $8,500 to $34,500, plus
25% on taxable income over $34,500 to $83,600, plus
28% on taxable income over $83,600 to $174,400, plus
33% on taxable income over $174,400 to $379,150, plus
35% on taxable income over $379,150.

For married filers:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $17,000, plus
15% on taxable income over $17,000 to $69,000, plus
25% on taxable income over $69,000 to $139,350, plus
28% on taxable income over $139,350 to $212,300, plus
33% on taxable income over $212,300 to $379,150, plus
35% on taxable income over $379,150.

Which would indicate that these guys would all be in the top tax bracket of 35% while those jobs at $120K would be in the 25% bracket.  So the amount of tax revenues is actually higher for the fat cats -- i.e., the government would get about $2.2 billion (10%) more from them than it would from a bunch of $120K guys and gals.

And somebody builds the $100 million super-yachts and homes that God would build if He could afford it...

Again, don't get me wrong.  I don't know why these guys need to be compensated so much.  But like w/ their spending or investing of the money, I don't see the economics behind it (unless, again, they threw the money into a big hole in the ground).

FWIW, I think that making the tax rate even more progressive is a good idea.  Maybe something like 40% for anything over $1 million, 45% for over $5 million, 50% for 10, and a nice 60% for anything over $30 million.

Just to point out, Scott, that much of the income of those in the upper tax brackets comes from stocks and bonds (dividends, municipal bonds, loss sales for example) which are taxed at a different rate than straight income from salaries and wages.  Also, those in the upper brackets don't pay SSI above a certain level.  But this is why much of the compensation for the CEOs comes in the form of stock options.  Taxed differently, or not at all. 

Not saying this is wrong, or evil.  There are good arguments (or at least arguments  ;D) to be made for a different tax rate for, say, capital gains.  But it does need to be taken into account.  So unless you win the lottery grand prize of $400,000, most people with income over $380,000 a year aren't paying that 35% tax rate on the whole pot.

True.  Long-term capital gains aren't taxed much, largely b/c it's good to have stuff invested in companies for the long-term, and such investing is incentivized.  Short-term gains are taxed at the same level as your income tax rate.

George Erdner

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #130 on: October 26, 2011, 04:58:40 PM »
FWIW, I think that making the tax rate even more progressive is a good idea.  Maybe something like 40% for anything over $1 million, 45% for over $5 million, 50% for 10, and a nice 60% for anything over $30 million.

Why not just make it much, much simpler. Impose a flat tax of 30% across the board on all taxpayers, with the first $30,000 of income tax free. Allow married couples to pool their allotment of up to $30,000 so that a married couple would get up to their first $60,000 tax free.
 
$20,000 inc. - $30K = $0 taxable @ 30% = $0 effective rate = 0.0%
$30,000 inc. - $30K = $0 taxable @ 30% = $0 effective rate = 0.0%
$40,000 inc. - $30K = $10,000 taxable @ 30% = $3,000 effective rate = 7.5%
$50,000 inc. - $30K = $20,000 taxable @ 30% = $6,000 effective rate = 12.0%
$60,000 inc. - $30K = $30,000 taxable @ 30% = $9,000 effective rate = 15.0%
$70,000 inc. - $30K = $40,000 taxable @ 30% = $12,000 effective rate = 17.1%
$80,000 inc. - $30K = $50,000 taxable @ 30% = $15,000 effective rate = 18.8%
$90,000 inc. - $30K = $60,000 taxable @ 30% = $18,000 effective rate = 20.0%
$100,000 inc. - $30K = $70,000 taxable @ 30% = $21,000 effective rate = 21.0%
$110,000 inc. - $30K = $80,000 taxable @ 30% = $24,000 effective rate = 21.8%
$120,000 inc. - $30K = $90,000 taxable @ 30% = $27,000 effective rate = 22.5%
$130,000 inc. - $30K = $100,000 taxable @ 30% = $30,000 effective rate = 23.1%
$140,000 inc. - $30K = $110,000 taxable @ 30% = $33,000 effective rate = 23.6%
$150,000 inc. - $30K = $120,000 taxable @ 30% = $36,000 effective rate = 24.0%
$160,000 inc. - $30K = $130,000 taxable @ 30% = $39,000 effective rate = 24.4%
$170,000 inc. - $30K = $140,000 taxable @ 30% = $42,000 effective rate = 24.7%
$180,000 inc. - $30K = $150,000 taxable @ 30% = $45,000 effective rate = 25.0%
$190,000 inc. - $30K = $160,000 taxable @ 30% = $48,000 effective rate = 25.3%
$200,000 inc. - $30K = $170,000 taxable @ 30% = $51,000 effective rate = 25.5%
$210,000 inc. - $30K = $180,000 taxable @ 30% = $54,000 effective rate = 25.7%
$220,000 inc. - $30K = $190,000 taxable @ 30% = $57,000 effective rate = 25.9%
$230,000 inc. - $30K = $200,000 taxable @ 30% = $60,000 effective rate = 26.1%
$240,000 inc. - $30K = $210,000 taxable @ 30% = $63,000 effective rate = 26.3%
$250,000 inc. - $30K = $220,000 taxable @ 30% = $66,000 effective rate = 26.4%
$350,000 inc. - $30K = $320,000 taxable @ 30% = $96,000 effective rate = 27.4%
$450,000 inc. - $30K = $420,000 taxable @ 30% = $126,000 effective rate = 28.0%
$550,000 inc. - $30K = $520,000 taxable @ 30% = $156,000 effective rate = 28.4%
$650,000 inc. - $30K = $620,000 taxable @ 30% = $186,000 effective rate = 28.6%
$750,000 inc. - $30K = $720,000 taxable @ 30% = $216,000 effective rate = 28.8%
$850,000 inc. - $30K = $820,000 taxable @ 30% = $246,000 effective rate = 28.9%
$950,000 inc. - $30K = $920,000 taxable @ 30% = $276,000 effective rate = 29.1%
$1,050,000 inc. - $30K = $1,020,000 taxable @ 30% = $306,000 effective rate = 29.1%
$1,150,000 inc. - $30K = $1,120,000 taxable @ 30% = $336,000 effective rate = 29.2%
$1,250,000 inc. - $30K = $1,220,000 taxable @ 30% = $366,000 effective rate = 29.3%
$1,350,000 inc. - $30K = $1,320,000 taxable @ 30% = $396,000 effective rate = 29.3%
$1,450,000 inc. - $30K = $1,420,000 taxable @ 30% = $426,000 effective rate = 29.4%
$1,550,000 inc. - $30K = $1,520,000 taxable @ 30% = $456,000 effective rate = 29.4%
$1,650,000 inc. - $30K = $1,620,000 taxable @ 30% = $486,000 effective rate = 29.5%
$1,750,000 inc. - $30K = $1,720,000 taxable @ 30% = $516,000 effective rate = 29.5%
$1,850,000 inc. - $30K = $1,820,000 taxable @ 30% = $546,000 effective rate = 29.5%
$1,950,000 inc. - $30K = $1,920,000 taxable @ 30% = $576,000 effective rate = 29.5%
$2,050,000 inc. - $30K = $2,020,000 taxable @ 30% = $606,000 effective rate = 29.6%
$2,150,000 inc. - $30K = $2,120,000 taxable @ 30% = $636,000 effective rate = 29.6%
$2,250,000 inc. - $30K = $2,220,000 taxable @ 30% = $666,000 effective rate = 29.6%

No on would ever pay the full 30%, but the taxes would be smoothly progressive, with no stepped tiers. On top of that, eliminate all exemptions and deductions. No loopholes, no using taxation to encourage desired activities. Make taxation a means to raise funds to operate the government, nothing else.
 
On top of that income tax plan, impose a 15% across the board tariff on all imported manufactured goods. That would exclude food imports, except for processed foods like canned goods. That would also exclude commodities like ores, crude oil, and other raw materials. Give countries with a positive balance of trade relationship with the US a dollar for dollar rebate on all tariffs collected on goods from their countries, which the foreign governments can keep or rebate to their companies.
 
For example, if Lower Slobovia exports $100,000,000 worth of manufactured goods to the US, we'd charge them a tariff of $15,000,000. If Lower Slobovia buys $75,000,000 worth of anything from the US, including raw materials or unprocessed foods, we'd rebate to the Lower Slobovian government $11,250,000. Net tariff to Lower Slobovia is $3,750,000. If the Lower Slobovian government encourages its people to consume more US made manufactured goods, and they buy $150,000,000 worth of US products, they'd make a profit of $7,500,000 from the US. That amounts to a 5% subsidy of US companies making export products for Lower Slobovia, but considering how many payroll dollars will be paid out to US workers and then taxed as income tax, that's not really a bad deal.
 
Finally, don't bother taxing companies at all. It's just juggling numbers on paper. Whatever a company has to pay to the government in taxes it makes up for by increasing the price of its goods and services. It's the consumer that pays all corporate taxes in the form of higher prices. So, instead of having corporations collect hidden taxes on consumers, just suck the money out of the economy through income tax. All corporate profits should end up in someone's hand eventually. When it does, it gets taxed then. If there are no shelters, no loopholes, no means for those making high incomes to legally shelter their income from taxation, then the government will get it's cut from companies when the company pays it out in salaries, dividends, and other such compensation.
 
Of course, that idea will never happen, because it's based on eliminating loopholes and other gifts given to the special interests who own the people in government.
 
Not saying this is wrong, or evil.  There are good arguments (or at least arguments  ;D ) to be made for a different tax rate for, say, capital gains.  But it does need to be taken into account.  So unless you win the lottery grand prize of $400,000, most people with income over $380,000 a year aren't paying that 35% tax rate on the whole pot.

It's that sort of thinking, that taxation should be used as an incentive to manipulate people into certain behaviours that has lead to the current mess. Once you let the camel of "taxation as carrot or stick" put his nose in the tent, the rest of him will follow. The incentive for long-term investment should be the intrinsic value of long-term investment, not some artificial manipulation brought about by tax incentives and loopholes. For every defensible tax incentive and loophole, there are many others that are just flat-out payouts to major campaign contributors. When corporations or mega-sized labor union pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates, do you really think they don't expect special considerations like favorable tax loopholes in return?
 
Why not adopt a policy of "lead us not into temptation", but simply eliminating ALL loopholes, across the board?

jpetty

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #131 on: October 26, 2011, 05:09:17 PM »
The middle class lives funded would build far more homes, buy far more cars, and pay far more taxes than do our 22 billionaires.

Yeah, again I'm not sure if I buy the economics behind this.  We rightly have a progressive tax rate that looks something like this:

For single filers:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $8,500, plus
15% on taxable income over $8,500 to $34,500, plus
25% on taxable income over $34,500 to $83,600, plus
28% on taxable income over $83,600 to $174,400, plus
33% on taxable income over $174,400 to $379,150, plus
35% on taxable income over $379,150.

For married filers:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $17,000, plus
15% on taxable income over $17,000 to $69,000, plus
25% on taxable income over $69,000 to $139,350, plus
28% on taxable income over $139,350 to $212,300, plus
33% on taxable income over $212,300 to $379,150, plus
35% on taxable income over $379,150.

Which would indicate that these guys would all be in the top tax bracket of 35% while those jobs at $120K would be in the 25% bracket.  So the amount of tax revenues is actually higher for the fat cats -- i.e., the government would get about $2.2 billion (10%) more from them than it would from a bunch of $120K guys and gals.

And somebody builds the $100 million super-yachts and homes that God would build if He could afford it...

Again, don't get me wrong.  I don't know why these guys need to be compensated so much.  But like w/ their spending or investing of the money, I don't see the economics behind it (unless, again, they threw the money into a big hole in the ground).

FWIW, I think that making the tax rate even more progressive is a good idea.  Maybe something like 40% for anything over $1 million, 45% for over $5 million, 50% for 10, and a nice 60% for anything over $30 million.

Top rate during the Eisenhower administration was 91%.

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #132 on: October 26, 2011, 05:10:26 PM »
Yes there should be middle ground, but these days the mantra from the right is that there should be no corporate taxes, no capital gains taxes, and little to no regulation. 

Is that really what the right is saying, or is that someone's caricature of it?  Remember what I just said previously about putting the worst possible construct on an opponents position?

There is a reasonable, and I think legitimate, objection, to the double taxation of corporate dividends.  They are not deductable from a corporations federal tax obligation, even though that money is paid to shareholders and taxed again.  One solution would be not having the corporation pay any tax on dividend payouts, only the shareholders.  Perhaps that's what you refer to, or maybe it's that corporation favored by the current administration, GE, which pays a below average percentage of its income in taxes.
 
These are not a legitimate starting point for a negotiation.  Middle ground is between higher and lower levels, not something and nothing. 
I agree, but that's also true from the left. For a concrete example, based on the president's recent proposals and those coming from Senate Democrats, they would like a millionaire surtax (at a threshold much lower than $1 mil) to pay for this and that, but from a revenue perspective will not accomplish much in the big picture of government deficits other than punish the rich to the satisfaction of the less rich. And real, actual spending cuts are equally a non-starter, to date.  The sad truth is the only way to close the deficit in the near term is to raise taxes on what everyone agrees is the middle class and also cutting spending in ways that will be noticed.  Neither party, to their detriment, has been honest about this.
 
This what I see as part of the protest movement.  And since there's no official manifesto, I suppose the content/purpose of the protests is pretty subjective.
The notion that for-profit entities (investors and corporations) should be treated (taxed) as not-for-profits is preposterous.
Actually, there is a manifesto out there.  I saw it a couple of weeks ago, but I don't have the link handy.  The 2 things I remember from it is $2 trillion in government spending, and government basically guaranteeing everyone a job at a living wage.  Some of the rest of the items contradicted each other, but that's not surprising considering their lack of coherency in general.

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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #133 on: October 26, 2011, 05:31:55 PM »
Top rate during the Eisenhower administration was 91%.

Makes one wish for the good old days under the "tyrant" George III and his 10% tax on tea that paid for our defense against the Indians and the French...
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Re: Clergy and the "Occupy Movement"?
« Reply #134 on: October 26, 2011, 05:37:49 PM »
I think the real pity isn't the wealthy corporations or any such; it's the normalization of debt.  That's how people have become enslaved.  "The borrower is slave to the lender."  And the lender can dress that up in all sorts of hidden ways, but it's still there, still a fact.  The nice people offer our children "financial AID" - what a joke.  It's financial handcuffs!  We've got to get our eyes open to this.  Teach people to break free of debt and you cut off the worst of the abuses right there.  Once again I'll suggest it:  get to know Dave Ramsey.  He's not wrong on this.  He'll walk you through it with baby-steps (and I needed the baby-steps!!!).