Posts by Qui-Gon

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41) Message boards : Politics : Hopefully we can end this silliness now. (Message 1296817)
Posted 19 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
1st: it wasn't the Supreme Court.
2nd: the government didn't defend its own law (passed in the Clinton years).
3rd: we're pretty close to an election that may change things in this area.

So, no, it doesn't look like anything is at an end.
42) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296485)
Posted 18 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
. . . but lawyers are special bottom feeding scum. :)

Thanks. That's a promotion from ambulance chasing blood-sucker.
43) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296438)
Posted 18 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Gary used the tax code to define economic terms.

What he did was quote the definition in the tax code of "capital". The tax code has it right. The code doesn't disagree with the definition I was taught in finance and tax law courses.
44) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296420)
Posted 18 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Economics is a science not a tax code.

Huh? Who said economics is a tax code? The tax code uses certain economic principles from economic theories that you may not agree with, but as a science, economics is rather too fuzzy for me. It offers no absolute answers before the fact, and answers that are often highly disputed after the fact.
45) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296403)
Posted 18 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Gary, what that says is that the tax code ignores economics but seriously effects economics.

That's not what my finance professor and tax law instructors taught me. The tax code has the definition of "capital" correct. But you are right that tax policy, as codified in the tax laws, does, by design, affect the economy.
46) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296341)
Posted 17 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Gary, we've had this discussion before, a home is not capital.

Actually, it is: privately owned capital.

Definition: Capital is something owned which provides ongoing services. In the national accounts, or to firms, capital is made up of durable investment goods, normally summed in units of money. Broadly: land plus physical structures plus equipment. The idea is used in models and in the national accounts.
47) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296327)
Posted 17 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
The purchase of stock directly from the issuing company does create capital and probably deserves special treatment, The speculative purchase of existing stock does not deserve the same treatment.

Then who gets that "special treatment"? Only the original purchaser? If the stock is sold the benefit should follow ownership of the stock.
48) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296326)
Posted 17 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Regarding the very wealthy spending more of what they have -- actually that seems on its face to be not so true. It would seem to me that a larger proportion of earnings at the low to upper middle income levels get spent for goods and services that at the very wealthy side. I don't see encouraging the extremely wealthy to accumulate even more wealth as being all that good for the economy -- rather that simply takes money out of the economy.

Romney suggested that deductions be capped; the hypothetical figure he used was $25K, which would not affect most middle class but would affect the very rich. Some very rich, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet might continue to make charitable donations and other payments beyond the $25K, but I suspect many would stop "giving" about when they reach the limit. Romney himself gave millions to charities, but he may be an exception. If I found out that a $5K gift to my local Public Radio would bring me to $30K deductions under Romney's plan, I might rethink it or put it off to next year, unless next year I'd be over the limit too.

Our taxes are already progressive, so that the wealthy pay a higher rate (percentage), but also pay more actual dollars. Romney may have paid 14% while his secretary paid 28%, but he funded the government with many times more dollars than his secretary paid the government; and add to that his contributions to society through charitable institutions and he did not get off cheap.
49) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296322)
Posted 17 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
The capital gains tax rate is a special case where capital gains are taxed at a lower rate because the government wants investment in publicly traded companies and because the money used to invest has already been taxed as income by the investor and the capital gains have been taxed as income to the corporation.

A fact to consider is that when one purchases stock in a publicly traded company no new capital is created only the ownership of existing capital. I ask how is that an investment? The strict definition of an investment is the creation of new capital.

You are right if you mean the purchase of stock from another investor, but all stock is issued by the company which uses the sale of their stock to fund expansion. If the company grows in value due to the infusion of money from the sale of stock, the value of the stock increases and the price increases (and dividends may be paid). The net effect is that the owner of the stock is (allowing the company to create) capital, and make profits, on which the company may pay taxes (or may further invest in things to get off-setting tax deductions). If the investments are are successful, then the economy benefits.

In any case, stock is purchased with after-tax dollars and dividends are paid with after-tax dollars, so paying a lower capital gains rate on something that has already been taxed makes some sense.
50) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296310)
Posted 17 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
lower capital gains taxes on stocks and investments has had no effect on investments in the last 40 years.

One could argue that higher Capital gains taxes encourage continued investments in a stock. Moving the stock would cause one to incur the tax. Leaving in one place reduces ones exposure to the tax.

A lower tax could also be a cause of market volatility as investors see a small tax as less of a burden than losing a money on a stock in the short term.

One can argue anything one wishes, but if lower capital gains taxes have "had no effect on investments in the last 40 years", as you say, then why the explosion of mutual funds and the heavy reliance on equities by pensions? I think that decision makers, individuals and fund managers, put more into equities, in large part, because of the lower tax rate on the investor. This stimulates economic growth. If the capital gains tax is increased, people may go to other investments, which would inhibit expansion by companies (hiring, capital improvements) and negatively impact the economy--how much is open to debate, but in these hard times, do you want to risk such a contraction?

Capital gains taxes is only a part of tax policy. Congress (for the feds) and state and local legislators have put in place tax breaks, as I have outlined, to serve a societal purpose. If any particular tax policy isn't working, it can be changed.
51) Message boards : Politics : Taxes (Message 1296293)
Posted 17 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Everyone knows that taxes fund governments and for more than a century taxes on income and corporate earnings have been the main source of Funding for the federal government. But there is another aspect to taxes, commonly known as "tax policy".

Legislators in federal, state and local venues put in place tax breaks (deductions or credits) that serve a broader general purpose. An example that many people like (if you own your home) is the home mortgage deduction. You are allowed to deduct from your taxable income the amount that you paid in interest on a home mortgage. The government has a purpose for giving you a break on your taxes: they want to encourage people to buy homes; but your taxes are not reduced by the full amount that you paid on your mortgage interest, just the amount that equates to your tax rate. For instance, if your tax rate is 28% then for every $100 you paid in mortgage interest your tax bill is reduced by $28. In other words you have to pay $100 to reduce your taxes by $28.

Other tax breaks have similar motives: renewable energy credits encourage people to install solar water heating or PV systems; deductions to charitable institutions help fund those institutions thus relieving government of some of the burden of fulfilling those functions. The capital gains tax rate is a special case where capital gains are taxed at a lower rate because the government wants investment in publicly traded companies and because the money used to invest has already been taxed as income by the investor and the capital gains have been taxed as income to the corporation.

When GE pays no taxes, assuming everything they did was legal under the tax code, it was because they utilized deductions and credits that the government allowed them, which fulfilled a greater purpose, like green energy programs or building clean energy facilities. They paid more for these investments than they saved on their taxes. If the corporate tax rate is 35% on earnings, the company only gets a $35 deduction for every hundred dollars they spend for the deduction, but this relieves the government of having to fund those projects deemed to be worthwhile.

With this in mind, it's a lot harder to complain about wealthy companies or individuals that pay no taxes or very little in taxes since these people or companies are actually doing something good for the country. They're not paying that money in taxes but they are spending more for the good of society than they would have paid for taxes. There are also tax breaks and credits for people below the poverty line that allow those people to pay no taxes, for example, childcare credits and deductions for medical expenses. If you look only at the fact that a person or company pays no taxes, you're not recognizing the larger picture.
52) Message boards : Politics : No debate about the VP debate (Message 1294629)
Posted 13 Oct 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Romney should hold a press conference and announce he's withdrawing from the last two debates. The tone of the VP debate, and the President's endorsement of Biden's rude behavior, foretells that the next debates will be as unproductive and acrimonious. There's no need to participate, and thus validate, such offensive behavior.
53) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Rocky's Coffee Club II point 16 (Message 1285683)
Posted 19 Sep 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Well, I made my weight at Weight Watchers again this month but it's getting harder and harder to pull down those last few pounds each month. Mostly, I think I'm becoming a bit complacent.
54) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Rocky's Coffee Club II point 16 (Message 1280885)
Posted 7 Sep 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Oh, election season is . . . hard? boring? infuriating?

I try to keep up, but there's too much.
55) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Rocky's Coffee Club II point 16 (Message 1267772)
Posted 5 Aug 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
It was hot in Chicago, but I had a good time.
56) Message boards : Politics : What is "God" and what can "It" "Do"? (Message 1259204)
Posted 12 Jul 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Science is science and religion is religion; they are not necessarily incompatible. But science doesn't prove religion nor does religion teach us science. The purpose of science is to explain the workings of the physical universe; while the purpose of religion is (very broadly) to teach us how to be better people to each other and to ourselves.

Please don't use the words of the Bible or any other religious book to argue that since the science isn't right, therefore religion must also be false. Religious teaching is rife with parables, metaphors and allegories, because those teachings are not concerned with scientific reality, but with moral and ethical truths. If you dismiss the works of Shakespeare or Tolkien because what they wrote did not really happen, then you miss the point completely.
57) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Rocky's Coffee Club II point 16 (Message 1256920)
Posted 7 Jul 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Very impressive, especially for its efficiency. The spectators didn't have to waste precious minutes in a long drawn out show.
58) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Rocky's Coffee Club II point 16 (Message 1255493)
Posted 4 Jul 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Happy 4th of July.
59) Message boards : Politics : Supreme Court upholds Obamacare (Message 1253381)
Posted 29 Jun 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
Obamacare is just like Medicare, it is not private health insurance ...

Private health insurance is you going to state farm or any other insurance company and buying a policy.

Socialized health care is everyone dumping money in the federal pot.

All you old men will not get a heart transplant, or new knees. When someone in their late 30's or early 40's is needing the same. They [the federal government] will tell you when and where and even IF you get the treatment you NEED. All Old men will be left in the hallway to die. Bottom line...

Then fund it, honestly, like Medicare! Impose a tax, call it a tax, then ask Representatives and Senators from the 50 states to vote on it (of course it would not have passed). Don't require private individuals to buy something then penalize them if they choose not to, which the Supremes just deemed to be a tax, even though Congress insisted it was not.
60) Message boards : Politics : Supreme Court upholds Obamacare (Message 1253128)
Posted 29 Jun 2012 by Profile Qui-Gon
In time Health Care for Americans will be a Constitutional Mandate.
ObamNeyCare is just a first step.
In civilized societies like France Health Care "for all" is funded by taxes,
and the results are "Awesome".

Someone is still upset over G. W. Bush being called a liar.

Yeah, everything is GWB with you. Well, take off your blinders and look critically at your wonderful President Obama. He did not do anything to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize, he has not fixed the economy, he has not closed Guantanamo, and on and on. For all the excuses you may come up with (actually you seem to have only one: that it's all GWB's fault) President Obama's term has been a failure.

Oh, and your claim that Health Care is a "Constitutional Mandate" demonstrates a severe lack of understanding of the American Constitution.

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