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Old 12-16-2011, 11:26 AM   #31
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Doesn't much matter to me what people do as long as they stop leaching off my work. I work damn hard to put food on the table and it enrages me watching those who don't work buy unhealthy food with my tax money.

I became a fiscal conservative the day I began making enough money to have to pay taxes on it. Now the more I earn, the higher a percentage they take. How is that a fair share. I work harder so they can take more? Give me a break. Rather, give me a flat tax rate and stop punishing me if I have the desire and the balls to start my own business with my own money. And as a boss, anyone I see protesting certainly isn't getting hired by me as I know they would rather whine than bust their ass to get to where I bootstrapped myself to.
Here's an alternative view. I'm happy to pay my taxes, which I'm pretty sure are higher than yours. I'd be happy to pay an even higher rate. I too work hard for my living, and I work at a job I really dislike, year in, year out.

I've got a decent paid job, and I could say that this was through my own efforts. But I was also lucky enough to be born with the smarts and the drive to get a double 1st class honours degree, in a culture that at the least didn't discourage education. I was also born in one of the world's richest countries, with parents that supported me...all that stuff.

Not everybody got the breaks that I did in life. Or some did but then the economy turned against them, or their health failed or whatever. That could have been me - and might be me in the future. As one of life's 'winners', I don't mind supporting those who haven't had it as easy as me. I know that some of my taxes go to support people who are too lazy to work, who are sponging off me, but to me that's a small price to pay for supporting the vastly greater number who are in a disadvantaged position through no fault nor choice of their own.

I would never support a flat rate tax. Taxation in proportion to the ability to pay is as fair as it gets.

Unless you choose to wall yourself up in a gated community, living in an unequal society sucks, and I am happy to have a bit less if it goes any way to redressing that.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:27 AM   #32
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I don't believe that the rich are rich because they worked for it. Some are, but there are certainly those who didn't. And I don't assume all blame to those who are poor, but I think you can pretty much come to a conclusion (on the surface of dug deep) as to how they got there, and more often than not - it will be their fault. You always have the opportunity to change your path and make better of your current position.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:39 AM   #33
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...

I would never support a flat rate tax. Taxation in proportion to the ability to pay is as fair as it gets.
Exactly. Our tax code (as currently written) allows you to pay less in taxes as you earn more in income.

When I was pulling in 20K as a new teacher, my tax rate was a good 24-26%.

Now, years later, I make far more and my effective tax rate after doing my takes hasn't been higher than 8-9% in 5 years.

I do not think this system is right, but this is how it works.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:48 AM   #34
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I don't believe that the rich are rich because they worked for it. Some are, but there are certainly those who didn't. And I don't assume all blame to those who are poor, but I think you can pretty much come to a conclusion (on the surface of dug deep) as to how they got there, and more often than not - it will be their fault. You always have the opportunity to change your path and make better of your current position.
Well, I would say that the two things (the rich make their own wealth, the poor are poor through their own failings) are just two sides of the same coin. I can't see how you can believe one without the other.

But anyway, with regard to that belief, it's interesting to look at international comparisons of social mobility. It turns out that out of the developed countries, the worst are....the UK, Italy and the US. So, in other words, if you are born poor in the US, Italy or the UK, you are more likely to stay poor than in any other country. This isn't a recent thing either - I've been aware of it for many years, because it always struck me how much it was at odds with the American dream - you know, 'anyone can make it if you work hard enough.'

I suppose one could claim that the US, Italian or UK poor are simply lazier than any other country's - ther 'entitlement generation' perhaps. But this wouldn't really seem logical as countries with better support networks and benefits systems ('entitlement systems') also have better social mobility.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:59 AM   #35
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But anyway, with regard to that belief, it's interesting to look at international comparisons of social mobility. It turns out that out of the developed countries, the worst are....the UK, Italy and the US. So, in other words, if you are born poor in the US, Italy or the UK, you are more likely to stay poor than in any other country. This isn't a recent thing either - I've been aware of it for many years, because it always struck me how much it was at odds with the American dream - you know, 'anyone can make it if you work hard enough.'

)
Years ago, the NY Times did a multi-week piece called Class Matters. As a part of that. they examined social mobility and found basically the same. Only a small minority of Americans are able to go UP the class (income) ladder over time.

Moreover, they examined health care, marriage and more. I found it to be a fascinating read.

Class Matters - Social Class in the United States of America - The New York Times
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:37 PM   #36
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Well, I would say that the two things (the rich make their own wealth, the poor are poor through their own failings) are just two sides of the same coin. I can't see how you can believe one without the other.
If someone passes you down their wealth, then you didn't earn it. However, if you're poor, I believe you have the opportunity to get out of poverty. Or if you start out rich, mediocre or whatever, poor decisions will land you in poverty rather quickly. I don't see how you don't understand this...

Make all the excuses you want, pull all the graphs that you want, link me all the links that you want... You choose your own path. Just like our love for lifting; if you don't like your current position, shut the **** up and go do something about it.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:52 PM   #37
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There's more to the protests than being angry they're poor. There are people there because they disapprove of the corruption in government that has in turn screwed them over. The US has a government making decisions that aren't in the favour of the people, but of the most influential lobbying groups. An example can be seen in the documentary Inside Job.
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Old 12-16-2011, 02:44 PM   #38
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If someone passes you down their wealth, then you didn't earn it. However, if you're poor, I believe you have the opportunity to get out of poverty. Or if you start out rich, mediocre or whatever, poor decisions will land you in poverty rather quickly. I don't see how you don't understand this...

Make all the excuses you want, pull all the graphs that you want, link me all the links that you want... You choose your own path. Just like our love for lifting; if you don't like your current position, shut the **** up and go do something about it.
You don't understand because your world view is focused on an internal locus of control, which views personal consequences as a result of individual choices. It's called the 'fundamental attribution error', if I remember correctly. The alternative would be an external locus of control, which looks at the role of external forces in determining consequences.

If you really believe that it's so easy to pull yourself out of poverty...well, I find it hard to believe that you have met many people in that situation and given any serious thought to it. Again, the international comparisons show that what you're saying is very far about the truth.

On that subject: OK, well I apologise for trying to bring some evidence to bear on the debate, rather than just repeating the same assertions in increasingly angry tones. .

I'll try not to cloud the issue with any more links to scholarly commentary by people who study this stuff for a living.

The analogy with lifting is deeply telling. I guess that's the problem with talking social policy on an American lifting forum. The idea that effort = results is so deeply ingrained that it's exprapolated into the rest of life as well. But lifting isn't life, it's just lifting.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:14 PM   #39
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You don't understand because your world view is focused on an internal locus of control, which views personal consequences as a result of individual choices. It's called the 'fundamental attribution error', if I remember correctly. The alternative would be an external locus of control, which looks at the role of external forces in determining consequences.

If you really believe that it's so easy to pull yourself out of poverty...well, I find it hard to believe that you have met many people in that situation and given any serious thought to it. Again, the international comparisons show that what you're saying is very far about the truth.

On that subject: OK, well I apologise for trying to bring some evidence to bear on the debate, rather than just repeating the same assertions in increasingly angry tones. .

I'll try not to cloud the issue with any more links to scholarly commentary by people who study this stuff for a living.

The analogy with lifting is deeply telling. I guess that's the problem with talking social policy on an American lifting forum. The idea that effort = results is so deeply ingrained that it's exprapolated into the rest of life as well. But lifting isn't life, it's just lifting.
I appreciate the views you've added Tann. I may not completely agree on everything, but I won't deny that your points are valid. There has to be a balance between internal and external factors and personal responsibility vs things that are out of our control. I got very lucky to be offered the job I have now without having a college education. Once I got the job, I worked myself harder that I believed I could to rise up the ranks and keep it. Its a mix of both.

My frustration is with those who don't try, not those who tried and didn't succeed. I don't want to take away the basic needs of those who can't provide for themselves, but I also go nuts paying 1/3 of my paycheck to the government and then watching my elected leaders drag us deeper and deeper into debt. I say I want to be left alone, but that only goes so far. I don't want the cessation of the military, road infrastructure, or other necessary things, but I would like to see some thoughtful discussion and planning on how to reduce spending and pull ourselves out of debt.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:31 PM   #40
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My frustration is with those who don't try, not those who tried and didn't succeed.
Yes, that certainly infuriates me as well. Why should I grind myself into the dirt paying for someone's leisure? But in any system, there will be some freeloaders - just a price that has to be paid. The alternative, in my view, is a ghastly, heartless system.
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