Taxation w/out Representation? MAYBE!

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by fivepoint, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #1
    Yesterday we got to talking about the 'Tea Parties' which were taking place all across the country. While some of us made the obvious point that the protests were about far more than just taxation, others tried to make the case that the protests were completely baseless since we are currently taxed WITH representation, unlike the original Boston Tea Party.

    But is that really true? Certainly we are all currently represented in Congress, whether we agree with what they do or not, we voted them in and we are "represented". But, here's the catch. Thanks to Bush, Obama, and other Presidents, our children, the next generation of Americans will be strapped with thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt before they are even born. I've seen some estimates that by the end of Obama's first term every American family would owe somewhere around $160,000 to get America free and clear of debt.

    While I'm sure there are a thousand different ways to calculate it, utilizing different estimates, including or not including different segments of the economy, etc... No mater how you calculate it, each newborn baby in the U.S. today is shouldering THOUSANDS of dollars in debt before they even take their first breath. Do they have representation? Did they get to vote on whether or not they wanted to be strapped with this level of debt? Do we have the right to just push our expenditures off to future generations? Just say "aw... Jr. can pay for that when he starts working.?"

    I don't know about you, but that whole idea bothers me a little bit. We're TRILLIONS of dollars in debt and Obama talks every day about spending even more, about creating an even larger welfare state... this WILL have to be paid for. By someone. At some point. And it just may not be those of us who are currently being 'represented.'
     
  2. Queso macrumors G4

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    #2
    Don't forget the effect of inflation on this debt. In 20 years time a dollar will be a far smaller amount in real terms than it is today, as will a trillion dollars etc. The debt becomes smaller in relation to the GDP of the country and the taxes it raises.

    The trick is to ensure that the politicians cannot continue to add to the debt amount, which of course they will all try and do. Increasing national debt should be an emergency measure. At all other times governments should run at a surplus to pay that debt off. Talking about maintaining debt levels at a percentage of GDP shows something is wrong.
     
  3. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #3
    I just had a corollary thought. Imagine if children were born into a surplus! Where each child has THOUSANDS of dollars for being born without doing any work whatsoever! It would be completely unfair to all those conservatives that have worked hard and had a good work ethic without getting handouts from the government. It'd be socialist!
     
  4. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

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    #4
    Bravo, Andy. :D
     
  5. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #5
    So you don't have a valid argument to this assertion then? Not on your A game today? Seems to me like you are just deflecting instead of actually answering the question. At least Queso acknowledges it, and has something valuable to add.

    I'm shocked .Andy, I'd have thought you out of anyone else on here, to be an intellectually honest person, not a dodger and evader when pressed with a hard question!

    I guess I can't speak for everyone, but I wouldn't even call that socialism, and it's not the same as what Obama is attempting to do now (and has already been done for years in the USA) in trying to take a higher portion of wealthy people's income and give it to poorer people. If there is a governmental surplus, it'd be used to fund infrastructure for everyone, not just poorer people, and not just wealthier people. It's not like the money would be literally handed out to US citizens as "pay checks", and not according to their beurocratically assessed need either, the way the current welfare system is handled.

    No if there were a large budget surplus, I'd just call that success on the part of our federal government, and for our nation. We all want that.

    SLC
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #6
    There used to be a budget surplus. Then we got Bushwhacked.
     
  7. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

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    #7
    What sort of fallacy is that? Ad hominem circumstantiae?

    I doubt Andy's response was meant to be an argument in its own right. It's hyperbole and inversion; together they show how extreme the original argument sounds from any other point of view and hopefully grant some perspective. I thought it was quite an economical use of rhetoric. :eek:

    English Breakfast is my preference.
     
  8. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #8
    You're mistaken. I'm the least intellectually honest person here and pride myself on it. However I'll go with dodging and evading. I'm pretty nimble.

    The horror. And it'll likely be directed for spending on frivolous things like medical care and education that doesn't benefit society as a whole. Does it? When the rich could be spending their extra few % on luxuries that reflect their success....

    Thank you Marble :). You appear to have understood my point rather well and at the same time made it sound rather intellectual. I'm chuffed on both points ;).
     
  9. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #9
    Not all Americans are represented in Congress, such as the 550,000 plus residents of DC.

    I think the idea that we are handing debt to our children is an important consideration, but it's essentially a meaningless rhetorical argument unless you get into specifics. The real question is what are we spending money on, and should we be spending each and every dollar of that money. There is nothing wrong with debt if it is spent on a worthwhile investment.

    For example, sticking with the idea that we are saddling our children with debt, say we choose to invest an additional $100,000 in education, and that investment means the government will have to issue out a bond that will be paid back over time. That $100,000 goes into improving schools and it is exactly our children who will benefit most. In other words, I think they'd be OK with that.

    More importantly, what on earth is the alternative in terms of children being taxed without being represented? Either we would have to let them vote as soon as they are born or absolve them from paying taxes in the future? Obviously neither of those things make sense, which is another way of saying the question is pretty meaningless. The real question is, are we as adults doing our best to assure that we have our children's and our children's children's best interests at heart, or are we totally focused on the here and now?
     
  10. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #10
    That is so intellectually dishonest I can't believe you even believe what you're writing.

    Ever since reagan took office, the right wing of this country has done everything it can to increase govt. spending for the benefit of the rich and to the detriment of the poor. It's funny how welfare for the rich has suddenly been forgotten and now that the poor are getting a minor, although below inflationary increase in food stamps, the rich start whinging.


    I'm so sick and tired of the right's lack of responsibility for the disaster they've created. What's even more sickening is all those chumps waving their made in china pieces of cardboard. They got a tax CUT. Looks like a lot of people in this country need the short bus to come around to teach them remedial math.
     
  11. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #11
    Care to explain to me what welfare for the rich entails? I've heard the phrase many times, but nobody has ever been able to define it for me. Yeah, the poor got a tax cut, but the rich are getting a tax hike to make it possible. Not all of us poor folks are comfortable stealing from the rich, no matter how much we might think they can afford it.

    SLC
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    By this metric, Clinton must be your favorite president.
     
  13. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #13
    Something seems slightly wrong there.....
     
  14. BigHungry04 macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Well we are represented, and we had the opportunity to contact our representatives to inform them of our opinion. If you choose not to participate in the system, then you have no right to complain about it.

    The only way to get out of a recession is to increase government spending. Decreasing taxes will not get the economy out of a deep recession because of the propensity to save.
     
  15. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #15
    Reminds me of James Morrow's This is The Way the World Ends, and the trial prosecuted by "the Unadmitted" those who would have existed had the Protagonist of the novel never signed away his complicity of the nuclear arms race that lead to Armageddon. It's a strange book.

    Of course, we could note other things similarly, for instance someone who just signed-up for the military was 12 when the Afghanistan war started and were just a glimmer during the first Persian Gulf war.

    The debt is incredible, but I simply don't buy the argument that the protests are about protecting our children and grandchildren from massive debts frankly this line of reasoning seems ad hoc.
     
  16. Metatron macrumors 6502

    Metatron

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    #16
    There was never a surplus. Until the national debt is gone, there will never be a surplus.

    As to the comment that babies being born with a surplus is "socialist", well that is crazy. If there is no national debt, then there should be no surplus as taxation should be reduced to cover the expenditures of Gov't. The goal of Gov't should be to have children born to a zero balance.

    These tea parties are a way for everyone from all parties to protest the true unfairnies happining which is the opposite of what happened in Boston. Instead, the message is No Representation without Taxation. 40%+ of people in America not paying any tax. Call it socialism, or overly generous capitalism, I don't care. I support helping the helpless, but not the unwilling. Letting people dictate to your guys, the tax payer, what you WILL give them is insane.

    Think of when you were in high school. Bust your tail for an A so you can get a scholarship and attend some ivy league university just to have you teacher say your A is unfair and the student who made an F needs your success. So we are going to split it down the middle and now you get a C because johnny likes to play xBox all night instead of study. Now he can "compete" with you in the job market. You are the best candidate, but now you have to prove it because your record of success, your grades, achievements and rewards are split and received by everyone.

    We can only blame ourself. We lie to our children because we love them, but we have taught them to only think they are entitled to reward. You can't try to make everyone feel like a winner because it teaches that there is no such think as adversity. For christ sake, we give participation awards and trophies to our children now so they don't feel sad. Why can we not tell people that sometimes your best is not good enough? Work harder and continue to better yourself.

    The tea parties are fighting for a fair/flat tax. If everyone pays their equal share of personal GDP, everyone is honestly given their best through percentage equality. Than finally the gov't can easily have a balanced budget. It is easy to plan around an fixed amount of known income. At that point if the people want national (not free) health care, paid college, a chicken in every pot, the elected Gov't can budget it in. No deficits spending, and no 40% who contribute nothing getting a free ride.

    This is not a partisan issue, we all to some extent feel the unfairness, unless you are in that 40%. Being in that 40% it is not something to be ashamed about if you are helpless, but the vast majority are not. They are freeloaders expecting their next meal, housing and healthcare. They will vote themselves more benefits until the people providing revolt or go bankrupt. Then what?

    What the 40% of freeloaders are doing is like unto a bastardized union, which sadly is the state of all modern unions. Unions use to protect people form the rich, now the rich need protection from the unions. Morally what they do is no different from what Bernie Madoff has done. They slowly steal away your wealth and then one day there is nothing left.

    It is no wonder so many people look at the current state of the economy with confusion and blame Clinton, Bush, or Obama. Standing around like a bunch of children wondering where their wealth and savings has gone. Blame yourself....
     
  17. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816

    XnavxeMiyyep

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    #17
    Regardless of whether or not there was a surplus at the time, this is not true. If you have more money than you have debt, you have a surplus. If you have less money than you have debt, you have a deficit. That's how they're defined.
     
  18. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #18
    Hey look! Another rock-ribbed conservative who is either deliberately conflating "taxes" with "income tax", or just doesn't know any better.

    I know it makes a good sound bite to say "40% of American doesn't pay any tax", but it's just not true.
     
  19. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #19
    Mactastic, you've known all along that we're talking about income tax here. Stop trying to cloud the issue!

    SLC
     
  20. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #20
    Silly me. Reading the thread title, I was under the impression that we were talking about taxation w/out representation. The income tax is only one aspect of "taxes", but I never hear anyone on the right talking about how it's so unfair that the poor spend a greater percentage of their income on sales tax than the rich do.

    And when conservative after conservative comes through here declaring that this or that person "pays no taxes", it's either a willful omission of fact, or an attempt to skew the terms of the debate. They are the ones trying to cloud the issue. I am the one trying to dispel those clouds.
     
  21. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #21
    Wouldn't a more pragmatic solution be to create a mass of savings so that a budget that is necessarily unbalanced doesn't have to entail deficit spending?
     
  22. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #22
    This never happened but it still makes you angry :).

    What are your thoughts on kids born to rich families (who like to play XBox) that can afford to go to an ivy league university when you've busted you nut and have better grades but can't afford it?
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #23
    A national endowment!

    Better yet, they're legacies. ;)
     
  24. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #24
    there is plenty of 'real' taxation without representation in the country (not this political bs).
    All the legal resident and green card holders are fully taxed but do not get to vote.
    There are many in my field (science) and some are pretty vocal about it, especially regarding local elections.
    i think it's fair that foreigners pay taxes, since they benefit from services, but they definitively should be allowed to vote in local (anything non-federal) elections.
    Same with americans abroad, of course.
     
  25. Metatron macrumors 6502

    Metatron

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    #25
    You immediately turn this partisan. Income tax, state tax, cell phone tax....a tax, is a tax, is a tax, is a tax. When you receive more in benefits than you pay in taxes, you do not pay taxes. The state has a budget and social programs and the feds need a budget for their social programs. I have no problem with taxes but I do have a problem with those that expect my taxes.

    And yes, I am a conservative but I have to honestly ask you, how and why do you put up with the situation your state is in? Honestly? State income and local and state sales tax over 20% of your income before federal income tax. This does not include all the fees California charges for permits a citizen needs just to function. For all practical purposes, California is a bankrupt state. While solely my opinion, it would seem I know better than your elected state leaders. You can not tax or spend you way to prosperity! But California sure as hell is going to try.

    No. If the government needs to spend more money, your check should directly reflect it. The true value of the services provided will be more appropriately measured. I of course support a "rainy day fund" but that does not entail continued overtaxation.

    Seriously, everyone pays sales tax for the canned green beans they buy at wal-mart. But the poor can not afford BMW 7 series cars and half million dollar Cessna airplanes. I seriously doubt that they pay less percentage of sales tax though I welcome some statistics on the matter if you can provide them. If it was true, I would like to see how it is tabulated. Math can always be made to favor any argument.

    Come on Andy...you know this was a hypothetical that correctly represent our current form of taxation and government.

    I don't know any smart people who busted "nut" that did not get financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants. And those that expire work hard to pay even if they have to get a job.

    As to the rich kid...he is a blessed individual. I just hope his parents taught him to respect his situation. On the flip side, if we continue down this path he won't be rich long.

    Of course this argument will be mute when we have replicators...then we can have all the social forms of government you want. Okay, bad attempt at humor...
     

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