Re: G & J, in cahoots?

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Fri Mar 23 2001 - 08:22:58 PST

Sigh. I give up. Just *glancing* through the message makes me tired in my bones.
It's not enough that I've had to face my own tax shit IRL over the last few days
--- here I've got Dave arguing with me over semantics, logic, and math in a
synthesized argument that misrepresents my point. (Though that may be my fault.)
I've also had Geege arguing in "power to the people" form that, on some level or
whatever, it's all *good for me.* Whatever.

Hakim Bey is much more fun.

Of course, you're right, Dave --- our current tax system is simple,
easy-to-understand for the common man, fair and equitable, and penalizes everyone
equally; it's good and appropriate and non-onerous to tax higher-income at a
greater level, and there is no particular advantage to be obtained when investable
capital begins to exceed burn. My argument is inconsistent and baseless and
furthermore zecious. What's more, the federal government is a wise and benevolent
parent to us all which does us a great service by protecting us from ourselves and
redistributing wealth to create a golden land of opportunity.

What's more, Santa Claus is real, and I had sex with the Tooth Fairy last night.
She was one wild chick.


PS - but I just can't let it go, so here's just a few random comments.

Dave Long wrote:

> Now, our tax burden may well be too high[0],
> but that's not the argument here.

That's MY argument. One of them, anyway. You're synthesizing an argument below
which I've not made as a single argument, but rather several independent
assertions, points, or (my favorite faux Bushism) insinuendousities ;-) Further,
your synthesis is intentionally misleading, see below.

> What we
> are arguing is simply the statement that:
> A/ the progressive tax system creates a gap between haves and have-nots; it

Not creates, *perpetuates* and *increases.*

> B/ penalizes Jeff's demographic relative to the uber-rich, because he

I didn't identify this as my demographic; whether it is or not, the argument is
more generic than that.

> C/ must work several times as hard to double net gain, because
> D/ his demographic faces an aggregate tax rate of 66%, and

You want to beat up on the accuracy of my tossed-off 66% number, yet you do not
cringe in embarrassment over your initial, similarly careless 1% number? I don't
care! You want to claim it's 50%? 48%? 44% Fine --- pick one of those numbers.
The point remains: TOO HIGH!

> E/ doubling income requires working twice as hard,

*More* than twice as hard, i.e. C. If I said "income" I most likely meant "net
gain," btw. If I said specifically "doubling income requires working twice as
hard," I apologize for being both inprecise and inconsistent. C is an accurate
representation of my belief.

> F/ but the uber-rich invest capital instead of paying taxes
> F: taking Jeff's word for it: true


> E: false

I'm not sure I said that, but see comments above.

> D: false (66% is half again as large as 44%) [1]

And still much more accurate than your "1%" number.

> C: false

No demonstration of falsity has been forthcoming from you...

> B: true if F (even though not C)
> A: true if B, therefore true if F, but
> if F is true, then the tax system is regressive, so
> that'd be inconsistent and can't imply A.

That's pure semantics *and* intentionally misleading. You're implying that *any*
tax system which allows the highest wealth class to accumulate wealth tax-free is
regressive; a regressive *income tax* scheme only applies to

> Can someone azeciously defend A?

Well, I've done what I'm willing to do. You can go ahead and pat yourself on the
back for a righteous defense and maintenance of the massive denial that you're
engaging in that allows you to believe that our tax systems confiscate most of your
economic output in one way or another. You've done a fine job. Saloo!

> -Dave
> [0] Jeff will say, "any tax is too high",
> and I would say something else. We can
> disagree there; none of that matters as
> we take the current tax burden as fixed,
> and are merely deciding how it will be
> allocated demographically:
> progressive (tax larger fortunes more)
> flat (tax dollars, not entities)
> regressive (tax larger populations more)
> We only look at the shape of the curve,
> discussions of total burden are about
> the area under it.
> [1] Revised figure:
> 36% w/o property tax
> 4% JB's estimate for property tax
> ===
> 40% ($300K/yr, single)
> Around here, properties are often assessed
> based on their sale prices from decades ago,
> not at current market value, so that 4% is
> likely an upper bound.
> A,B:
> > Net result: more and more of the wealth accumulates in the hands of
> > a dwindling-by-attrition already-uber-rich crowd, the gap between
> > haves and have-nots widens, all a direct result of a progressive
> > system which most onerously penalizes the demographic just below true
> > financial independence.
> C,D,E:
> > Do I *really* want to fight and claw my way to $2X a year in regular
> > income when I'm living comfortably, if not the life of Croesus, on
> > $X a year consulting? (BTW, it's all the built-in costs I'm talking
> > about; the aggregate tax rate across the board once income's into
> > six figures is about 2/3, so I'm going to put in *at least* double
> > the effort to actually achieve a net gain of about 33%.
> F:
> > When you move it into business, there's all kinds of ways to grow
> > your asset value without paying taxes: just grow aggressively and
> > avoid taking profits to the bottom line.

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