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November 10, 2005 | South Carolina Headlines


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A few questions about taxes
Andrew from Greer writes:
4/22/2005 9:41:27 AM
W. Andy,

I think I know what you are saying, but it isn't any different between taxes and anything else is it? Pay to play. Fannie Mae likes the mortgage interest deduction, H&R Block doesn't care but just wants more pages, etc. etc.

I just don't see money itself as the problem because it takes a heck of a lot more money to unseat an incumbent than to keep one in. It would be nice if challengers would get a broad base of support by running a skinny cats campaign. This would require that challengers make hay and spend money long before 90 days. (That would also require "the people" to rethink party affiliations and stop voting straight ticket!)

Any across the board restriction on money will disproportionately hurt challengers. In addition, incumbents get free air time and visibility. I say it's free, but we really already have taxpayer funded campaigns, it's just that challengers don't get it.

I would go along with your restrictions on incumbents. But if we are going there, why not some form of term limits? The simplest solution is often the best.

Short of that, the remedy is stuff like this. The internet. The more info to the people the better.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
W. Andrew from Greenville writes:
4/22/2005 9:12:41 AM
Two ideas that I think would change things dramatically, without trying the tired approach of capping $$.

First, prohibit any member of Congress from accepting campaign cash while it is in session and/or fundraising/acceptance of cash in Washington DC. Second, limit the period in which campaign cash can be spent to 90 days before any election (primary and general). This should shorten the campaign season some, and perhaps shorten sessions of Congress. Real time disclosure might help.

There are perhaps some other time and place restrictions that would do a world of good.

I am surprised you do not see the connection of campagin cash and complexity of tax code.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Andrew from Greer writes:
4/22/2005 8:31:55 AM
W. Andy,

I must respectfully disagree with you on campaign finance as any type of solution. I think it's a red herring.

Money is speech, or at least it is necessary to buy the mans of it. But I don't really want to get into that philosophical argument.

Simply put, the more rules you stack into the game, the better the professional gamers will be at gaming the system.

I'm sorry, but I can imagine no way in which the people who make the rules will not make the rules to favor their own perpetuity.

Ideologies and agendas aside, the real measure of any campaign reform is, all other things being equal, whether the rate of incumbent reelection decreases significantly. How is BCFRA doing thus far?

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
W. Andrew from Greenville writes:
4/21/2005 3:59:52 PM

I agree that the tax code is an example of the excesses of the our process. It is primarily so because the tax code is the campaign finance slush fund for a political system funded by corporations and lobbyists. It may take fixing campaign finance before you can get control of the tax code.

I have come to the place where I think that eliminating all deductions (save perhaps the charitable deduction) and loopholes is the way to go. We can then lower rates, but I would keep a progressive structure to the tax code. I support taxing capital and labor at the same rates. (I would reinstate the estate tax with a $7.5 million exemption.)

However, as long as folks equate money with speech, and as long as we have campaign cycles that begin the day after the election, money will continue to drive politics. Folks who give want something in return, and that usually means tax code favors.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Andrew from Greer writes:
4/21/2005 1:39:17 PM
Now that a large part of the middle class fits the profile, I guess that "The Rich" could be replaced by "Most Richest" in the Democrats dictionary.

Also, "The Rich" now contains a small portion of the "Regular Working Americans" and "The Most Richest" will be reserved for the non-working eccentric evil.

There will be exceptions, of course, and George Soros will determine who is on that list. Exemptions will be awarded based on decadent wealth derived from art, documentaries, and/or acceptable levels of guilt or lobbying.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Andrew from Greer writes:
4/21/2005 1:10:07 PM
W. Andy,

I'm glad to hear that I am mistaken about you being an ideologue. If you say so.

But, the tax code is a result of "moderate and sensible solutions." ?!?

It is the result of competing interests fed through the sausage grinder of the legislative process. It is a disgrace. Everyone agrees it needs to be changed (everyone except H&R Block), but it can't be done because noone can agree on a coherent philosophy. Revenue collection is one of the core functions of government.

We could spend less? No we can't. Not with the current setup. There are so many consituencies and special interests for each increase in spending and only one for a decrease in spending, the taxpayer. Taxpayer's are disorganized, which is not helped by the tax code. I wish we would decide what we could spend, then let the bureaucracies fight for their sliver of the pie. That wouldn't be a bad first step.

I would say the tax code is evidence against an ideology of compromise. Your ideal obviously has not worked in this case. That is not to say that compromise is always bad, but it proves it ain't always good either.

I would prefer a "head tax" (and no I'm not targeting Bill Clinton specifically) from the Federal government collected directly from the states. Then it's up to the states to figure out how to collect. It's also the states problem to figure out how to enrich their citizens. Philosophically and constitutionally, the services the Feds provide should be directly related to population. Practically, each state could do what they wanted and reap the consequences.

Then "The right to get the hell out" would mean something, and we could still be proud Americans.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Laird from Simpsonville writes:
4/20/2005 2:37:52 PM
We've had this debate here before, so I won't repeat it, but I can't let Cliff's "drive-by" ad for the "Fair Tax" pass completely unchallenged. While the fundamental idea of a consumption tax is sound, the devil (as they say) is in the details, and the details of the Fair Tax are simply wretched. It's a fundamentally flawed proposal, one which no one who actually takes the time to read the draft legislation could support. Don't be fooled by what passes for "anaylsis" on the website; it's a totally self-serving advocacy website which glosses over all of the problems. Read the bill and see for yourself.
[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Cliff from West Des Moines, IA writes:
4/20/2005 1:55:28 PM
Please visit:

* FairTax NEWS!

* MyFairTax!


Cliff Cofer - WW-II Vet
Wst Des Moines, Iowa

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Cliff from West Des Moines, IA writes:
4/20/2005 1:21:43 PM
Dear Sir:

Please review the FairTax (S/HR 25) for Tax Reform. It's the best tax reform plan, by far, offered to-date.

It's fully researched and ready to install to r-e-p-l-a-c-e the messed-up Income Tax System (and IRS).

Visit these websites....



3. INFO!

4. MyFairTax!

5. AFFT!

Write your CongressRep and Senators. Send this msg:


The FairTax is "revenue neutral."

FairTax = No more Filing Tax Returns! o more IRS audits! April 15th becomes just another nice Spring day!

Cliff Cofer, WW-II Vet
West Des Moines, Iowa

[ reply ]
W. Andrew from Greenville writes:
4/15/2005 5:35:57 PM
What's wrong with "most richest?" ;0

Oh well, I do not disagree that we could spend less. But, Ralph did not simply argue that we could spend less, but he asked a question: What do we get for our taxes? I simply pointed out that one way to answer that question is to look at places that offer bargains on taxes and see what you might get from them. How do these compare?

You make the mistake of thinking I am an ideologue, which explains why you think I would say "good riddance." Not in the least, without those tugging on the right wing, the left-wing would pull our nation too far in one direction. Of course, we don't need the left-wing leaving in mass either...or else we get pulled to far the other direction. As a pragmatist, I think we need both sides pulling and that we can get moderate and sensible solutions.

I will make one point about the "right to get the hell out." I only bring it up when some folks start with the over the top language about the existence of tyranny of the US Gov't. I simply think it fair to point out to those who feel oppressed by tyranny should do what other oppressed peoples have done...flee...escape. It is simply to point out the ridiculous nature of the rhetoric used.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Andrew from Greer writes:
4/15/2005 3:46:40 PM
W. Andy,

You need to stop your kids from posting under your name. "Most richest?"

It's not up to your usual standards of reasoning either. Just because we have something good here in America (which a lot of people will argue with you that we owe it to politicians), does not mean that we should be very thankful for all the bad parts as well, and not think of ways to make it even better. In fact, it is because we have a good system that we expect it to be getting better, not getting worse.

Does Iraq meet Ralph's "ideological" expectations? That is just silly. Why should we have to choose between honest government and anarchy? Does it really cost 40% of my household income to buy honest government?

Yes, there is a flat tax in Russia and a lot of other places that are competing very favorably with the US in a lot of ways. And, for that reason there are a lot of people looking into the "cost" of admission to those places because the cost in America is getting out of hand. You would say "good riddance" to these people, right? Well that's the difference between your ideology and mine.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
W. Andrew from Greenville writes:
4/15/2005 2:52:17 PM
To answer your questions, people use a unconscious (mostly unconscious) cost-benefit in making most of their decisions. Certainly, if you change the cost-benefit equation, then it will effect how people act, even dishonest folks. The question is not how do we devise a tax system that will be more appealing to dishonest people, but how we devise a tax system that generates sufficient money to pay for all of our spending.

Of course the tax code is too complicated, and simplification would be beneficial. I use a tax preparer.

Democrats look at dollars and not percentages to make their claims about Bush tax-cuts.

Finally, as to your question about what do you get that is worth more than the combined cost of your other expenses, you might want to pose that question to people from all over the earth who are desperately trying to subject themselves to your laws, including tax code, to get something...what is it they possibly want?

Some people would say to live in the most richest and most free nation in the world is worth about any price of admission. There is a flat tax in Russia. I bet you could save bunches of money on your taxes by moving to Iraq. What you be giving up for a tax system that meets your ideological expectations?

Ralph's question is the perfect example of what happens when you are too can't even see it. Not all folks are fortunate enough to pay as much as Ralph in taxes....

[ reply ]
Joe from Edisto Island writes:
4/15/2005 1:05:29 PM
"What exactly did you do for me this year that was worth more than the combined cost of my mortgage, groceries, utilities, insurance (home, car and health), clothing, entertainment, home and car maintenance, and the gifts I gave my family for birthdays and Christmas?" - Ralph Bristol
I just have one answer for Mr Bristol:

www.FairTax.Org - the site for details on Rep. John Linder's HR-25.

[ reply ]

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