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Old 09-02-2012, 03:04 PM   #21
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Ya that's my point. Your link is complete junk and I have links to back it up. Want to go back and forth 20 times? Dumb.

Bigger questions--do you believe in equality of opportunity or equality of outcome? How much of what you or I make should we be able to keep?

My original post relates to energy. Why, after Jimmy Carter adopted the Department of Energy over 35 years ago, do we not have an energy policy that keeps energy costs low? This impacts the poor disproportionately, and yet liberals the apparent "champions of the poor" have done everything in their power to stifle energy independence. Perhaps we could disband the DOE and "re-redistribute" the nearly $30 billion dollars that they spend every year back to the people.
Your premise is fallacious and assumptions are incredibly ignorant.

The "Only 49% of people pay income tax" is one of the most self-serving and blatant lies I've seen recently.

"Only 49% of people pay a tax that composes one third of the total taxes paid" is more correct. And of those 49%, a large amount either do not pay into the (specific) remaining 2/3rds of the taxes, or do not contribute substantially (See: Social security, 104k income cap as an example). Do I get to start linking Social Security/FICA tax numbers? Because let me tell you, the 49% of people who pay so much into income tax don't contribute substantially to those taxes compared to everyone else's contributions! So, obviously, we need to raise their social security/FICA/other federal taxes, right? They either don't pay into them at all (!!!!) or barely contribute (!!!)! By the logic you are espousing, those guys need a massive tax increase!

You can dance around and play semantics all you want. But it doesn't change the fact that if you have read on the topic at all, you know it's a substantially distorted talking point - or what the common person would call a lie.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:20 AM   #22
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Blaen - You and Mr. Bundy have noted that there is an income phase-out after which a person's OASDI taxes are capped. If you think back to the original idea of Social Security as a "pay in, get paid back" concept, that tax cap makes some theoretical sense: because there is a maximum you can receive back in annual benefits.

It's also worth understanding the taxation of Social Security benefits for even modest income levels.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:18 PM   #23
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Blaen is incapable of having a conversation on any political topic without calling names and becoming hostile as evidenced by the posts he has made in this thread. I will refrain from entering this conversation for that reason. The discussion was polite and civil before he arrived in this thread.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:57 PM   #24
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Do enlighten me about the name calling, Six. Seriously, start quoting it. Statements about something being factually incorrect, fallacious, or ignorant have little to do with name calling.

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Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
Blaen - You and Mr. Bundy have noted that there is an income phase-out after which a person's OASDI taxes are capped. If you think back to the original idea of Social Security as a "pay in, get paid back" concept, that tax cap makes some theoretical sense: because there is a maximum you can receive back in annual benefits.

It's also worth understanding the taxation of Social Security benefits for even modest income levels.
That's not particularly relevant to Cordy's argument, Scrappy. Remember, he's trying to make an argument about raising taxes on the people who don't pay income tax (according to him), and I was pointing out that the people who don't pay income tax pay a great deal of other taxes. As a percentage of their income (See: various caps) typically a great deal more than the typical person who pays the majority of the income tax. So, as a result, if you accept Cordy's logic that because some people don't pay much in income taxes they need to pay more, then it also becomes equally valid to state that people who don't pay much in the other taxes need to pay more.

Or, shorthand. Saying someone pays no taxes or little taxes just because they pay no or little income tax and ignoring any other taxes is every bit as naive as I would imagine you would think it is - especially considering that, at least the last I checked, income tax only made up 1/3rd of the tax receipts for the government.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:55 PM   #25
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When 49% of Americans either don't pay Federal income tax or actually get money back, it does not bode well for the health of this country, nor does it reflect well on our core values.
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Originally Posted by blaen99 View Post
Or, shorthand. Saying someone pays no taxes or little taxes just because they pay no or little income tax and ignoring any other taxes is every bit as naive as I would imagine you would think it is - especially considering that, at least the last I checked, income tax only made up 1/3rd of the tax receipts for the government.
Cord phrased his statement in a specific way as to be correct when he talks about a significant percentage of the US population paying no Federal income tax or receiving net money back.

Maybe a more constructive way to route the conversation - instead of jumping at an "AHA! moment" - would be to discuss total Federal taxes as a percentage of income [Federal income + employee (sorry, Bob!) FICA] and then compare that to the levels paid by the Scandinavians.

That can also tie in to the conversation on the overly complex nature of the US personal tax code.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:59 PM   #26
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Other than Norway, do the other Scandinavian countries run a large debt and deficit?

Do the future finances look unsustainable like the USA's Medicare?
Any time you look at debt and (fiscal) deficits, you should also ask about current account or balance of payment deficits/surpluses.

Sweden presently and typically runs a significant current account surplus.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:07 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
Cord phrased his statement in a specific way as to be correct when he talks about a significant percentage of the US population paying no Federal income tax or receiving net money back.

Maybe a more constructive way to route the conversation - instead of jumping at an "AHA! moment" - would be to discuss total Federal taxes as a percentage of income [Federal income + employee (sorry, Bob!) FICA] and then compare that to the levels paid by the Scandinavians.

That can also tie in to the conversation on the overly complex nature of the US personal tax code.
This is where I've been taking it, Scrappy, including sources that state total federal taxes as a percentage of income.

Trying to quote just one tax and ignoring every other tax (Read: total tax burden) and trying to draw conclusions from that is flat out silly IMO. Using his logic, one could make arguments about Social Security (as an example) that directly contradict what he is trying to say if he just uses a single tax. Even the analysis on the Nordic countries tax burden in this thread includes an analysis of all relevant taxes, not a single cherry-picked one.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:21 PM   #28
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Blaen the difference between FICA taxes and income taxes would be the fact that FICA taxes are suppose to serve as a direct benefit or pay in pay out type taxes so the percentage of income paid in to FICA doesn't really matter in this argument as they will receive a fixed level of benefit from these taxes (i.e. they operate like an insurance policy and investment fund, you directly benefit from what you pay in). The income tax is a blanket tax that goes to the general fund and can be used on practically anything. You benefit from income taxes by using the products and services they provide.

So you are arguing that because people of a lower income have to pay more as a percentage of their income for what is basically an insurance policy and retirement fund they should not have to pay for other services at all. The rich people on the other hand pay less as a percentage of income but no less then their benefits would normally require should have to pay more for other services then everyone else.

That is like saying poor people pay more as a percentage of income for food so they should not have to pay for gas. Rich people pay less as a percentage of income for food so they should not only pay for their own gas but also the gas of those less fortunate.

One has nothing to do with the other. Your argument is invalid.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:53 PM   #29
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Actually, Ryan, it's perfectly valid.

This is why: Are you arguing that people who make less should pay more in taxes (as a percentage of their income) than people who make more?

This is the ultimate form of the argument being made. The income tax is what gives us a progressive tax structure. The US has historically always had a progressive tax structure, with a slow descent over the years towards a more regressive tax structure (We've taxed the top bracket at 95% before!). If income tax is adjusted as Cord is advocating for, we lose what makes ours a progressive tax structure. I've already posted citations noting how our tax structure currently works relative to total taxes.

It doesn't matter who pays for what. What matters is how much any specific person pays (as a percentage of their income). What matters is the core of the argument and what will happen when it is executed.

Or are you suggesting to raise their income tax, and lower their FICA/SS/other taxes if you want to maintain a progressive tax system? As is, this is an either or statement. Either the lower income brackets pay more, and we lose our progressive taxation, or you have to lower their taxes somewhere else. This is precisely why I say Cordy is cherry-picking numbers and making a very foolish argument. By just looking at one tax people pay, you are ignoring the whole picture.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:26 PM   #30
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I believe there should be a progressive tax system and honestly am not even saying that those who do not pay income taxes should have to pay more. What I am saying is the way you argued for it is invalid.

The way someone debates a topic is important. Just because an idea is right does not mean you will convince anyone of its legitimacy if you are using an invalid argument to do so. I have heard a progressive tax system defended in much better ways then simply saying because they pay more as a percentage of their income for this other unrelated tax, even though they are receiving proportional benefits, they should have to pay less for this other tax. I find this especially funny coming from the left who claim to be for "fairness" when they do not follow this logic in their actual arguments.

Examples of a better argument I have heard, and I believe you have actually used this yourself, are how those who prosper make use of the government provided products and services around them. They more effectively utilize them and therefore find them of more value and should contribute more to develop and protect them. However, this argument has all sorts of other problems with it concerning specifics but atleast the logic is somewhat sound.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:28 PM   #31
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Do enlighten me about the name calling, Six. Seriously, start quoting it. Statements about something being factually incorrect, fallacious, or ignorant have little to do with name calling.
See! There you go again being argumentative. Why can't you just accept that others might be of a different opinion or even wrong about something without having to jump in and point it out? Statements about something being factually incorrect, fallacious, or ignorant have everything to do with name calling. Saying someone is flat out wrong about something fundamentally attacks their beliefs, understanding, and feelings about issues and that sort of discourse is hurtful and damaging to individuals. People don't need to be corrected on everything. It is harmful to their self esteem and is not constructive. Is it hurting someone that they mispronounce words or spell them wrong? Is it hurting someone that they think that a kitty is superior to a pony? Why bully them if they are wrong? Because you can? Shame on you Mr. Blaen for having the power to tell men they are wrong and actually using it. Embrace the diversity of thought and opinion and of beliefs other than your own. Be a kind and gentle Mr. Blaen. And if you have the power of facts over others, be kind and wield that power cautiously because your words might hurt them and hurting people is wrong.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:52 PM   #32
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I believe there should be a progressive tax system and honestly am not even saying that those who do not pay income taxes should have to pay more. What I am saying is the way you argued for it is invalid.
So, we are in a thread about the Nordic tax system. We are discussing about overall tax rates. Explain to me what part of this is invalid, beyond Cordy cherry-picking a particular tax that has (granted, woefully skewed, but it's that way for a reason) little to do with the overall topic of the thread, i.e. comparing overall tax rates.

Quote:
The way someone debates a topic is important. Just because an idea is right does not mean you will convince anyone of its legitimacy if you are using an invalid argument to do so. I have heard a progressive tax system defended in much better ways then simply saying because they pay more as a percentage of their income for this other unrelated tax, even though they are receiving proportional benefits, they should have to pay less for this other tax. I find this especially funny coming from the left who claim to be for "fairness" when they do not follow this logic in their actual arguments.

Examples of a better argument I have heard, and I believe you have actually used this yourself, are how those who prosper make use of the government provided products and services around them. They more effectively utilize them and therefore find them of more value and should contribute more to develop and protect them. However, this argument has all sorts of other problems with it concerning specifics but atleast the logic is somewhat sound.
Annnd congratulations, we took a left turn at Albuquerque. Nowhere did I make any arguments in favor or against a progressive tax system. I'm wondering what you are reading Ryan - it's definitely not my post. I pointed out we've had a very long history of progressive taxation systems, that's it. Then I asked what the intent was with what Cordy was arguing. Then I asked for details in implementation.

With as much as you are whining about invalid and valid arguments, I'd think you would at least try to argue what I'm arguing, and not put words in my mouth.

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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
See! There you go again being argumentative. Why can't you just accept that others might be of a different opinion or even wrong about something without having to jump in and point it out? Statements about something being factually incorrect, fallacious, or ignorant have everything to do with name calling. Saying someone is flat out wrong about something fundamentally attacks their beliefs, understanding, and feelings about issues and that sort of discourse is hurtful and damaging to individuals. People don't need to be corrected on everything.
Then, first, they shouldn't be arguing in a political forum. Secondly, they should do some basic research.

If someone can be corrected on something that takes nothing more than seconds with a single Google search and has an argument constructed on a both incorrect and flat out wrong premise, I'll correct them gently at first. See this very thread as reference. If they want to keep arguing, that's fine. They can prove me wrong (Notably, Scrappy and Joe have both done that with regularity) or I'll start making more and more fun of their argument (Their argument, mind you. Not them. I try to be very careful about personal attacks - anyone with the ability to cogently express political arguments is automatically in the top 99% of the political arena IMNSHO). I'm fine with either.

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It is harmful to their self esteem and is not constructive.
This is rich coming from a MT user. I'll be playing mouse in the corner watching you defend the next noob-bashing thread Six. One of the supposed hallmarks about posters here is a thick skin - if someone has a problem with me expressing the opinion that they have a silly argument? How the **** did they get past the noob hazing?

Quote:
Is it hurting someone that they mispronounce words or spell them wrong?
I'm having trouble believing that I grammar ****'d someone in any way but jest, unless the entire post is unreadable.

Quote:
Is it hurting someone that they think that a kitty is superior to a pony? Why bully them if they are wrong?
It is not - until they try to advocate that belief to other people. This is what you seem to be having a mental disconnect on. If you want to advocate a belief, that's fine and great - but you are expected to discuss and defend it on a place dedicated to discussion. Traditionally, I gently chide someone if I see substantial factual inaccuracy in something they post, and post a citation proving that. If they want to argue about it, I'm down - but....

I mean, are we reading the same thread? https://www.miataturbo.net/current-e...70/#post921943 - This is my first post in it. This follows my traditional posting style. If you don't want to argue, that's fine. Then don't argue.

Quote:
Because you can? Shame on you Mr. Blaen for having the power to tell men they are wrong and actually using it. Embrace the diversity of thought and opinion and of beliefs other than your own. Be a kind and gentle Mr. Blaen. And if you have the power of facts over others, be kind and wield that power cautiously because your words might hurt them and hurting people is wrong.
Are you trolling me now, Six? This is a politics forum on a site that is supposed to be renowned for it's thick skin. Saying that I think someone's idea is silly and then explaining why I think it is silly is completely different then what you are alleging. In fact, it's absolutely tame compared to what you can see in day to day operation here.

If someone wants me to embrace their beliefs? Absolutely. Just show me factual evidence proving them. Scrappy, Joe, and several other posters have already caused me to do 180s on previous beliefs I have held.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:02 PM   #33
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After rereading your posts I find that you are correct. I misread your argument as an argument for progressive taxes when infact you were just arguing about the percentage of taxes an individual pays in total vs. income after a misleading figure was posted in reference to individuals paying no taxes as opposed to not paying a single tax. I concede that my earlier posts were incorrect.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:28 PM   #34
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So let's try to - constructively - bring this back to the original topic.

In post #6, I guesstimated that I might pay 50%, all-in, for the type of benefits of what I am imagining is a Nordic society. These are things like education (up to a public university degree), basic infrastructure, retirement benefits (including private savings plus Social Security and Medicare), etc.

We can argue over the relative merit of my education versus a Swedish or Norse college degree and the quality of roads in Orlando vs the quality of roads in Oslo, but is my thinking way off here?


Coming full circle to the stress part, I find the fact that the Norse systems' use of a defined benefit program (aka pension) very attractive versus a defined contribution program (aka 401k). That would certainly alleviate a lot of financial stress for most people. While we do have a type of pension in the Social Security program, because of the income caps and benefit maximums, it could never account for 65 - 70% of what I would expect my lifetime earnings average to be by retirement.

The max payout for 2012 is about $30,156. If you are married filing jointly with a "Combined Income" (separate from Adjusted Gross Income, Modified Adjusted Gross Income or Taxable Income) over $44k, up to 85% of that $30k is taxable.

Any Scandinavians still checking in and not run off yet, do you know if there is a cap for the state-run pensions? That is, if Persön A making $50k expected a 65 - 70% payout in retirement, would Persön B making $200k also expect a 65 - 70% payout? If so, I'm assuming it's because they have both been paying in about the same percentage of their incomes?
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:38 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
So let's try to - constructively - bring this back to the original topic.

In post #6, I guesstimated that I might pay 50%, all-in, for the type of benefits of what I am imagining is a Nordic society. These are things like education (up to a public university degree), basic infrastructure, retirement benefits (including private savings plus Social Security and Medicare), etc.
This is (roughly, don't hurt me because Sweden is an outlier please!) correct based on numbers published by the relative Nordic governments.

The rest makes my head hurt and I wave a white flag at.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:04 PM   #36
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Multi-tasking so apologies if I am less clear and concise than normal.

Assume I pay in - between my personal savings towards retirement and healthcare plus all applicable taxes like Federal income, state income, local sales, real estate, and payroll for Social Security and Medicare - about 50% of my income. Assume I hope to replace at least 65 - 70% of my final year's salary with income from my retirement savings + Social Security and be able to afford quality healthcare between savings and Medicare.

Assume I was retiring tomorrow and made $200k per year and had for many years. Social Security, the USA equivalent to a state-funded pension, would be maxed out for me at about $30k per year or only about 15% of that $200k. In order to make up the rest, I would be relying on investment returns through things like a 401k plan. Ask anyone who has approached retirement in the past decade without a pension and they will tell you retirement investments have probably been a big source of stress.


This goes back to the idea that the author in the first post talks about. If I had the choice of:

(A) losing half of my income to taxes and having all of those services provided for me, virtually guaranteed

OR

(B) losing half of my income to a combination of taxes and personal savings and having a high degree of uncertainty in the outcome of retirement and healthcare...


I am not sure which I would chose. [Edit: But, I would think I would have much less stress with option A.]
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:59 PM   #37
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Let's suppose you do prefer option A.

This leads to this question, which I believe is the crux of the issue:

Is it morally acceptable that you should be able to not only trade your own freedom for some measure of security, but also to trade your neighbor's freedom (while offering him that same measure of security), regardless of his preference?

Restated:

Insurance policies and retirement plans are methods by which an individual can trade his current freedom (spending power) for future security (healthcare, paid retirement). If, absent outside control, your neighbor prefers his current freedom to future security, by what rights ought we to decide for him that he must trade his current freedom in exchange for some measure of future security, simply because many (or possibly most) of his neighbors would prefer it?
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:50 AM   #38
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Sarcasm in my first post is lost in the internet. Illustrating absurdity by being absurd in my second post which was designed to be over the top was also misconstrued. Alas, I am dismayed.

I shall cover my body in honey, bind myself in duct tape, and roll around in fire ant piles in the front yard for my own amusement now.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:28 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post

Any Scandinavians still checking in and not run off yet, do you know if there is a cap for the state-run pensions? That is, if Persön A making $50k expected a 65 - 70% payout in retirement, would Persön B making $200k also expect a 65 - 70% payout? If so, I'm assuming it's because they have both been paying in about the same percentage of their incomes?
As we`we had some changes regarding how the pensions are earned I`m not 100% sure as to what will be my pension, but just punching my numbers into a online calc and I should be receiving the same when I retire as I earn now. And I don`t have to add much my of my own monthly saving to increase that considerably.
Pensions are also made up by two parts, one which is gov funded and has a cap somewhere and the other half is a forced monthly contribution your employer makes on your behalf. This will differ from one company to the other and I consider this as part of my salary, although I won`t see physically it until I`m well past 60...
Point is, I expect to have the same economy when I retire as I do before retirement. I also plan to retire 50% at 62 and 100% at 65-67, 67 being the normal retirement age in Norway.
Short answer, YES, the guy making 200K, will get a 200K pension, but he will have paid for the difference from the gov max pension to his level himself.
Full payout is however not forever, and I believe after 15 years it will drop down quite a bit so best not get too old...

Don`t let me ruin the discussion again, but;
Why is the freedom to **** up your life such a valued quality in the american society? Full personal freedom is not achieved until there are no laws restricting you, yet no one will accept anarchy.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:13 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Let's suppose you do prefer option A.

This leads to this question, which I believe is the crux of the issue:

Is it morally acceptable that you should be able to not only trade your own freedom for some measure of security, but also to trade your neighbor's freedom (while offering him that same measure of security), regardless of his preference?
I think that is the crux of the issue. I'll tie in lassi's post with that thought...

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Originally Posted by lassi View Post
Don`t let me ruin the discussion again, but;
Why is the freedom to **** up your life such a valued quality in the american society? Full personal freedom is not achieved until there are no laws restricting you, yet no one will accept anarchy.
[Emphasis mine]

I love the way he phrased that, which is why I appreciate the "outside perspective." Going back to Mark's question, I guess that it boils down to a societal question and yes, there may be a tyranny of the masses if the majority of the society decides they like the social contract of paying more in taxes today for a greater level of security tomorrow.


I suppose you could look at the viability of the option: choosing option (A) higher taxes now with a pension and greater guaranteed healthcare benefits or (B) lower taxes now with a 401k style plan and less guaranteed healthcare benefits.

I'm not sure how that would work in theory or in practice. Would a lot of the people that are most likely to need the security of option A actually choose option B in order to pocket more spending money today (rather than investing that extra disposble income from the lower taxes)? Think: the "ant and the grasshopper" fable.

As a society, would we be better off if people had more portable healthcare and a greater level of retirement security (e.g. the ability to continue to contribute to consumer spending, pay their mortgage, help their children and grandchildren with gifts/education, etc).


[Edit] And tieing this back in to the original premise of the thread, would we as a society be generally much happier if we had that higher level of future security? I have no way of knowing how to answer that.[/Edit]
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