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Poll: What do you think about income taxes?

Great! I love giving money to the gubiment 12 (17%)
Only rich people should pay taxes. 7 (10%)
Evil, wrong, immoral, isn't their a better way? 5 (7%)
I don't earn enough to pay taxes you insensitive clod! 17 (25%)
We need them, but maybe not so high 28 (41%)
   Discussion: What do you think about income taxes?
Annika · 18 years ago
Oh my god! I'm drunk AND the first post??!! Holy shit! What a good night!
Annika Back · 18 years ago
oh, and I'm willing to give the government my money, what do I spend it on anyhow? Food? Rent? Electricity? They can have as much of my money as they want, they just need to buy me a tent, and a space at the local camp ground and I'm cool. As long as it's not the American government, as my post under Death and Taxes states, I don't want my money used for glorified mass murder. I want to move to Canada, damn parents moving!
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Glorified mass murder?
Annika Back · 18 years ago
yes, if my money's going toward a war in Iraq.
· 18 years ago
don't we have anything better to talk about?
what's this world coming to?
~J~
Erica: movin' to Ohio!! Back · 18 years ago
well, i suggested a stupid poll. but josh doesn't love me enough to use it.
-erica
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years ago
you might not see a poll used for a long time.. i try to pace them with serious and silly ones. patience, grasshopper! :)
no one · 18 years ago
Income tax would be a great idea, even if it was calculated at a flat rate. Somehow, the notion of someone paying 10% on an income of 2000 per month seems as unrealistic as someone paying 10% on 10 mill a year. The former always pays more than that and the latter less. Great system. Shall we mention redundancy payouts?
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
How can 10% of a lower number be considered paying more than 10% of a higher number? That makes no sense.
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years ago
It's not what you're paying, it's what's left. Take 2 guys paying a 10% flat tax - The guy making $50K has maybe $25K of disposable income at the end of the year after rent, food, etc. and the guy making $1M has $700K. The idea of a progressive tax is to make what people KEEP more equitable, not what they pay. The less you make, the worse it is, since things like rent and food costs (which are relatively fixed among low to moderate income people), become an increasingly large share of their income. A person making $18K (poverty level for a family of 4) has virtually no disposable income after expenses, even if they pay no tax.

The libertarians then rant and turn purple about it being "their money," ignoring the fact that Mr. Mil got "his" money on the backs of all the Mr. 50Ks.
no one Back · 18 years ago
Quite so. Progressive tax scales are meant to protect the low income earner. The point I was trying to make, however, is that at least here in Australia the lower income earners pay more tax than the high income earners. The latter keep skimming money off their companies, cleverly manipulate tax loopholes and definitions, poke their tongue out at the tax office and get away with it.

Company income tax is even worse. The biggest company in Australia publishes newspapers. It paid next to no taxes a couple of years ago, because most of its profits were made in a tax haven where it doesn't even publish a newspaper. The tax office took the company to court - and lost.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
So, if Mr. Mil payed Mr. 50Ks salary, and made his millions working 90 hr work weeks to see the business grew, you're saying he got "his money on the backs of all the Mr. 50Ks"?

Since noone is equal in ability, is it wrong or unfair that those with more ability reap more rewards than those without such abilities?
How is that fair?
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years ago
I didn't say that no one should benefit from his skills or talents. The question is wether or not there is a social contract that ties us all together. Does anyone make money, talent or no, in the absence of the rest of society? Does the single mom working 90 hour weeks to make ends meet deserve less of a life than the millionaire who's office she cleans?
The point is that there shouldn't be any millionaires until everyone has a roof, a bed, food, and medical care, and that money should come from those benefiting most from the social contract, i.e. the wealthy. If it weren't for the social institutions that protect them, the proletartiat would storm their mansions, kill them, and redistribute their wealth.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
My answer is above. Any debt owed by a business owner to the employees who help his business succeed is paid by the salary he pays them in exchange for their work. It's a straight trade of value. A 40 hr work week is worth X number of dollars per year.

There are lots and lots of people who can scrub toilets. There are not alot of people that can make truly successful businesses (and I'm not referring to corporations that feed at the public trough of government subsidies, that's not free market). Why shouldn't they be paid according to their abilities?

A roof, food, medical care. These things are man-made. WHo is to provide them for everyone?
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years ago
An easy response from the perspective of white priviledge. You should crawl out of your bunker more.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
What the hell does my skin color have to do with anything? That's the problem with liberals/leftists, they want to see everyone in terms of their group status. I got where I am through hard work and supportive parents, not because of my skin color.

Really, what a bigoted thing to say.
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years ago
Just out of curiosity, then, why did you decide to specify in your profile that you're a white man, if your skin color has nothing to do with anything?

;)
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years ago
Mr. Mil is accepting the great financial risk to take a chance on expanding his venture to pay Mr. 50k's wages. If it Mr. Mil didn't have the incentive to take the risk, there's no way that he would, and Mr. 50k would turn into Mr. Zero.
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years ago
If Mr. Mil could get a way with paying all his employees nothing, he would. And when the Mr. $1.99's organize, they make Mr. Mil pay more.



I'm not saying that there should not be risk and rewards - what I'm saying is that a society whose only priorities are risk and rewards is screwed up, and that it is just possible to decrease the rewards at the top end, and wind up decreasing the risk too.

And where did he get the initial capital? Is inheriting money a skill? Power begets power. Look at our chimp of a president...
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
"And where did he get the initial capital? Is inheriting money a skill? Power begets power. Look at our chimp of a president..."

He gets it from venture capitalists and other investment people. The vast majority of American millionaires are first generation, self-made men and women.
no one Back · 18 years ago
Are you referring to Enron?
Josh Woodward · 18 years ago
This is a pet peeve of mine. Why is our money doubly taxed? You get hit when you earn it, and when you spend it. Why not just eliminate one of those? Getting rid of income tax would probably mean you'd need to have some sort of sliding scale of sales tax depending on your earnings, which would be a pain in the ass to implement, so I vote that we can the sales tax. You only get hit once by tax, your local tax district benefits, and any odd int'l cases could be cleared with an increased tariff.

Plus, that way I don't have to order food "to go" even when I'm eating in. :)
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Well, you get hit when you earn it, when you spend it, let's not forget when you SAVE it (i.e. dividend taxes, capital gains, etc) and also when you buy things (companies don't pay taxes, they pass the cost on to us).
nate... Back · 18 years ago
I disagree completely.
Property tax, sure..... sales tax, sure...

You're paying for something you're buying and/or using.
That makes sense.
But the whole "give us money because you worked hard" has NEVER made sense to me.

Tax things on a usage basis. Why should someone who is not driving, for instance, pay for upkeep of roads? It makes no sense at all.
Why should someone who doesn't have children pay for the schools to be run? Again, no sense.

If you want to use these things, then pay for them, if you don't, then why should you be penalized?
Sarah Back · 18 years ago
I lived in NH and they didn't have state income tax or sales tax. But property taxes were insane. I lived in a town that had the highest taxes in the state and we had a crap school that had no funding. Any funding the came to the school went to sports because the town didn't have their priorities straight. We didn't even have enough $ to finish the school renevation and they had classes with no windows. One of which they gave to a pregnant teacher. Completely unexcusable.
I also had a job during the summers in college where half the business was in NH and the other half was in ME. I got stuck paying Maine income taxes because the office was in Maine. I also don't like paying income taxes for a state I don't even live in, which I had to do for a summer.
Sarah
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years ago
OK...I see your point...but if the only people paying taxes to support certain services are the people who use them, what's the point of public funding for anything?

Practically speaking, there are very few people, for example, who do not use roads, even if they don't drive themselves. And, at least in my opinion, everyone should have a right to some education...and that requires public funding...if you're not using the schools right now, sucks to be you. Besides, there must be some way in which you're benefiting from living in a country where most people have been through high school.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Specifically dealing with roads...

Two words: Gas tax.

That's how they are funded now. If you don't drive, you probably don't buy gas, therefore you don't fund the highways. If you use the roads it's most likely in something that uses gas.
Agent Scully Back · 18 years ago
don't you pay a toll on your highways to fund the repairing of the roads?

also there are state roads, county roads and town roads/city roads which are funded by other taxes that aren't gas.
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years ago
I agree with you, but only for the items you mentioned. I've always felt that roads should be fully funded by a gas tax. It's easy to ensure that the roads are funded by usage, and that cleaner cars pay less that gas guzzling taxes.

Ditto for schools for the most part, with the exception that poorer families should be partially funded to make sure that everyone can have a chance at a basic education. Someone who chooses to have no kids shouldn't have to foot the bills for those who do have kids.

You say that "give us your money because you worked hard" doesn't make sense, but whether they take it coming or going doesn't make an ounce of difference. They still get it. I'm just saying that we should keep it centralized at one point -- and income tax is the simplest point to collect.
Starfox · 18 years ago
(Get ready for some cognitive dissonance)

The income tax is fraudulent anyways. The way the law itself is written, the income tax does not apply to most American's income. But it's been misrepresented and instilled as "common knowledge" long enough that everyone doesn't doubt it.

Do you know the LAW that makes you liable for the tax, or is it just what someone has TOLD you?

Sadly, the fact of the situation is that the companies are the problem since they are the one's doing the withholding and most of them owe their existence to the government (i.e. corporations).
Agent Scully Back · 18 years ago
So what's your opinion on the case of "Cheek v. the U.S." since that's the point of your post.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Cheek believed/claimed the income tax was unconstitutional. It is not. It is completely and utterly valid and constitutional. It is, however, being misapplied.


I am referring to the LAW itself; the statutes and regulations of the income tax. They show that Congress NEVER taxed the income of U.S. Citizens working and deriving their income from inside one of the fifty states.
Doug Sheppard Back · 18 years ago
"Do you know the LAW that makes you liable for the tax, or is it just what someone has TOLD you?"

Why, that would be the Internal Revenue Code, which makes vague statements like "Section 1 of the Code imposes an income tax on the income of every individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States...."

Tax protesters, of course, are an amazing lot. They will look at a sentence like that and say that they don't know what "income" is, or what "imposes" means, or they'll say that "the United States" obviously only refers to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

When it comes to kookery, tax protest is the lamest of the lame. At least the young-earth creationists have interesting museums, and the conspiracy nuts have shiny hats.

"As the cited cases, as well as many others, have made abundantly clear, the following arguments alluded to by the Lonsdales are completely lacking in legal merit and patently frivolous: ... (7) no statutory authority exists for imposing an income tax on individuals...." Lonsdale v. United States, 919 F.2d 1440, 1448 (10th Cir. 1990).

http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.htm - it's what's for dinner.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Have you read section 1 of the Code?

Section 1 of the code (26 USC 1) imposes the tax on the TAXABLE INCOME of every individual. So the income tax is entirely dependent on what TAXABLE INCOME is.

26 USC 63 defines taxable income as "gross income minus deductions" 26 USC 61 defines gross income as income from
"whatever SOURCE derivied". 26 USC 861 defines sources from "within the United States". The regulations under that section do not show the income of most Americans to be taxable.

"Tax protesters, of course, are an amazing lot. They will look at a sentence like that and say that they don't know what "income" is, or what "imposes" means, or they'll say that "the United States" obviously only refers to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. "

Agreed, those are pretty stupid statements. I'm not a tax protester. As I said, the income tax is entirely valid and constitutional and I have no problems with it the way it is WRITTEN. It is, however, being misapplied.
Doug Sheppard Back · 18 years ago
http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html#section861

Been there, done that, your income is taxable.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Just out of curiosity, do you have any citations of LAW to back up your claim? Not just what someone else has said? Go read the regulations and statutes for yourself; why are you depending on a bunch of tax lawyers, who's existence is dependent on the system?

I bring up law, you bring up someone else's FAQ. They make two errors: 1) there is most certainly a section of the regulations which talk about exempt income: 26 CFR 1.861-8T(d)(2)(iii) and the only supporting evidence of their views is a bunch of Tax Court cases whose rules are NOT binding on any court, the IRS, or anyone not involved in the particular case. The IRS itself says the only things binding on itself are statutes, regulations, and Supreme Court rulings.

http://ww.irs.gov/irm/page/0,,id%3D21504,00.html#ss3

Look at the LAW for yourself. Quit relying on what other people tell you. Unless you yourself can read and quote a section which refutes what I'm saying, don't bother.
Doug Sheppard Back · 18 years ago
You win: the earth IS TOO flat.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Actually your analogy applies to YOUR position, not mine. It was conventional wisdom at that time the earth was flat, and it got disproved. It's conventional wisdom that everyone owes income tax in this country, and it is being proven wrong.

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. " - Arthur Schopenhauer
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years ago
All tax dodgers go through 3 stages - anger, denial, & a short jail term, after which they still owe their taxes.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
I agree. Tax dodgers do get jail terms. If you indeed owe income taxes (i.e. had income from federal possessions or foreign sources), then you should pay.
Annika Back · 18 years ago
I used to like these polls, now I feel like I'm taking one of those classes I don't want to take, but my mother wants me to take, and since she's paying for it than I should just go and appreciate being able to learn about things that don't interest me in the least. Damn not getting a full grant this year!
nate... Back · 18 years ago
Oh, I don't mind that.
I'm just sick of the pissing contest.
:P
Agent Scully Back · 18 years ago
I'm sick of others feeding the trolls.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Then why do you keep reading?
nate... Back · 18 years ago
Because unlike you, not everyone is trolling for a fight.
Some people do have constructive discussions.
Annika Back · 18 years ago
UMMM! UMMM! HAPPY! HAPPY! EVERYONE BE HAPPY!! ACK!!!
Agent Scully Back · 18 years ago
Why do you keep trolling?
no one Back · 18 years ago
Posts are fun to read and it is easy to skip the aggressive and abusive bits.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Maybe you can make a Reading Posts for Dummies Guide for Chrissy erthumpin. :)
Misch Back · 18 years ago
That's out of line!
Agent Scully Back · 18 years ago
Maybe Andy should start posting about Fruvous around here instead of his anti-government ways. We all know that you were riding on the coat tails of others who liked the band.
Sarah · 18 years ago
I used to really luck out because as a student I would get almost all of my taxes back in the spring (still do actually until next year). Then I also lived in a state where there was no sales tax.
Sarah
Melinda J. Beasi · 18 years ago
I believe in paying taxes. I think it is worthwhile to contribute money to my community... to things that are for the public good, and I don't just mean my small community, but the larger, national community (and frankly the world community, but that's not really relevant here). I may not always agree with where the money is being spent, but I have my vote with which to say so, and I can live with that. I have no desire to live in a society where everyone holds their money to their chests screaming "mine mine mine mine mine!" I have no desire to live in a society where we all isolate ourselves from each other so that we can keep what is "ours"... so that nobody can touch our stuff. I want to have community. I want to be a part of that. I honestly don't see the point in living without it.

I have no interest in being an island.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
But why should anyone have their money siezed from them? isn't that stealing? Isn't stealing wrong?

I don't think people would hold money to their chests screaming "mine mine mine". There may be a few, but they would be vastly outnumbered. Consider even now, under a heavy tax burden, Americans are still some of the most charitable people in the world.

I want to do with my money and my property as I see fit, not as some beauracrat sees fit so he can buy votes to stay in office. I give to charity now. If the government wouldn't steal close to 50% of my income, I'd be able to give a helluva lot more to those charities that I value.
Arbie Back · 18 years ago
Ok. Why do we tax at all? To fund things which I will call the "common good". We may have some dissention on what makes up the "common good", particularly as there are at least 3 countries represented in the discussion up to now. It would be nice if we could decide what to do with all the money we earn but we can't because human nature is essentially selfish and shortsighted. So, for example, I doubt if most people would give one penny to enforcement of environmental protection laws outside of the area that directly affects them. I agree that the tax system with all its different levels and loopholes and such is unfair to some, no one has figured out a system that someone hasn't figured out a way around. We live in a society, that is to say a social commune which these days transcends political boundaries. Somebody said "I don't want to be an island", I contend that no one can. And there are things that we need as a society that do not lend themselves to the capitalist freemarket system that need to be provided and paid for. In short, the "common good". And the curse of that is is the vigilance that must be given to see that the whole thing doesn't get out of hand. It is an imperfect system. But it is an imperfect world. Eliminating taxes will make it better for a few, it will not make it better overall. And overall is much more important.
Misch Back · 18 years ago
Exactly. We fund things that fall in the "market failure" conditions, where no free market market could possibly be created. (Granted, we fund a lot more than this too.) These are such things as military, police, much of our infrastructure, etc.)

A good example of where we would be without it is a scene from the movie Robocop. It's thrust into the background of one of the scenes, but a woman is on the phone with the police trying to get help, and the police responder is negotiating with the woman how much she is going to pay to receive quality of service.)
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
Ah yes, Robocop...that was the closest thing to anarchocapitalism that has ever made it on the big screen. I do agree with both of you that there are some things that should be funded by government, chiefly a military (for protection from foreign aggression), a court system (for the protection of justice) and police/fire. Beyond that, I have not seen one thing that a truly free market society cannot do better than a government institution.
Melinda J. Beasi Back · 18 years ago
It's not stealing if I agree to it, and I do. So the point is moot. I am not interesting in having roads that fall apart and uneducated children. I consider those things (and many others) to be worth my money. Nobody is stealing from me. Much of what we have in this world is not earned by us. It is given to us by our parents or grandparents... some of it is luck. Many of the rich in our country have gotten there by stepping on and stealing from others. ACTUAL stealing. Hard work does not equal riches in this country (or anywhere). Those who do the hardest, dirtiest, most dangerous jobs are not the ones making the money. Shall I tell those people that their children do not deserve education because they are not rich enough? Without my taxes, that is what we would be telling them. I am not interested in living in that place, and I will continue to use the power of my vote (such as it is) to say so.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
What if someone does not agree to it? Should they still be forced to pay?
Melinda J. Beasi Back · 18 years ago
Dude. Read Becca's post.
Agent Scully Back · 18 years ago
And Andy thinks I need help reading threads?

Yeesh! Apparently he missed Becca's post or has selective reading.
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years ago
No one is having their money seized or stolen from them. Living and working in a country with an income tax constitutes an implicit agreement to pay the required taxes. If you don't like the system, excercise your voting/lobbying rights to change it, or go somewhere else.

(And, yes, I realize that most "somewhere else"s have similar systems, but that does not make any individual country's system less just. My point is just that everyone is, or at least has no reason to not be, aware that they will have to pay taxes before they start earning or spending money, and therefore has a choice. Nothing is being stolen.)
Melinda J. Beasi Back · 18 years ago
Extremely well stated. Thank you.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
You are putting the cart before the horse. My point is whether or not an income tax is moral/right. Does the act of seizing one person's property and giving it to another constitute stealing or not, regardless if it is a hoodlum on the street, and organized mob, or a government.

And see my other post about the fact the government is grossly misapplying the income tax. So there is no "implicit agreement".
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years ago
"The income tax is fraudulent anyways. The way the law itself is written, the income tax does not apply to most American's income. But it's been misrepresented and instilled as "common knowledge" long enough that everyone doesn't doubt it."

As you stated so well yourself, the current income tax practices are commonly known and taken to be law. Thus, there is an implicit agreement.

Also, to put the horse back in front of the cart for you, I do not see anything immoral about expecting members of a society to pay for services that benefit that society. I may not agree with everything that taxes are used for, but I fully support the principle behind them.
Starfox Back · 18 years ago
"Also, to put the horse back in front of the cart for you, I do not see anything immoral about expecting members of a society to pay for services that benefit that society. I may not agree with everything that taxes are used for, but I fully support the principle behind them."

Thank you for saying what others apparentally cannot. You do not see anything immoral about taxation. Now that we've gotten to the fundamental issue, we can agree to disagree.
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years ago
Well....I don't think I'm the first to say something to that effect in this discussion...but, you're welcome. :)
Mollie Back · 18 years ago
"You do not see anything immoral about taxation."

Oh, is that all we had to say to get you to leave us alone? Please note that only 5 people have voted that they think taxation is immoral. I didn't know that you were expecting us to spell it out any clearer than that for you.

no one · 18 years ago
Someone who has sent almost a third of the postings so far seems to spend half the time either like an agro ape in a banana tree, or just being abusive. Stop it Andy, thank you.
Kevin - King of WiFi · 18 years ago
where's the meh option? i dont really care
betsy =) · 18 years ago
you know, im glad i pay taxes. i mean it. here's why:

im proud of a country that tries to make sure everyone has an education, food in their mouths, and values the safety of its people. yes, there are abuses to the system, there are freeloaders, there are people who don't take advantage, there are people who take too much advantage, there are leaders who are too eager to fight.

but, the way i see it, it's good that kids get shovelled into a public school system. some of them are great, some of them bite, for sure. but most kids are able to come out of there able to read, able to do basic math and make some sort of living for themselves. everyone benefits from this. people who don't have children need to contribute as well because someone else paid for their education. and wouldn't everyone be shitty if, for example, you were in a car wreck because the person behind the wheel of the other car couldn't read "no turn on red?"

i also think it's great that there are programs like food stamps, free school lunches, medicare and medicaid out there. thank god, ive never been in a place where ive needed them. but who am i to say, "oh no, that kid cant eat today/tomorrow/this week because their mom and dad are hard up/bums/unable to provide?" i dont get to say that, matter of fact, if you believe in any kind of karma at all, the people who abuse the system get theirs and that's fine with me. i can tolerate the abuse of the programs because what kind of people would we be if too many people fell through the cracks. how many "luxuries" could you give up before the pressure got too great? i think the answer would probably be surprising.

i complain about taxes too. i complain every time i stick the pump in my gas tank. i complained when i was cashiering and had to ring up a woman buying $30 of pop/soda/carbonated beverage with food stamps. but as bad as the income tax system is, im glad we have it and for the most part, it works.

as for roads. ok, maybe you dont drive. maybe you walk everywhere. but do you buy products that were transported by trucks, who.... drive on roads? do you know someone who does drive? would forking over a little cash each paycheck to make sure the roads are in decent condition really be too much to make sure products and people were transported safely? i don't know.... my 2 cents.... but with taxes make that 2.025 cents.

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