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comment by rthomas6
rthomas6  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Attack of the Fanatical Centrists

Fascinating. If you watch closely while reading this article, you can see the Overton Window move before your very eyes.

Schultz seems firmly center-right to me, but the article paints him as center-left or straight center. Like, taking abortion out of the equation, how would Schultz be different than Jeb Bush? Or Mitt Romney? You know, actual normal Republican candidates?

I don't like that because I'm actually center-left! I should be one of the fanatical centrists being talked about, but I'm not! I hate communism and love the free market (corrected for externalities (like climate change)). I am skeptical of single-payer healthcare. Yet the way this is written excludes my part of the political spectrum entirely.

How can I be skeptical of single-payer healthcare when every other first-world country has it except us? Mostly because that's not true, and I suspect Germany's system may work better for us.

As for business taxes, they're way too high. They should be 0%. Then we could offset that with carbon taxes and higher taxes on the ultra wealthy.

As for the debt, I do think it's a problem. Not number one, but a problem. You know how you solve it? By raising taxes during the boom cycles. Don't forget to lower them during the busts.




kleinbl00  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I don't like that because I'm actually center-left!

You are not.

    I hate communism

Ain't nobody reasonable talking about communism. Socialism? We're talking about aspects of socialism. We're still at the place where Ocasio-Cortez can say "we should talk about Modern Monetary Theory" and everyone loses their fucking minds, though.

    love the free market

That makes you a neoliberal.

    I am skeptical of single-payer healthcare... I suspect Germany's system may work better for us.

Mark Bertoloni, CEO of Aetna at the time, came out in favor of single-payer specifically the way Germany does it. Single-payer doesn't mean "socialized medicine" it means the federal government pays for plans that are administered by private insurance.

    As for business taxes, they're way too high. They should be 0%.

That is not a center-left position. That is Grover Norquist reactionary.

    You know how you solve it? By raising taxes during the boom cycles.

Recessions are generally called six months to a year in retrospect so your taxation structure would likely add a "pile on" effect more than anything. And really, you're doing what the Fed does already - lower interest rates when the economy is weak and raise interest rates when the economy is strong.

Schultz is an archetypal Republican. He's thinking of running as an "independent" because the Republican Party belongs to moon-howling Nazis at the moment. This is due to the fact that anyone who doesn't sieg heil and howl at the moon faces a primary challenge from the greater moon-howling wing. This is also why Schultz isn't even pretending anything like lower office; were he to run as a Republican he'd get drubbed by Dino Rossi or Doug Ericksen and were he to run for anything as a Democrat he'd get annihilated by pretty much everyone from Jay Inslee to certain well-spoken potted plants.

rthomas6  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If loving a regulated free market is neoliberal, then I'm a neoliberal. For non-essential goods, I think it's a great way to allocate resources. It's not even incompatible with social democracy, and in fact it's what we see in those countries. The problem is lassez-faire style markets. I did not mean to imply that's what I want. Use capitalism when it works, correct for it when it doesn't, and prevent it from doing harm (these are externalities).

And I didn't elaborate very well in that I really do love the free market but also believe in a social floor. Basic needs should be provided for every person.

And you're right, my belief that a 0% corporate tax is best is unusual, but please don't lump me in with reactionaries. I don't want lower taxes. Corporate taxes don't do what people think they do. It doesn't tax the wealthy, and it doesn't tax wealth. Instead, it taxes consumers indirectly and helps kill low margin businesses. It's much more efficient to tax rich people directly, instead of taxing corporations and thinking you're taxing rich people. Tax people when they take money out of a business. Most economists agree with my position to a large extent, including ones on the left. At the least they say the corporate tax should be quite low.

And I'm not really opposed to Medicare for all. It would be a lot better than what we have now. I just meant it's not the only way to improve things, and maybe not the very best. I would vote for someone that supported it though.

kleinbl00  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What, exactly, is a "regulated free market?" That's kind of like a dry ocean or the color dark-white. A regulated market can have all sorts of trade in various shades of "free" but the spectrum is not

"regulated" - - - - - "free"

it's

"command economy" - - - - - - - "free trade economy"

with the amount of regulation being a spectrum made up of those hyphens. "Free market corrected for externalities like climate change" means what, exactly? Because you seem to be a fan of a government built of mechanisms yet you eschew the mechanisms. "Harm" is pretty demonstrably "everything the free market does not see as its responsibility" and Saint Friedman himself said that "the market" had a moral imperative to do every shady shifty thing it could right up to breaking the law because if societies really care about something, they'll regulate its protection.

0% corporate tax is reactionary. You're implying that the social cost of a corporation to the society that harbors it is zero when the whole purpose of a corporation is to diffuse the responsibility of the individual. When I built the birth center we had an inspector come out to hassle us twice a week for the better part of a year. Who's supposed to pay that guy - you? Why would you do that? What about for the traffic I'm adding to the intersection? What about for the increase in EMS based on the profile of my business? These are all things that should come out of my pocket because the business I'm practicing is profiting based on the imposition I'm putting on society. And I'm just delivering babies. It's not like I'm Union Carbide. Economics says that if your business is low margin you should charge more. I'm not here to subsidize your vaguely-profitable dream restaurant I'm here to eat a bagel. If you can't sell me a bagel for a price that (A) I want to pay (B) you want to earn, don't sell bagels. That's Econ 101, which "most economists" also agree with.

rthomas6  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You make some very good points.

What I meant by correcting for externalities is imposing fines for things that have a social cost or burden.

And, related to that, what I meant was 0% corporate income tax, and my thinking was one could charge directly for costs incurred by society because of a corporation.

But the obvious question is how? Charging for some costs is straightforward, and some not. Part of the answer would be a high unimproved land value tax.

I want the dream restaurants to be taxed less than the union carbides, you know? But I feel like the way I want to do it adds complexity. Maybe it would be too complicated to do things this way? On the other hand, it sort of seems like how a lot of local govenments operate right now.

kleinbl00  ·  11 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think a lot of our disagreement is that you have a theoretical framework that hasn't been much tested by reality, while I have a realistic framework that has trashed the shit out of theory.

Corporate taxes are low, d00d. We're honest, upstanding, upright citizens who pay what we're supposed to and our corporate tax rate is about 1/4 what our individual rate would be at the same value. I've had three corporations; two of them were tax dodges to take advantage of the friendliness of the US tax code to corporations. They've saved me up to 100% of my taxes in the past. And a corporate income tax is a terrible idea because all corporations do is hide income. Which makes sense - right now the tax code rewards anything you can do that might vaguely build your business so you pile it into that instead. This is one reason it's much, much easier for a corporation to write off box seats at the arena than for you to do it.

As to unimproved land value, what you're doing is assigning future developability or present conservation a value of zero. Which, considering it's the public good that everyone benefits from, doesn't work. Australia did this: you could have all the land you wanted for nearly free so long as you put sheep on it and grazed it. No sheep? Pay taxes. Consequence? Australia is the tip of the spear of the environmental apocalypse. If Lebanon hadn't been overgrazed two thousand years ago it'd probably still have some cedars.

Tax codes are complex. If you have complicated taxes, hire an accountant. "complex" doesn't mean "unfair" it means plenty of people have hashed out these issues and some have won, some have lost but trust me on this: whenever you see someone calling for a "simple" tax code, know that he's reaching for your wallet. Whenever you see a "progressive" tax code, you're looking at a poor man reaching for a rich man's wallet.

francopoli  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    As for business taxes, they're way too high. They should be 0%.

Nonsense. Corporations need the government to be functional and well funded. Corps should pay the bulk of taxes to the state. Corps need courts, laws, police, fire, infrastructure, military, international agreements etc and all that vital service needs to be paid for.

I'd love to see a tax system that taxes idle wealth to the bone, does not tax working people at the median and below and have a major estate tax penalty on wealth over $40 million. End all the carried interest deductions, tax the holy hell out of short term stock gains to kill off the day traders, and stop writing tax policy that favors investors and start writing tax law that favors builders, workers, creators and other people who actually do the work in this country.

Right now, taxes in the USA are at historical lows. This is why we have a 23 trillion debt load and are still only paying out 1.2-2.5% interest.

rthomas6  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's all fine, but if you want a tax policy that favors workers and creators, you might want to rethink taxing the holy hell out of businesses. Because corporations will simply pass the cost to the consumer of their products as much as possible. Workers and creators are going to have to care a lot more about making money if the cost of every consumer good increases. It's much more direct to just tax the wealthy. Like you said, investment taxes. Preferably progressive investment taxes. Tax the people that own the businesses. You mention taxing idle wealth. To me, corporations are close to a definition of wealth that is not idle. Especially smaller and locally owned ones.

Taxes are for things we want less of. They are a disincentive. I do not believe we want less businesses. We want things like less carbon emissions, and less wealth inequality.

kleinbl00  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Because corporations will simply pass the cost to the consumer of their products as much as possible.

That's what reducing externalities looks like. The consumer is supposed to pay the cost of the products they buy unless it's a common good that benefits more than the consumer.

I get my hair cut at Roosters. It's a concept created by SuperCuts that gives me beer. I pay like $40 for a half-hour haircut. While at Roosters I get my hair cut by a nice Thai lady who cut hair at Supercuts for fifteen years. Roosters? She does two haircuts an hour. Supercuts? She did six. And yeah - I could get my hair cut at Supercuts for $15. But I like the way a half-hour haircut looks better.

So I pay for it.

    Workers and creators are going to have to care a lot more about making money if the cost of every consumer good increases.

That's the very definition of a "free market." Supply goes down, demand goes up. Cost goes up, price goes up. "Tax the wealthy?" That's not economics. That's policy. You're not setting supply and demand now you're setting social structure. The argument is not "the rich don't deserve to be as rich as they are" it's "the rich didn't get rich without the help of everyone else and we should recognize that help by spreading their gains around to those that helped." The economic theories behind individual taxation are a lot more theoretical than demand curves.

    To me, corporations are close to a definition of wealth that is not idle.

Curious as to your thoughts about share buybacks, then.

    Taxes are for things we want less of. They are a disincentive.

Sorry, dude, that's nonsense. Taxes are the cost of operation. Even "sin tax" is couched in the form of "something to pay for the societal harm caused by this vice" such as cigarettes, gasoline, liquor, gambling, whatever.

    I do not believe we want less businesses.

I've participated in a number of small businesses and have many friends with small businesses. The only time I've ever seen anybody squeak about taxes is my buddy who used his own insurance as a pass-through to run a couple half-million dollar jobs instead of using his S-corp. City of Los Angeles taxes on income not revenue so he, personally, had to eat a $15k tax bill.

Had he done it legit through his s-corp he would have been taxed zero.

rthomas6  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    That's what reducing externalities looks like.

You're implying all businesses have the same externalities. Because right now they all pay the same tax rate regardless of what they do. Really reducing externalities would look more like beef being $15/pound and air travel costing double what it does now, but solar power being cheaper than coal and locally produced goods being more competitive because of lower transportation costs.

You say taxes are the cost of operation. Okay, let's tax according the costs of operation. Not a flat rate regardless of what the true cost of operation is.

kleinbl00  ·  11 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    You're implying all businesses have the same externalities.

I'm not.

    Because right now they all pay the same tax rate regardless of what they do.

We do not. Some things are taxed higher than others. Some things aren't taxed. Some things are subsidized. Get yourself a resale certificate and never pay sales tax on anything business-related ever again - it's fabulous.

    Really reducing externalities would look more like beef being $15/pound

That's policy, though. We subsidize the corn that the cattle eats, we subsidize the cattle.

    air travel costing double what it does now

Still policy. Carbon taxes are going to be a bunch of people arguing about what the damage to the environment one air-mile is worth, and what the multiplier of a 737 vs a 787 should be. Try that, by the way, and the airlines are going to sue you if you don't also go after trains, overland freight and shipping (let alone gas taxes).

    solar power being cheaper than coal

Part of the reason solar power is approachable now is the Chinese have subsidized the crap out of their panel factories where we had the catastrophe-that-was-Solyndra. Now you're talking trade: you're going to penalize mined-in-West-Virginia coal but you're going to favor Chinese solar panels?

    and locally produced goods being more competitive because of lower transportation costs.

Ever bought a $30 chicken? I have. It was grown by a farmer 150 miles away, and it was his break-even price on what producing a chicken in a humane way that feeds his family. It was also frozen. Compare and contrast: I can get that size chicken rotisserie-hot at the supermarket for $4. That's the problem: the $26 delta between the family chicken and the factory chicken is a lot more than transportation costs. And if you try to fix these things with one-size-fits-all tax policy you're gonna break things, piss people off and set up a whole different group of people to succeed.