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Posts posted by DigitalShadow

  1. I've long wondered what a "fair share" was and how it was "fair" that nearly half of Americans pay NO taxes, or even worse, have a NEGATIVE effective tax's funny how it's often these very same people who say that the rich don't pay enough. Disclaimer- i'm talking about personal income taxes here- not corp taxes.

    Also, in case you haven't seen it- "Eat the rich"

    Frankly I think tax loopholes are more of a problem than tax breaks for the poor. My former manager drives an Escalade and is by no means poor. He was bragging to me that his effective tax rate was only 4% because he basically uses his LLC (which has yet to make any money) as a tax shelter. I'm not sure of the exact the details, but I think he was writing off his time spend on projects as a business expense billed at his contracting rate leaving the LLC taking huge losses that transfer on to his personal taxes.

    I don't particularly care that people who barely can scrape out a living aren't being taxed much if at all, but it does irk me when I see people making far more than me, paying far less total taxes (not just percent of income). Perhaps that's just me though.

  2. DigitalShadow -

    Frankly, you're probably right that nudging up tax rates will have to be part of a comprehensive solution to address our budget woes. (Though I think the timing on such a move is horrible right now.) However, as I've pointed out, even doubling rates isn't going to solve the problem completely; and I understand the President is taking flak from his own party for the token cuts that he has committed to. People need to get through their heads that our budget problems were primarily caused by, and will primarily cured by, massive changes to federal outlays, not revenues. (Sort of like Dave Ramsey says that 90% of all family financial problems are caused by problems in spending, not income. Same principle, but on steroids.)

    Per the report I linked earlier; in 2009 the IRS received about $177 billion in income tax from just under 237,000 millionaires. [incidentally, I accidentally quoted incorrect figures for my post above--have now corrected; and you may want to take another look. It's staggering--the $727 billion I quoted earlier was annual combined income, not tax collections, for every millionaire in the country.] See page 21. Tax revenue from millionaires constitutes a hair under 20.4% of all personal income tax revenue for 2009. The statutory top marginal tax rate right now is 39.6% for anyone with over $250,000/year in income. If you count everyone in that top bracket, they paid just under $344 billion which accounts for 39.7% of all personal income tax revenue. Again, see page 21.

    Apparently through deductions, credits, and rolling gains/losses forwards or backwards, the average millionaire paid about 24% of his income to Uncle Sam in 2009. See page 23. Quadruple the taxes actually collected from every millionaire in the country--tax them at 100%, if you want--and you're still not even three-quarters of the way towards balancing our 2011 budget.

    Nor can we shunt the tax burden off onto the middle or lower classes--who are, generally speaking, already in debt up to their eyeballs to private lenders. A hefty chunk of them are living paycheck to paycheck as it is.

    We can not solve this mess through tax increases. To blame the US' budget crisis on those who oppose tax increases, is like me blowing five thousand dollars a week at casinos and then telling my son that our family's financial woes are all his fault because he won't go get a paper route.

    Thank you, that's the most reasonable post I've seen on the subject yet across many forums. Now, if only our elected officials could express themselves in a similar manner and keep an open mind across party lines.

  3. Funny how people like DS think that somehow raising taxes will somehow slow down the spending in DC. Who should we raise taxes on? Who doesn't pay their "fair" share? Nearly 50% on the country doesn't pay federal income tax....maybe we should start there? If I am "rich" business owner and my taxes were raised I would simply raise the cost of my goods or services and pass it on to the consumer and/or fire some folks and seek to do the same or more with less.

    The debt problem must be solved by taking that "surgical scalpel" Obama referred to in a debate and trim huge swaths of fat from the budget and if we are to increase revenue....Obama should be focused on job creation. More workers = more revenue...unless of course you fall in to that lucky 50%.

    Even with this deal, we're looking at annual deficits in excess of one trillion-dollars through the next decade. That's on top of the fourteen-trillion-odd national debt we currently face. (See the Heritage link I already provided.)

    Take a look at this IRS report--see the table on the top half of page 18. In 2009 the IRS took in just under $727 billion from people earning over $1 million per year. So, you could double taxes on millionaires immediately and (assuming they all kept working diligently even though they were now facing a 70% marginal tax rate--disregard the Laffer Curve, for the time being) you still wouldn't solve the annual deficit.

    And we all know a 100% tax increase on millionaires just won't happen; so there's no way we'll balance the budget without huge cuts. And in the face of this, we were offered--what--two hundred billion a year over ten years, IF neither the President nor the Congress changes its mind?

    You both appear to have completely looked over the fact that I'm not saying increasing taxes is the only solution, I'm simply saying that taking tax increases off the table completely makes no sense when trying to solve this problem. Yes, we need budget cuts and we also need to increase our revenue through taxes if we're going to have any hope, but if you want to go on thinking that it's the evil democrats ruining everything, go ahead.

    Funny, I didn't even mention who should get the tax increases. I'm not particularly rich, but I'm certainly willing to pay my part if sacrifice is needed from everyone to fix this. Now that you've mentioned it though, could you tell me how many people are there in the US making over a million per year and what their average total tax rate is? (genuinely curious here)

  4. Just to be clear, I don't think that the tea party is completely at fault here, I was just repeating what I've heard at some of the less conservative parts of the internet. Frankly, I really don't care who's at fault anymore, at this point it's like breaking up two bickering kids who just broke something. Sure, one of them probably started it and is slightly more to blame, but it really takes two to keep it up and they should both be punished.

  5. That said: as a tea party sympathizer, there's a good deal of schadenfreude in the fact that S&P explained their behavior by saying that Tuesday's deal didn't do enough to attack the deficit. Erm . . . that was what some of us had been warning about all along. While our opponents just told us that if only Congress kept writing blank checks to the Treasury Department, everything would turn out OK in the end . . .

    Can't the deficit either be attacked by cutting spending or raising taxes and it doesn't have to be either/or. Wasn't it the tea party that refused any compromise that included raising taxes?

    Wasn't this also cited in the statement regarding the downgrade:

    The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.

    I don't really like any of the political parties at the moment and I find it very funny that everywhere I look, conservative leaning sites are saying this is 100% democrats fault and liberal leaning sites are saying this is all the doing of the tea party.

    In my opinion, this is just another symptom of the poisoned political arena where all hope of an rational discourse has been replaced with mindless following of talking points and endless finger pointing all while nothing gets done. Then when the consequences come for this political deadlock each side simply blames the other and their loyal followers herald the virtues of what their side would have done if they weren't thwarted by the evil other side.

  6. Order and Chaos Online has been taking up a bit of my time lately. It's basically World of Warcraft on an iPhone or iPad if you're in to that kind of thing.

    Out of curiosity, what type of iPhone or iPad app would you find useful or most like to see done better?

    I recently finished making a large custom iPad app for a company so I'm curious what people would like to see on the app store since I need a new pet project to work on and wouldn't mind making some extra cash if it sells a few copies.

  7. Interesting thoughts all around. I apologize that I don't have the time to properly read through the entire thread and make specific responses, but I will give my perspective as an atheist particularly regarding Mute and Seminarysnoozer's discussion.

    I honestly strongly doubt that there is any type of consciousness after death. I don't know this with certainty and of course I would hope that I can continue existing in some form after passing away but I'm not counting on anything.

    So why do I continue on? Well, if this is indeed the only chance at any type of existence I get, you can be sure I'm going to make the best of it. Even if I don't exist forever, every action I take will ripple on into eternity as the people I interact with will be slightly different for having known me and the same for the people they interact with and so on.

    If I told you I would pay for the vacation of your life, 2 weeks on a warm private beach somewhere with all the best food, any activity you wanted to do, no worries but in the end I would erase all memory of you having done that and anyone around you would not retain any memory of you having done that as if it never happened, you would find some value in that experience?

    I think, more accurately, the vacation analogy could be stated as: If you were stuck on a warm private beach for 2 weeks even knowing you wouldn't remember anything at the end, wouldn't you live it up and enjoy yourself? Applying that analogy back to life, whether you would "value" the experience before or afterwards is a moot point if you don't think there is a before or after life, but while in the moment and having fun I'm sure you would consider it more valuable than moping around about how it wouldn't last forever and there is no point.

    If anything, I would think the inverse would apply and that religious people would have the mentality of "why should I do something useful right now when I have eternity to get things right." Perhaps in your heart you know that your existence is only fleeting and want to make the best of it?

  8. I would disagree with this, Digital. With iTunes, you can download tunes that can be put off to any media playing device out there. Most computers can and, for a very long time could, take DVD/CD legally purchased and put them in to digital format to place on devices. You can go to a DVD/CD store as easily as you can go to the corner store in most cases.

    Ripping DVDs is quasi legal, meaning studios don't like it but it doesn't affect them enough to prosecute, but there have actually been many lawsuits over the legality of DVD ripping software and DVDs are DRM'ed using CSS (Content Scramble System). In fact movie studios still won't allow content distributors, such as the company I work for, to burn DVDs on demand without expensive CSS licensing to "protect" the content even though CSS it can barely be considered a deterrent these days.

    As for iTunes, only in the last few years have they been allowed by the labels to deliver DRM free music. Up until that point, they used their proprietary FairPlay DRM which they would not license to anyone else and only worked on Apple portable devices. If you wanted to play a track you downloaded from iTunes, you could either put it on an Apple device or go through the ridiculous charade of burning it to a CD, ripping it back to your PC, then transferring it to your non Apple media player.

    I believe the reason that people are willing to become thieves where it comes to digital content is threefold:

    1) It's faceless. It's not like going to Walmart to steal a candybar. It would be as if Walmart kept a candy store in your own home, unsupervised.

    Agreed, though I believe the publicity of lawsuits against file sharers have taken away a bit of the feeling of anonymity. Steal a candy bar and you'll probably just have to put it back if you get caught... "steal" a track or two and you could be liable hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the absurdity of the laws surrounding copyright.

    2) It's simple. It would be as if Walmart kept a candy store in your own home, unsupervised.

    I disagree here. In order to illegally download something, you need to download and install a P2P program, find a torrent by sifting through misleading sites with fake links and seedy advertisements, and then hope there are still seeders. For most users this is no where near as simple as slipping something in your pocket while in line.

    3) We have the 'Morality of the majority'. That is, 'Everybody does it, so it's not wrong!'

    But why did the majority start down this path? That is definitely an argument toward why illegal downloading is perpetuated, but does not speak to the root cause of why it became commonplace.

    As one who works in computers, I hear a lot more about the pains of DRM, etc. I can guarantee you that the vast majority of non-tech savvy people out there have no idea what DRM stands for, let alone know what dastardly consequences could come.

    The average person might not know what DRM stands for or even what it is, but they do know that they bought a couple tracks from some site and they won't play on their portable music player for some reason and so they know not to do that again.

  9. That's true. Just like most shoplifters would be perfectly happy not having a chocolate bar/piece of candy/what have you.

    8.3 million tons of food is thrown away in the UK every year.

    About food waste - Love Food Hate Waste

    Much of that is out of date food, such as chips or candy bars or the like.

    Would people argue that, until shoplifting takes more than that 8.3 million tons of food, shoplifting of food products or the like doesn't really affect sales?

    Is it less wrong to steal something just because you wouldn't want it if you had to pay for it?

    Heck - I'd say people stealing things they don't need or want is ethically much shakier.

    But with the vast majority of people, if they want a piece of candy they simply pay the small fee and legally purchase it. I've never tried it, nor would I want to, but I suspect in the long lines of annoyed people at Walmart, it would be rather simple and difficult to detect if you just slipped a piece of candy into your pocket. So what's the difference that a large portion of the population is turning to illegal methods for their digital goods and not physical?

    I believe the difference is that for a long time, the digital product that people wanted wasn't even available legally. If there were a restriction that if you bought candy, you could only legally eat it while in the store in front of the clerk and it cost $5 for a simple candy bar, I believe a significant portion of the population would turn to illegal methods because the only legal option is so pointlessly ridiculous and that's equivalent to what we've been seeing with the digital landscape.

    As companies embrace digital delivery and give the customers what they have been wanting with fewer insane DRM restrictions, more and more people will obtain content legally and it will be a win-win situation. Don't get me wrong, I think illegal downloading is just as unethical as physical theft, and in fact my paycheck comes from people legally obtaining content, but I think the impact and of piracy is greatly overstated by inflated naively calculated statistics like this.

  10. This has already been discussed in various threads, but logically it's near impossible to get hard numbers for piracy because for example you can't count every 16 year old downloading photoshop as adobe "losing" the full retail value of their product. My suspicion is that the vast majority of people download things because they can, not because they are saving money on something they would have bought.

    If content providers want to "defeat" piracy, they have to offer a superior product and/or service. Not too long ago a user's only legal option was to pay the same price as a physical copy for a DRM riddled piece of content purchased for a single device that they could lose access to entirely if the providing company goes out of business. Contrast that with a high quality digital copy of nearly anything that can be downloaded and ready to go from a torrent in hours and can play on any device you own and it's really a no brainer why so many "average" people were turning to piracy.

    I do believe the market place and digital landscape is quickly changing though. Between hulu (paid by ads) and netflix (paid monthly service) I don't really even have the desire to go through the hassle of finding a torrent for something, checking comments to see if it is legit and waiting an hour for it to download. I am more than willing to suffer through ads and/or pay a small monthly fee to instantly stream 90% of the content I care about watching straight to my TV through my computer, XBox 360, Wii, or PS3 (yes I have all those attached to my TV).

    The overall trend of network traffic is that P2P transfer is quickly dropping and streaming services like Netflix are rapidly increasing and if I recall statistics I've seen on /. recently Netfix traffic has already far surpassed all bit torrent traffic put together. So while piracy will always exist, I don't think it is threatening to strangle the entertainment or software industry by any stretch of the imagination.

  11. Give me a break. This system can onyl be activated if the vehicle is reported stolen and if the police spot the vehicle. Then there are a series of test to make sure that it is the correct vehicle, then the shut down code is sent. They do not constantly monitor what you are doing. The Onstar system is only activated when you push that little blue button.

    BTW - They are coming out with a new system that you can purchase at Best Buy and have it installed on any vehicle.

    I'm not particularly worried that authorities will abuse those features, I'm more worried that those features aren't adequately secured and tech savvy trouble makers will take advantage of those features and publish exploits so that any script kiddie with google and access to a radio shack can take control of your vehicle.

    In my professional experience, companies who don't have to fend off already established lines of attack put very little time and engineering into security to the point where it's almost trivial for someone with experience in the field to bypass them.

  12. If you're only concerned about windows compatibility, I would say .NET is definitely the way to go. I personally like C# syntax over VB even for simplicity and ease of use. I also would avoid using Access if you have any desire to expand the project. SQL Server Express + Management Studio is free and easy to integrate with in .NET languages.

  13. How do you define intelligence? Is it knowledge? memory? The ability to think quickly? The ability to apply knowledge you have to your current environment?

    Knowledge and memory are more likened to wisdom, thinking quickly seems more related to reflexes. In my opinion, intelligence is simply about applying your knowledge.

    Do you believe IQ tests accurately measure a persons intelligence?

    To some extent yes, but you can practice a lot of the type of questions you would see on an IQ test and get rather good at them without being more intelligent as a whole.

    In a lot of my school exams (aged around 16 - so GCSE level) I got the impression that every test could have been passed with flying colours, as long as the student had a brilliant memory, even if they had 0% understanding of the subject.

    Standardized tests are next to worthless for gaging intelligence, but that's alright because that's not really their purpose. The tests are simply there to ensure that teachers are imprinting the children with textbook material because that's all they're expected to do. For some reason most school systems seem to equate rote memorization to learning.

    I have aspergers, which sometimes can give a third party an initial impression of being a bit dim. If you asked me to name all the animals I could think of beginning with the letter B, I'd be stuttering and probably lucky if I could think of two off the top of my head, even though I'm aware of dozens that fall into that category. Yet I could write routing tables into large corporate network routers and set up subnets with my eyes closed.

    I often wonder if I have Aspergers or some similar autism spectrum disorder.

    Can you tell I'm bored tonight? :P

    Definitely :P

  14. What do you consider "Mom and Pop"? The mom-and-pop diner next door don't hire people. They're a Mom-and-Pop - as in Mom and Pop runs the store and maybe one or two of the kids. If they were to expand, they will need investment capital to buy raw materials and make payroll. Once you got "payroll" involved, that requires lots of money. Why - because first you have to pay the people (cash outlay), then they produce the product - then the product is sold which would then bring money into the business which then goes to the investor. The cycle starts over for the next payroll period.

    The interesting thing is that payroll HAS to be made. So that, the small business owner will forgo his share of the profits just so he can make payroll... especially in this economy.

    I didn't necessarily mean a literal mom-and-pop diner, but a smallish non-franchise business that doesn't require nearly the capital to start a McDonalds which I am aware is one of the more expensive franchises to get started.

    Small businesses are not corporations - A corporation is not human. It acts like a human but it is not. A corporation, therefore, cannot create jobs. Now, the PEOPLE forming the corporation is human - they're the ones that can create jobs. These are the investors. If the corporation is funded by private funds, then you got pretty much one or a small handful of wealthy people pumping money into the business. If the corporation is a public offering, then one entity would own the most stocks and be the controlling interest and run the board of directors - the minority interest - while a slew of people with money own a very tiny percentage of the business through stock options. The board of directors are the guys who can create jobs - the controlling interest guy has a lot of pull on these decisions. I own Walmart stocks - I can't create a single Walmart job. The Walton family are the people who are creating the jobs.

    Actually I don't believe the Walton family technically create jobs either. I highly doubt they go to every single Walmart, assess the situation, decide what positions need to be filled and put out classified ads for them. The fact that the entity of Walmart exists is what allows jobs to be created (if you're going to be picky about the phrasing), regardless of the individual wealth of any of the board of directors or the Walton Family. That is all I was getting at.

    Now, about Gamestop and "corporate funds" - where did that corporate fund come from? The investors. People with money. Remember - the corporation is not human... you have to find the human behind it. I believe the guy with the controlling interest in GameStop is that wealthy guy who runs Barnes and Noble. Not sure about this though.

    Again, there is nothing here that necessitates a single person with a large amount of wealth, since nearly anyone can scrape together enough money for a share which is what helps fund the creation of more GameStops.

    By the way, McDonalds was just an example of a small business. There are tons of them like it... 90% of the economy tons. There's the software company producing apps for the iphone... there's the gas station on the corner... there's the salon, the car wash, the super suppers, the oriental store, the craft store, the pet breeder. Okay, here's a good exercise: Drive to the middle of a commercial center in your town... look around and identify all the small businesses. Then see what kind of people own these places. A lot of these people are not Paris Hilton wealthy - but just wealthy enough to have liquid investment money - like just over $250,000 worth. These are the majority of job creators in the United States today... well, a few years ago. I don't know if there are any jobs created today outside of the government.

    I am aware of the importance of small businesses, I'm not sure how that relates to what I've been discussing though.

  15. Well, IMHO, from an economic standpoint, what we want to "incentivize" isn't just people keeping more of their money, but then turning around and investing that money. That's why conservatives are so big on cutting the capital gains tax, in particular--the capital gains tax is the functional equivalent of an investment penalty. Raising the estate tax at this moment isn't particularly helpful either, because what it basically does is force the heirs to the estate to cash out a lot of pre-existing investments.

    As far as income rates: part of the problem is, our current tax code encourages the wealthy to put their wealth into a cat's cradle of strategies, funds, trusts, and shelters--and Zeus only knows exactly how fiddling with the income tax rate will change all that. I'd be a little more adventurous if the economy were more solid, but right now it just isn't.

    That makes sense, I dare say that I may even agree with that... Does that mean I'm a conservative now? :eek:

  16. Sorry, DS, I meant "snarky." I didn't think you had said "snaky," (I HATE snakes!), and I apologize for giving people the wrong impression.

    No problem, just making sure you knew what word I was using since "snaky" has a much different meaning :) I was also giving TL10 the benefit of the doubt since my main point of contention was the bounds of freedom of speech rather than the bus ad itself.

  17. I'm sorry I took so long to respond to this. I've been unwell, but am feeling a bit better tonight. You know, in an earlier post Digital Shadow called the ad “snaky.“ That surprised me coming from a fellow atheist, and that, combined with this discussion, made me really look at this ad to find what was so offensive, and I admit, I still don’t see it.

    The word I used was "snarky", not "snaky"

    From Merriam Webster

    snarky: sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner

    I get what they were going for in the ad and don't think it was meant to be offensive, but I think it came across poorly for many people and I can see why.

  18. How else you going to skew it? Who gave you the authority? If you're going to do it differently, that basically means taking from people via the threat of force, and giving it to someone who didn't do anything to earn it, right?

    Discussion point: since the dawn of time, there has been unequal distribution of wealth. There have been, and always will be, haves and have-nots (city of Enoch as an exeption, and all this ends with the millenium.) Given that fact, does it not make more sense to have a structure where you can choose to move up or down the wealth curve according to your own efforts and desires? To do what you want with the fruits of your labors, as opposed to having some sort of nebulous "them" out there who know better what to do with your riches than you do?

    Did you completely miss my statement agreeing that unequal distribution of wealth is inevitable and also necessary? There's no need to frame my argument as trying to take away money by force. I never mentioned force, I never even mentioned what was fair (which is a completely separate and far more subjective discussion), I am simply discussing what would hypothetically be best for the economy since there seems to be controversy on the economic effect of tax cuts to various classes.

    To recap, your point was that rich people inspire the poorer to work harder and be productive thus improving the economy. My point, which apparently I didn't convey well enough, was that that is true but only to an extent. Once the wealth gets too concentrated within a few people and you have a vast gap between the haves and the have nots, it appears less likely that you have a chance of breaking free from the have nots and therefore less motivation to be a productive economy improving citizen.

    I made no claims as to what extent it was good to have an uneven distribution of wealth or what measures we should take to "fix" that, I simply was saying that there is an upper limit to its benefits. Do you disagree with that?

  19. Frankly, it's hard to figure out the best way to get "enough" for a government to function, without establishing a baseline of where "enough" is. And we could debate that one forever. ;)

    As a matter of economic expediency (not fairness): it probably wouldn't hurt to tax the rich a bit more, as long as that taxation is not discouraging investment. If Paris Hilton individually has to make do with fewer packets of off-the-shelf hair bleach . . . the economy will survive. If Warren Buffett quits investing . . . that hurts more. Because (wise) investments don't just redistribute wealth; they create it where it didn't previously exist. (See below.)

    I think it's wrong in principle to penalize success; but as a practical matter we can probably get away with it up to a point (this is where the Laffer Curve comes in--theoretical rates get high enough, and the producers "go Galt" and everyone gets hurt).

    Thank you for the info, I will definitely check out that wiki page.

    I could be off base here, but I see the issue as one of creating new goods and services, versus exchanging goods and services that already exist.

    If you and I are on an island, and I have a piece of gold, and you have a coconut, and we trade--our "gross domestic product" hasn't changed. The island's GDP still consists of one piece of gold and one coconut. We have redistributed wealth (which isn't a bad thing), but we have not created any.

    But let's say I suddenly realize you now have that shiny piece of gold, and I want it back. How can I (legally) get it? Well, maybe I figure out a way to make a decent spear, which I'm sure you'll want badly enough that I can trade it to you for that piece of gold you now have. I make the spear, and you buy it from me. Now the island's GDP consists of a coconut, a spear, and the piece of gold. By producing a good or a service, I have created wealth from almost nothing.

    The principles are the same even on a macroeconomic scale. It isn't the CEO's wealth or position per se that ought to entitle him to preferential tax treatment; it's the fact that he can use that wealth (as an investor) and position (as a director of the company) to create (or instruct others to create) new goods and services out of nothing, which leads to overall economic growth. That's the kind of behavior we want to reward and (arguably) incentivize through the tax code.

    Thank you very much for this explanation, I have a much clearer idea of your point of view now. It does make a lot of sense and I hadn't really thought of that way.

    I guess my only issue with that is when it comes to people with very large amounts of wealth, even assuming they are vital to the economy, does it really incentivize them to get a tax cut? I mean, if you're taking home 30k a year and you get bumped up to 35k or 40k, it is a very significant incentive and you can now pay for rather vital things that improve your quality of life, but if you are already a multi-millionare, does your quality of life really improve to the point where you are significantly incentivized if you take home 1.7 million vs 1.5 million?

  20. Here's how it works:

    Bob is rich. He spends his money on stuff, meaning some company somewhere has hired people and bought stuff, and use the people to turn the stuff into what he bought. If he wasn't rich and buying stuff, that company wouldn't be employing anyone or buying anything to sell to him. Or, rich Bob invests his money. Businesses use the money he's invested to expand - hire more people. Other folks borrow Bob's money to do things like pay for college. The more govt takes from Bob (and the rest of us), the less money gets into the economy.

    But doesn't this happen the same whether people are rich or poor? Whether wealthy Bob just got paid a million dollars, or a million poor people got paid one dollar, it would still go towards goods and services as people spend it. In fact aren't poor people more likely to spend it as opposed to Bob who might let it sit in a bank until he decides what to spend it on?

    Economic advantage: People like to improve their situation in life. Making oodles of money is nice. If you exist in a country where it doesn't matter how hard you work or how smart you are, you'll never get rich, you're less likely to work hard. People ask "what economic advantage is there for you to have all the money". Something they are saying that they miss, is "I want the government to take your money by force and give it to someone else." It sounds different when you think about it like that, but that's basically what the idea entails. Someone gets rich, but the govt has a policy to take it away, just because they have it. That's not fair.

    I agree completely that without richer people and poorer people, there would be far less motivation to accomplish great things. I mean, if got the same amount of money no matter what I did, I would still be in my parents basement playing World of Warcraft rather than a successful software developer.

    To me, the real the question is, to what extent is this useful? Taken to the other extreme of only one person having 99% of the country's wealth, is there really much motivation to accomplish anything if you know that whatever you do will be ultimately futile because someone with far more resources would simply take it from you.

    Granted that's a ridiculous example, but not any more ridiculous than a world where everyone makes the same amount of money no matter how smart or talented they are. My point is that having the distribution of wealth skewed towards the very rich who simply get richer is not very motivating either.

  21. I can say this for #2...

    One of the job creators are the people that start up franchises like McDonald's.

    One of the requirements to get approval to open a McDonalds franchise is to have $100,000 liquidity. That is, you have to have $100,000 worth of stuff that can be turned into cash at any single moment. This is in addition to the money you have to come up with to "buy" a franchise. The franchise can cost you between $600K to 1.2 Million dollars.

    Therefore, I can almost guarantee that anybody thinking of opening a McDonalds franchise (requires at least 20 employees at start-up) will be those people who has made over $250,000 per year.

    That addresses more of what I was getting at, but wouldn't opening a Mom and Pop's diner also create (arguable better quality) jobs? Also, not all franchises are independently owned. If GameStop wishes to place another location, they can simply use corporate funds to do that rather than requiring a single millionaire.

  22. 2.). Several misconceptions on this:

    - Corporations do not create the vast majority of jobs. Small businesses (comprises over 90% of employers) currently employ 60% of the workforce in the USA. In 2004 (the last figure I have in my notes), small business are responsible for 98% of new jobs.

    I was including small businesses in with "corporations and companies", my point was simply that the majority of jobs out there are not created by wealthy individuals hiring directly with the own personal money.

    - The CEO is just another employee. He does not create jobs. His job is to make a profit.

    I am aware that a CEO is just another employee. The position was irrelevant, I was simply using the CEO as an example of an extremely wealthy person who may have the capacity to create jobs through a company, but whose personal wealth is irrelevant to how many jobs he may or may not create.