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Member since: Sun Jun 21, 2015, 04:04 AM
Number of posts: 60

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No one seems to have picked up that the wealth tax I proposed

No one seems to have picked up that the wealth tax I proposed

was not on net wealth over $1 billion. My set-up was that each country would determine at which point the wealth tax kicked in, say $N[sub]USA[/sub] for the United States. Furthermore, it wouldn't have mattered that much in the long run whether the wealth tax rate was set at 90% or 95% or 100%. Since everyone in the country would share equally in the proceeds of the tax, everyone would be driven over time towards a net wealth of $N[sub]USA[/sub] -- with whoever was wealthiest at the end of a given tax year also remaining the wealthiest after taxes were collected and the proceeds distributed equally.

Everyone, in fact, would end up having the same rank wealthwise as she did to begin with. It's just that the wealthier would have ended up with less than they started with and the poorer more than they started with. All it is is a simple, straightforward wealth redistribution scheme.

And it's a boneheaded idea. I knew that when I dreamed it up, tweaking the notion as I went along. Itís a good enough outcome, but there have to be better ways of getting there. If ever there was anything that would disincentivize working to improve one's lot in life, this would do it. No matter how much ability one has or how creative, educated, smart, or talented one is and no matter how much effort one puts in, everyone ends up relatively close wealthwise.

Some here may think that's fine. I don't. I believe competition makes us both better and stronger -- and that most of us need incentives to do our very best. Growing up, I always tried to be the best at most things I did -- and I often was, in school and out. If I had always been an also-ran, I might not feel the way I do.

Not many of you posting at DU are going to remember the 1940s and 1950s. I do. When the highest marginal tax rate was 93%, I heard more than one local say something to this effect, "There's no point in me making any more money this year. If I did, Uncle Sam would just take it all." Of course, no one in the small town I grew up in came anywhere close to being in the highest tax bracket.

It was only in the last few years that one guy from my hometown became a multi-billionaire and several in his extended family became multi-multi-millionaires. The others bought stock in a company he started, a company that has >$10 billion in sales each year, even though its revenue has been down for the last several years.

Still, some people probably did tend to quit working when they reached a certain income level. The extra effort simply wasn't worth it for what might have effectively been half-pay. For someone who could draw unemployment benefits while she sat out, the inclination to do so was even stronger.

In fact, a plumber I knew in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s did just that. He didn't bother working between roughly the first of November and the first of April, even when he could could have. He preferred to be a couch potato and not go out in the cold winter weather in Minnesota. His wife, of course, worked year-round alongside my wife. He thought of himself as a "working man," but he worked nowhere near as hard or near as much as I did. Except for holidays, illnesses, and vacations, I averaged sixty hours a week or more all year long. The pay was good -- but, as I look back, I'm not sure it was worth the time it took me from my family. In particular I didnít spend enough time with my kids. They turned out fine, fortunately, but it was mostly due to their motherís influence. I provided some decent DNA, but thatís about all.

Foolishness or not, this discussion and another one I started have hopefully served my purpose: I wanted to get people to think about things in ways they might not have thought about them before. And, in the process, enlighten me and entertain themselves -- even if some folks got annoyed at my preposterous proposals. Perhaps only one person on the other thread figured out what I was doing was leg-pulling. I was -- with no intention of being an actual troll.

I signed up intending to post only enough to allow me to start a discussion. I thought the minimum number of posts for starting one was 30, but it turned out to be only 10. So I've made several times as many posts as I needed to. And I've started twice as many discussions as I had in mind starting out.

Regardless of what Janet Napolitano says, America remains The Land of Opportunity for many of us, if not for all of us. (It's OK to say that at Democratic Underground, isn't it?)

I think I hear a Rod McKuen song on my TV, so good night and good luck.


H.W, Beecher aka pogglethorpe
(Don't ask me where I came up with Pogglethorpe as a monicker. I don't even remember.)

I was born in the South and will always consider myself a Southerner.

My response to some of the bashing has been to go completely overboard with my own bashing, hoping that at least a few other posters may come to realize just how unpleasant their uncalled-for South-bashing can be.

In other cases, I've just added posters to my Full Ignore List. Their South-bashing has persuaded me to take action -- and convinced me that they're unlikely to ever have anything entertaining, informative, or interesting to say. About anything. If you happen to notice that I've put you on my Full Ignore List, please reciprocate.

Sending me an e-mail also gets you placed on my Full Ignore List. Say whatever you have to say to me publicly. If you think I don't know exactly what I'm doing -- all the time -- you're wrong. I know. If a discussion I start gets locked, I fully anticipated that as a possibility or even a probability when I started the thread. If I should get banned because of a post, rest assured that I fully anticipated that as a consequence of posting. (Those who run the site can ban us for cause or for no cause at all. I read the T's & C's.)

Not many people in forums I've posted to have been able to figure out what I'm up to -- certainly not all the time. I know. Always.

I anticipate continuing to post here until I get banned or until I get bored. When I get bored, I may commit "suicide by mod."

And yes, I may be doing exactly that with this post. If so, so be it. I figure I've probably said enough already to make a lasting impression. That's what I had in mind -- as well as stimulating people to think a bit more than they usually do. After, I'm an educator at heart.

Doesn't go far enough.

We need to go further. Since the states that seceded from the United States to form the Confederate States of America didn't suffer enough in the Civil War and get punished enough in its aftermath, we need to make up for that now.

Possibilities include (and I've mentioned some of these elsewhere):

1. Halved representation in Congress and halved electoral votes.
2. Moving federal installations -- especially military bases -- out of the states.
3. Higher federal tax rates.
4. Reduced federal benefits.


The latter two should probably be restricted to the descendants of slaveholders. The first would apply to the states as a whole, given that they're populated by a preponderance of racist white conservatives, and entirely too many old white men who are the sons of white privilege.

I agree absolutely.

We need to vote on political candidates based on their color or genitalia -- not on their ability, achievements, character, competency, ideology, or qualifications.

If that's the case, maybe we should consider voting for Carly Fiorina.

"There are tens of thousands of people in those states

who do not go along with the institutionalized racism." Sure, but the combined populations of those states is about 85,000,000 people. Chances are good that a lot of those millions and millions are racist. It's well-known that evil, virulent racism continues to be rampant in the Old South, far more so than in the North. I wouldn't be at all surprised if most, if not all states of the Confederacy, would return to slavery given the opportunity to vote for it.

Besides, I corrected myself by limiting further retribution to only the descendants of slaveholders. Even if a handful of them fall into your category of "decent white people who are not bigots," they still need to pay for what their slaveholding white ancestors did. Don't remember the title of it, but there's another General Discussion thread with an opening post that says the South wasn't punished enough after the Civil War. I'm just trying to come up with ways to rectify that error -- without, in fact, collection 150 years of interest on the oversight.

Here's my new suggestion -- and it will take into account your observation about tens of thousands of decent white people in the South. Since the South didn't get punished nearly enough in the 19th and 20th centuries, amend the Constitution to set up 50 years of punishment, starting as soon as the new amendment is ratified. The essence of the amendment would be to reduce the electoral votes in the states that made up the Confederacy by 50% for the next 50 years and also reduce their representation in the House and the Senate for the same 50 years. Details would have to be worked out, but the wording of the amendment still shouldn't take up more than a relatively short paragraph or two. If we increased tax rates for them as well -- heck, we'd have even more money to fund federal social programs. We might even consider reducing federal benefits for descendants of slaveholders, too. It's time they paid for the sins of their fathers ... and mother, too, I suppose.

To the states I mentioned above, add Florida and Tennessee. That makes the total population affected about 111,000,000. With the federal representation of the former Confederate States of America reduced by half, that would give Democrats a huge edge in federal elections for the next 50 years.

It should be easy to return to two-thirds or greater majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. (Having fewer representatives and senators makes that easier.) With super-super-majorities in both houses of Congress and a Democrat in the Oval Office, we'd be able to get back to the kind of edge we had in the mid-1960s, after Kennedy's assassination.

We'd be able to pass just about any legislation we wanted to to bring about social justice. We'd be able to dramatically reduce military spending. Single payer health care would be a cinch. Not to mention being able to fill all Supreme Court vacancies and federal judge vacancies with liberals. Etc. ...

Why, we'd be able to approach.... Well, the words Nirvana and utopia come to mind.

If we just kicked the states that were part of the Confederacy

out of the United States, we'd be guaranteed control of the House, the Senate, and the White House in perpetuity.

The remaining Unite States would still be huge -- and would be a lot better than the United States of today. We'd be rid of almost all racists -- and southern fried food and southern accents, etc. Giving up Florida might be a bit painful, but not much point in having a state you couldn't get to basically without driving through a foreign country.

Should we go for it?

No one in the world should have a net worth of a billion dollars. No one.

Nowhere even close to that. Just think how much the standard of living for the 99% could be raised if the wealthiest part of the 1% were cut down to size.

Every country in the world -- even Pitcairn Island, population 48 -- should do something along the lines of passing a wealth tax of 90% (85% ? 70% ... whatever will work) over a certain amount and then distribute the proceeds equally to everyone in the country -- even to the wealthiest. Then do the same thing again in, say, one, three, or five years. If it were done every year, it shouldnít be very long before everyone was nearly equal.

Maybe after intra-country wealth inequalities were mitigated, inter-country inequalities could be tackled as well. By the United Nations?

To me, thatís whatís meant by equality. Anything less than taking steps to achieve economic equality throughout the world is just paying lip service to equality. After all, weíre all human beings living on planet Earth. Arenít we supposed to love our neighbors? On this tiny planet, everyone is my neighbor. If I had more to share, I would. But I barely get by on my fixed retirement income.

(All right, maybe this particular idea wonít work or isnít the best one, but surely thereís someone out there smart enough to figure out a scheme that will work better to improve the lot of the poor. We simply canít continue on the path weíre on. If we do, everyone will eventually be at everyoneís throat, sort of like -- what was it? Lord of the Flies?)

The Confederacy consisted of states that seceded from the Union.

Maybe any state that seceded and still makes official use of the Battle Flag of the Confederacy should be expelled from the United States.

Symbols of the Confederacy remain on the license plates of nine states: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. That should be enough of an offense for them to be kicked out. Throw Arkansas and Texas in for good measure. The Arkansas flag bears a resemblance to the Confederate flag -- and everyone knows Texans want to go back to having their own country. Let 'em.

All right, maybe expulsion of the entire populace of those states wouldn't be in order. How about a 50% increase in the federal tax rate for anyone who's a descendant of a slaveholder? And a 50% tax on their net worth. All proceeds could be distributed to descendants of slaves. That could be a pretty good start, eh? Especially on the 1% -- I have some other ideas on that.

What I want to do each and every day for the rest of the year is kick the South and Southerners in the teeth. After all, white conservatives from the South are sub-human for all practical purposes. Especially old white men. The faster we're rid of all of them the better off we are. ...

Wait a minute, I'm an old white man myself. Better rethink that. Someone might assume I'm a conservative because of my age and color and want to withhold medical care from me. I'd die within a month without my prescription meds. Ah, well, I've been in the donut hole for a while now -- have no idea how I'm going to come up with money to pay for my prescriptions for the rest of the year.

Damned near killed myself last year when a doctor told me to quit taking any medications that she hadn't put on my list of meds when she discharged me from the hospital. That was after a bout with acute kidney failure. Took only a week without my high blood pressure medication for my blood pressure to skyrocket up to 213|86. I was lucky to get to the emergency room before it got any higher and I had a stroke and died.

Lesson learned: Don't be a fool and follow the instructions of a hospitalist when you're discharged from the hospital. See your own doctor as soon as possible and let her tell you what medications to take. How I unlearned what I had learned from my wife's literally dozens of hospitalizations is beyond me. I knew how many mistakes hospitalists make, yet I forgot when it came to my own medications. The record for discharge medication mistakes with my wife was six. Her cardiologist almost went through the roof when I called him and told him the hospitalist had taken her off a medication he prescribed. Another hospitalist tried to take her off drugs one of the best cancer institutes in the country had put her on.

In case you're unaware of it, doctors' egos can kill you.

Then a hell of a lot of us are the descendants of traitors.

That's what our forbears who fought for independence in the Revolutionary War would have been considered had we lost.

The Confederacy was made up of states that had seceded from the United States. The Confederate soldiers fought for a new country.

Regardless of the economic situation one way or another,

the United States is dystopian.
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