America: A Failing Marriage - Page 28 - Talk About Marriage
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post #406 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 02:00 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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The best tax plan then is zero income tax. Any tax on income reduces quality of life. Heavily taxing the software engineer so that some other guy pays little to no taxes does nothing more than reduce the quality of life for the software engineer without advancing the prospects of the lower income guy.

Now if we're talking about a top tax rate of 10% vs a bottom rate of zero, yeah the software guy still has incentive to work harder and his standard of living isn't deeply damaged. But if we're talking 50%+ tax rates, then there is a definite disincentive to work harder. That not only reduces the standard of living of the worker, but it reduces overall productivity and societal quality of life.

But I think you value equal outcomes far more than you value individual rights to one's own labors.
Actually the best tax plan is to simply tax all money at the same rate. That way taxes become a white noise in the cacophony of economic activity.


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post #407 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 02:00 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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How does eliminating or drastically reducing the DOE budget (4% of discretionary spending and proposed by 115th congress) help to reduce this individual burden?


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DOE = department of energy = shut down and spend elsewhere, imo. It would help. Many other options (department of education would be another).

Really, when you think about, cost of college is way too high. It has gone up at double inflation for 30 years.
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post #408 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 02:00 PM
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America: A Failing Marriage

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DOE = department of energy = shut down and spend elsewhere, imo. It would help. Many other options (department of education would be another).



Really, when you think about, cost of college is way too high. It has gone up at double inflation for 30 years.


Dept of education

I agree college cost has gone up, and you won't here me defend the rise in cost.

However, it is important to get some historical perspective. In decades past, accreditation was based more on university reputation. Employers, in the 1980s began to complain that college graduates were entering he work force ill-equipped to start their career. Lobbying forced federal regulations to have a more honest assessment of what a college education meant. Essentially if a university was going to get federal grant money, they also needed to follow federal guidelines, including more accountability of what a college degree meant. This increase accreditation standards, meant increasing the cost at the administrative levels.

If you want to enter the field or academics these days, about 40% of your time will be filled with direct education, the remainder with assessment work. This means, hiring professionals to collate that assessment toward accreditation. Without accreditation, no federal scholarship money or grant money and thus a university may as well close its doors.

It is a catch-22, but then again there is some accountability built into the process.


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post #409 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 02:43 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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there are very few academic scholarships. Trust me, I know. $50K doesn't get you much other than reduced loans. At the price of college today, it is tought on lower and middle middle class to afford college than ever, probably.
That must be news to my older daughter (1/2 of undergraduate plus all her master's and all her PhD is funded) or my younger one (full ride plus offers from several flagship state schools).
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post #410 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 02:48 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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That must be news to my older daughter (1/2 of undergraduate plus all her master's and all her PhD is funded) or my younger one (full ride plus offers from several flagship state schools).
If you go to the right grad school program it is free. Undergrad, if you don't score >1500 on SAT, good luck getting money unless you are poor or going to an expensive private school. Even then, the private school is more expensive (typically) than public.

Being female, minority and/or poor helps. But poor is more poor than $50k/year. Most kids can't get good enough test scores to get significant money.
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post #411 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 02:54 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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If you go to the right grad school program it is free. Undergrad, if you don't score >1500 on SAT, good luck getting money unless you are poor or going to an expensive private school. Even then, the private school is more expensive (typically) than public.



Being female, minority and/or poor helps. But poor is more poor than $50k/year. Most kids can't get good enough test scores to get significant money.


If you apply to and get accepted into a science PhD program, your education is likely to be free whether you are of some minority group or not. Your acceptance is often based not just on ones academic abilities but also whether your graduate advisor has attained a grant to sponsor your research project. And, because few classes are required one spends all their time doing research (actual work) for which you are compensated with a tuition waiver and a small monthly stipend. Most graduate schools do not allow students to take up employment outside of the university in exchange.


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post #412 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 03:55 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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If you apply to and get accepted into a science PhD program, your education is likely to be free whether you are of some minority group or not. Your acceptance is often based not just on ones academic abilities but also whether your graduate advisor has attained a grant to sponsor your research project. And, because few classes are required one spends all their time doing research (actual work) for which you are compensated with a tuition waiver and a small monthly stipend. Most graduate schools do not allow students to take up employment outside of the university in exchange.


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I was aiming my comments at undergrad. You are correct about technical grad school. You would have to be foolish to pay for a PHD in hard science or engineering.
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post #413 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 04:45 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

Options for kids who score >1500 are important.
For ones who score less, there is still a path through a less prestigious college that will still let you get into a really good grad school.

If you are an excellent HS student you can get into Caltech or MIT. Then if you do well, grad school is pretty guaranteed.

If you are a OK HS student, you can still get into and afford (with loans) a reasonable state school. If you do really well there you can get into a top grad school.




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If you go to the right grad school program it is free. Undergrad, if you don't score >1500 on SAT, good luck getting money unless you are poor or going to an expensive private school. Even then, the private school is more expensive (typically) than public.

Being female, minority and/or poor helps. But poor is more poor than $50k/year. Most kids can't get good enough test scores to get significant money.
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post #414 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 04:47 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

Any attempt to discuss "best" tax plan needs to start with a definition of goals.

If the idea is to maximize economic output, then killing all the unemployable and retired people is best. Clearly though there are other negatives.




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Actually the best tax plan is to simply tax all money at the same rate. That way taxes become a white noise in the cacophony of economic activity.
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post #415 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 05:10 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

Not science, alas. Design, where fully funded M.Arch or M.Des degrees are rare, and fully funded at a top ten school even rarer 😀. PhD Arch or Design programs are generally funded, not always fully but they have very few spots in a year. Like, a handful at most.

The amount of Mickey Mousery involved in PhD admissions in such fields is stupefying - and I've gone through the process myself and my wife as well in science, a lot easier. You basically groom yourself for a specific small set of schools and faculty committee members... Write papers on their favorite topics... Fun stuff.

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post #416 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 05:36 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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I was aiming my comments at undergrad. You are correct about technical grad school. You would have to be foolish to pay for a PHD in hard science or engineering.


Maybe it's time we (as a country) invest more money in the undergraduate programs, but also make matriculation based on ability (this is always tricky based on metrics like SATs and ACTs which in some cases are not always good predictors). Make higher ed more affordable so as to not lose pace with the rest of the developed world.

I certainly think medical education should be 100% subsidized along with Medicare for all.


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post #417 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 06:40 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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Really? Progressive income taxes are a serious barrier to becoming wealthy. Progressive taxes protect the existing class of wealthy.

Joe Bigshot has a fortune of $100 million. Maybe he started the latest dotcom darling, maybe his grandfather was an oil baron. Whatever. He actually has very little income, but he is very wealthy. His wealth is invested in ways which provide him with a great lifestyle. He has a yacht, some nice cars, a few beautiful homes. All owned by the family trust or the family corporation naturally. Joe gets some relatively small pay for running the businesses, around $200k, which is taxed.

Billy Burgerman is a whiz bang business builder. He is hired by restaurants to come in and make them profitable. He is paid about $500k per year. Not bad.

Sam Skid is a professional truck driver, earning about $50k. Sam works hard.

Under a highly progressive tax system, Sam pays virtually no income tax. Billy pays a butt load of taxes, upwards of $350k per year. Because, you know, Billy is a high earner and that must be bad or something.

What are the chances of Sam or Billy ever being rich? Zero. Sam just doesn't have the earning power. He may be comfortable if he lives within his means. Billy will live nicely but not extravagantly. He can never amass vast wealth and be truly rich. He can be upper middle class.

But Joe is wealthy and stays that way. Regardless of income he still has more money in the bank than he ever needs even with a lavish lifestyle.

If you want to create a more equal outcome you would have to tax accumulated wealth not income. A low rate flat tax, or similar, gives the best chance for gaining wealth. The small business owner, inventor, creator, or highly paid skilled professional can keep their earnings to become wealthy.
Hear here!!


There are user fees in water bills. Originally, they were meant for paying for improvements. They were not saved in any way. They were used. Now, water companies in Pittsburgh are having issues finding money to replace lead lined pipes, repair reservoirs and replace old clay pipes placed long ago.

I think, with any taxes, greed is an issue. Don't know how spending can be limited. Any ideas?

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post #418 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 07:07 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

Always curious why individuals are considered "greedy", but not government.
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post #419 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 07:26 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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You still. Because typically in a civilized society the power to rob and kill come with certain responsibilities and protections for those who do not have those powers (for instance in the US Constitution) where as in your Utopian world, that power would just be assumed by some with no regard for the rights of others or with any responsibility towards others.
How do the supposedly "protected" people enforce those "protections"?

Oh, that's right: they can't. That's because those who supposedly protect them work for the same organization that has infringed them.

If you doubt me, ask anyone whose rights were supposedly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, but whose rights were ignored by the government. For instance, a military draftee.

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post #420 of 525 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 09:35 PM
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Re: America: A Failing Marriage

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How do the supposedly "protected" people enforce those "protections"?

Oh, that's right: they can't. That's because those who supposedly protect them work for the same organization that has infringed them.

If you doubt me, ask anyone whose rights were supposedly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, but whose rights were ignored by the government. For instance, a military draftee.
I don't dispute that the system fails on a regular basis, but those failures pail comparison to what would happen in the utopian ideal you proffer. In fact one of the issues I have is the willingness to accept those failures in the system we live under. The US Constitution was probably the most libertarian document ever conceived by man kind, but it has been mutated to impose the progressive ideas of the right and the left in this country.

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