We're doing the tax thing again....

Trunkage

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Very interesting read. I guess the question is can unrealized gains really be taxed as wealth? It's pretty much speculative value that serves to earn investors trust. That billionaires get to game the system by borrowing against their stock isn't without fault of the central banks who flood the financial markets with 'free' money and suppress the interest rates. The covid crisis have proven that theory; the central banks have opened the money presses yet the only ones who are profiting are billionaires and the stock/financial market. I think it's actually a snowball effect; billionaires hold on to their inflated stock so they get richer and richer(atleast on paper) while credit lines are free inflating the stock prices even further. At what point is the unrealized gains 'wealth' and at what point is it simply inflation? Another adverse effect would be if billionaires' unrealized gains are taxed that they would dump their stock and plummet the stock price so other investors(including pension, insurance and mortgage funds) would take massive losses on their portfolios with mostly middle income clients.

Unrealized gains are so embedded into the financial system that they would need to be untangled first before they could even be taxed. Indirectly their massive wealth also facilitates inflated stock prices, 'free' debt, housing bubbles and investors trust so I think ultimately much more people simply profit from the status-quo than just the handful of billionaires. Governments need the cheap credit to keep the state deficits manageable so what are they going to do.

It's unfair but at this point the government(any government) have dug themselves so deep in the hole that they would be the last to advocate a tax on unrealized gains. The system is just completely stuck at this point. There would need to be some giant breakthrough in robotics/A.I. to move past it. Anything really that breaks the monopoly of financial wealth.
Well, deficits wouldn't be so high if the rich paid their taxes....

Also, a some of this deficit comes from supporting the little guy who doesn't get enouch money to live.

This 'mandatory world corporate tax' thing I dont think will help at all. Not just from what you said. Their accounting is more art than science

Lastly, Billionare hoovering up businesses I think is terrible for innovation
 

Trunkage

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No, I'm cranky that these journalists don't report honestly. "The income taxes that we can access for these people is this low, and the rest of their taxes are hidden in a mire of nonsense policies full of loopholes" is perfectly valid. They chose instead to give "federal income taxes/wealth" the title "true tax rate", which is just nonsense.
You know when I typed the OP, I originally just had 'taxes' by itself. But then I realised I misrepresented what they were talking about. Because they only really discussed income taxes (at least with concrete evidence. They had that section about limitations of what they were reporting on.) So I edited it

Yes. I'm aware this is not their full tax bill. No, I'm not offended. I could read and not jump to conclusions

I'd also point out that large corporate tax bills are really low too. I wouldn't be suprised if capital gains tax bills are low, since the rate is low. I would not be suprised if the rich don't actually pay that much at all. I would love evidence that proves this one way or the other
 

tstorm823

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Wrong.

They're putting the numbers together in a way that doesn't make sense in terms of the current tax system. But if the point of the article is to argue that the current tax system needs to change because of the truly stupendous amounts of wealth people are amassing whilst incurring barely taxes, they're justified in doing so.
You cannot make that argument with the data they provided. You cannot say the tax system needs to change while ignoring most of the tax system. It would be just as valid to say "Look at how little capital gains taxes the lower middle class pays relative to their wealth. The system must be broken." Which is dumb. That's dumb. Who cares how much sin taxes are paid by people practicing temperance? Who cares how much gas tax is paid by someone who rides their bike everywhere? If you focus on the part of the tax system that doesn't apply to a particular individual, you can make anyone out as a villain.
You know when I typed the OP, I originally just had 'taxes' by itself. But then I realised I misrepresented what they were talking about. Because they only really discussed income taxes (at least with concrete evidence. They had that section about limitations of what they were reporting on.) So I edited it

Yes. I'm aware this is not their full tax bill. No, I'm not offended. I could read and not jump to conclusions

I'd also point out that large corporate tax bills are really low too. I wouldn't be suprised if capital gains tax bills are low, since the rate is low. I would not be suprised if the rich don't actually pay that much at all. I would love evidence that proves this one way or the other
Large corporate tax bills aren't really low too. Corporate income tax bills are sometimes really low, because they are only a tax on net profit, so they won't pay that tax if they don't profit. But corporations have payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes (depending on the purchase). Sometimes there are gross receipts taxes on certain industries. And there's all sorts of government fees for doing business in the first place. Corporate income tax is only a slice of the taxation pie, so every time you see an article say something like "Amazon paid no income taxes", you need to understand that Amazon paid a crap-ton of taxes in other categories.
 

Agema

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You cannot make that argument with the data they provided. You cannot say the tax system needs to change while ignoring most of the tax system. It would be just as valid to say "Look at how little capital gains taxes the lower middle class pays relative to their wealth. The system must be broken." Which is dumb. That's dumb. Who cares how much sin taxes are paid by people practicing temperance? Who cares how much gas tax is paid by someone who rides their bike everywhere? If you focus on the part of the tax system that doesn't apply to a particular individual, you can make anyone out as a villain.
Villain? Jeff Bezos is more a villain for treating Amazon staff like shit on low pay.

In a sense, I don't blame anyone for dodging taxes (legally). I do, however, think it the reseponsibility of the state to tax people effectively, especially extreme rich people in a capitalism so dysfunctional that companies like Amazon can get so absurdly huge (evidently, no real competition) and with such a vast gap as exists between Bezos and the poor sods toiling in his sweatshops.

Turning this into simple moralistic fables of heroes and villains isn't very useful. It's about the structure and institutions of society that permit these things to come about.
 

Gergar12

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Piscian

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Warren Buffet, one of the billionaire proponents of a massive tax increase on the wealthy and eliminating tax breaks pointed out that they are in most cases following the law. They are taking advantage of every tax break opportunity, the same as any American would. It's actually better for them if we spend all our energy pointlessly trying to shame them into paying more dues rather than going after congress. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have every right to just say "sorry I'm paying the taxes I owe."
 

TheMysteriousGX

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The purpose of pointing out these absolutely ridiculous filings isn't to shame billionaires into voluntarily giving away more. That's clearly impossible. It's to
A) point out that, even if they have more money than they will need in this our any other lifetime, billionaires are the sort of people that will absolutely take a tax credit for poor people if legal, because the sort of person who becomes a billionaire is a bad person. (Or at least have a hoarding problem and should not be celebrated)
and
B) point out that all of this is legal holy shit why?!?
 
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CM156

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Would taxing the uber rich at a much higher rate be some sort of panacea? Absolutely not.
Does this mean we shouldn't raise their taxes? Also not. I think they'll be fine.
 

Trunkage

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You cannot make that argument with the data they provided. You cannot say the tax system needs to change while ignoring most of the tax system. It would be just as valid to say "Look at how little capital gains taxes the lower middle class pays relative to their wealth. The system must be broken." Which is dumb. That's dumb. Who cares how much sin taxes are paid by people practicing temperance? Who cares how much gas tax is paid by someone who rides their bike everywhere? If you focus on the part of the tax system that doesn't apply to a particular individual, you can make anyone out as a villain.

Large corporate tax bills aren't really low too. Corporate income tax bills are sometimes really low, because they are only a tax on net profit, so they won't pay that tax if they don't profit. But corporations have payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes (depending on the purchase). Sometimes there are gross receipts taxes on certain industries. And there's all sorts of government fees for doing business in the first place. Corporate income tax is only a slice of the taxation pie, so every time you see an article say something like "Amazon paid no income taxes", you need to understand that Amazon paid a crap-ton of taxes in other categories.
Payroll taxes? Yah what
 

Trunkage

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Would taxing the uber rich at a much higher rate be some sort of panacea? Absolutely not.
Does this mean we shouldn't raise their taxes? Also not. I think they'll be fine.
I'm just looking for less loopholes. The tax rate would be fine if they couldn't claim buying everything including the kitchen sink as a deductible
 

tstorm823

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Turning this into simple moralistic fables of heroes and villains isn't very useful. It's about the structure and institutions of society that permit these things to come about.
This is my point. This sort of articles misleads you on what those structures and institutions are doing with the goal of making people villains.
Payroll taxes? Yah what
Yes. Payroll taxes. Payroll taxes in the US fund social security and medicare, and 50% of that tax comes from the employer.
 

Gordon_4

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This is my point. This sort of articles misleads you on what those structures and institutions are doing with the goal of making people villains.
Jeff Bezos doesn't need articles like this to make him look like a villain, he does that all on his own.

Yes. Payroll taxes. Payroll taxes in the US fund social security and medicare, and 50% of that tax comes from the employer.
Are these the US version of income taxes? Serious question, terminology isn't interchangeable so I wanna be sure.
 
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tstorm823

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Jeff Bezos doesn't need articles like this to make him look like a villain, he does that all on his own.
Then why make this article!?
Are these the US version of income taxes? Serious question, terminology isn't interchangeable so I wanna be sure.
No, these are different. These are fixed rate taxes, split evenly between employees and employers to fund entitlements, much like the taxes that fund unemployment insurance. And flipping the argument around, ignoring things like this for the poor when discussing taxes is equally dishonest. Something like half of everyone is paying net zero federal income tax, but a big chunk of every paycheck is still going to all these other taxes, which makes it sort of slimy to focus on the one type of tax.
 

Agema

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This is my point. This sort of articles misleads you on what those structures and institutions are doing with the goal of making people villains.
It really doesn't. It simply points out that they can do this so they do, how it works, and how it came about. It is, broadly, extremely non-judgemental.

It doesn't say they are bad people. It doesn't make a big play about Amazon's shitty job conditions, or that Bill Gates had a weird "business" relationship with a sexual abuser, or any number of scandals, which you'd expect from an article leveraging a claim that these billionaires are villains. It points out Buffet intends to give his money to philanthropic causes, which it would not do if it was making them villains. Nothing in that article calls billionaires bad people.

It is intended to make you think the situation is not fair, and that change is required. It's definitely not asking anyone to burn down Manhattan penthouses.
 

stroopwafel

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Large corporate tax bills aren't really low too. Corporate income tax bills are sometimes really low, because they are only a tax on net profit, so they won't pay that tax if they don't profit. But corporations have payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes (depending on the purchase). Sometimes there are gross receipts taxes on certain industries. And there's all sorts of government fees for doing business in the first place. Corporate income tax is only a slice of the taxation pie, so every time you see an article say something like "Amazon paid no income taxes", you need to understand that Amazon paid a crap-ton of taxes in other categories.
Corporate income taxes are very low b/c huge companies don't write off the profit where they actually make them. They look where taxes are lowest then write those profits off from some sister company or supplier. Properties keep ballooning in value yet huge loans can be deducted from the little profit that is actually reported to the IRS. The remaining sales tax is transferred to the end user. That is the problem that the article highlights: corporations make billions of dollars yet on paper they make almost nothing. Shareholders meanwhile sit on billions of stock that are borrowed against credit so billionaires have such monumental debt on paper that their income tax is also next to nothing. The problem is not so much these companies or individuals(who can really blame them for wanting to pay as few tax as possible) but rather the systemic flaws that are a result of outdated legislation and a general unwillingness or inability to modernize them. It's similar to the gun laws we don't live in the 1800s anymore yet any attempt to modernize this legislation to prevent accidents, killing sprees and avoidable deaths that continue year on year are always shot down with the same politically spinned platitudes that has zero bearing on the actual reality of the situation and only serves to further established interests. Those in power really don't give a fuck about anybody but themselves.