or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Steve Ballmer cashes $1.3B in Microsoft shares, Apple was given first
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Steve Ballmer cashes $1.3B in Microsoft shares, Apple was given first - Page 5

post #161 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsydaus View Post

OK fun thread but maybe we should all get "Back to the Mac"?

"Fun" isn't exactly the word I have for this.

WTF is it with Mac/Apple users and politics anyway? This wouldn't be the first "Apple" forum I've had to abandon because it degenerated into a cage of monkeys throwing turds at each-other. Even Ballmer is above that.

Admins, I don't care if you do get great ad revenue off the soapboxing. If the case is nobody's forcing anyone to visit this site, then that's very correct. Perhaps it's time to help drive hits & ads somewhere else.

Two thumbs down to everyone's damn politics.
post #162 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by smerch View Post

Fat people are disgusting.

Who can love a fat person?

Developers, developers, developers, developers!

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #163 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Yes, most people use the word "should" when standing on soapboxes and pulpits.

And did you just say nobody needs Apple's products? Who are you to declare what mankind's needs are? A century ago, people like you would've argued that nobody needed electricity, sound recording, refrigeration, the telephone, or the internal combustion engine. Or the first mass market personal computer, the Apple ][. They're all luxuries for wealthy people. In fact, we don't need money, we can go back to barter economies...

And yet, look at how these unnecessary inventions have reshaped the world, and the economies they have sustained! The same is true in the information age, with the Internet and ubiquitous personal computing. It will transform civilization, and we will need these things.

Maybe you can go back to the stone age, but I'm staying right the fuck here in the 21st Century. I need my iPod, iPad, MacBook Air and 24/7 connection to the Internet.


Maybe my sarcasm meter is broken, but I am not saying these things have not improved the quality of our lives (though the statement that being always connected is an improvement is certainly debatable). Just as sure as the billions of dollars that are being donated to charity will improve other people's lives. But if someone can say a person doesn't need more than an arbitrary amount of money, it is a bit hypocritical when said person is a moderator on a fan site forum for a company whose products are decidedly luxury.

But as recent posters have argued, we are far beyond the scope of this site's coverage with this debate.
post #164 of 250
Steve is so competitive. I sell $1.2 billion so he announces he'll sell $1.3 billion. Yeesh.
post #165 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsydaus View Post

I don't care even if you're SJ himself, the system that allows those kinds of payouts is sickening.

Such misguided people.
post #166 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

If someone wins the lottery and gives a portion away, I wouldn't describe it as an achievement.

Nor would I. However, your implied comparison between Mr. Buffet and "someone who wins the lottery" is insulting beyond description.

His success had had little to do with luck. You should educate yourself about him - I suggest the book "The Warren Buffet Way". I'm not being facetious - it's a very good read.

His investment decisions were hardly even speculative. He's not a gambler. He's made himself and thousands of others unspeakably wealthy. I would describe this as an achievement - one of the most spectacular ones in my lifetime. The benefits of this achievement are incalculable. To compare it to winning a lottery are... well, words fail to describe, but insulting, sickening, depressing, frustrating... and others all come to mind.

Quote:
No single individual should be able to accumulate and control $44b.

Really?

Where does wealth originate? Who should be able to accumulate and control it? How much should one be able to accumulate and control? Is there a wealth limit? What is it? Who decides what this limit should be? Hundreds of millions of people live on about a dollar a day. Perhaps they should decide?

Quote:
If It's nice that he decided to donate over $37b to charity but that doesn't make him charitable - he's essentially paying other people to be charitable with money he made from other money that he doesn't need.

Yikes.

It's clear you don't understand his actions - past, present, or proposed.

Please read. It's not difficult to learn.
A is A
Reply
A is A
Reply
post #167 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBookAir View Post

Yeah, but if the big earners paid some more tax, we might have a decent education system. Then people like you might know that it's "capitalist" and not "capitalistic".

Do you think Balmer will "drive the economy forward" with the taxes he saves. Maybe ... in the Bahamas, or southern France. I don't see him buying lots of Fords.

Is in the dictionary and was used correctly. Ironic huh?
post #168 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Hard to imagine how you think you're qualified to pass judgment on something of which you've only been allowed the barest preliminary glimpse.

If Apple's flagship OS on their flagship computers still gets smoked by netbooks and $500 acer laptops in graphics tests... then Lion will miss the mark with a lot of people.
post #169 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

I think that unearned income should be taxed just like earned income. If not the same, then higher.

I also think that we need to index capital gains against inflation, to avoid distorting the reality of the underlying ownership decisions.

The guy sweating for $40 grand a year should pay taxes, and so should the old guy earning $40 grand from his investments.

Index long term capital gains for inflation, so no tax is paid on the portion of gain that results from differences in currency values. That is only fair.

But don't give preferential tax treatment to equity positions over fixed income positions, and especially don't give equity positions preferential treatment over wages, because wages are income earned from productive activity. We need more productive activity.

I really like the idea of indexing the gains against inflation - if you take a long-term investment that made 15% over 5 years, I'm not sure that's something you should be able to take a loss on, but certainly having to pay 18->???% of that as 'gain' isn't really right either. Though the government is likely to come up with some even more distorted view of inflation to justify taking your income anyway - don't you know, inflation is just about 0 even if every thing you need to buy goes up in price?
post #170 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quillz View Post

Microsoft is not a dying company.

And it's not unusual at all for corporate executives to regularly buy and sell their corporation's stock. This is nothing new and shouldn't even be an article.

I think you're in the wrong place. See, this forum is for bashing all things non-Apple, and then praising all things Apple.

Your outside opinion is not welcome here.
post #171 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

I really like the idea of indexing the gains against inflation - if you take a long-term investment that made 15% over 5 years, I'm not sure that's something you should be able to take a loss on, but certainly having to pay 18->???% of that as 'gain' isn't really right either. Though the government is likely to come up with some even more distorted view of inflation to justify taking your income anyway - don't you know, inflation is just about 0 even if every thing you need to buy goes up in price?

Weird. We have a single income tax scale here and capital gains are effectively added to your assessible tax (your gain is halved if you carry the asset for longer than a year). There's no riots in the streets here.
post #172 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by sexualintellectual View Post

Maybe my sarcasm meter is broken, but I am not saying these things have not improved the quality of our lives (though the statement that being always connected is an improvement is certainly debatable). Just as sure as the billions of dollars that are being donated to charity will improve other people's lives. But if someone can say a person doesn't need more than an arbitrary amount of money, it is a bit hypocritical when said person is a moderator on a fan site forum for a company whose products are decidedly luxury.

But as recent posters have argued, we are far beyond the scope of this site's coverage with this debate.

How are you even connected to the Internet right now without luxury technology? I thought the only way you communicated with anyone outside of your subsistence-living commune was by goat courier.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #173 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

No single individual should be able to accumulate and control $44b.

You seem to have assumed that the act of controlling such wealth is inherently negative. What about all the positive derivative impacts of that wealth?

Successful people don't get to be successful without benefiting others along the way. Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, etc. All these people have greatly benefited others directly and indirectly. Sure they give lots of money away, but thats not even the most important part. Its the impact of the actions they took to make the money that contribute the most back to society.

Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates brought us the modern age that know today. Steve Jobs gave consumers mobile electronics that have changed our lives. He also helped wrestle control away from stuffy record labels and put control back in consumers' hands. Warren Buffet invested in companies that had strong core fundamentals and thrived while growing, providing jobs, tax base, economic growth,etc. He saved many companies from going bust and instead created more jobs and more wealth for employees and shareholders.

The issue is not whether is it right for someone to control great wealth. The issue is how they get it and what they do with it. Steve, Bill, Steve and Warren have benefited us all. In contrast, the bankers on Wall Street gave out poisoned candy on Halloween. We thought it was yummy as we relished in our big hauls, but then it made us sick.
post #174 of 250
Here's a thought. Imagine what Steve Jobs could have accomplished as Microsoft CEO. Jobs took a (somewhat) struggling company and made it into a Godzilla. Ballmer did the reverse. Well, MSFT isn't struggling. But it's like the USA, rich, underperforming and in need of a new strategy.
post #175 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

Here's a thought. Imagine what Steve Jobs could have accomplished as Microsoft CEO. Jobs took a (somewhat) struggling company and made it into a Godzilla. Ballmer did the reverse. Well, MSFT isn't struggling. But it's like the USA, rich, underperforming and in need of a new strategy.

"the last company to make buggy-whips was probably the best of its kind. Still, no matter how talented the employees or how well-made the buggy-whip, the business is dead."
post #176 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by grking View Post

Ah yes, the Wall Street Brain trust really allocated capitol efficiently.


"Nope"

The subject is Warren Buffet.
post #177 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


Spain has enough solar power to replace one nuclear plant..

Best.


What do they do on rainy days?
post #178 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsydaus View Post

I can hardly imagine M$ stockholders would be too happy about this.

Why would M$ shareholders be unhappy about it?
post #179 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

Unless, of course, you have enough confidence in your company's future stock value to believe it will gain enough to make up the difference. In the Microsoft of yesterday, with its value continuing to climb, that wouldn't have even been a question. In today's Microsoft, holding on to the stock would be a pretty big gamble. At least Balmer believes that to be true, and that isn't a particularly strong vote of confidence coming from the man at the top.

Clearly the only way MSFT could have grown under Ballmer would have been if the man had poured his company's extra cash into AAPL stock.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply
post #180 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

. It's more than he could ever spend in a lifetime.


.



Wrong. He's spending it right now. He's spending it to do charitable work. He's employing zillions of people in doing so. He's helping a zillion people times 1000 by employing those workers.

That is what he is spending his money on. What do you spend your money on? Toys? Do the people you give jobs to help others? Or are they toymakers?



If he wanted to, he could buy islands and airports and the Empire State Building. He could buy out all the tenants and make it into a giant personal pleasure palace. But instead, he carefully chooses to fund charitable organizations which help others to live an OK life.

And you question his asset allocations? Unless he had been able to amass that wealth, those charities would remain less funded, unable to help as many people. Had he not wisely allocated capital to profitable ventures, those profits would not have been made, and those people would not have been helped.

He represents what is good about people. He worked hard, and now he is in a position to do more good in this world than you and your entire family has done in ten generations.
post #181 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhende7 View Post

So let me see what you think should have happened: Buffet should have been taxed marginally higher because of his success (lets say 50% of his total earnings as a hyperbole). That 20B goes to the government where approximately 25% overhead is used to administer it. The remaining 15 B is squandered on middle of the ground politics (you know, the ones that aren't to left or right wing to prevent political suicide). Maybe 10% (1.5B) of this reaches the truly needy (ie the sick, the legitimately impoverished, the disabled etc).

Or, Buffet could administer 37B directly to these truly needy individuals?

Some food for thought.

I don't agree that private charity is any substitute for governmental programs. For example, Catholic Charities would not allow gay couples to adopt children in need.

The percentages that you use - did you just make them up? Or are they some kind of reality-based numbers?
post #182 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by john galt View Post

It's not difficult to learn.


Speak for yourself. For some, it would involve the tearing away of years of unjustifiable prejudice, like tearing way a huge scab and revealing the enervated dermis. For some, learning is the most painful experience possible. For them, it is much easier to stow away in the comfort zone of the local loudmouth. Learning that he is wrong can be painful and it can involve painful reevaluations of one's very being, one's strongest self-image, one's life's work, or one's most basic viewpoints.

What if everyone you love is convinced of the same destructive shibboleths? Is it easy to learn the truth in that situation?
post #183 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

I really like the idea of indexing the gains against inflation - if you take a long-term investment that made 15% over 5 years, I'm not sure that's something you should be able to take a loss on, but certainly having to pay 18->???% of that as 'gain' isn't really right either.

Do you understand the concept? Why do you like the idea of indexing capital gains against inflation?

Why is it fair to do so?
post #184 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

"the last company to make buggy-whips was probably the best of its kind. Still, no matter how talented the employees or how well-made the buggy-whip, the business is dead."

http://www.jedediahsbuggywhip.com/
post #185 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

I don't agree that private charity is any substitute for governmental programs. For example, Catholic Charities would not allow gay couples to adopt children in need.

I wholeheartedly disagree. I believe that people should champion the causes they personally care about, including financially as appropriate, and not put their faith in government fixing society to their liking. The constantly shifting polarization of those in power (as every time we realize the current group is a bunch of screw-ups, we try to get the other side in) means that there is often little consistency in terms of funding for programs that do not have obvious bipartisan support.

If you care about stem-cell research, you help pay for it. If you care about gay couples being able to adopt, you help pay for the organizations that make this happen. That way your money is being used the way you see fit rather than the way the government sees fit (and without nearly as much overhead). This would also ensure that your tax dollars are not going towards many programs you believe are unnecessary. If the problem is that you won't donate unless you're being forced to via taxation, then I suppose you like the idea of supporting the cause more than you actually like it.
post #186 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Spain has enough solar power to replace one nuclear plant..that's good, right?

What do they do on rainy days?

Duh!

Obviously all they need to do is install the solar panels in the hills. Everyone knows the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!




post #187 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

How are you even connected to the Internet right now without luxury technology? I thought the only way you communicated with anyone outside of your subsistence-living commune was by goat courier.

Ok, you have completely missed my point and have mangled my words into some unrecognizable form, but I will try my best to explain what I meant without sounding too condescending.

Luxury items accentuate an inequality between those with money and those without. Apple products are on the luxury end of their respective markets. Should Apple's products have a price ceiling so that even the poor can afford them? Or should Apple have to tier their pricing based on the income of the purchaser? The answer to both questions is of course no.

If people were only allowed to have an amount of money equivalent to what they'll spend in a lifetime, would that calculation preclude the purchase of luxury items unless they are deemed necessary? Does Warren Buffett have to state what his required computing needs are before he is allowed to say that he wants a top-o-the-line Macbook Pro with an SSD, along with future upgrades as technology progresses, included in his lifetime budget? In other words, do you calculate based on what people actually could spend in a lifetime or simply based on what will fit their stated requirements and no more?

I never once said there is no place for nice things. I really do love my Apple products, but I am also able to purchase them and provide for my family simultaneously without going into debt. I don't expect that because others don't have that same luxury the government should take away some of my Apple stuff and give it to those that can't afford it, even if for example I'll never use my computer to its full potential. I also don't expect the government to start handing out iPods and Macbooks with welfare checks (while also increasing my taxes) just to balance everything out.

Does that clarify my position?
post #188 of 250
"Steve Ballmer cashes in $1.3B worth of Microsoft"
Too bad MS can't cash in Ballmer.
post #189 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphodsplanet View Post

OMG.... this is one of the few decisions I would agree with Ballmer on.... hell... if I were in his position I'd sell half. Don't blame anyone who would rather pay 18% Capital Gains tax on $1.3B over 39.5%.... Thank you butthead BO.

I think you're confusing the marginal tax rate with the Capital Gains tax. If one is in the 39.6% marginal rate (the highest rate), the capital gains tax on investments held over one year is going from 15% to 20%, assuming the Bush tax cuts expire, which the new House might not let happen anyway (or there may be a compromise, because Obama will probably cave.) It's only on investments held less than one year that the Capital Gains tax will go to 39.6% (from 35% currently), the same as the marginal rate on ordinary income.

And while the highest ordinary income marginal rate is going from 35% to 39.6%, the income at which you move into the higher rate has increased, so many rich people will fall into a lower rate (although I don't have those exact figures in front of me), actually reducing their tax burden.

My heart really goes out to billionaires who have to pay an additional 5% in taxes on their enormous gains. The fact is that even at 20%, this is a bargain. Why shouldn't capital gains be taxed the same as ordinary income? This is a favor to the rich who tend to earn more of their income from capital gains as compared to working for a salary, as most people do.

IMO, the intent of conservatives in Congress is to eliminate Capital Gains taxes in favor of ordinary income taxes so that only working people get screwed paying taxes.

And before you come down on me, I am heavily invested and have to pay capital gains taxes every year, so I'll be paying an extra 5% on anything I sell that I've held more than one year as well. (I think Ballmer can afford it a lot easier than I can.)

Also, even with the 5% increase, it's not necessarily beneficial to sell now. It all depends upon whether your reinvested post-tax gain is going to earn more or less than 5% going forward.

Furthermore, in the middle of Ronald Reagan's term, the highest tax rate (on 1984 taxable single income of over $85,000) was 50%. During the middle of Nixon's term (1972), the highest tax rate (on single income over $100,000) was 70%. For 2010, the marginal tax rate on income over $373,650 is only 35%. So the perception that the rich are getting killed on taxes because of Clinton and Obama is a complete fantasy.
post #190 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

I think you're confusing the marginal tax rate with the Capital Gains tax. If one is in the 39.6% marginal rate (the highest rate), the capital gains tax on investments held over one year is going from 15% to 20%, assuming the Bush tax cuts expire, which the new House might not let happen anyway (or there may be a compromise, because Obama will probably cave.) It's only on investments held less than one year that the Capital Gains tax will go to 39.6% (from 35% currently), the same as the marginal rate on ordinary income.

And while the highest ordinary income marginal rate is going from 35% to 39.6%, the income at which you move into the higher rate has increased, so many rich people will fall into a lower rate (although I don't have those exact figures in front of me), actually reducing their tax burden.

My heart really goes out to billionaires who have to pay an additional 5% in taxes on their enormous gains. The fact is that even at 20%, this is a bargain. Why shouldn't capital gains be taxed the same as ordinary income? This is a favor to the rich who tend to earn more of their income from capital gains as compared to working for a salary, as most people do.

IMO, the intent of conservatives in Congress is to eliminate Capital Gains taxes in favor of ordinary income taxes so that only working people get screwed paying taxes.

And before you come down on me, I am heavily invested and have to pay capital gains taxes every year, so I'll be paying an extra 5% on anything I sell that I've held more than one year as well. (I think Ballmer can afford it a lot easier than I can.)

Also, even with the 5% increase, it's not necessarily beneficial to sell now. It all depends upon whether your reinvested post-tax gain is going to earn more or less than 5% going forward.

Furthermore, in the middle of Ronald Reagan's term, the highest tax rate (on 1984 taxable single income of over $85,000) was 50%. During the middle of Nixon's term (1972), the highest tax rate (on single income over $100,000) was 70%. For 2010, the marginal tax rate on income over $373,650 is only 35%. So the perception that the rich are getting killed on taxes because of Clinton and Obama is a complete fantasy.

QFT. Now if we consider all the other taxes that people pay:

-Sales taxes (regressive)
-Property taxes (regressive)
-FICA (massively regressive)
-State income taxes (depends on the state, but most mildly progressive)

...then real, net taxation for most people is regressive. Which isn't enough for some, because whenever the talk turns to making the federal income tax even slightly more progressive, we hear about how it "unfairly punishes the rich." When what they really mean is that middle income people haven't been punished enough for their sin of not being rich. There's a lot of closet social Darwinism in this debate. Helps to be on the lookout for it.
Please don't be insane.
Reply
Please don't be insane.
Reply
post #191 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by sexualintellectual View Post

The difference is that Warren Buffet didn't luck into his fortune...

Everyone who has a fortune, "lucks into," it in one way or another. Inheritance, circumstances of birth, being in the right place at the right time, stumbling on what turns out to be a good idea, etc. etc. In retrospect, it looks like they were really smart, hard working, and so on, but in reality, at the time that people who "earn" their fortunes begin to do so, it's always a matter of luck. For every one who has the luck, there are a thousand, or a million, people who work just as hard, have just as good ideas (evaluated at the time), and are just as smart, who don't get lucky and make a fortune.

It's human nature to assume that the successful, "had what it takes," but lots of people have what it takes and simply don't have the same luck. In reality, it's just the laws of probability at work: some will gamble and win big, others will lose. There are plenty of Steve Jobs and warren Buffetts in the world, but only one of them had the good fortune to benefit from circumstances to become the Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett we know today. The rest, by chance, made the wrong bet, weren't in a position to make the bet, were derailed by circumstances beyond their control, struck down by disease, hit by trucks.

So, yes, they worked hard for the money, but one of the reasons they were successful, one of the primary circumstances of fortune contributing to their success and wealth, is that they live in a society that allows them to be successful and amass wealth. A society that is built and maintained in very large part by the less successful, without whom the wealthy would have had no chance of wealth.

A certain amount of money has to be spent, and be spent by the government, to build such a society. To build the infrastructure that makes it possible, to create the circumstances that make it possible. Today, it seems, most Americans seem to have forgotten that, and seem to think that it doesn't take any investment to create and build a society. Our infrastructure is crumbling around us, the income and standard of living of the middle class declines year over year, millions are starving and homeless in the richest country of the world, while the wealthy, benefiting from 30 years of disproportionate and irrational tax cuts, amass greater and greater wealth, and, motivated by the most base selfishness, use that wealth to undermine the very foundations of our democracy.

Frankly, I am not impressed by billionaires who give money to charity, or billionaires who create their own charities, so they can control what happens with their money. In my mind, this is the ultimate act of egomania, selfishness and spite, intended to keep the money from being used by the society these people arose from in that society's best interests and to allow the wealthy to continue to control their wealth from their graves.


In tax policy, there is no such thing as fair, so it's entirely misguided to ask if this is fair or that is fair, or what is the fairest tax or policy. What is "fair" depends entirely on how you define 'fair'. What matters is what will produce the greatest benefit for the members of a society, and, in a democracy, that means the greatest benefit for the greatest number.

It's interesting to note that that period that "conservatives" often like to portray as, "the golden years of America," the 1950s, the Eisenhower years, had the highest tax rates on the wealthy of any period in American history. It's also interesting to note that a high percentage of this country's infrastructure was built, or planned for, in that period, or in the period leading up to it under FDR. Today, after 30 years of insane tax cuts for the rich, we invest almost nothing in infrastructure, nothing in the future, and there has been absolutely zero benefit from those tax cuts to the vast majority of Americans. The period since the election of Ronald Reagan has consisted of the most massive redistribution of wealth this nation has ever seen: wealth taken from the poor and the middle class and handed to the rich.

Are you poor or middle class? Do you think you pay too much in taxes? Well, as a share of the tax revenue of this country you do. But the answer does not lie in attacking government and taxes, the answer lies in taking back control of this country from the right, from the interests of wealth, not handing it to them. (And that's exactly what the right in this country represents, the interests of wealth, nothing more.) The answer lies in reversing the tax cuts handed to the wealthy over the last 30 years so that they begin to again contribute what is necessary to maintain and strengthen this country, rather than enriching themselves at your children's expense.

In a democracy, tax policies need to be highly progressive, not regressive. So, forget flat taxes, VATs, and all the other voodoo that the right proclaims as "fair". There is no fair: any policy, or no policy, is unfair to someone; there is only what will work, and those regressive plans will not work to maintain a healthy democracy. Quite simply, the wealthy need to pay a significant portion of their income as taxes because it is necessary that they do so to maintain our society, and because they can afford to. Estate taxes are necessary to prevent the accumulation of vast amounts of hereditary wealth, which itself undermines a democracy. And taxes must be used to redistribute wealth from the rich to those in need because the alternative is the disenfranchisement of crushing poverty which will continue to grow like a cancer on our democracy.
post #192 of 250
Very well said. I agree entirely.
Please don't be insane.
Reply
Please don't be insane.
Reply
post #193 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Everyone who has a fortune, "lucks into," it in one way or another. Inheritance, circumstances of birth, being in the right place at the right time, stumbling on what turns out to be a good idea, etc. etc. In retrospect, it looks like they were really smart, hard working, and so on, but in reality, at the time that people who "earn" their fortunes begin to do so, it's always a matter of luck. For every one who has the luck, there are a thousand, or a million, people who work just as hard, have just as good ideas (evaluated at the time), and are just as smart, who don't get lucky and make a fortune.

It's human nature to assume that the successful, "had what it takes," but lots of people have what it takes and simply don't have the same luck. In reality, it's just the laws of probability at work: some will gamble and win big, others will lose. There are plenty of Steve Jobs and warren Buffetts in the world, but only one of them had the good fortune to benefit from circumstances to become the Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett we know today. The rest, by chance, made the wrong bet, weren't in a position to make the bet, were derailed by circumstances beyond their control, struck down by disease, hit by trucks.

So, yes, they worked hard for the money, but one of the reasons they were successful, one of the primary circumstances of fortune contributing to their success and wealth, is that they live in a society that allows them to be successful and amass wealth. A society that is built and maintained in very large part by the less successful, without whom the wealthy would have had no chance of wealth.

A certain amount of money has to be spent, and be spent by the government, to build such a society. To build the infrastructure that makes it possible, to create the circumstances that make it possible. Today, it seems, most Americans seem to have forgotten that, and seem to think that it doesn't take any investment to create and build a society. Our infrastructure is crumbling around us, the income and standard of living of the middle class declines year over year, millions are starving and homeless in the richest country of the world, while the wealthy, benefiting from 30 years of disproportionate and irrational tax cuts, amass greater and greater wealth, and, motivated by the most base selfishness, use that wealth to undermine the very foundations of our democracy.

Frankly, I am not impressed by billionaires who give money to charity, or billionaires who create their own charities, so they can control what happens with their money. In my mind, this is the ultimate act of egomania, selfishness and spite, intended to keep the money from being used by the society these people arose from in that society's best interests and to allow the wealthy to continue to control their wealth from their graves.


In tax policy, there is no such thing as fair, so it's entirely misguided to ask if this is fair or that is fair, or what is the fairest tax or policy. What is "fair" depends entirely on how you define 'fair'. What matters is what will produce the greatest benefit for the members of a society, and, in a democracy, that means the greatest benefit for the greatest number.

It's interesting to note that that period that "conservatives" often like to portray as, "the golden years of America," the 1950s, the Eisenhower years, had the highest tax rates on the wealthy of any period in American history. It's also interesting to note that a high percentage of this country's infrastructure was built, or planned for, in that period, or in the period leading up to it under FDR. Today, after 30 years of insane tax cuts for the rich, we invest almost nothing in infrastructure, nothing in the future, and there has been absolutely zero benefit from those tax cuts to the vast majority of Americans. The period since the election of Ronald Reagan has consisted of the most massive redistribution of wealth this nation has ever seen: wealth taken from the poor and the middle class and handed to the rich.

Are you poor or middle class? Do you think you pay too much in taxes? Well, as a share of the tax revenue of this country you do. But the answer does not lie in attacking government and taxes, the answer lies in taking back control of this country from the right, from the interests of wealth, not handing it to them. (And that's exactly what the right in this country represents, the interests of wealth, nothing more.) The answer lies in reversing the tax cuts handed to the wealthy over the last 30 years so that they begin to again contribute what is necessary to maintain and strengthen this country, rather than enriching themselves at your children's expense.

In a democracy, tax policies need to be highly progressive, not regressive. So, forget flat taxes, VATs, and all the other voodoo that the right proclaims as "fair". There is no fair: any policy, or no policy, is unfair to someone; there is only what will work, and those regressive plans will not work to maintain a healthy democracy. Quite simply, the wealthy need to pay a significant portion of their income as taxes because it is necessary that they do so to maintain our society, and because they can afford to. Estate taxes are necessary to prevent the accumulation of vast amounts of hereditary wealth, which itself undermines a democracy. And taxes must be used to redistribute wealth from the rich to those in need because the alternative is the disenfranchisement of crushing poverty which will continue to grow like a cancer on our democracy.

You might enjoy this article as well. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...102202873.html
Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
Reply
Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
Reply
post #194 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Everyone who has a fortune, "lucks into," it in one way or another. Inheritance, circumstances of birth, being in the right place at the right time, stumbling on what turns out to be a good idea, etc. etc. In retrospect, it looks like they were really smart, hard working, and so on, but in reality, at the time that people who "earn" their fortunes begin to do so, it's always a matter of luck. For every one who has the luck, there are a thousand, or a million, people who work just as hard, have just as good ideas (evaluated at the time), and are just as smart, who don't get lucky and make a fortune.

It's human nature to assume that the successful, "had what it takes," but lots of people have what it takes and simply don't have the same luck. In reality, it's just the laws of probability at work: some will gamble and win big, others will lose. There are plenty of Steve Jobs and warren Buffetts in the world, but only one of them had the good fortune to benefit from circumstances to become the Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett we know today. The rest, by chance, made the wrong bet, weren't in a position to make the bet, were derailed by circumstances beyond their control, struck down by disease, hit by trucks.

So, yes, they worked hard for the money, but one of the reasons they were successful, one of the primary circumstances of fortune contributing to their success and wealth, is that they live in a society that allows them to be successful and amass wealth. A society that is built and maintained in very large part by the less successful, without whom the wealthy would have had no chance of wealth.

A certain amount of money has to be spent, and be spent by the government, to build such a society. To build the infrastructure that makes it possible, to create the circumstances that make it possible. Today, it seems, most Americans seem to have forgotten that, and seem to think that it doesn't take any investment to create and build a society. Our infrastructure is crumbling around us, the income and standard of living of the middle class declines year over year, millions are starving and homeless in the richest country of the world, while the wealthy, benefiting from 30 years of disproportionate and irrational tax cuts, amass greater and greater wealth, and, motivated by the most base selfishness, use that wealth to undermine the very foundations of our democracy.

Frankly, I am not impressed by billionaires who give money to charity, or billionaires who create their own charities, so they can control what happens with their money. In my mind, this is the ultimate act of egomania, selfishness and spite, intended to keep the money from being used by the society these people arose from in that society's best interests and to allow the wealthy to continue to control their wealth from their graves.


In tax policy, there is no such thing as fair, so it's entirely misguided to ask if this is fair or that is fair, or what is the fairest tax or policy. What is "fair" depends entirely on how you define 'fair'. What matters is what will produce the greatest benefit for the members of a society, and, in a democracy, that means the greatest benefit for the greatest number.

It's interesting to note that that period that "conservatives" often like to portray as, "the golden years of America," the 1950s, the Eisenhower years, had the highest tax rates on the wealthy of any period in American history. It's also interesting to note that a high percentage of this country's infrastructure was built, or planned for, in that period, or in the period leading up to it under FDR. Today, after 30 years of insane tax cuts for the rich, we invest almost nothing in infrastructure, nothing in the future, and there has been absolutely zero benefit from those tax cuts to the vast majority of Americans. The period since the election of Ronald Reagan has consisted of the most massive redistribution of wealth this nation has ever seen: wealth taken from the poor and the middle class and handed to the rich.

Are you poor or middle class? Do you think you pay too much in taxes? Well, as a share of the tax revenue of this country you do. But the answer does not lie in attacking government and taxes, the answer lies in taking back control of this country from the right, from the interests of wealth, not handing it to them. (And that's exactly what the right in this country represents, the interests of wealth, nothing more.) The answer lies in reversing the tax cuts handed to the wealthy over the last 30 years so that they begin to again contribute what is necessary to maintain and strengthen this country, rather than enriching themselves at your children's expense.

In a democracy, tax policies need to be highly progressive, not regressive. So, forget flat taxes, VATs, and all the other voodoo that the right proclaims as "fair". There is no fair: any policy, or no policy, is unfair to someone; there is only what will work, and those regressive plans will not work to maintain a healthy democracy. Quite simply, the wealthy need to pay a significant portion of their income as taxes because it is necessary that they do so to maintain our society, and because they can afford to. Estate taxes are necessary to prevent the accumulation of vast amounts of hereditary wealth, which itself undermines a democracy. And taxes must be used to redistribute wealth from the rich to those in need because the alternative is the disenfranchisement of crushing poverty which will continue to grow like a cancer on our democracy.

You removed the entire context of my quote, and thus completely disregards the fact that there is a striking difference between Warren Buffett and a lottery winner. Don't assume that I don't appreciate that some people have the breaks go for them and some against them, but I think you will concede that Buffet didn't just quick pick his stock choices.

And what is exactly an acceptable charitable contribution to you? Is it only worthy of your praise if it's made by someone of lesser means, or if they donate to a charity that is true to their heart is that also selfish and unworthy of consideration? Should someone dying of cancer not be able to donate to cancer research, because in essence they are selfishly hoping for a cure? In that case, should we ban all private contributions and only allow the government to always tell us what's important to us as a society and what's not?

Quite frankly I have seen government spending in action first hand, and I find it lacking in accountability for results. If the average taxpayer knew and cared about how their money was being frivolously wasted by our elected officials (both left and right) and government agencies there would probably be more "conservatives" than ever. And this is beyond government bailouts of private companies and banks. But your answer would be that we as a society are not paying in enough in taxes to cover the waste, correct? We can't fix the problem, so we'll just bandaid it? And what happens as we continue to add more government services that so many propose should be mandatory in a "modern society"? Just raise the taxes to cover it! The poor won't notice, nor will the cheats; nearly half of US households pay ZERO income tax (the top 10% pay over 70% of the nation's total income tax, but that's beside the point). Just let the rich handle it, because we know they have the money!

I am of the opinion that the government doesn't need to get bigger to protect us. We need to start demanding accountability from our government to protect ourselves. If we need to pay more taxes because the basic provisions of government (infrastructure, law enforcement, and a common defense) cannot be met with the funds that we as a society currently pay, then so be it. But if waste and corruption are left unchecked, they will only grow as the taxes get higher.

Your characterization of the rich as scheming devils with curly mustaches trying to stick it to the little guy is also laughable. They are using that money to undermine the fabric of democracy? Should we hold a national election to determine what should happen to their wealth? This is beyond lunacy; some of you people are genuinely convinced that the rich are the equivalent of socioeconomic terrorists. There are plenty of left-minded people with lots of money. If they support your agenda, are they more acceptable for your society? Do their charities do more good than ones picked by right-minded people? I certainly don't see them sending blank checks to the federal government and saying they're ready to take on the burden for the rest of us.

And finally, to pic a nit, the United States has a constitutional republic as its government and not a pure democracy. People and their private property are governed by laws and not the tyranny of the majority.
post #195 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by sexualintellectual View Post

You removed the entire context of my quote, and thus completely disregards the fact that there is a striking difference between Warren Buffett and a lottery winner...

I wasn't really responding to your post specifically, just the idea expressed in the part I quoted. But, from the larger perspective, no, there is no difference between Warren Buffett and a lottery winner.

[The rest of my original post deleted. No point in arguing with the true believers who think we live in the best of all possible worlds.]
post #196 of 250
It's good to be wary of any argument that seems to be based on the concept of "you people" especially used in the context of defending a far more specific slice of the population. Be that as it may, the middle class in the US has been on a steady decline (as measured by income) for more than thirty years now. At the same time, the share of wealth held by the wealthiest Americans has skyrocketed, and their tax burden has been reduced. Oddly enough, in decades past we used to call the gap between the rich and everyone else Brazilification. But now that Brazil is actively growing its middle class, and ours is shrinking, we perhaps ought to rename it Americanification for accuracy's sake. Especially since some seem to be so enthusiastically in favor of it.

People are aware of their own pain, and continue to express their frustrations at the decimation of the middle class and the increasing concentration of the nation's wealth in the hand of fewer and fewer, but they're acting without much factual knowledge of just how bad this situation has become, or how it got that way. Here's an interesting piece on this subject, published just today:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...,1887934.story

Turns out, Americans don't have much of an idea how wealth is actually distributed in the country, and when asked favor a far more equitable distribution of wealth than the one we've got. Something more like (heaven forfend), Sweden.

Yes, absolutely it is the domain of our constitutional republic to decide whether our values as a nation are represented by this growing gap, and whether it leads to continued prosperity. They only way of keeping the wealth flowing more and more into the hands of the already wealthy is to make sure the majority of Americans remain in the dark, not understanding what's going on, or where their interests lay. Since our political system has been doing such a great at this for thirty years or more, I don't think the wealthy have much to fear.
Please don't be insane.
Reply
Please don't be insane.
Reply
post #197 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Really? In what ways is government not accountable? What sort of actions does it take with a lack of accountability? Does it need to get bigger to actually invest in infrastructure and other necessary expenditures, or does it just need the cash and will to do so? And, since you are certain that it doesn't need to get bigger -- no doubt you think it is too big -- exactly what is the right size for the government of this country? Exactly where are significant amounts of money being wasted? (Besides in Iraq.)

I won't go into every specific, but I can give some notable examples.

The President's current political vacation jumps to mind. You can add it up with the tabs our illustrious executive cabinet members, representatives, and senators rack up when they take PR trips on the public dime. But truth be told, whatever there is to be gained in this current trip to India, it is certainly not enough to justify its outrageous cost to the American public. You can say that our officials will be held accountable come election time, but they should have been held accountable when budgets were set. If the money for the trip doesn't fit in the budget, pack lighter or enjoy the teleconference.

Defense program spending where it is not needed or has been mired by waste, fraud, and abuse, such as the case of the Osprey or the F22.

Government contracting waste, fraud, and abuse, such as with the FBI's VCF.

And you are obviously not familiar with the realities of government service. Please do not take this as an attack, because few people outside are. There are countless government employees that underperform and see no direct action taken as a result. You essentially only get fired from federal service if you break the law, so even the most underperforming employee can collect a guaranteed paycheck for sitting in a chair and drooling for 40 hours a week. No private company would ever turn a profit with employment policies like this. In technical fields the cream of the crop often leave because government service is far outpaced in terms of salary by the private sector (despite what government funded reports would have us believe), but the mediocre or worse employees sit back and collect their biweekly federal welfare like clockwork. You end up with a lot of high-level novices that will leave once they've proven their worth and a lot of lifetime mouth-breathing buffoons, with a smattering of decent employees that actually believe in their work. This type of environment is generally not conducive to productivity.

If you want recipes for fiscal responsibility in these areas and more, you don't need to be a financial wizard. Many of our government's budget problems are self-inflicted.

And you are right, I don't think the government needs to grow right now. That is not to say it will not ever need to grow. There is no private company in the US as large as the federal government with as many arms reaching out to as many people. It is already stretched to the breaking point and yet some would have it do more. How about we hold off on expansion until it has been proven they can responsibly manage a budget with what is currently on the plate? Raising taxes may give them more wiggle room for all the screwing off, but it doesn't attack the fundamental issues that plague large government.

Also, I would argue that the tax system is hardly the most efficient means of dissemination of funds to those in need. And the overhead required greatly diminishes the value that a dollar carries vs a private individual donating to an organization charged directly with helping the needy. Your scheme has the IRS, congress, and various federal agencies skimming off the top before anyone in need sees a penny. You have to pay the IRS employees processing returns, congress allocating funds (and then you have the pork that gets thrown in to get the funding approved in vote), the agency employees have to be paid, etc, etc. And then you have the issue that maybe congress doesn't fund the programs that you think will be most beneficial to society. What then?

I am neither rich nor poor, but I am rational enough to understand that no socioeconomic group of people can be judged on the actions of a few. If you are intellectually honest with yourself, you will concede that a significant number at the top end are not actively attempting to destroy the fabric of the nation as you would portray. Otherwise it would be akin to someone saying that the majority of poor people deserve what they get for spending beyond their means and not valuing education. The truth is always somewhere in between the extremes, and you do your cause no favors by playing in terms of absolutes.

If there is a problem with the system then there are mechanisms in place to change the system. But I contend the larger issue is that the brain of this system needs to be reprogrammed so that it has a chance to succeed under the current requirements before you start adding feature creep.
post #198 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Everyone who has a fortune

A fine post, with which I mostly agree. I appreciate people who are computer savvy, but are also well-versed in many areas. I noticed at work that many developers were talented programmers, but that was about it. Other programmers were like what you have demonstrated in your post today.

Nullis in verba -- "on the word of no one"

 

 

 

Reply

Nullis in verba -- "on the word of no one"

 

 

 

Reply
post #199 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Spain has enough solar power to replace one nuclear plant..

What do they do on rainy days?

As is usual: go on strike!
post #200 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by sexualintellectual View Post

I won't go into every specific, but I can give some notable examples.

The President's current political vacation jumps to mind. You can add it up with the tabs our illustrious executive cabinet members, representatives, and senators rack up when they take PR trips on the public dime. But truth be told, whatever there is to be gained in this current trip to India, it is certainly not enough to justify its outrageous cost to the American public. ...

You see, I don't think you know what you are talking about. You don't even know what is to be gained but you label President Obama's Asian trip a "vacation" and talk about the "outrageous" cost, a cost which you don't know, but which, in reality, we can be certain, does not even amount to a tiny drop in a bucket.

This is true of most people who rail about waste in government. They pick out little "outrageous" items and claim it's a waste without having any basis of even the most elementary cost benefit analysis. This is just knee-jerk anti-government, anti-tax talk with no grounding in reality.

It's an attitude founded on ignorance and arrogance, and, unfortunately, all too prevalent today. Meanwhile, our country turns into a 3rd-rate banana republic because no one is willing to look beyond their own selfish needs. (Selfish needs that end up costing most people a lot more in the long run.)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Steve Ballmer cashes $1.3B in Microsoft shares, Apple was given first