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Terrible Inequality Was Not The Founders Idea Of The American Dream.

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Wealth redistribution was.

 

Here's Franklin-

 

 

CHAPTER 16|Document 12

Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris

25 Dec. 1783Writings 9:138

 

 

The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People's Money out of their Pockets, tho' only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors' Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell'd to pay by some Law.

 

All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.


The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 16, Document 12

 

 

 

 

And here's Jefferson-

 

CHAPTER 15|Document 32

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison

28 Oct. 1785Papers 8:681--82

 

 

I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 15, Document 32

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly they knew the power of government through wealth redistribution could improve the lives of those with the least. Today they would be advancing a Single Payer healthcare system and making sure the vast riches of America's elite reach the common man.

 

Your thoughts?

 

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post #2 of 23
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hands Sandon View Post

 

Clearly they knew the power of government through wealth redistribution could improve the lives of those with the least. Today they would be advancing a Single Payer healthcare system and making sure the vast riches of America's elite reach the common man.

 

Your thoughts?

 

Sure.

 

First, you're guilty of the logical fallacy of a non sequitur in your second sentence.

 

Second, there's not really a debate about whether taking money from those who have more and giving it to those who have less improvs the condition of those who have less (at least in the short term). The debate is rather about two other issues: a) is it moral to do this, and b) is it better in the long term.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

Sure.

 

First, you're guilty of the logical fallacy of a non sequitur in your second sentence.

 

Second, there's not really a debate about whether taking money from those who have more and giving it to those who have less improvs the condition of those who have less (at least in the short term). The debate is rather about two other issues: a) is it moral to do this, and b) is it better in the long term.

 

If the élites actually paid their taxes, as the rest of us do, it might help some, and ease the cost of the wars - that we pay for - that enrich many of them.

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post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sammi jo View Post

 

If the élites actually paid their taxes, as the rest of us do, it might help some, and ease the cost of the wars - that we pay for - that enrich many of them.

 

I have a hard time disagreeing with that notion. There are many tax cuts and tricks that the wealthy have at their disposal to reduce their tax obligation that the lesser classes don't and that isn't particularly fair. Why not make everyone pay the same cut of their income in taxes for the same benefits in terms of police, fire, basic health care. And then increase the sales tax on non essential items. England etc do pretty well with this type of idea. Enough so that they don't exclude foreign students etc in that basic health care which was handy when I got an upper respiratory infection while living there for school. Three doctors visits, meds etc and not a dime out of my pocket  in doctors fees. Course I was paying the same 18% in sales tax so I was paying for it in a different way. Those kind of systems also recover some of the money lost when folks work under the table cause you still gotta buy stuff. 

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

 

I have a hard time disagreeing with that notion. There are many tax cuts and tricks that the wealthy have at their disposal to reduce their tax obligation that the lesser classes don't and that isn't particularly fair. Why not make everyone pay the same cut of their income in taxes for the same benefits in terms of police, fire, basic health care. And then increase the sales tax on non essential items. England etc do pretty well with this type of idea. Enough so that they don't exclude foreign students etc in that basic health care which was handy when I got an upper respiratory infection while living there for school. Three doctors visits, meds etc and not a dime out of my pocket  in doctors fees. Course I was paying the same 18% in sales tax so I was paying for it in a different way. Those kind of systems also recover some of the money lost when folks work under the table cause you still gotta buy stuff. 

 

I'll tell you why....because the Left will never support it.  It will be called "regressive" and "unfair" and even "heartless."  We've got BR running around screaming about Republicans that talk about broadening the tax base, for Pete's sake.  49% of households now pay no federal income taxes.  Are the "elites" who pay an effective rate of zero part of the problem?  Absolutely.  But it's not just them.  We need a system where everyone or nearly everyone contributes. The only people paying nothing or next to nothing in federal taxes should be those who make near the state-adjusted poverty lines.  Everyone else should pay at least something.  We need a fair, flatter system with new brackets and vastly reduced deductions.  Something like this (broad sketch only):

 

Assuming family of four, no deductions or exemptions. These are just the general brackets, not tax tables.   

 

Poverty line or below ($22,350 for 2011): 0%

 

$22,351-44,700 (200% of poverty line)  2.5% 

 

$44,701-89,400 (400% of poverty line)  4.5% 

 

$89,401-`178,002:  8% 

 

$178,003-$1,000,000 11%

 

$1,000,001-$10,000,000 15% 

 

$10,000,001+ 20% 

 

 

Something like the above would produce a fairer system that would cut waste and fraud by billions.  It would ensure that nearly everyone (except the very poor) pays something.  The very rich would still pay rates that are 10X higher than middle-lower income people.   Cap gains could be restructured as well, so that anyone under the 8% bracket in terms of cap gains paid nothing.  Anyone above pays a flat 10%.   

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post #6 of 23

So...we need a fairer, more evenly distributed way of using government violence to take money and property from people?

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

<...>
The debate is rather about two other issues: a) is it moral to do this, and b) is it better in the long term.

 

Those issues may be debatable, but it seems that at least Benjamin Franklin had made up his mind about point (a), if I'm interpreting correctly the passage "But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it".

 

As to (b), what do you mean by "better"? Better for whom?

 

 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

So...we need a fairer, more evenly distributed way of using government violence to take money and property from people?

 

 

What is money and property without government?

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Those issues may be debatable, but it seems that at least Benjamin Franklin had made up his mind about point (a), if I'm interpreting correctly the passage "But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it".

 

Quite possibly. As have many today, including some here. But that does not end the debate. Someone having had made up their mind, no matter who that person is, doesn't obviate the need for additional discussion and debate. It is fine that some have made up their minds (and many have made them up the other way.) But that doesn't mean the debate is or should be over.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

As to (b), what do you mean by "better"? Better for whom?

 

Better overall life for everyone (or most). The problem is that the proposed approach amounts to trying to achieve something good by doing something bad. This typically ends badly for everyone. While trying to achieve something good by doing things morally might take a bit longer (and there's no strong evidence this is true), it has the ultimate effect of being best for everyone overall because as base morality has not been compromised which, as I claim, almost always ends badly for everyone.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

What is money and property without government?

 

Safe.


Edited by MJ1970 - 6/5/12 at 1:30pm

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post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

Quite possibly. As have many today, including some here. But that does not end the debate.

 

Fair enough.

 

Better overall life for everyone (or most).

 

I believe this is a part of the debate. I have witnessed how "better life for 5% of everyone" can be achieved. "Most" would take 50%, and I have yet to see this. "Everyone" is utopia.

 

Safe.

Lol, that was a good one. I was being serious though.

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

I believe this is a part of the debate. I have witnessed how "better life for 5% of everyone" can be achieved. "Most" would take 50%, and I have yet to see this. "Everyone" is utopia.

 

Everyone is Utopia to a degree. But I believe quite strongly that we have the following choice:

 

  1. Freedom, respect for and protection of everyone's property (this is what is sometimes called capitalism or the free market system when describing a socio-political-economic system)
  2. Un-freedom and pillaging and plunder of some people's property for the benefit of other people (this is socialism, fascism, Marxism or collectivism in one degree or another)

 

With #1 we have the opportunity that we are all unequally rich. Option #1 leads to a world that is best for most people (perhaps not all) and more people than option #2. It is an option that more people will be more wealthy than in option #2. The people who suffer most under option #1 are the elite who are often (today) protected by the state in one way or another, at the expense of the rest of us.

 

With #2 we can all* be equally poor. Option #2 leads to a world where there is an increasingly small and rich elite and everyone else is poor.

 

Many people are so uncomfortable with the unequal part of #1 that they fail to see the rich part. They strive for #2 because they value equality over liberty and respect for people and their property, a pathway that leads to poverty for almost everyone.

 

*In actuality this isn't quite correct, there tends to be a small elite that it very well off. This is where we're at or heading in the US...and that is actually because of our trending toward more socialism, fascism, Marxism or collectivism not because we have trended toward more freedom, respect for and protection of everyone's property, because that is absolutely not the trend.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Lol, that was a good one. I was being serious though.

 

So was I.


Edited by MJ1970 - 6/5/12 at 1:42pm

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post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Lol, that was a good one. I was being serious though.

 

 

"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." -- Frederic Bastiat

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

Everyone is Utopia to a degree. But I believe quite strongly that we have the following choice:

 

  1. Freedom, respect for and protection of everyone's property (this is what is sometimes called capitalism or the free market system when describing a socio-political-economic system)
  2. Un-freedom and pillaging and plunder of some people's property for the benefit of other people (this is socialism, fascism, Marxism or collectivism in one degree or another)

 

<...>

 

 

I mostly agree. I do like to stress though that we have to be very aware that we are making a conscious choice. At any point in time we are making  this choice, over and over. Should the circumstances change, we may choose differently, and there should be nothing to stop us from doing so.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

 

 

"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." -- Frederic Bastiat

 

Beautiful words; however I don't see how the line I quoted earlier goes against them, regarding property in particular. What property, aside from what you physically produced or received with your own hands, existed before man-made laws?

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Beautiful words; however I don't see how the line I quoted earlier goes against them, regarding property in particular. What property, aside from what you physically produced or received with your own hands, existed before man-made laws?

 

Perhaps you need to clarify or restate your question. As I read it, the implication seemed to be that property doesn't exist unless it is declared to be such by a group of individuals calling themselves a government.

 

But maybe it's the concept of property, in general, that needs clarification. Does property exist if there is no individual to own and make use of it?

 

Here's an excerpt from Murray N. Rothbard's For a New Liberty:

 

 

Quote:
Man comes into the world with just himself and the world around him — the land and natural resources given him by nature. He takes these resources and transforms them by his labor and mind and energy into goods more useful to man. Therefore, if an individual cannot own original land, neither can he in the full sense own any of the fruits of his labor. The farmer cannot own his wheat crop if he cannot own the land on which the wheat grows. Now that his labor has been inextricably mixed with the land, he cannot be deprived of one without being deprived of the other.
 
Moreover, if a producer is not entitled to the fruits of his labor, who is? It is difficult to see why a newborn Pakistani baby should have a moral claim to a quotal share of ownership of a piece of Iowa land that someone has just transformed into a wheatfield — and vice versa of course for an lowan baby and a Pakistani farm. Land in its original state is unused and unowned. Georgists and other land communalists may claim that the whole world population really "owns" it, but if no one has yet used it, it is in the real sense owned and controlled by no one. The pioneer, the homesteader, the first user and transformer of this land, is the man who first brings this simple valueless thing into production and social use. It is difficult to see the morality of depriving him of ownership in favor of people who have never gotten within a thousand miles of the land, and who may not even know of the existence of the property over which they are supposed to have a claim.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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post #14 of 23
Quote:

 

Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

 

Perhaps you need to clarify or restate your question. As I read it, the implication seemed to be that property doesn't exist unless it is declared to be such by a group of individuals calling themselves a government.

 

But maybe it's the concept of property, in general, that needs clarification. Does property exist if there is no individual to own and make use of it?

 

Here's an excerpt from Murray N. Rothbard's For a New Liberty:

 

 

 

Yes, upon re-reading I realize I wasn't clear. I was trying to see a compromise between Franklin's and Bastiat's words, by drawing a line between property before laws and definitions (what one could own if no other individuals existed), and property defined by laws (what one owns thanks to the existence of other individuals). For example, I could live alone on an island and own all the land there. I could also buy land on an island without ever visiting it, but for that I would have to make an agreement with others that the land will be my property. I couldn't own land on an island I've never been to unless there's a group of people that believes in my right of ownership.

post #15 of 23

But does your scenario require government?

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

But does your scenario require government?

 

Some sort of government, inevitably.

 

Clearly, not when I live alone on an island; however, in order to guarantee my ownership of land on another island: to provide the currency I used to purchase it, to take care of its inheritance after my death, to give justice during a dispute of ownership.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

So...we need a fairer, more evenly distributed way of using government violence to take money and property from people?

 

Uh...I'm not where you are on this.  Would I like to have no taxes?  Absolutely.  Is that even remotely realistic?  No.  So yes, the tax system needs to be as fair and evenly distributed (and efficient) as possible.  

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post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Uh...I'm not where you are on this.  Would I like to have no taxes?  Absolutely.  Is that even remotely realistic?  No.  So yes, the tax system needs to be as fair and evenly distributed (and efficient) as possible.  

 

I think we realize you're not with us yet. That's fair. Whether no taxes is realistic or not is a matter for debate, but in terms of short-term goals, yet a simpler, cleaner, lower and more efficient tax system would do wonders. The thing that best fits that would be this:

 

  1. Reduce spending...a LOT!
  2. Eliminate all income (personal and corporate), capital gains and property taxes.
  3. Replace these with either: more direct user fees/taxes (e.g., gas tax) for things where that's practical or a general sales tax

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post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

 

I'll tell you why....because the Left will never support it.  It will be called "regressive" and "unfair" and even "heartless."  We've got BR running around screaming about Republicans that talk about broadening the tax base, for Pete's sake.  49% of households now pay no federal income taxes.  Are the "elites" who pay an effective rate of zero part of the problem?  Absolutely.  But it's not just them.  We need a system where everyone or nearly everyone contributes. The only people paying nothing or next to nothing in federal taxes should be those who make near the state-adjusted poverty lines.  Everyone else should pay at least something.  We need a fair, flatter system with new brackets and vastly reduced deductions.  Something like this (broad sketch only):

 

Assuming family of four, no deductions or exemptions. These are just the general brackets, not tax tables.   

 

Poverty line or below ($22,350 for 2011): 0%

 

$22,351-44,700 (200% of poverty line)  2.5% 

 

$44,701-89,400 (400% of poverty line)  4.5% 

 

$89,401-`178,002:  8% 

 

$178,003-$1,000,000 11%

 

$1,000,001-$10,000,000 15% 

 

$10,000,001+ 20% 

 

 

Something like the above would produce a fairer system that would cut waste and fraud by billions.  It would ensure that nearly everyone (except the very poor) pays something.  The very rich would still pay rates that are 10X higher than middle-lower income people.   Cap gains could be restructured as well, so that anyone under the 8% bracket in terms of cap gains paid nothing.  Anyone above pays a flat 10%.   

I know your figures are only meant as a rough guide, but so they should be, because those figures would mean that the Federal Government would have only about a third of the budget it currently has. That isn't going to help the debt problem.

 

What you're also proposing is a shift from where at the moment the percentage of income to the percentage of taxes paid is nearly uniform from rich to poor, to being one where the the poor pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the rich as a share of the total taxes paid. See here- 

 

 

 

 

Those earning over $10 million a year in 2011 had an effective (i.e. total) tax rate of 15.3% (compare that to those who pay 21.3% who only earn $60,000- $65,000). You want to raise their income tax rate to 20%. But about half of their income comes from capital gains and dividends, and if you lower that rate to 10% they're going to be paying almost the same amount as before, and in many cases much less. 

 

I also think some tax breaks are a positive incentive, like charitable giving and R&D, that need more support, not less.

 

What we really need to do to address this imbalance is tax capital gains at regular income tax rates. According to the following article, that would up the total tax bill for those earning over $10 million a year to 30.6%. Therefore higher, as it should be, of those earning $60-65k.

 

Lowering capital gains for further down the income ladder though would be beneficial.

 

Link- http://www.ctj.org/pdf/buffettruleremedies.pdf

 


Edited by Hands Sandon - 6/5/12 at 6:03pm
"I have been made victorious by terror~ Muhammad

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," ~ Barack Obama

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post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hands Sandon View Post

...because those figures would mean that the Federal Government would have only about a third of the budget it currently has. That isn't going to help the debt problem.

 

 

God forbid that the budget expenditures return to those anarchistic dark ages of...1992. Yikes.

 

But, more to the point, the deficit and debt are not going to be fixed by raising tax rates. The budget problem will only be resolved by cutting spending and, curiously enough, also cutting taxes which is counterintuitive but true.

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post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

God forbid that the budget expenditures return to those anarchistic dark ages of...1992. Yikes.

 

But, more to the point, the deficit and debt are not going to be fixed by raising tax rates. The budget problem will only be resolved by cutting spending and, curiously enough, also cutting taxes which is counterintuitive but true.

 

Agreed.  Now, let me put it another way:  Hands, you're out of your goddamned mind.  First, no....revenue would not drop dramatically.  For one thing, we wouldn't have one half of taxpayers paying nothing income tax (which is what the number is now).  Secondly, it would remove much of the ability and desire to avoid/cheat on taxes.    Next: 

 

 

 

Quote:
What you're also proposing is a shift from where at the moment the percentage of income to the percentage of taxes paid is nearly uniform from rich to poor, to being one where the the poor pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the rich as a share of the total taxes paid. See here- 

 

I'm proposing zero to minuscule rates for the poor and very low rates for the lower brackets.  I'm proposing an unavoidable and much higher tax for those making more.  No more millionaires paying nothing.  No more people making $60,000 paying nothing.  No more loopholes.  

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post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 

The following has included the average Federal income tax rates (which includes the 40% of people who typically pay no income tax) which are much higher than your compulsory rates. Compare them, add them up, and you've just taken about two thirds of the Federal revenue away. 

"I have been made victorious by terror~ Muhammad

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post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hands Sandon View Post

The following has included the average Federal income tax rates (which includes the 40% of people who typically pay no income tax) which are much higher than your compulsory rates. Compare them, add them up, and you've just taken about two thirds of the Federal revenue away. 

 

Unfortunately that chart has nothing to do with reality.  People that make $13,000 don't pay income taxes...at all.  In fact, there are many making double and triple that paying nothing in income taxes.  There are people making over $50,000 paying nothing in income taxes.  The number is not 40%.  It's now 49%.  That's right...half of all adults in the U.S. pay NOTHING in terms of federal income taxes.   

 

Secondly, I don't buy the effective rates.  My wife and I earn in the top 10% of all taxpayers according to that chart (combined).  Our effective tax rate is nowhere near 18.5%.  Many years it's been around 10% by the time deductions are done.  Now, it's possible my brackets may need adjustment, but I do know two things:  1)  It would not take away two thirds of revenue, because all but the very poorest people would contribute and there would few ways to avoid paying, 2) It would shift the burden of taxation from rich to poor.  Really Hands, only a lunatic progressive could look at rates that are 10 times higher for the wealthy than the poor and conclude that we're shifting the burden to the the lower income levels.  

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