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Musketeers, get your tax facts straight - The Galveston County Daily News: Guest Columns

October 25, 2016

Musketeers, get your tax facts straight

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Island Runner posted at 8:02 am on Wed, Apr 23, 2014.

    Island Runner Posts: 401

    If the three blind mice said it it has to be wrong!

  • carlosrponce posted at 8:06 am on Wed, Apr 23, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6338

    General Electric Avoids Taxes By Keeping $108 Billion Overseas.

    As for ExxonMobil, their Income tax expense: $31.05 billion, their earnings before taxes $78.73 billion. Their Revenue: $428.38 billion.

    Jerome Bourgeois, I give you a "D" on your report for faulty, one-sided, biased research. But you didn't get an "F", be happy.[smile]

  • gecroix posted at 8:44 am on Wed, Apr 23, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    "...shovel ready was not as shovel ready as we thought..."
    Hmmmm. where have I heard that before.....,[wink]
    I'll be spending the rest of the day trying to figure out how 2 years of stonewalling and refusing to cooperate and covering for Lois Lerner, not to mention the declaration of 'not a smidgen of corruption' before any conclusions have even been reached by the various committees, proves that there's no IRS corruption.
    It's no wonder the nation is in the mess it is.
    Too much time picking cherries, and not enough hoeing weeds....

  • carlosrponce posted at 10:10 am on Wed, Apr 23, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6338

    The Three Musketeers say you are a very nice person.

  • kevjlang posted at 2:55 pm on Wed, Apr 23, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    There is a difference between total tax liability, and the amount of taxes a corporation actually sends to the IRS. For example, ExxonMobil can take a tax credit in the US based on taxes it pays to foreign governments. For example, for the 2009 tax year, ExxonMobil got a check back from the IRS for 156 million. It wrote checks totaling 110 million to US State and Local governments. It paid 15.2 Billion in taxes to foreign governments. They reported 15.1 billion in Corporate Tax liability. So, some of those number being cited may be cases of both sides are right, but it just depends on what bucket you're pulling the dollars out of.

  • kevjlang posted at 11:10 pm on Wed, Apr 23, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I think it's also an honest observation that most of these corporations also make the income tax payments on behalf of their workers, as well as paying the employer share of SS and Medicare.

    Definitely, the Federal Govt does provide services that we can't readily provide by ourselves, and those services do cost money, and we should all pay our fair share for those services. However, there probably isn't an easy answer as to what that fair share is, and even if there was, I don't there are enough spines in DC that have the guts to figure it out.

  • sverige1 posted at 6:51 am on Thu, Apr 24, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    As far as Republicans not wanting to move forward with highway expansions/repairs -
    Why would they have a vested interest in improvements on the nation's roads when they can hail their private jets and go 1st class any given day, accompanied by their rich cronies?

    Interesting that the thread of republican lack of concern weaves not only with being "OK" with big corporations' tax breaks, but also with many state governors' refusal several months back to expand medicaid, and this has indefinitely led to many folks without medical/and or mental health services. Nothing new here - if you're wealthy and can pull strings to get every loophole you can get then America is great. If you're not part of the upper echelon, then you're out in the elements.

  • gecroix posted at 9:24 am on Thu, Apr 24, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    Fair share.
    Conservative: Everybody who uses it should help pay for it, even if just a little pay.
    'Progressive': I use it but somebody else pays for it, even if they never use it.
    It helps a lot that what passes for a 'progressive' base ignore the fact that their 'leaders' telling them to hate the 1% evil rich are, themselves, members of the 1%.
    The 'progressives' have become the member of the dining party who always manage to have to go P when the check shows up. Or the one in the bar crowd who bellies up all night, but never buys a round.
    The cook, Mom of a family of 4, the Maihchers, spends the money for gas to the store and to buy the ingredients, spends the time and labor to blend them, cooks them, makes up 6 dozen cookies. Inlaws drop in, the Taihkas, family of 7, and immediately hit the kitchen and the cookies. Five minutes later, the cookie platter is empty. The Maihcher kids got one cookie each. Ms. Taihka immediately asks Ms. maihcher why she doesn't go to the store and get the makings to cook more cookies for her 'guests', because they want them.
    This is how 'fair share' works to 'progressives'.
    The 'fair share' POTUS, his words, his mantra, is out eating 15 buck per piece cut bait in Japan, on taxpayer dimes, while bemoaning and demonizing 'the rich' and stoking class warfare with the 'middle class', while ignoring that bis policies have made life even worse for them.
    Yet, the 'progressives' still eat it all up...literally...

  • kevjlang posted at 4:23 pm on Thu, Apr 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    There's lots of things that people want--conservative or progressive. Most people feel their fair share is a lot less than the math indicates it should be and very few are happy with what the math says their fair share of use is.

  • gecroix posted at 5:35 pm on Thu, Apr 24, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    At ten to one on cookie 'sharing', not a whole lot of thought on this side of the aisle has to be given to the math of 'fairness'...[beam]

  • kevjlang posted at 6:38 pm on Thu, Apr 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I think it's been noted repeatedly that at the far right, there is zero blame in regards to fair share, and as you move further toward the left, the blame quotient increases until you get all the way to 100% at he extreme left. Just to the left of center is where it jumps from 5% to about 85%. After all, I can't be at fault, either.

  • IHOG posted at 11:06 am on Fri, Apr 25, 2014.

    IHOG Posts: 2486

    My idea of fair is if you need it you help pay for it.
    How much you pay should be determined by how much you use or need government srevices.
    With 50 % of taxpayers paying 99+ % of taxes so 50% of tax consumers pay nothing is the measure of unfairness in our tax code. The less they pay the more they want.

    Our tax code is a mess because politicians can sell "deals" to special interest lobbyists. With a flat tax, the same rate for everyone, there would be nothing to sell. Politicians would suddently become honest.

  • IHOG posted at 11:16 am on Fri, Apr 25, 2014.

    IHOG Posts: 2486

    Conservatives have offered the solution to highway infrastructure repairs.
    Repeal the federal Highway Administration and let the states spend highway taxes on what they need done. Funding on needed jobs could almost be doubled.
    Half of Fed. Highway taxes are spent in DC by the bureaucracy before any is spent on work needed in any state.

  • IHOG posted at 11:30 am on Fri, Apr 25, 2014.

    IHOG Posts: 2486

    Who pays your income and FICA taxes?
    Do you mail a tax payment every month?
    Your employer does.
    Your income and FICA taxes are a financial burden your employer recovers from customers. Your income and FICA taxes are just another cost of doing business.
    If your employers taxes are increased he/she/they must raise prices or spend less on labor.
    If your taxes are increased your employer must raise prices or spend less on labor.

  • kevjlang posted at 2:40 pm on Fri, Apr 25, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Much of that bureaucracy would be reproduced in each state, perhaps resulting in MORE money spent on bureaucracy. It's not the fact we have a central bureaucracy, but that the central bureaucracy constantly gets in its way and trips over itself. When I was in school, two examples of bureaucracy were put up. The US and Japan. This was at a time when Japan was beating us at practically everything. In Japan, they were effective and efficient BECAUSE of their bureaucracy. It was effective and efficient, so society was able to do what it needed to do without the bureacracy being an impediment. Here, our bureaucracy is designed to slow things down. We're a people that doesn't like to see things change too fast. Our bureaucracy ensures that happens.

    If our Congress wants to see the bureaucracies operate more efficiently and spend less money while doing so, our Congress has the muscle to do it. There are a lot of votes that both parties count on within the bureaucracy that operates the DOT, HUD, DOD, et al. They don't want to change the bureaucracies, because they don't want to change the way they have to go dig up voting blocs.

  • kevjlang posted at 2:44 pm on Fri, Apr 25, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    If my share of taxes goes up, my employer doesn't care. My share of taxes is my "Wages" balance line. My employer doesn't matter whether that 10 dollar line is split up as $9 to my bank account and $1 to taxes or the other way around. Their liability remains at $10.

  • carlosrponce posted at 4:31 pm on Fri, Apr 25, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6338

    There is no comparison between Federal bureaucracy and state bureaucracy (except maybe in California).

  • gecroix posted at 6:58 pm on Fri, Apr 25, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    Taxes good for you, bad for me.
    Work bad for me, good for you.
    Very 'progressive'...

  • kevjlang posted at 11:12 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Wait until you get rid of the federal bureaucracy and have to reproduce all the centralized administration. Think about this. What is one of the key reasons large corporations merge? Does the elimination of administrative redundancy ring any bells?

    Makes me wonder whether you're being fully honest when you say you you're against big government. Are you really for bigger government overall, but just less of it at the federal level?

  • carlosrponce posted at 1:25 pm on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6338

    "What is one of the key reasons large corporations merge?' If you eliminate the competition you call the shots and can monopolize the profits! With a fair tax people can see where the money is going. Currently it sort of disappears. Fair enough?

  • kevjlang posted at 5:26 am on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I don't see the connection between tax structure and the general size of bureaucracy. Perhaps the size of the IRS, but not a shred of relationship, from what I can see, between tax structure and Education, Transportation, Defense, etc. Can you explain how you get from fair tax to a less bureaucratic government?

  • carlosrponce posted at 7:44 am on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6338

    it will be closer to the people, less red tape. Easier to take on Austin than Washington. I'd rather deal with a bunch of Texans than the likes of Washington Bureaucrats. Better to deal with the Texas legislature than idiots like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

  • gecroix posted at 8:13 am on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    If everybody paid the same rate of taxation, you'd need a few million less IRS agents to give you 4 different answers from 4 different ones, and the 70,000 page tax code could be dumped. That's quite a bit of bureaucracy dumped right there.
    Then all the other depts of govt would be able to cut all the folks they hire to deal with lobbying for special tax breaks.
    A start.
    The reason little or nothing gets done in DC is because of the arguments against doing so that usually begin with something along the lines of "But, it will take years to see any difference if we do that".
    Then, years later, nothing has still been done.
    Same for tax overhaul.
    Same for building refineries.
    Same for drilling for more oil.
    Same for pick-anything-the-government-has-a-a-hand-in doing or permitting.
    The main thing a 'fair tax' would do is remove the incentive to stick it to your neighbor for your own benefit.
    A way of life too often primary for waaay too many people for waaay to long.

  • carlosrponce posted at 1:02 pm on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6338

    I wonder why those who work for the IRS got bonuses and yet they don't pay their own taxes? Was the tax code TOO COMPLICATED to figure in their bonuses?

  • kevjlang posted at 10:45 pm on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    OK, since you don't want to connect tax structure to bureaucracy, how about this: If the bureaucracy gets allocated down to the states from the feds, how is Texas going to pay for it? Higher sales taxes? Higher property taxes? Higher business taxes?

  • sverige1 posted at 6:31 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Regarding the debate about whether it's better to deal with state government bureaucracies versus dealing with federal bureaucracies:

    Consider for a moment the Interstate road system. Whether you are in Texas, Louisiana, or Alabama, you have good assurance that you'll be driving down a well maintained I -10 road structure. But, have you tried to go down state roads in Louisiana or Oklahoma? Many of those state roads are badly maintained simply because there's no infrastructure to keep up with all of that on the state level.

    Also let's consider regulatory safety in warehouse fertilizer. Remember West, Texas and the conclusion that the fertilizers were improperly stored and substandardly protected? Remember most recently, Corrigan, TX - where the plywood plant exploded? Investigators are still determining the cause, but many are questioning safety measures. Our state regulatory systems are apparently weak (at worst) to substandard (at best). To sum it up: checks and balances need to originate from a stratified, hierarchical, and "top/down" levels. To rely on one local or state entity to safety regulate and build roads yields unevenness in quality control and quality of service.

  • kevjlang posted at 10:02 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Pure conjecture here, but I'd bet that under a "Fair Tax", the total revenues would be estimated to be no less than the same as they are today. As a result, some people will pay more than they do today, and some will pay less than they do today. Whichever party is the one drafting the new tax rates, they're primary focus will be to ensure their primary constituents will not pay more (preferably, they'll pay less) under the new system versus the old. How confident are you that you'll be among the ones left unharmed? Then, once they assemble the new piece of Treasury responsible for keeping the "Fair Tax" "Fair", and, perhaps realize some cost savings, they will find other places to spend it, and most likely not in the area of debt reduction. After all, Democrats want to "preserve" Bush's legacy, and would not be inclined to pay off his debt, and Republicans want to "preserve" Obama's legacy, so they have no desire to pay off his debt. Instead, the savings will be used to salve the concerns of the other bureaucracies concerned about losing their slices of the pie.

    The only thing that will truly fuel the "Fair Tax" is if it will preserve current political alliances while helping to build new ones. I see little connection between a sharp reduction of the size of the IRS and some serious "movement" to reduce the size, ineffeciency, and effectiveness of the other bureaucracies. Overall, there are more votes to be won by maintaining the bureaucracies than in slimming or eliminating them. Which group of politicians do you know of that is willing to cut off their noses despite their faces?

  • gecroix posted at 10:33 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    Unless I'm declared to be more or less of a single person than someone else is, I expect that a flat rate tax for everybody would cause me to pay a) the SAME RATE as everybody else, otherwise known as fair (you'll note we don't charge for milk on a sliding scale - one man's gallon is also anothers...), and to pay b) significantly more than many people at that same RATE based on being blessed to have significantly more than many people.
    IMHO, even if revenues stayed the same to the feds under 'fair tax', the fairness would be no free riders on the federal tax paying train. Everybody would have some skin in the game. Nobody could vote to take what their neighbor earned to give to themselves, via an 'income equalizing' POTUS, or any other such life forms....
    It's long past 'fair' being 10% of folks paying 90% of taxes.
    At least, in a non 'progressive' reality it is...

  • kevjlang posted at 11:17 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Well, you and I both know that you can't squeeze blood from turnips, you can't squeeze water out of rocks, and you can't squeeze tax revenues out of people that can barely, if at all, pay rent. So, if you're looking for a system where everyone pays the same amount, or percentage of tax, you're dreaming. There will be exemptions, and there will be deductions. They must ensure success for their benefactors.

    Of course, the current tax system should not be considered a sacred cow. However, based on my observations over the past 40+ years of "tax debate", we will always find people willing to bash the current system, but few with the backbones to actually do something about it.

    I'm sure that you're not saying that you'd be happy to have a welfare mother paying something nominal like $1, $10, or even $100 in federal taxes. You'd still expect tens or hundreds of time more influence into how the taxes are spent.

    Same absolute pain, or same relative pain. Neither is going to happen in our life times. Perhaps we should hope that we can get legislators that understand the value of the dollars entrusted to them and at least spend them wisely and fairly.

  • gecroix posted at 11:58 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    Personally, I'd prefer that the 'welfare mothers' get off of it, stop having kids that other people have to support, and get out and actually work for their own living.
    Of course, that would require jobs, and tax structure, that could make such a reality. It would also require a sea change in attitude by the generational members of this club. That would have to start with their codependent 'supporters' getting their heads out of their backsides, and demanding SOME work in return for SOME help, and ultimately a life doing what one can afford to do with the pay one is skilled enough to get, or lucky enough. Life is never 'equal'. Only life's creation is equal.
    I don't HAVE to be dreaming, if political stones were not as rare as hens teeth, and we were not so vested in 'fundamental change'.
    The same RATE of federal taxation for everybody is possible with a veto proof majority of the right Party in both the House and Senate.
    I see no reason why anyone, top to bottom, should get a free ride, UNLESS they truly are physically or mentally incapable of working for their own keep. And, for now, I'd include the ones who have been utterly screwed by the Nixon-Carter clone in the Oval office.
    If we had JOBS, we'd not NEED 2 1/2 years or so of unemployment checks and life savings depleted...
    Here's how you squeeze blood from a turnip:
    Tax the turnip, not the income.
    'Fair' would be a national sales tax to replace the graduated income tax.
    And, I'd also say fair might, might, include taxing SNAP card and welfare/unwemployment checks income and/or value, too. After all, Social security is taxed at up to 80% of what the recipient gets, even though he/she ALREADY paid taxes on the money.
    The more somebody gives you for nothing in return, the less likely you are to try to do better on your own.
    Now, step one is get rid of this Ringling Brothers circus 'in charge' in DC, so we can start getting people to work alongside and with each other, instead of listening to daily blather that keeps them separate, and very much hopelessly unequal...

  • kevjlang posted at 3:15 pm on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    It would also involve government intrusions into people's private lives.

    I like the connotation that the poor could and should take action for their plight, but when it comes to the economy, business is completely powerless to overcome a tax system that has been in place for decades, while the recession and stagnation have only been around for a few years.

    I'll grant that there's probably more that the poor can do to resolve their plight. However, I won't grant that we don't have job growth merely because of a few government policies. If you want the poor to quit crying, you should also call for the "big boys" to quit their crying, too.

  • gecroix posted at 3:50 pm on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    I don't care WHO cries, because they'd all get to cry about the SAME RATE of fair taxation.
    It helps that I officially qualify as 'hearing impaired' now...

    I had to smile about that 'government intrusion into people's private lives' stuff.
    How 'private' is a person's life, on the one hand, who spends it waiting each month on 'government money' support, and, on the other hand, who is not able to live the life he actually worked to get because of being forced by the government to give his earnings over to people who have refused to do the same. Not couldn't....wouldn't.
    How 'bout them hands, huh?? [wink]
    Please note...there were only two...[smile]

  • kevjlang posted at 4:16 pm on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Presuming you sleep, I'll presume you dream, too. Your dream of everyone paying the same tax rate, of course, will only be realized if everyone pays 0, or everyone pays everything. Or, everyone is asleep. As long as most of us aren't 100% aligned with those three groups, we both know that we'll never have everyone paying the same tax rate. Probably not even within different tax categories. Our legislators, lobbyists, and other bigwigs will ensure that. Fairer than now? Depends on the eyes of the beholder, I suspect. At best, slightly more than 50% will find it fairer, and slighly under 50% will find it worse.

  • gecroix posted at 5:58 pm on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    National sales tax REPLACES income tax. With a sales tax, it's the same RATE for everybody. Only the value of the purchase increases the amount forked over, not the amount in your wallet.
    People would actually be encouraged to have an income of their own, rather than appropriating one from somebody else's income, too often for their entire lives.
    Actually, I've BEEN poor, real poor, and have the gretaest sympathy for poor people doing the best they can to better themselves, and for anyone thrown into a 'fundamentally changed, new normal' lack of an economy...evidently one done on purpose, since just shutting POTUS up or actually talking UP business, and retracting the idiotic extra thousands of regulations, would spur it dramatically.
    I have NONE, though, for the lifetimers who are content to let me raise their kids and them, and I never even get invited over for a cold Diet Coke...!!
    See, now, this is yet another of those 'could does' that nobody 'will do' because of all the 'but this' and 'but that' and gored oxen moaning in the background.
    I don't get protection from my own private military, or have only my blessings of liberty secured, and am not the only one having my general welfare promoted.
    LONG past time to get back to people contributing more than they take, if they are able medically able to.
    Cheaters. Oh, yeah. No way to get rid of them, EXCEPT when they buy something under a national sales tax, they WILL pay that 'fair share'.
    It HAS to STOP being more profitable to take than to make, or we are doomed as a nation.

  • gecroix posted at 6:08 pm on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    Hey, kevjlang, over in that thread about the idiot bodily orifice Sterling you have yet to define 'accidental' .
    Would you hurry it up.
    It's almost dark....[beam][beam]

  • kevjlang posted at 8:36 pm on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Having been poor, too, I know quite well how regressive sales taxes are. As for the "Fair Tax", I don't think the Musketeers defined that as a national sales tax. I believe they differentiated the Fair Tax from Sales Tax. In any event, adding another 10% to a roll of toilet paper could keep a family from being able to buy a bunch of carrots, which would not be benefit. In order to offset the regression of a flat tax, all kinds of new codes would have to be written to free that money back up. Maybe it will eventually be coded up to be fairer and simpler than our existing system, but then, our existing system isn't unfair or complex merely because it's a "progressive" income tax, but because conservatives, liberals, and legislators in between have set things up to try to reward friends while punishing enemies with the tax code. Now it's got to the point where it benefits very few and punishes almost everyone. Regardless of the theoretical simplicity of a tax code we could dream up, we can count on our legislators to make a mockery of it.