Discuss Tax Justice

What is a just level of taxation? Are different individual tax rates, credits, exemptions etc. justifiable? How should corporations be taxed? For what should taxes be used and what say should taxpayers have about it? Is summoning an armed posse an appropriate way to protest?

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  • Peter W.

    I think it drifted from the moral aspect of taxes quite a bit. Also many of the folks need to shorten comments. All in all a very tough subject to takle.

    May 27, 2014

  • Vickie B.

    It was very enlightening. I enjoyed it and will be back.

    May 25, 2014

  • Benjamin E.

    BEST TOPIC WE HAVE DISCUSSED SO FAR

    May 25, 2014

  • greggrthomas

    Not nearly enough time to even begin to discuss such a complex and deep issue.

    May 24, 2014

  • greggrthomas

    That was fun let's do it again. :)

    May 24, 2014

  • Dick L.

    Got a little wide of the target a times all appeared to agree they are necessary.

    May 24, 2014

  • Bonnie

    Hope someone else can take my spot, sorry about the late cancel, too.

    May 24, 2014

  • Bonnie

    Not feeling up to par today, so am going to cancel my RSVP. Sorry to miss this interesting discussion and lunch.

    May 24, 2014

  • Dick L.

    Simplicity is the secret, it is the attraction of the Flat Tax, one percentage for all, well maybe different levels for income steps and then the arguing and loop holes start. Straight forward and simple, no ifs ans or buts.

    May 22, 2014

  • Janet D.

    As a start and perhaps for some additional talking points, you might want to view the 10-minute video at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2011/08/05/january-28-2011-tax-justice/8012/

    Perhaps we should identify and try to come to terms with [yeah, right!] what we mean by "justice": social justice? distributive justice? Is "justice" the same as "fairness"?

    3 · May 22, 2014

    • Andy

      Good introduction!

      1 · May 22, 2014

    • Jim Z.

      Thanks for the link.

      May 22, 2014

  • Roger P.

    The philosophical question: what is a "just" or "justifiable" level of taxation begs the question, what is just or what does it mean to justify a position. Specific answers to these questions, without justifying the underlining assumptions, is simply stating a policy without explaining the underlining philosophical principle. Our conversation here seems to narrow the topic to income tax, but not necessarily. It is not enough to say, philosophically, that different rates are needed because income is not the same. To justify the position we need more; thus, is income a necessary factor? Or is simply being a citizen a factor--everyone pays the same. What factors need we consider to answer these questions without using built-in bias? This is what makes questions like these tough to build concensus, if concensus is even necessary.

    May 21, 2014

  • Dick L.

    The question has arisen, "Do we need to have taxes?"
    I believe the unequivocal answer is YES. Name me one advanced society that doesn't have a tax system. In any society there will always be those needed services that no one wants to do or provide that fall to the governing body to fulfill and the more advanced the mpre the need.

    1 · May 20, 2014

  • greggrthomas

    Roger and Ken raise an interesting point-of-view. So let's look at the questions.

    1. What is a just level of taxation?
    A just level to me would be only the level needed to pay for the services a government provides. 2a. Are different individual tax rates justifiable?
    Different rates are needed because the benefit of government systems varies greatly depending on an individuals position in the society.

    2b. How should corporations be taxed?
    Quarterly on their profits before compensation to the executives, board or shareholders. 3. When are credits, exemptions etc. justified?
    In a just society these would be unnecessary.

    4a. For what should taxes be used?
    Infrastructure and necessary government services. 4b. What say should taxpayers have about it?
    Everything. 5. Is summoning an armed posse an appropriate way to protest?
    If it came to that, but not paying taxes is an appropriate response as well.

    May 20, 2014

  • Ken N.

    Roger, I think you’re correct. I think that recently the group has tended to move away from a philosophical discussion of the topic as stated. We seem to start discussing issues related to the topic, issues that are interesting but not focused on the topic. For example, the issue of fiat money is a very interesting topic but is it the topic we have decided to discuss?

    1 · May 20, 2014

  • Roger P.

    Perhaps I am misreading the questions be asked, but they seem to suggest a general discussion about taxation and the justification for taxes, not specific tax policy. What the captial gains rate should be or whether or not we need a flat tax or a progessive tax or what corporate profits should be specifically is not answering the question of justification or what say taxpayers should have in the process. Afterall, this is Socrates Cafe, (a philosophical discussion) not a place to air complaints about wall street or to give specific solutions to meet individual agendas. But then, again, perhaps I am misreading the topic at hand and what we're being asked to consider.

    May 20, 2014

  • J Ezra P.

    I would like to see a reform of corp. profits. A portion of all profits should go back to the workers. This would create more profit for the individual while reducing the motivation to raise the cost of the item being produced. This would shake up Wall Street but screw them they put us in this situation. I also think we need to do to corps what was done to monopolies.

    1 · May 20, 2014

  • greggrthomas

    One hour and one half of your time
    Well worth it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU
    This explains how we (humanity) got to our current state and what we can (if we choose) do about it.
    Warning: Not a pleasant video, may shatter some or your assumptions.

    1 · May 12, 2014

    • Angela P.

      I just watched Four Horseman. I thought it was very informative Three G. Thanks for the tip.

      1 · May 16, 2014

  • greggrthomas

    Understanding the American economy and who is benefiting is relevant to your children's lives.
    The first one is about a year old and may piss you off.
    http://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM
    The second is a discussion between Bill Moyers and Robert Reich about the film Inequality for All.
    http://youtu.be/q-rpkZe2OEo

    May 15, 2014

  • greggrthomas

    Just finished watching "Inequality for All" another good movie.

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • Pam A.

    I'd like to let everyone know that members can edit their preferences about what notifications they receive from the Socrates Cafe Meetup group. The default setting when you join a group is to receive ALL notifications. Follow these steps to choose which notifications you want to receive: 1) Login to Meetup and click on Socrates Cafe. 2) Click on My Profile at the top right of the page. 3) Select Email and Notifications in the dropdown menu. 4) Uncheck any notifications you prefer not to receive. 5) You may also select the frequency of notifications ("as they are sent", "once a day", or "never"--note that if you choose "never", you'll have to visit the group to find out when the next Meetup is scheduled). Other Meetup groups you belong to may be edited separately following the same steps.

    May 13, 2014

  • greggrthomas

    Wealth cap.

    May 11, 2014

  • Dick L.

    First, we definitely need a fairer tax and since a flat tax has to many variables how about a simple graded tax scale. All income would be taxed except interest on savings accounts up to $50,0000. Salaries, interest, rents, capital gains, commissions, everything, you get it it is taxed. Deductions? Of Course, pretty much the same as now, mortgage interest, health insurance premiums, care for children, capital improvements and since corporations are now considered the same as people for donating money they can be considered the same for paying taxes. Radical? Draconian? Cause Screaming? probably. But the reason for taxes is to provide the government with funds to do all the things a booming growing denser population needs and private or corporate funds wouldn't touch, no profit. Providing for and pacifying a growing population, reducing class differences and the accompanying stresses all helps to keep the 140 million guns in dresser drawers.

    May 10, 2014

  • Benjamin E.

    We need at flat tax and no corporate loopholes. Keep the business schedule C deduction and eliminate capital gains for those making less than $100,000 a year so we can have a middleclass again and have a real American dream instead of corporate slavery for all. No more poverty for those who cant do the math.

    1 · May 9, 2014

    • Angela P.

      Are you advocating the "Fair Tax" model specifically Ben? I have learned that agenda has a lot of lobbyist agenda attached to it as all things seem to. I agree with your premise, we must simplify. Think of the government job reductions.... uh oh!

      May 9, 2014

    • Angela P.

      Nice avatar btw, but I had a fondness for the preceding monkey.

      May 9, 2014

  • Dick L.

    The 50s to 80s were great economic years for all the tax rates ran as high as 85% (graduated of course) and then taxes started being reduced and classified as the economy has collapsed and income disparity has created a class system. Any correlation here?

    1 · May 9, 2014

    • Angela P.

      The recent documentary Inequality for All summed it up pretty well for me. But MO just passed a tax deduction for the top earners starting in 2017 which I'm sure most of you saw. So we're going in the opposite direction now.

      1 · May 9, 2014

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