Off Topic Messages

Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:02 pm

Joe: Don't you now have a conservative Prime Minister? Or is your government infested with Sarah Polley type of quasi-commie socialist-leftists?

Colin: I too believe in a graduated tax system. And I would like to see government health care coverage for those who can't afford their own. Unfortunately there's a lot of unecessary waste in government. Much of the money for the programs goes to bloated beauracracies created to 'administer' the programs.

Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:37 pm

Pete Dube wrote:Colin: I too believe in a graduated tax system. And I would like to see government health care coverage for those who can't afford their own. Unfortunately there's a lot of unecessary waste in government. Much of the money for the programs goes to bloated beauracracies created to 'administer' the programs.


Aahh yes, most organisations can be made to operate more efficiently.

Glad we agree on the way to collect the cash in the first place.

Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:03 pm

Pete Dube wrote:Colin: I too believe in a graduated tax system. And I would like to see government health care coverage for those who can't afford their own. Unfortunately there's a lot of unecessary waste in government. Much of the money for the programs goes to bloated beauracracies created to 'administer' the programs.


As a general point, I think that's true, but does it hold up in relation to health care? Isn't Medicare far more efficient than the private sector insurers, in terms of the percentage of funds that actually go to medical care rather than bureaucracy and overheads? I heard a rather suprising stat on The West Wing that only 2% of Medicare funds are spent on bureaucracy. That seemed improbable, but a quick check on Google seemed to support it. I'm no expert on this issue, so if Medicare really is much less efficient than the private sector, what am I missing?

Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:58 pm

Pete- Isn't Sarah Polley that girl in the movie "Go"? If it is you're losing me.

About the government insurance, the UK isn't exactly collapsing. If there's high taxes that's the price you have to pay. It's not necessarily the end of the world.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:41 am

We have already had cases a workers dying from second hand smoke. Proven.


8)

Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:43 am

Pete Dube wrote:Joe: Don't you now have a conservative Prime Minister? Or is your government infested with Sarah Polley type of quasi-commie socialist-leftists?

Colin: I too believe in a graduated tax system. And I would like to see government health care coverage for those who can't afford their own. Unfortunately there's a lot of unecessary waste in government. Much of the money for the programs goes to bloated beauracracies created to 'administer' the programs.


Not sure of what you mean Pete, but we get taxed on everything, even our meals we're taxed 15% when we eat out, so a 40$ supper looks like 46$, throw in the tip, which the going rate nowadays is 20%, it's a wonder why our economy is in a lull and people stay home.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:21 am

likethebike wrote:Pete- Isn't Sarah Polley that girl in the movie "Go"? If it is you're losing me.


I haven't seen "Go" Bike, but that's the gal. The Weight of Water, No Such Thing, and the Dawn of the Dead remake are the films of Sarah Polley that I'm familiar with. She's a darling of the critics for her work in indie
films. She's also a political activist in Canada, with far leftist/socialist leanings. On the Dawn of the Dead commentary the director and screenplay writer poke fun at her by referring to her as a Canadian communist. Whatever her politics she is a fine young actress.

likethebike wrote:About the government insurance, the UK isn't exactly collapsing. If there's high taxes that's the price you have to pay. It's not necessarily the end of the world.


You're missing the point Bike. You may be alright with the notion of high taxes to the extant that you can casually dismiss it as 'just the price you have to pay' but many in this country feel differently. But hey, as I told Colin I'm for the graduated tax system. I think it's disgusting that Cheney
is getting 1.9 million back! But maybe he'll use some of that money to buy himself a shooting range.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:39 am

I lean more towards a consumption tax system with an elimination of all loopholes.

That way, you get the advantages of a graduated tax (in that those who purchase big ticket items.........the rich........necessarily pay more) while it allows those with less to have better control of their tax burden by monitoring their consumption.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:21 am

Joe Car wrote:.....but we get taxed on everything, even our meals we're taxed 15% when we eat out, so a 40$ supper looks like 46$, throw in the tip, which the going rate nowadays is 20%, it's a wonder why our economy is in a lull and people stay home.


And the well-off pay the same as the ordinary working man for that meal !

That's an example of why I think that income tax is the fairest system.

In the UK, we could do away with:

The Poll Tax [Council Tax]
National Insurance
Road Tax
VAT
TV Licence

And replace the lot with income tax.

As the old socialist doctrine went:

"From each according to their means, to each according to their needs"

Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:54 am

Pete- I don't dismiss it but you have to make a decision as to what is valuable to you and to me the health of the citizens has a worthy position on the tax burden. The benefit to society so far outweighs the detriment. You pay for it one way one or another. There's the loss of productivity. There's the spread of disease. There's shoddy workmanship. There's a loss in the quality of life.

I think you're going Dennis Miller on me with the Sarah Polley reference. I didn't even know she made a point of her political views.

Just like the episode of Maude with John Wayne it's hard to get all worked up over a disagreement with a favorite actor when you love what they do on film.

I agree with Colin that the income tax is the fairest system.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:07 pm

ColinB wrote:
Joe Car wrote:.....but we get taxed on everything, even our meals we're taxed 15% when we eat out, so a 40$ supper looks like 46$, throw in the tip, which the going rate nowadays is 20%, it's a wonder why our economy is in a lull and people stay home.


And the well-off pay the same as the ordinary working man for that meal !

That's an example of why I think that income tax is the fairest system.

In the UK, we could do away with:

The Poll Tax [Council Tax]
National Insurance
Road Tax
VAT
TV Licence

And replace the lot with income tax.

As the old socialist doctrine went:

"From each according to their means, to each according to their needs"


I don't understand how we could do away with National Insurance or what the point would be. Wouldn't that then just mean a higher level of income tax for those on low incomes to make up the shortfall? Or are you suggesting that those on a higher income should be responsible for the pensions and benefits of those on low income? I'm all for a fair tax system and those on a high income paying a little more, but not to the point that all incentive to increase income is removed.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:34 pm

TJ wrote:I don't understand how we could do away with National Insurance or what the point would be. Wouldn't that then just mean a higher level of income tax for those on low incomes to make up the shortfall? Or are you suggesting that those on a higher income should be responsible for the pensions and benefits of those on low income? I'm all for a fair tax system and those on a high income paying a little more, but not to the point that all incentive to increase income is removed.


But at the moment, with National Insurance, the lower-paid are subsidising the higher-paid.

This is because contributions are a percentage of earnings, but the amount of contribution is capped.

The better-off pay a lower percentage of gross than the rest of us !

If this cap were removed, it would operate just like normal income tax, so why not simplify things and integrate the two systems ?

Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:50 pm

ColinB wrote:
TJ wrote:I don't understand how we could do away with National Insurance or what the point would be. Wouldn't that then just mean a higher level of income tax for those on low incomes to make up the shortfall? Or are you suggesting that those on a higher income should be responsible for the pensions and benefits of those on low income? I'm all for a fair tax system and those on a high income paying a little more, but not to the point that all incentive to increase income is removed.


But at the moment, with National Insurance, the lower-paid are subsidising the higher-paid.

This is because contributions are a percentage of earnings, but the amount of contribution is capped.

The better-off pay a lower percentage of gross than the rest of us !

If this cap were removed, it would operate just like normal income tax, so why not simplify things and integrate the two systems ?


Yes but in this case, it's a more specific tax, with a tangible link to benefits. I think it's fair to have a cap when there is a cap on the state pension that everyone receives as a result of their NI contribution. Surely, in this case, the intent is to gather a minimum contribution for specific services, not an ever growing contribution as earnings grow? The income tax bands already take that approach for more general spending. The concept of the rich paying a lower percentage of gross does always sound quite damning, but in some cases it's inevitable simply because they earn more. With the tv licence, it's the same, but no one would sensibly suggest that the charge should continue to escalate with no cap in line with earnings.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:00 pm

TJ wrote:....With the tv licence, it's the same, but no one would sensibly suggest that the charge should continue to escalate with no cap in line with earnings.


Err...... I thought I just did.

This idea of taxation being a disincentive to promotion is a myth.

Imagine an employee being told there was a promotion for him but of his £100 a week raise in salary, 50% would go in tax.

Would he say he'd rather stay as he was ?

Or grab the money ?

No contest, really.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:25 pm

ColinB wrote:
TJ wrote:....With the tv licence, it's the same, but no one would sensibly suggest that the charge should continue to escalate with no cap in line with earnings.


Err...... I thought I just did.


I assumed you didn't mean that exactly. Good luck finding someone willing to pay more than they currently do.

ColinB wrote:
This idea of taxation being a disincentive to promotion is a myth.

Imagine an employee being told there was a promotion for him but of his £100 a week raise in salary, 50% would go in tax.

Would he say he'd rather stay as he was ?

Or grab the money ?

No contest, really.


But can you really say it's fair that anyone should pay an income tax level of 50%? To me it's very hard to justify that anyone should give over that much of their money. The tax rate jumps from 22% to 40% at £36,000, so it's not like the system does not already take higher earnings into account. It's also worth pointing out that more wealthy families are not eligible for either the child tax credit or working tax credit. I think a fair system of taxation should recognise the distinction between high and low income, but not crucify high earners just because a larger contribution won't leave them destitute.
Last edited by TJ on Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:33 pm

TJ wrote:But can you really say it's fair that anyone should pay an income tax level of 50%?


I never made any comment on that.

I just quoted an example.

Yes, I think a case can be made for a levy above the current 40% maximum rate on very high earnings.

Did you see what TV & radio presenters get paid ?

Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:22 pm

ColinB wrote:
TJ wrote:But can you really say it's fair that anyone should pay an income tax level of 50%?


I never made any comment on that.

I just quoted an example.

Yes, I think a case can be made for a levy above the current 40% maximum rate on very high earnings.

Did you see what TV & radio presenters get paid ?


I think there's a case for those people simply being paid less :) But not every high earning job is a trivial waste of time of course. Besides, the general argument (not saying it's one you hold) is that the highest rate would kick in at a far more moderate level than that. One of the main reasons we struggled through bloody Thatcherism was the perception that the Labour Party's main preoccupation was beating up the rich guys. No party will ever gain sufficient support to be elected if they stand on such a platform.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:29 pm

TJ wrote:One of the main reasons we struggled through bloody Thatcherism was the perception that the Labour Party's main preoccupation was beating up the rich guys.
No party will ever gain sufficient support to be elected if they stand on such a platform.


We don't have to 'beat them up', but some earnings are obscene.

Look at those city 'workers' [I use the term loosely] who take home £1M bonuses for simply 'doing their job'.

Tax them to the hilt, I say.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:46 pm

likethebike wrote:Pete- I don't dismiss it but you have to make a decision as to what is valuable to you and to me the health of the citizens has a worthy position on the tax burden. The benefit to society so far outweighs the detriment. You pay for it one way one or another. There's the loss of productivity. There's the spread of disease. There's shoddy workmanship. There's a loss in the quality of life.


I agree with you on this LTB. It's just that your other post came across as being a bit too embracing of high taxes. There was an air of "if it's worth it to you, then you'll pay regardless of the cost." But in my view and the view of many others if the cost is too high then it's not worth it. I don't mind a reasonable percentage of my tax dollars going to help those less fortunate than myself. But the key word is reasonable.

likethebike wrote:I think you're going Dennis Miller on me with the Sarah Polley reference. I didn't even know she made a point of her political views.


I was. I enjoy Miller's humor (even before he went conservative!), and I sometimes engage in some Miller-esque humor on this mb. Most folks don't pick up on it. Regarding Ms. Polley she doesn't necessarily make a point of her politics, it's usually interviewers who make it a point because of her high-profile activism in Canada.

Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:08 pm

I think you topped Miller with Sarah Polley. Still, Miller rolling off jokes about Peter Fonda's Winnebago in "Race with the Devil" and Hester Prynne within two minutes of each other was hard to beat. Personally, even though brought little football knowledge to the game I liked him on Monday Night Football. Ann Margaret stopped by the booth one time and he flattening even her with "Viva Las Vegas" references.

Health insurance though not only benefits the people less fortunate than you but it also benefits you. You can lose your job, you can move onto another job and not risk losing your health insurance. And most of all you can afford a lengthy hospital stay.

Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:34 am

Yes, really, LTB. It's taking forever but Americans are starting to wake up to what a raw deal we have. Because of cold war politics, the unions that championed national health care (especially the Auto Workers) back in the '40s and '50s later had to give up that aim and inadvertantly created / supported a two-tier system, unlike similar industrial Western nations that fought for and gained a form of national health care.

In the West, "socialized medicine" became a bogeyman and here we are in 2006 with 46 million uninsured, although Scat has taken issue with that figure before. (I also wonder how the illegal immigration influx factors into this problem...)

Mirroring unionized companies, many an employer lavished some degree of health insurance on their workers, if only to compete, while those without a job were that much more likely to be uninsured.

Today, with unions, down, if not quite out, it's again a mass problem, particularly as industry has moved off-shore and various other employee benefits are seen as relics of the 20th century. We're actually regressing in this respect as fewer and fewer partake of what was once considered an attainable "middle-class" (as we call it) standard of living.

Pete Dube wrote:Colin: I too believe in a graduated tax system. And I would like to see government health care coverage for those who can't afford their own. Unfortunately there's a lot of unecessary waste in government. Much of the money for the programs goes to bloated beauracracies created to 'administer' the programs.


It's common to tar the government and much of that might be earned, but on this issue in the USA, it's the insurance companies, drug companies and such that have cornered the market on paperwork and bloat.

The beauty of the so-called "single-payer" version of health care (not the sexiest name in the world) is that it allegedly cuts out the middle man. It's not that there would not be private medicine but a lot of insurance men might have to find themselves an honest living and fewer people would use the emergency room as a last gasp way to see a doctor.

While at the ER, in parts of the US anyway, , they'll have to move aside to for an illegal immigrant while there. This is not politically correct but it's true and something to consider.


On the whole, American citizens are unaware how much more vacation time and benefits their counterparts in the UK, Germany, France, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Canada, etc. have in 2006. We may prefer our "lean" and "agile" economy (lower unemployment but then stingier benefits) but there's lots we could learn from.

sam wrote:We have already had cases a workers dying from second hand smoke. Proven.


8)


I never said it hasn't happened (imagine someone behind a bar for thirty years: they are indeed "smoking" in a way even if they dont' themselves) but there is still some apparent lack of firmness on this issue.

I'm off to a smoky bar right now. :wink:

Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:42 am

I think the thing that is divisive about national healthcare is the attitude that that alone will solve the problem. Skyrocketing health costs are also problem. The Right has pushed Tort Reform and that is part of the picture but only a part. The paucity of doctors and health care givers is another part as are the outrageous prices for drugs etc. If you have national health care and address some of these other pieces through other functions you could be closer to a balance.

Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:59 am

True. We do have to turn the mirror around about all those lawsuits.

The Right is well, right on that one!

Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:21 am

Although you don't want to shortchange people's lives who have been ruined by medical malpractice I think another way to keep the issue in check is the loss of license for gross malpractice. There was a man on TV the other night who went into the hospital for an operation on his knee and they operated on the wrong knee. That's simply unacceptable. However, this could interfere with the number of doctors. There's not a perfect solution. I do think the relatively low number of doctors is a huge problem and increasing the number of doctors would significantly decrease lawsuits and insurance rates. A lot of the gross mistakes are made are made because the doctors are overworked and taking too much on their plates.

Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:06 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
It's common to tar the government and much of that might be earned, but on this issue in the USA, it's the insurance companies, drug companies and such that have cornered the market on paperwork and bloat.


No argument with that Greg.

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
On the whole, American citizens are unaware how much more vacation time and benefits their counterparts in the UK, Germany, France, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Canada, etc. have in 2006. We may prefer our "lean" and "agile" economy (lower unemployment but then stingier benefits) but there's lots we could learn from.


But don't they also have rather high taxes?