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What taxes in the United States do you consider regressive?

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yoda's walking stick
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Oct 1 2011 01:02
What taxes in the United States do you consider regressive?

Obviously as socialists we don't have a knee jerk support of all taxes, right? So what taxes are regressive?

yoda's walking stick
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Oct 1 2011 03:47

So, for instance, New York state recently instituted a 2 percent property tax cap. Would you consider that regressive?

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 3 2011 04:21

If you taxed everyone a 15% tax rate no matter how much their income was or how they got it that would be neither "progressive" nor "regressive."

A "progressive" tax is where those at the highest income level are taxed at the highest percentage - say 95% of everything over $5 million, 85% from $3 million to $5 million, 75% from $1 million to $3 million, 60% on $750,000 to $1 million on down to nothing at all below $12,000 a year.

A "regressive" tax is usually disguised, as in a "sales tax" which is regressive because it only taxes consumption and the lower a person's income the higher a percentage of her or his income is consumed and the less is saved. It works like a "cap."

"Sin taxes" on cigaretts or alcohol are regressive again because their is a cap. People who make $12,000 a year spend a higher percentage of their income on cigaretts than someone who makes $1 million even if they smoke twice as much.

I do not support "sin taxes" or "sales taxes" for that reason. I think most taxes should be on income - or better yet - a "wealth tax." I would favor a "capital gains" tax over a "wage tax" for the same reason.

RedHughs
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Oct 3 2011 23:18

Why don't you go to some liberal blog to ask this shit?

I mean, I honestly occasionally argue these kinds of questions on such blogs. In that context, it's a fine if meaningless hobby. Here, it is bullshit. Here, I think it's entirely reasonable to avoid any question of better taxes versus worse taxes, better cops versus worse cops, better death camp versus worse death camps. Whatever. Let the dead bury the dead.

You're wasting our oxygen dude...

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RedEd
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Oct 4 2011 00:45

It's not that bad. For example, identifying the poll tax as particularly exploitative was necessary for the movement against it to come in to being. So understanding who gets hit to what extent by which taxes can feed into class struggle. Having said that, the way the question was posed did seem pretty reformist.

RedHughs
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Oct 4 2011 02:39

Yeah,

A way to put it would be that there are no taxes we support but there are taxes we especially despise...

Quote:
Obviously as socialists we don't have a knee jerk support of all taxes, right?

Au contraire, Communists don't support any capitalist institutions, knee-jerk or not... but some, indeed institutions come in for special criticism...

working class
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Oct 4 2011 03:59

In Keynsian economics, progressive taxation on the rich was a way for the state to regulate capital flow into more public works and therefore supposedly bring about economic growth. However, the problem arose when such public spending only drove inflation up and caused no economic growth, leading to stagflation, which is what happened after the 1950s, after which Keynsianism fell out of the good accounts of the bourgeoisie and was replaced by a more right-wing version of bourgeois economics during the 1970s and this continues to be the case today. Attempts to abolish regressive taxes or bring about progressive taxes are doomed to failure considering the depth of the current crisis as the prospect for real, industrial-based, economic growth is almost nil and most capital exists as finance capital.

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 5 2011 02:03
RedHughs wrote:
Why don't you go to some liberal blog to ask this shit?

I mean, I honestly occasionally argue these kinds of questions on such blogs. In that context, it's a fine if meaningless hobby. Here, it is bullshit. Here, I think it's entirely reasonable to avoid any question of better taxes versus worse taxes, better cops versus worse cops, better death camp versus worse death camps. Whatever. Let the dead bury the dead.

You're wasting our oxygen dude...

How is the Class War being fought in the U.S. today? Over taxes.

So we have here a "Red" that thinks a discussion about taxes is "bullshit."

Ultra-leftism in its purest form. Like the drivel that comes from the U.S. Socialist Labor Party, formally correct on paper but utterly irrelevant to the actual class struggle taking place in the world.

tastybrain
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Oct 5 2011 02:19

The Class War is being fought over taxes? I don't think so. Maybe in the most spectacular arenas it's taxes...taxes are a big issue but isn't the class war actually being fought in the terrain of everyday life?

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 5 2011 02:36

Open your window and look outside at the real world tastybrain. How many states in the United States are playing "balance the budget" by dismantling the safety net? Or is the "safety net" just "reformist window dressing" not worth bothering your pretty little head about?

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Tojiah
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Oct 5 2011 02:37

Oh, Alexander Roxwell... is there any bourgeois playing field you won't market to the proletariat?

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 5 2011 02:54

Sure Tojiah, let's have a class struggle somewhere where the bourgeoisie won't bother us.

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Tojiah
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Oct 5 2011 03:03

Oh, wouldn't that be sweet. Unfortunately, that can't happen, now can it? On the other hand, if we have class struggle at the arena of production, where the bourgeoisie have no choice but to utilize us, then we have a certain advantage, and we can start playing by our own rules. I think I read that in some books and papers by a few guys from Germany in the 1800's. You might want to look that up.

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 5 2011 03:46

That reminds me of the story of the wino with a high IQ and the helpful neighbor.

A helpful neighbor was walking down the sidewalk one evening when he saw a wino with a high IQ crawling around on the ground under a lampost evidently looking for something.

"What are you looking for?" asked the helpful neighbor.

"I'm looking for my wallet" said the wino with the high IQ.

"Let me help you" said the helpful neighbor, "where did you lose it?"

"Over there somewhere" said the wino with the high IQ pointing over in the dark area by the fence.

"Why are you looking under the lampost then?" asked the helpful neighbor.

"The light is better there" replied the wino with the high IQ.

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Tojiah
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Oct 5 2011 03:55

It's funny that you think you're the helpful neighbor in this parable.

LBird
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Oct 5 2011 08:19
Tojiah wrote:
It's funny that you think you're the helpful neighbor in this parable.

I must be missing something, Tojiah.

I thought Alexander was the 'fence in the dark' within the story: an irrelevant, passive and benighted detail.

tastybrain
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Oct 5 2011 18:31
LBird wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
It's funny that you think you're the helpful neighbor in this parable.

I must be missing something, Tojiah.

I thought Alexander was the 'fence in the dark' within the story: an irrelevant, passive and benighted detail.

I just didn't understand it at all. I must be stupid.

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Open your window and look outside at the real world tastybrain. How many states in the United States are playing "balance the budget" by dismantling the safety net? Or is the "safety net" just "reformist window dressing" not worth bothering your pretty little head about?

Of course I will worry my pretty little head (thanks for the compliment, by the way). The capitalist class forcing the cost of our oppression onto us to an even greater extent is obviously an issue that can serve as a catalyst for organizing...however, since this a communist site and we are in the "theory" section there is nothing wrong with pointing out the inherent reformism and limitation of a politics which centers around "good" and "bad" taxes, because unless this issue is part of a broader critique of capitalism we will simply end up supporting social democracy and keynsianism. And how could the everyday struggle of millions of wage slaves against the conditions of their existence be less important than "taxes", no matter what the bourgeois media says?

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Arbeiten
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Oct 5 2011 21:52

Yes, there is a tax* problem in the U.S right now, and for us to be good leftists we should begin to engage with people and help them decide what taxes are nicer than others, because that's real class war. Don't suggest to anybody that the whole idea of taxes might be regressive ideological dog shit. DO NOT ENGAGE IN RUTHLESS CRITICISM FOR CHRIST SAKE! DON'T SUGGEST TO THE OL' PROLIES THAT THE STATE AND THE WHOLE TAX SYSTEM MIGHT BE PART THE PROBLEM! Do that and you might instigate revolution or something silly like that....

*There is a class war that is being fought over taxes in a way your right (but it seems to me for the wrong reason). The republican party and all their cronies are calling for the abolition of many taxes to line their filthy pockets. Whether that actually constitutes a war or just a full on pillage however is up for debate....

yoda's walking stick
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Oct 6 2011 04:16

Sometimes I hate fucking anarchists. I much prefer the ISO's willingness to engage with political reality. On the other hand I hate the ISO's Leninism. Why isn't there something in between?

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Tojiah
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Oct 6 2011 04:34

Yoda, most people here don't consider themselves anarchists - they consider themselves libertarian communists. Hence the name of this website: "libcom". If you're looking for people who care about "policy" issues, you're really in the wrong place. Good luck on your journeys, it's a big Internet out there.

LBird
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Oct 6 2011 05:08
yoda's walking stick wrote:
Sometimes I hate fucking [libcommers]. I much prefer the ISO's willingness to engage with political reality.

But, yoda, the purpose of Communism is to redefine what 'political reality' is, and to destroy the current 'political reality'.

Why would we seek to engage with something which fundamentally damages us?

I think this philosophical difference is what separates you, Alexander and the ISO from the majority of the LibCom posters, both Anarchist and Marxist. The real issue is not 'taxes' or 'safety nets', but the capitalist system.

If someone wants to merely increase taxes on the rich or defend the social security element of the capitalist state, then fine, go and mix with people who share that political view. Those people are liberals and reformists.

Personally, I want to destroy both the tax and social security systems (which are elements of the capitalist state) and replace them with Communism.

If you or Alexander don't also seek that destruction, and contrastingly you want to preserve and fight for the 'best elements' of the tax and social security systems, why post on a Libertarian Communist board and yet be surprised? We all know from other threads that Alexander has a strong streak of moralism, of what is just 'right or wrong', and ignores class analysis, and that you don't share our view of what constitutes 'class analysis'.

If you both say that we Communists don't live in your 'real world' of your 'political reality', you're both right. We seek to reconstitute the 'real'.

RedHughs
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Oct 6 2011 05:30
Quote:
Sometimes I hate fucking anarchists. I much prefer the ISO's willingness to engage with political reality. On the other hand I hate the ISO's Leninism. Why isn't there something in between?

Hey, have you looked into Z Magazine?

I'm not being sarcastic. They might be right up your alley - they're a lot like the ISO but call themselves anarchists or libertarians or something.

I mean, here, I think, I hope most folks want to be even less like the ISO than average anarchists are.

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Arbeiten
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Oct 6 2011 13:15

I got a website for ya wink

Labour party

I'm sure all those guys would like to chat the inanities in how best to tax people

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Arbeiten
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Oct 6 2011 13:17

I don't actually know much about the ISO, but any good Leninist worth his or her salt should not engage with debates on their favourite taxes...

Spikymike
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Oct 6 2011 16:08

Taxation issues are primarily a matter of debate between different sections of the ruling and capitalist classes in so far as in the long run it is they as a whole who pay them rather than the working class as a whole.

We workers need to be concerned with what we get to take home in our pay packet, pension or benefit cheque, irrespective of the notional gross amounts shown on pieces of paper, and how much that net amount will buy back.

However, it is true that 'in the long run' doesn't answer everything in the day to day class struggle as 'what we get to take home' depends on our collective strength from time to time to offset reductions in pay resulting from tax changes or increases in prices as an initial result of some tax change. Different section of workers may be more or less strong in dealing with this and certainly it was the case with the last Tory 'Poll Tax' that many non-wage earning workers had no other way to resist than through a 'non payment' and street protest movement.

Taxation is also used by the state to divide workers from each other by seeking to influence the distribution of income between different sections of the working class eg families, singles, young, old, men, women etc and to individualise net income distribution. Getting involved in their policy debates over these issues suits them for this reason.

We cannot ignore tax changes that reduce our material standard of living but these should simply be viewed in the same way as any other direct reduction in our wages, pensions or benefits or any other increase in the cost of living from any other cause and resisted accordingly.

snipfool
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Oct 6 2011 22:55
LBird wrote:
yoda's walking stick wrote:
Sometimes I hate fucking [libcommers]. I much prefer the ISO's willingness to engage with political reality.

But, yoda, the purpose of Communism is to redefine what 'political reality' is, and to destroy the current 'political reality'.

Why would we seek to engage with something which fundamentally damages us?

I think this philosophical difference is what separates you, Alexander and the ISO from the majority of the LibCom posters, both Anarchist and Marxist. The real issue is not 'taxes' or 'safety nets', but the capitalist system.

If someone wants to merely increase taxes on the rich or defend the social security element of the capitalist state, then fine, go and mix with people who share that political view. Those people are liberals and reformists.

Personally, I want to destroy both the tax and social security systems (which are elements of the capitalist state) and replace them with Communism.

If you or Alexander don't also seek that destruction, and contrastingly you want to preserve and fight for the 'best elements' of the tax and social security systems, why post on a Libertarian Communist board and yet be surprised? We all know from other threads that Alexander has a strong streak of moralism, of what is just 'right or wrong', and ignores class analysis, and that you don't share our view of what constitutes 'class analysis'.

If you both say that we Communists don't live in your 'real world' of your 'political reality', you're both right. We seek to reconstitute the 'real'.

You also want to destroy the wage system, right? Is it antithetical to communism to engage with it? To fight changes - reductions - to your pay? Whilst I think I understand what you're staying, Spikymike's attitude (for example) seems more reasonable and perhaps showing a little bit of the political reality yoda was looking for. I think it can be quite alienating never to slip into the real world from time to time, LBird!

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 7 2011 01:35

My little story was not made up by me but is an old story I heard long long ago - actually I think I read it in Z magazine or something like that. It is not a story about me. I am not in the story. It is a story about a man (a wino) who looks where the "light is good" rather than "where the object actually is" and actally thinks he might find it that way.

The reactions to both myself and Yoda would be laughable if they weren't so pitiful. Rejecting all activities that are not "maximalist" means you are sitting in the mud far far away from any real activity of the workers waiting for the class struggle to come to you rather than engaging in the class struggle and attempting to steer it in a more productive direction. To the extent that you do that you are as relevant to the class struggle as the Socialist Labor Party. Even the Spartacist League will have more impact than you will.

Z magazine is alot like Noam Chomsky. Theoretically they are mush - but they pay close attention to what they see out the window and are usually right on the money. Their analysis, like Noam Chomsky's, suffers, but they are engaged in the class struggle.

tastybrain
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Oct 7 2011 01:52
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
My little story was not made up by me but is an old story I heard long long ago - actually I think I read it in Z magazine or something like that. It is not a story about me. I am not in the story. It is a story about a man (a wino) who looks where the "light is good" rather than "where the object actually is" and actally thinks he might find it that way.

The reactions to both myself and Yoda would be laughable if they weren't so pitiful. Rejecting all activities that are not "maximalist" means you are sitting in the mud far far away from any real activity of the workers waiting for the class struggle to come to you rather than engaging in the class struggle and attempting to steer it in a more productive direction. To the extent that you do that you are as relevant to the class struggle as the Socialist Labor Party. Even the Spartacist League will have more impact than you will.

Z magazine is alot like Noam Chomsky. Theoretically they are mush - but they pay close attention to what they see out the window and are usually right on the money. Their analysis, like Noam Chomsky's, suffers, but they are engaged in the class struggle.

Dude I don't think people are saying don't engage in such struggles. I think people are saying we should be constantly trying to push concerns over "taxes" farther and that accepting the terrain of "taxes" as that of the entire struggle condemns us to simply support the social-democratic (or neoliberal, if we are talking about the US) "lesser evil"...amongst other communists why talk about good and bad taxes? We think they, along with money itself, wage labor, the state, etc is bullshit. Since you and Yoda both understand what real communist politics are, why are you so dismissive of us pointing out that "taxes" are not the real issue? Again, I have no problem in anarchists/communists engaging in the dialogue over taxes and getting involved, we just have a problem with the idea of "good taxes" when it is raised within our own tendency.

tastybrain
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Oct 7 2011 01:54
Arbeiten wrote:
DO NOT ENGAGE IN RUTHLESS CRITICISM FOR CHRIST SAKE! DON'T SUGGEST TO THE OL' PROLIES THAT THE STATE AND THE WHOLE TAX SYSTEM MIGHT BE PART THE PROBLEM! Do that and you might instigate revolution or something silly like that....
LBird
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Oct 7 2011 05:15
snipfool wrote:
I think it can be quite alienating never to slip into the real world from time to time, LBird!

On the contrary, mate, it's my constant presence in our 'real world' that's the cause of my 'alienation', not my 'slipping, from time to time', into trying to discuss Communism.

snipfool wrote:
Whilst I think I understand what you're staying, Spikymike's attitude (for example) seems more reasonable and perhaps showing a little bit of the political reality yoda was looking for.

Be 'reasonable' to 'political reality'? How far did being 'reasonable' to the 'political realities' of Charles I and Louis XVI get the English and French revolutionaries?

Both the 'Divine Right of Kings' and 'Wage-labour' have to be destroyed.

Asking the king to be constitutional or for fighting for wage rises won't cut the mustard.

I think that it's best for Communists to be honest from the start. Whilst we follow Alexander's advice of engaging in the 'real activity of the workers', I think we Communists are lost. Workers themselves have to start wanting to engage in the 'real activity of the Communists'.

I know, I know, I'm a dreamer, ignoring 'political reality'...

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Arbeiten
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Oct 7 2011 13:19

This is Yodas thing right. start a thread, don't get the answer he/she likes, play the 'political reality' card. This time Alex has his back though. Now Alex, correct me if I am wrong, but the working class are not involved in the writing or implementing of taxation policy are they? If there is some public space where the working class do this, tell me, because in that case you are right, we are really far away from the workers and we should be there picketing it....