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Arrogant Rich People: Taxation, Income Disparity, and the Shrinking Middle Class

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Posts

  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    We mostly need to make the capital gains tax more on par with income tax, at the moment, and to work on closing as many loopholes as possible.

    Specifically corporate tax loopholes. I glanced at an article a week or so ago saying Obama's plan to investigate some tax havens for corporations is being held up and may not happen due to some lobbying. weeeeee

    If Obama really wanted it to happen, it would happen. He's just as compromised as anyone in Congress.

    mrt144 on
  • CommunistCowCommunistCow Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    We mostly need to make the capital gains tax more on par with income tax, at the moment, and to work on closing as many loopholes as possible.

    Specifically corporate tax loopholes. I glanced at an article a week or so ago saying Obama's plan to investigate some tax havens for corporations is being held up and may not happen due to some lobbying. weeeeee

    If Obama really wanted it to happen, it would happen. He's just as compromised as anyone in Congress.

    Remember there are these 3 branches thingies. The executive branch is not a dictatorship.
    This is a bill in the senate. We have a hard enough time getting health care passed.

    CommunistCow on
    No, I am not really communist. Yes, it is weird that I use this name.
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    We mostly need to make the capital gains tax more on par with income tax, at the moment, and to work on closing as many loopholes as possible.

    Specifically corporate tax loopholes. I glanced at an article a week or so ago saying Obama's plan to investigate some tax havens for corporations is being held up and may not happen due to some lobbying. weeeeee

    If Obama really wanted it to happen, it would happen. He's just as compromised as anyone in Congress.

    Remember there are these 3 branches thingies. The executive branch is not a dictatorship.

    The DOJ isn't beholden to Congress in regards to investigating potential crimes. The political will to investigate huge capers involving powerful parties doesn't exist.

    mrt144 on
  • CommunistCowCommunistCow Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    The DOJ isn't beholden to Congress in regards to investigating potential crimes. The political will to investigate huge capers involving powerful parties doesn't exist.

    This is more about changing the law so THEN the DOJ could crack down.

    CommunistCow on
    No, I am not really communist. Yes, it is weird that I use this name.
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    The DOJ isn't beholden to Congress in regards to investigating potential crimes. The political will to investigate huge capers involving powerful parties doesn't exist.

    This is more about changing the law so THEN the DOJ could crack down.

    I was wrong in the division. The IRS investigates, the DOJ enforces actions.

    mrt144 on
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited November 2009
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Would you count buying stocks and investments as "spending"?

    Irond Will on
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  • iTunesIsEviliTunesIsEvil Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Do people with higher incomes spend a larger proportion of their income on taxable goods or do they reinvest a significant portion of that?

    They're going to either buy more goods or buy more expensive goods, either way you're making it up in volume or over all costs.
    10chart.large.gif
    See, reality says otherwise.

    iTunesIsEvil on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Just what we need in the middle of a massive economic downturn, an incredibly regressive tax that actively discourages people from spending money. Genius!

    Lawndart on
  • Darkchampion3dDarkchampion3d Registered User
    edited November 2009
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Do people with higher incomes spend a larger proportion of their income on taxable goods or do they reinvest a significant portion of that?

    They're going to either buy more goods or buy more expensive goods, either way you're making it up in volume or over all costs.
    10chart.large.gif
    See, reality says otherwise.

    Damn you and your pretty graphs! The effect is even more profound when you start looking at the top 1%

    Darkchampion3d on
    Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence --Thomas Jefferson
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited November 2009
    Lawndart wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.
    Just what we need in the middle of a massive economic downturn, an incredibly regressive tax that actively discourages people from spending money. Genius!
    Sales taxes work alright if you also give lower income people money to offset the extra expense. This is how most of Europe - especially Scandinavia - finance programs.

    But of course it's not a replacement for income taxes.

    Andrew_Jay on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Do people with higher incomes spend a larger proportion of their income on taxable goods or do they reinvest a significant portion of that?

    Easy: just provide a refundable tax credit for the average amount of consumption tax a lower-middle-class family would spend in a year to everybody. And the only thing exempted should be medicine; that way you don't need to differentiate betweey caviar and peanut butter, it's all just covered in the credit.

    If poor money management skill is a concern to you, split it over two, four, or even twelve payments. I imagine the cost of sending the checks would be dwarfed by the money brought in.

    I fail to see how this is a horrible idea. I mean, it's a horrible idea as a sole source of revenue, which is why most who propose it are insane. But as a supplemental? Seems like a way to tax those who consume luxury (and semi-luxury) goods, tourists, and illegal aliens while leaving the lower classes alone.

    EDIT: High five, A_J!
    Irond Will wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Would you count buying stocks and investments as "spending"?

    Probably not. Tax it when they spend it. Or when their grandchildren spend it. Somebody is gonna spend it eventually.

    mcdermott on
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Do people with higher incomes spend a larger proportion of their income on taxable goods or do they reinvest a significant portion of that?

    Easy: just provide a refundable tax credit for the average amount of consumption tax a lower-middle-class family would spend in a year to everybody. And the only thing exempted should be medicine; that way you don't need to differentiate betweey caviar and peanut butter, it's all just covered in the credit.

    If poor money management skill is a concern to you, split it over two, four, or even twelve payments. I imagine the cost of sending the checks would be dwarfed by the money brought in.

    I fail to see how this is a horrible idea. I mean, it's a horrible idea as a sole source of revenue, which is why most who propose it are insane. But as a supplemental? Seems like a way to tax those who consume luxury (and semi-luxury) goods, tourists, and illegal aliens while leaving the lower classes alone.

    EDIT: High five, A_J!
    Irond Will wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Would you count buying stocks and investments as "spending"?

    Probably not. Tax it when they spend it. Or when their grandchildren spend it. Somebody is gonna spend it eventually.

    How is this not just an semantical difference of income tax?

    mrt144 on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Probably not. Tax it when they spend it. Or when their grandchildren spend it. Somebody is gonna spend it eventually.

    How is this not just an semantical difference of income tax?

    It's (generally) harder to hide consumption than income, and consumption taxes will hit money that income tax will not (hence the reason I mention tourists and illegal immigrants).

    mcdermott on
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    How is this not just an semantical difference of income tax?
    Why the GST is a good idea
    So consider an investment project - the sort of project that involves purchasing machinery and equipment, employing labour and producing something that people are willing to buy - that offers a rate of return of 20%. And let's also suppose that a 20% rate of return is enough for investors to fork over their savings and let the project go through . . . After the corporate tax is applied, the $20 profit becomes $14 sent to the investor. After income taxes are applied, that $14 becomes $8.40 available for expenditure on consumption goods.

    This example illustrates the problem with income taxes: they introduce a wedge between the rate of return that is generated by the investment project and the rate of return that the investor actually sees. If there are many investment projects, each with a different rate of return, income taxes can reduce net rates of return to the point where marginal projects are not carried out. Output, employment and wages will be lower than what they would otherwise have been.

    Now suppose that instead of corporate or income taxes, the investor is faced with a consumption tax of - say - 100%. This means that the $100 the investor has burning in her pocket can purchase $50 worth of consumer goods. Since there are no taxes on profits or on income, the entire $20 return is remitted. That $20 can then be used to buy $10 worth of consumer goods. Since the sacrifice of $50 in consumer goods has generated a return of $10 of consumer goods, the effective rate of return is still 20%. Contrary to income taxes, consumption taxes do not introduce wedges between the rates of return generated by an investment project and the rates of return that the investor sees.
    The basic difference, that I can understand, is that income taxes can distort the true return on an undertaking, while sales taxes are more upfront and transparent.

    Andrew_Jay on
  • rockmonkeyrockmonkey Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    How is this not just an semantical difference of income tax?
    Why the GST is a good idea
    So consider an investment project - the sort of project that involves purchasing machinery and equipment, employing labour and producing something that people are willing to buy - that offers a rate of return of 20%. And let's also suppose that a 20% rate of return is enough for investors to fork over their savings and let the project go through . . . After the corporate tax is applied, the $20 profit becomes $14 sent to the investor. After income taxes are applied, that $14 becomes $8.40 available for expenditure on consumption goods.

    This example illustrates the problem with income taxes: they introduce a wedge between the rate of return that is generated by the investment project and the rate of return that the investor actually sees. If there are many investment projects, each with a different rate of return, income taxes can reduce net rates of return to the point where marginal projects are not carried out. Output, employment and wages will be lower than what they would otherwise have been.

    Now suppose that instead of corporate or income taxes, the investor is faced with a consumption tax of - say - 100%. This means that the $100 the investor has burning in her pocket can purchase $50 worth of consumer goods. Since there are no taxes on profits or on income, the entire $20 return is remitted. That $20 can then be used to buy $10 worth of consumer goods. Since the sacrifice of $50 in consumer goods has generated a return of $10 of consumer goods, the effective rate of return is still 20%. Contrary to income taxes, consumption taxes do not introduce wedges between the rates of return generated by an investment project and the rates of return that the investor sees.
    The basic difference, that I can understand, is that income taxes can distort the true return on an undertaking, while sales taxes are more upfront and transparent.

    I'm having a problem with those examples. I see how it is an example of the sales taxes being more upfront and transparent, but I feel the numbers aren't giving a clear portrayal of where money is going and whats spent where.

    rockmonkey on
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  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    The problem I have is that it's too easy to cheat the system once you add "bargaining" to the table. Talk the guy down 50%, then give him him the rest of the money as a tip for his efforts. Sure, it doesn't really work for candy bars and movie tickets, but it could work for high priced items like sports cars and jewelry. At which point, you would need a new agency to monitor such activity.

    Schrodinger on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    Capital gains should just be counted as income, or automatically be taxed at the highest marginal rate.
    It's not that simple.

    Say you buy stock worth $1,000 in 1999 and sell it in 2009 for $2,000. You've gained $1,000 from your original investment, but considering inflation, etc. how much of that is really profit? It might even be a loss, despite the larger number attached to the sale value.

    isn't this just as true an argument with regard to current capital gains taxes?

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    How is this not just an semantical difference of income tax?
    Why the GST is a good idea
    So consider an investment project - the sort of project that involves purchasing machinery and equipment, employing labour and producing something that people are willing to buy - that offers a rate of return of 20%. And let's also suppose that a 20% rate of return is enough for investors to fork over their savings and let the project go through . . . After the corporate tax is applied, the $20 profit becomes $14 sent to the investor. After income taxes are applied, that $14 becomes $8.40 available for expenditure on consumption goods.

    This example illustrates the problem with income taxes: they introduce a wedge between the rate of return that is generated by the investment project and the rate of return that the investor actually sees. If there are many investment projects, each with a different rate of return, income taxes can reduce net rates of return to the point where marginal projects are not carried out. Output, employment and wages will be lower than what they would otherwise have been.

    Now suppose that instead of corporate or income taxes, the investor is faced with a consumption tax of - say - 100%. This means that the $100 the investor has burning in her pocket can purchase $50 worth of consumer goods. Since there are no taxes on profits or on income, the entire $20 return is remitted. That $20 can then be used to buy $10 worth of consumer goods. Since the sacrifice of $50 in consumer goods has generated a return of $10 of consumer goods, the effective rate of return is still 20%. Contrary to income taxes, consumption taxes do not introduce wedges between the rates of return generated by an investment project and the rates of return that the investor sees.
    The basic difference, that I can understand, is that income taxes can distort the true return on an undertaking, while sales taxes are more upfront and transparent.

    I should be more clear; Once you starting introducing base credits and exemptions you're essentially just pantomiming the progressive income tax system.

    mrt144 on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Out of curiosity, what stops rich people from just buying their shit in other countries?

    Thanatos on
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Out of curiosity, what stops rich people from just buying their shit in other countries?

    Hopefully well paid and incorruptible customs agents?

    mrt144 on
  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Do people with higher incomes spend a larger proportion of their income on taxable goods or do they reinvest a significant portion of that?

    They're going to either buy more goods or buy more expensive goods, either way you're making it up in volume or over all costs.
    10chart.large.gif
    See, reality says otherwise.

    Damn you and your pretty graphs! The effect is even more profound when you start looking at the top 1%

    That graph is highly misleading, as someone making $9k a year qualifies for all kinds of state and federal aid, not least of which is EITC.

    Salvation122 on
    sig.png
  • CommunistCowCommunistCow Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Do people with higher incomes spend a larger proportion of their income on taxable goods or do they reinvest a significant portion of that?

    They're going to either buy more goods or buy more expensive goods, either way you're making it up in volume or over all costs.
    10chart.large.gif
    See, reality says otherwise.

    Damn you and your pretty graphs! The effect is even more profound when you start looking at the top 1%

    That graph is highly misleading, as someone making $9k a year qualifies for all kinds of state and federal aid, not least of which is EITC.

    ...but is it misleading when comparing the middle firth and highest fifth? That is what we have been using it for is comparing those two groups on how much they spend.

    CommunistCow on
    No, I am not really communist. Yes, it is weird that I use this name.
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited November 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Out of curiosity, what stops rich people from just buying their shit in other countries?
    The most common situation in which GST is applicable but has not been assessed by the supplier, other than GST exempt situations, is the case of foreign suppliers. This does not mean that all foreign suppliers do not assess GST. Some foreign suppliers are registered and do collect GST.

    When goods, as distinct from services, are purchased from a foreign supplier, these items must pass through Customs. Acting as an agent of Canada Revenue Agency, Customs assesses and collects GST where appropriate.
    The problem I have is that it's too easy to cheat the system once you add "bargaining" to the table. Talk the guy down 50%, then give him him the rest of the money as a tip for his efforts. Sure, it doesn't really work for candy bars and movie tickets, but it could work for high priced items like sports cars and jewelry. At which point, you would need a new agency to monitor such activity.
    Virtually every other developed country other than the U.S. makes extensive use of sales taxes (they're as high as 25% in some of the Scandinavian countries).

    Some how we've all managed.

    But to offer an actual answer - to not remit the taxes the business would have to claim it received less and hide the rest of the income. I.E. get in a lot of trouble with the taxing authorities. Does it happen from time to time? Of course, but it's not something to seriously worry about.

    For person-to-person sales, on big ticket items (cars, property, etc.) you're going to draw up a contract or deed which can easily be used to assess the sales tax owing.

    Andrew_Jay on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    jhunter46 wrote: »
    The current income tax system is far to broken to salvage. If you want to tax someone's income, don't tax what they make, tax what they spend.

    A federal sales tax of lets say, 10% on everything but groceries and medicine should cover it.

    Do people with higher incomes spend a larger proportion of their income on taxable goods or do they reinvest a significant portion of that?

    They're going to either buy more goods or buy more expensive goods, either way you're making it up in volume or over all costs.
    10chart.large.gif
    See, reality says otherwise.

    Damn you and your pretty graphs! The effect is even more profound when you start looking at the top 1%

    That graph is highly misleading, as someone making $9k a year qualifies for all kinds of state and federal aid, not least of which is EITC.

    ...but is it misleading when comparing the middle firth and highest fifth? That is what we have been using it for is comparing those two groups on how much they spend.

    I was less than $10k/year for months and am still on the waiting list for all these miraculous government services I've heard of. Most of them (in wisconsin anyway) take 3 months to years to get, I think it's entirely possible to starve to death if you lose your job and have no family (my mom is on month 3 for waiting for unemployment to contact her)

    override367 on
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    How is this not just an semantical difference of income tax?

    How is ANY tax not a semantical difference of income tax? Income is money. You are taxing money. All taxes tax money. All taxes are income tax.

    Now, there's a ton of minor details, but I'm guessing you're trying to gloss those over with your 'semantical difference' phrase.

    SageinaRage on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Out of curiosity, what stops rich people from just buying their shit in other countries?

    As mentioned, customs agents.

    Also, the fact that buying from other countries is inconvenient and often they're charging the same or higher consumption taxes.

    And since we're talking (at least I'm talking) about a consumption tax in addition to the current tax structure, you can allow for a nonzero noncompliance rate and it's probably still be worth it.
    I was less than $10k/year for months and am still on the waiting list for all these miraculous government services I've heard of. Most of them (in wisconsin anyway) take 3 months to years to get, I think it's entirely possible to starve to death if you lose your job and have no family (my mom is on month 3 for waiting for unemployment to contact her)

    I managed to get onto unemployment benefits pretty quickly, but that was before the economy was ground into dust (back in 2005). Aside from that, yeah...our safety net is far from impressive. It's even worse if you don't have kids; it seems like in most cases our social safety net for singles or couples without children bears a striking resemblence to the Republican health care plan, only instead it's "find a job, you bum" or if you can't find a job "go die somewhere out of sight."

    mcdermott on
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    How is this not just an semantical difference of income tax?

    How is ANY tax not a semantical difference of income tax? Income is money. You are taxing money. All taxes tax money. All taxes are income tax.

    Now, there's a ton of minor details, but I'm guessing you're trying to gloss those over with your 'semantical difference' phrase.

    Yes, precisely - if you consider an idealised perfectly-applied VAT with no loopholes, under a simple model it becomes essentially identical to a proportional income tax, since all income was someone else's spending. An income tax reduces your wage; a sales tax makes said wage able to buy less stuff - plug the numbers in and the effects are identical.

    Now there are a ton of aberrations from this model in reality, but all of these involve a model of society substantially more complicated than "rich people" and "poor people".

    ronya on
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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I managed to get onto unemployment benefits pretty quickly, but that was before the economy was ground into dust (back in 2005). Aside from that, yeah...our safety net is far from impressive. It's even worse if you don't have kids; it seems like in most cases our social safety net for singles or couples without children bears a striking resemblence to the Republican health care plan, only instead it's "find a job, you bum" or if you can't find a job "go die somewhere out of sight."

    What's really ironic is that Milton goddamn Friedman was the economist who coined the modern idea of a natural equilibrium rate of unemployment - so there are always people who are unemployed for no fault of their own.

    Dudes don't even read the ideas they're pushing.

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mrt144 wrote: »
    How is this not just an semantical difference of income tax?

    How is ANY tax not a semantical difference of income tax? Income is money. You are taxing money. All taxes tax money. All taxes are income tax.

    Now, there's a ton of minor details, but I'm guessing you're trying to gloss those over with your 'semantical difference' phrase.

    I explained it what I meant; once you start adding in all the progressive features of an income tax to sales tax it's kinda pointless to tout the amazing fairness of a sales tax only system.

    mrt144 on
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    ronya wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I managed to get onto unemployment benefits pretty quickly, but that was before the economy was ground into dust (back in 2005). Aside from that, yeah...our safety net is far from impressive. It's even worse if you don't have kids; it seems like in most cases our social safety net for singles or couples without children bears a striking resemblence to the Republican health care plan, only instead it's "find a job, you bum" or if you can't find a job "go die somewhere out of sight."

    What's really ironic is that Milton goddamn Friedman was the economist who coined the modern idea of a natural equilibrium rate of unemployment - so there are always people who are unemployed for no fault of their own.

    Dudes don't even read the ideas they're pushing.

    People like to eat the creme filling of the Oreo.

    mrt144 on
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