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Cost of Living and Taxation or Something

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    @Quid amazing to live there though huh? Or does the novelty wear off after a few weeks, unlike a vacation?

    Ladies.
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    Xaviar wrote:
    HeraldS wrote:
    Modern Man wrote:
    Xaviar wrote:
    As for those ridiculous apartments people are throwing out, there has to be a piece of the picture that we are not seeing. I would imagine either those are outliers, or there is something else at play. Because that cannot be an average living place, while the average income in the area cannot afford it. That isn't how the world works. So again, I accept that not all jobs are available everywhere. But I'll bet that in your area, there are people working at mcdonalds and starbucks. And I bet they make way less than you. And I'd also bet they don't have a 4 hour commute. Because if they did, they'd find a job at a closer mcdonalds or starbucks. So how are they getting by? I don't suggest you do that. But I do suggest you find a middle ground. It's there. Trust me.
    In a place like NYC or DC, people who work at McDonalds or Starbucks have to live in bad neighborhoods and/or have a whole bunch of roommates. There's no real secret there. You can live anywhere if you're willing to accept an incredibly low standard of living.

    In places like New York most of those that work in McDonald's and similar places are poor minorities or immigrants who live quasi-communally in the outlying boroughs. They take these jobs because working in Manhattan beats working in the Bronx. I could barely get by in Manhattan on $40k. 0% chance of doing it on or near minimum wage. New York is an outlier and you (Xaviar) really should refrain from commenting on it unless you've lived there and/ or know what the hell you're talking about. It does not compare, financially or otherwise, with any other city in the US.

    That's fair, and brings me back to the first point in that quote, being that it either has to be an outlier, or there have to be more issues at play -- I meant no offense.

    But that does make me want to ask about the consistent trend in this thread in trying to compare the rest of the US to an outlier. If that really is the case, wouldn't this discussion be more productive using Boston or something as a model? Just curious.

    Boston's not NYC, but it's arguably the second most expensive metro in the US. Kind of neck-in-neck with San Francisco.

    Pretty much everything that's said about New York applies to Boston to a somewhat lesser degree - if you check on COL comparisons between "New York" and "Cambridge," for instance, you'll find them pretty comparable. Oh, and our public transport isn't as good or pervasive, so trying to hold down costs by getting rid of your car is less feasible.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    Cauld wrote:

    I suspect that people arguing that one of the many benefits of living in a city is that you can walk everywhere, probably haven't lived in a city and tried to walk everywhere. I'd much rather drive to buy groceries than carry them for blocks. Same with any other bulky/heavy purchase. Not to mention missing out on bulk discounts/savings more often. Or getting rained on/snowed on, etc. There are plenty of benefits to living in NYC, but being able to carry my groceries home isn't high on my list.

    It is on mine. Instead of suspecting that people are just bullshitting you you could hold the more charitable suspicion that most of us are probably young and single/not-married. The benefits of city living are of course not awesome for every demographic but such is always the case.

  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    schuss wrote:
    bowen wrote:
    Oh I never doubted that, just that the estate could very well been accumulated with a middle class income.

    Unless someone bought some property that somehow became exceptionally valuable over the course of 20 years, no. Also, when that happens, the families usually sell because the property taxes eat them alive. Also note that 45 years of working at $50k a year is only $2.25M BEFORE taxes. So 6 mill is doubtful. This is America's biggest problem - we're WAY too aspirational, because we don't want to be taxed when we're rich, even though 99% never will be.

    Also, don't forget about medical expenses. My parents made well over $250,000 a year combined for about 15 years (and a good living before then too) but my Dad's health problems and associated costs have eaten into their assets substantially (and they have great insurance). While my brother and I will get an inheritance of some sort, it won't be anywhere near the estate tax limit.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    @Quid amazing to live there though huh? Or does the novelty wear off after a few weeks, unlike a vacation?

    I've been perfectly happy here, but there's no way the wife and I would pay to live here long term. We simply don't use enough of the island's supposed value enough to justify it. We like going to the beach, the nice weather, and all. But I'm the only one especially interested in outdoor activities and most of the ones I like can be done irrespective of super nice weather, so we'll definitely be settling somewhere in the mainland where we can surf the internet and eat out at a much cheaper cost of living.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    Julius wrote:
    Cauld wrote:

    I suspect that people arguing that one of the many benefits of living in a city is that you can walk everywhere, probably haven't lived in a city and tried to walk everywhere. I'd much rather drive to buy groceries than carry them for blocks. Same with any other bulky/heavy purchase. Not to mention missing out on bulk discounts/savings more often. Or getting rained on/snowed on, etc. There are plenty of benefits to living in NYC, but being able to carry my groceries home isn't high on my list.

    It is on mine. Instead of suspecting that people are just bullshitting you you could hold the more charitable suspicion that most of us are probably young and single/not-married. The benefits of city living are of course not awesome for every demographic but such is always the case.
    Yeah, I've pointed this out in a few threads. The driving force for a lot of people moving out to the suburbs is because it's fucking difficult to live in urban areas if you have kid(s) and no car. Plus, other factors that single people don't care so much about (schools, whether the parks are infested with homeless people etc.) become an issue once you have little ones toddling about.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    schuss wrote:
    bowen wrote:
    Oh I never doubted that, just that the estate could very well been accumulated with a middle class income.

    Unless someone bought some property that somehow became exceptionally valuable over the course of 20 years, no. Also, when that happens, the families usually sell because the property taxes eat them alive. Also note that 45 years of working at $50k a year is only $2.25M BEFORE taxes. So 6 mill is doubtful. This is America's biggest problem - we're WAY too aspirational, because we don't want to be taxed when we're rich, even though 99% never will be.

    Well, 15k / year invested for your working life (~45 years) gets you 2.5M at 5% growth. If you then sit on it for another 20 years you hit 6.8M (not counting withdrawals for retirement expenses). I don't know how it works in the US, but here in Canada you can take up to 18% of your gross income before any taxes and invest it in a retirement plan. If you make 60k that's $10800/yr right there and you can put another 5k into a tax-free investment account

    Of course, this assumes steady growth, that you can reliably put the money away each year and not raid the account, no major medical issues that you have to pay a ton for, etc and that your goal is to leave a bunch of cash for your kids

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Modern Man wrote:
    Julius wrote:
    Cauld wrote:

    I suspect that people arguing that one of the many benefits of living in a city is that you can walk everywhere, probably haven't lived in a city and tried to walk everywhere. I'd much rather drive to buy groceries than carry them for blocks. Same with any other bulky/heavy purchase. Not to mention missing out on bulk discounts/savings more often. Or getting rained on/snowed on, etc. There are plenty of benefits to living in NYC, but being able to carry my groceries home isn't high on my list.

    It is on mine. Instead of suspecting that people are just bullshitting you you could hold the more charitable suspicion that most of us are probably young and single/not-married. The benefits of city living are of course not awesome for every demographic but such is always the case.
    Yeah, I've pointed this out in a few threads. The driving force for a lot of people moving out to the suburbs is because it's fucking difficult to live in urban areas if you have kid(s) and no car. Plus, other factors that single people don't care so much about (schools, whether the parks are infested with homeless people etc.) become an issue once you have little ones toddling about.

    Most of those issues are related to housing though.

    Namely, you can get more house and more space for the same amount of money.

    Which is the same reason the previous generation moved out into the "suburbs" (which are now often just a part of the metro area itself). Except they were fine with less house.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    schuss wrote:
    This thread has some epic misunderstandings of what medians and cost of living mean. However, the real thing we should do is increase estate taxes/death taxes. Why? We never intended there to be a high-powered aristocracy in this country, but yet we have one. That, with reforming the tax code (trust tyrannus, he is an accountant and can probably tell you 8 easy ways rich people can hide income) should net us what we want. Taxing poor people is dumb and unprofitable, as they have less money to contribute overall, despite the fact there are more of them.
    I'm totally on board with this. You can't take it with you. If you die with it, I say it's fair game for massive taxation. Your middle class dad saved $6 million? That money needs to be spent, or invested, but I don't see why it needs to be passed on to you. You aren't your dad.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    Yar wrote:
    schuss wrote:
    This thread has some epic misunderstandings of what medians and cost of living mean. However, the real thing we should do is increase estate taxes/death taxes. Why? We never intended there to be a high-powered aristocracy in this country, but yet we have one. That, with reforming the tax code (trust tyrannus, he is an accountant and can probably tell you 8 easy ways rich people can hide income) should net us what we want. Taxing poor people is dumb and unprofitable, as they have less money to contribute overall, despite the fact there are more of them.
    I'm totally on board with this. You can't take it with you. If you die with it, I say it's fair game for massive taxation. Your middle class dad saved $6 million? That money needs to be spent, or invested, but I don't see why it needs to be passed on to you. You aren't your dad.
    That money is almost certainly invested already. Nobody puts $6 million under their mattress.

    And I don't really see a good argument for discouraging people from planning long-term for their family's financial stability.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    Yar wrote:
    I'm totally on board with this. You can't take it with you. If you die with it, I say it's fair game for massive taxation. Your middle class dad saved $6 million? That money needs to be spent, or invested, but I don't see why it needs to be passed on to you. You aren't your dad.

    I disagree, but only to an extent.

    I don't actually mind rich people having a ton of money, but I do mind when that money isn't being put back into the economy, or is being put into other nation's economy, or is being used to purchase goods and services that don't grow the economy, or is being used to manipulate political outcomes, or is being used to prop up and support industries that should naturally be changing business models.

    Basically, the economy isn't a one-way street where you take its money and give nothing back. You don't get to be Nicolas Cage and buy 15 castles in Germany and travel to-and-fro by yacht. You can, however, be Bill Gates and donate a ton of your money to schools and the underprivileged.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    I don't actually mind rich people having a ton of money, but I do mind when that money isn't being put back into the economy, or is being put into other nation's economy, or is being used to purchase goods and services that don't grow the economy, or is being used to manipulate political outcomes, or is being used to prop up and support industries that should naturally be changing business models.
    I'm trying to think of something that fits into this category, but am coming up blank.
    Basically, the economy isn't a one-way street where you take its money and give nothing back. You don't get to be Nicolas Cage and buy 15 castles in Germany and travel to-and-fro by yacht. You can, however, be Bill Gates and donate a ton of your money to schools and the underprivileged.
    Other than envy, why do you care how rich people spend their money, so long as their spending choices aren't harming you. Are you going to argue that Americans shouldn't have the freedom to buy a vacation home overseas?

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    I don't think estate taxes would be necessary if we had a working tax system for the rich (as in golden toilet butler rich, not technically-wealthy). The really rich mostly make money via investment returns, which there are many and diverse ways of successfully avoiding paying taxes on. If we were actually taxing that money as it was generated then there'd be no reason (in my mind) to tax it again when it's given as an inheritance. But then I'm generally against multiple levels of taxes. The fact that I have to pay income tax on my income and then pay taxes when I use my income already annoys me.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    Modern Man wrote:
    Are you going to argue that Americans shouldn't have the freedom to buy a vacation home overseas?

    I think Americans' first duty is to the stability of their own nation. Economic policies should never be set in stone, and people should be encouraged to help out their own country, first. Sometimes heavily encouraged.

    Joe Sixpack working for CorporationUSA spends his money in the US economy, on clothes and food and entertainment. The CEO of CorporationUSA is taking the profits s/he earned from Joe's work and is spending it overseas or on minimum-wage private staff for their beach house at Martha's Vineyard.

    If the argument against illegal immigration is that they're taking our jobs and money and sending it all to Mexico or wherever, why can't we use that against businesses and executive who do the same?

    I understand, and even support, the economic freedoms of the private citizen. But the national economy isn't a closed system where you take more than you give because you like having a gold toilet when the cost of doing so is the prevention of 1000 other people from buying gold toilets. That's the thing that Objectivists always like to pretend isn't part of Objectivism: you don't get to fuck honest people over to achieve your goals. But when you're buying your fourth vacation home instead of paying your employees more or giving them comparable bonuses as you receive, in a macroeconomic sense that's exactly what you're doing.

    The economy is predicated on jobs. Job growth, job creation, and wage expansion. When your money isn't helping that occur, you're not helping the economy that put you where you are. And that is your obligation.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    I think Americans' first duty is to the stability of their own nation. Economic policies should never be set in stone, and people should be encouraged to help out their own country, first. Sometimes heavily encouraged.

    Joe Sixpack working for CorporationUSA spends his money in the US economy, on clothes and food and entertainment. The CEO of CorporationUSA is taking the profits s/he earned from Joe's work and is spending it overseas or on minimum-wage private staff for their beach house at Martha's Vineyard.

    If the argument against illegal immigration is that they're taking our jobs and money and sending it all to Mexico or wherever, why can't we use that against businesses and executive who do the same?

    I understand, and even support, the economic freedoms of the private citizen. But the national economy isn't a closed system where you take more than you give because you like having a gold toilet when the cost of doing so is the prevention of 1000 other people from buying gold toilets. That's the thing that Objectivists always like to pretend isn't part of Objectivism: you don't get to fuck honest people over to achieve your goals. But when you're buying your fourth vacation home instead of paying your employees more or giving them comparable bonuses as you receive, in a macroeconomic sense that's exactly what you're doing.

    The economy is predicated on jobs. Job growth, job creation, and wage expansion. When your money isn't helping that occur, you're not helping the economy that put you where you are. And that is your obligation.
    If you're arguing in favor of tariffs, I'm not wholly unsympathetic. Even though I think there is a lot to the argument that tariffs often serve as a way to reward politically connected industries at the expense of the average American's pocketbook.

    But your dislike of rich Americans buying property overseas is a situation where the cure is worse than the disease. Are you going to ban the freeflow of capital around the world? I'm also not convinced that this is much of an economic issue, in the grand scheme of things. Sure, there are some uberwealty buying multiple properties all over the world, but I doubt that involves a large amount of money, in the grand scheme of things. Is this really something that we need to worry about?

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    Modern Man wrote:
    But your dislike of rich Americans buying property overseas is a situation where the cure is worse than the disease. Are you going to ban the freeflow of capital around the world

    No, that's ridiculous and wouldn't have a chance in hell of happening, not to mention it's not something I'd even want. I think the best way to protect the reinvestment into the economy is by incentivizing wealthy citizens and companies by offering tax benefits and rewards for specific hiring/investment/development practices. It's always easier to move money how you want when you offer the carrot and not the stick, a la, giving tax deductions to businesses using GM or Ford for fleet vehicles instead of Toyota.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    No, that's ridiculous and wouldn't have a chance in hell of happening, not to mention it's not something I'd even want. I think the best way to protect the reinvestment into the economy is by incentivizing wealthy citizens and companies by offering tax benefits and rewards for specific hiring/investment/development practices. It's always easier to move money how you want when you offer the carrot and not the stick, a la, giving tax deductions to businesses using GM or Ford for fleet vehicles instead of Toyota.
    I mostly agree, but what you propose in your last sentence is complicated, seeing as 5 of the top 10 cars with the most American-made parts are manufactured by Toyota and Honda.

    http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?section=top&subject=ami&story=amMade0611&referer=&aff=national

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    I will once again vehemently disagree that estate taxes do fuck-all to combat the prevalence of aristocracy here. If anybody thinks Paris Hilton is going to stop being super-wealthy when her dad kicks off even if she doesn't directly get his entire fortune, that person is, to put it politely, a bit silly.

    I like estate taxes, though (and I didn't use to) because... they're free money. You stick a reasonable cap on there - and I think the $5M cap we have is very reasonable - and taking that money has no downsides whatsoever. I have yet to hear of an actual person being harmed because they only got $5M + 50% of the remainder worth of assets when their parents kicked off.

    The point isn't that we should just take the money from the wealthy because we can. I don't buy into the idea that people shouldn't be allowed to become arbitrarily wealthy, and the government has no special claim to any one person's riches.

    The point is that the government needs revenue to function, and that revenue should be taken from the places where taxation does the least harm. Taking money from people who are already poor makes them poorer; let's not do that so much. Taking money from people who are both rich and dead? Sure, that is a jib with a fairly pleasing cut. Throw in some precautions to make sure the families of said rich, dead people are not tangibly harmed by the policy, and we're golden.

    I mean, if you need to raise some tax revenue, this one seems like a no-brainer.

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  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    In terms of inheritance, how about just taxing liquidity? No one needs $5 million sitting in their money silo back in Duckburg.

    The whole point of taxation is putting the money to use. That way, when people want to leave gobs and gobs of legacy wealth to their heirs, they can leave them assets and enterprises instead of a sackful of $100s.

    It would need a lot of specifics, but I also think it would get the older wealthy types moving their money into the economy, and away from building a nestegg for junior's Ferrari and coke binges.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Man this thread has made me realize if I was loaded I'd be making businesses left and right in the US. Like research facilities and the like. That'd be sweet.

    Ladies.
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    In terms of inheritance, how about just taxing liquidity? No one needs $5 million sitting in their money silo back in Duckburg.

    The whole point of taxation is putting the money to use. That way, when people want to leave gobs and gobs of legacy wealth to their heirs, they can leave them assets and enterprises instead of a sackful of $100s.

    It would need a lot of specifics, but I also think it would get the older wealthy types moving their money into the economy, and away from building a nestegg for junior's Ferrari and coke binges.

    Wouldn't rich folk just sort of keep all their money invested and retain only a tiny amount of cash? The result of just taxing liquidity would seem to be a pretty marginal increase in investment(as most rich folk don't really keep cash silos anyway) and damned near no increase in government revenue or positive effects in terms of national debt or deficit.

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  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    Modern Man wrote:
    Julius wrote:
    Cauld wrote:

    I suspect that people arguing that one of the many benefits of living in a city is that you can walk everywhere, probably haven't lived in a city and tried to walk everywhere. I'd much rather drive to buy groceries than carry them for blocks. Same with any other bulky/heavy purchase. Not to mention missing out on bulk discounts/savings more often. Or getting rained on/snowed on, etc. There are plenty of benefits to living in NYC, but being able to carry my groceries home isn't high on my list.

    It is on mine. Instead of suspecting that people are just bullshitting you you could hold the more charitable suspicion that most of us are probably young and single/not-married. The benefits of city living are of course not awesome for every demographic but such is always the case.
    Yeah, I've pointed this out in a few threads. The driving force for a lot of people moving out to the suburbs is because it's fucking difficult to live in urban areas if you have kid(s) and no car. Plus, other factors that single people don't care so much about (schools, whether the parks are infested with homeless people etc.) become an issue once you have little ones toddling about.

    Most of those issues are related to housing though.

    Namely, you can get more house and more space for the same amount of money.

    Which is the same reason the previous generation moved out into the "suburbs" (which are now often just a part of the metro area itself). Except they were fine with less house.

    It's partly housing but it is also partly just what you want out of your neighborhood. I'm fine with bars and restaurants being next-door and have no need for facilities that cater to young kids or married couples.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Modern Man wrote:
    And I don't really see a good argument for discouraging people from planning long-term for their family's financial stability.
    I do - it's better for people to plan for their own long-term financial stability than to have someone else do it. The latter tends to squander things.

    My point is really from the other angle, though - I can make a half-decent case for why any tax is wrong and harmful. But we need tax revenue. So, I think that the tax that I see the least problem with is taxing dead people. It isn't about them being wealthy. It's about them not being at all.

    Yar on
  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    It all starts at the tax code. You can go crazy raising all of these taxes, but you'd essentially just increase the amount of money that you wouldn't be receiving through tax avoidance until you make a workable tax code.

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  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    redx wrote:
    In terms of inheritance, how about just taxing liquidity? No one needs $5 million sitting in their money silo back in Duckburg.

    The whole point of taxation is putting the money to use. That way, when people want to leave gobs and gobs of legacy wealth to their heirs, they can leave them assets and enterprises instead of a sackful of $100s.

    It would need a lot of specifics, but I also think it would get the older wealthy types moving their money into the economy, and away from building a nestegg for junior's Ferrari and coke binges.

    Wouldn't rich folk just sort of keep all their money invested and retain only a tiny amount of cash? The result of just taxing liquidity would seem to be a pretty marginal increase in investment(as most rich folk don't really keep cash silos anyway) and damned near no increase in government revenue or positive effects in terms of national debt or deficit.

    It wouldn't help as much as just raising tax rates to super-high levels would, but I think there's a point where the government loses its moral authority to ask anyone, even the ultra rich, for a large proportion of their wealth "just because."

    Money works best when it's being used. Taxing increasing amounts of it just inspires the wealthy to collect and store more just to make up the perceived difference.

    Raise tariffs and taxes on ultra-luxury items, incentivize entrepreneurship and local private stimulation, and get the money back in the hands of people working to earn it. While we're at it, let's cast a very hairy eyeball on people making impossible sums of money in fields like healthcare, defense, and insurance.

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