The [US Economy] thread--and not those unrelated things

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  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    I find your disqualified plenty flawed. There is a lot of wealth that avoids taxes but that doesn't mean it isn't wealth.

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  • OghulkOghulk Negative externality Low-energy fuckwitRegistered User regular
    Butters wrote: »
    I find your disqualified plenty flawed. There is a lot of wealth that avoids taxes but that doesn't mean it isn't wealth.

    It can be valuable for measuring inequity in wealth, but inequity in income is more valuable (hence why the gini coefficient uses it for the most part) and equities don't become income until they're either a dividend or are cashed out.

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  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    edited May 22
    Does it matter that Bezos can sell some of that tomorrow to make it income and buy his 34th multi-million dollar extra home

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  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    Other than the market being close do guess :biggrin:

  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    I mean yeah... wealth isn't income. That doesn't mean we should ignore it or not count it.

    Like it's probably stupid to look too closely at the point-in-time wealth of someone whose wealth is mostly in stocks, since they're changing by the minute, but you can still assess that wealth.

    (and tax it!)

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  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Butters wrote: »
    I find your disqualified plenty flawed. There is a lot of wealth that avoids taxes but that doesn't mean it isn't wealth.

    It can be valuable for measuring inequity in wealth, but inequity in income is more valuable (hence why the gini coefficient uses it for the most part) and equities don't become income until they're either a dividend or are cashed out.

    I disagree. You can have a relatively good income, but a total negative wealth that drives down your actual take home income. Think of student loans as an example. A medical doctor may have a salary exceeding $250k but if they are paying back $1M or more in student loans for the next ten years, then their real income is far lower.

    And since something like 50% of US citizens have negative wealths, their current income doesn't matter because their debts are going to be taking up such a large portion of their take home. On the other hand, if Bill Gates suddenly quit working, he's not going to lose his multiple mansions or starve.

    If a movement doesn't have someone that can sit down opposite those in a position of power and strike a deal, how can that movement achieve success?
  • OghulkOghulk Negative externality Low-energy fuckwitRegistered User regular
    Aioua wrote: »
    I mean yeah... wealth isn't income. That doesn't mean we should ignore it or not count it.

    Like it's probably stupid to look too closely at the point-in-time wealth of someone whose wealth is mostly in stocks, since they're changing by the minute, but you can still assess that wealth.

    (and tax it!)

    How exactly would you tax the changing value of equities pre-sale?

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »
    I mean yeah... wealth isn't income. That doesn't mean we should ignore it or not count it.

    Like it's probably stupid to look too closely at the point-in-time wealth of someone whose wealth is mostly in stocks, since they're changing by the minute, but you can still assess that wealth.

    (and tax it!)

    How exactly would you tax the changing value of equities pre-sale?

    Yeah, that was one aspect of Elizabeth Warren's various plans that I had an issue with. The actual administration of a wealth tax just seems needlessly complex. Particularly since we have an already existing methodology for calculating things like capital gains and can just ramp it the fuck up along with top income tax brackets to get pretty damn close to the same result.

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  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    edited May 22
    Ok but stock is the preferred compensation for the upper class specifically to dodge taxes until cashing out which then is taxed lower than income. Amazon has successfully undercut its competition to the point of ubiquity in almost every market it's in. Bezos' stock isn't tanking any time soon and won't ever without a heavy dose of regulation.

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  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    Figure out its position over the whole year, find the average value over the course of the tax period, tax that value.

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    Butters wrote: »
    Ok but stock is the preferred compensation for the upper class specifically to dodge taxes until cashing out which then is taxed lower than income. Amazon has successfully undercut its competition to the point of ubiquity in almost every market it's in. Bezos' stock isn't tanking any time soon and won't ever without a heavy dose of regulation.

    Sure. Capital gains should be taxed progressively and match income tax (which should also increase significantly) with long term capital gains (held over 10 years, not just 1) getting, say, a 5% discount to still encourage capital accumulation and investment. All of that is tangential, though, and doesn't really speak to the weak argument about pandemics making billionaires richer by cherry picking the trough as your start point.

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  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    Sleep wrote: »
    Figure out its position over the whole year, find the average value over the course of the tax period, tax that value.

    Right?

    Like we manage to assess the value of real property and tax it without issue.

    We could do it for stock holdings if we wanted to.

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  • OghulkOghulk Negative externality Low-energy fuckwitRegistered User regular
    Aioua wrote: »
    Sleep wrote: »
    Figure out its position over the whole year, find the average value over the course of the tax period, tax that value.

    Right?

    Like we manage to assess the value of real property and tax it without issue.

    We could do it for stock holdings if we wanted to.

    Problem there is property values change very little over an entire year, whereas stocks change daily, sometimes drastically.

    I'm also not convinced that taking the average value of the stock over an entire year would efficiently determine a person's liability. Kind of want to think it through though so I'll come back after I think it through.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »
    Sleep wrote: »
    Figure out its position over the whole year, find the average value over the course of the tax period, tax that value.

    Right?

    Like we manage to assess the value of real property and tax it without issue.

    We could do it for stock holdings if we wanted to.

    Problem there is property values change very little over an entire year, whereas stocks change daily, sometimes drastically.

    I'm also not convinced that taking the average value of the stock over an entire year would efficiently determine a person's liability. Kind of want to think it through though so I'll come back after I think it through.

    Could go a different route and declare the net change in the value of their holdings to be income... gets complicated against capital gains, but.

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »
    Sleep wrote: »
    Figure out its position over the whole year, find the average value over the course of the tax period, tax that value.

    Right?

    Like we manage to assess the value of real property and tax it without issue.

    We could do it for stock holdings if we wanted to.

    Problem there is property values change very little over an entire year, whereas stocks change daily, sometimes drastically.

    I'm also not convinced that taking the average value of the stock over an entire year would efficiently determine a person's liability. Kind of want to think it through though so I'll come back after I think it through.

    Property also can't be sheltered through half a dozen shell companies and rerouted through the Bahamas. It's one of the reasons I'm broadly Georgist. You can claim that Florida is your primary residence for income purposes, but your mansion still has a North Shore address and is going to owe.

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  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Butters wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    MorganV wrote: »
    I see the math different even if the numbers aren't 100%

    I see someone being able to lose more than my entire town makes in a year, but being fine because they still have 10x that remaining

    And that of course assumes they actually lost money.

    Unless those stocks are sold for a loss (which is stupid unless you need liquidity), or those stocks never gain substantially again (short of this being the start of the apocolypse that's almost a certainty), they haven't "lost" money. The valuation of their current worth has changed downwards, but the assets they control haven't changed.

    If the stock market rebounds as nearly everyone not completely nihilistic expects, even if it's several years out, the valuation of their current worth moves up.

    Yep. Because how rich Jeff Bezos is remains a function of how valuable people think Amazon's services (plus real estate, intellectual property, &c.) are. He isn't that rich, Amazon is, and he owns that much of Amazon's stock. If everyone boycotted the company in perpetuity he'd go broke. But most people won't, especially not when confined to their homes, so...

    I mean, there are a lot of structural problems inherent in all of that and how we have our society arranged. But that doesn't really get as easily summarized as net worth line go up.

    Um...that makes him still pretty fucking rich

    So yeah, it makes him wealthy in assets, but I contend that asset wealth doesn't matter unless you can actually tax it. Which, with stock values, you can't unless you've received a dividend or sell the stock. That's how tax economists tend to view importance of illiquid asset wealth in property vs. equities and securities.

    Dunno, being 'rich' is largely irrelevant if you're just thinking of it as a high score - it matters because of the social power it brings.
    If your assets are largely in that you can control what Amazon does, I think the value of the shares you hold in that become a decent rough estimate of your power.

  • OghulkOghulk Negative externality Low-energy fuckwitRegistered User regular
    moniker wrote: »
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »
    Sleep wrote: »
    Figure out its position over the whole year, find the average value over the course of the tax period, tax that value.

    Right?

    Like we manage to assess the value of real property and tax it without issue.

    We could do it for stock holdings if we wanted to.

    Problem there is property values change very little over an entire year, whereas stocks change daily, sometimes drastically.

    I'm also not convinced that taking the average value of the stock over an entire year would efficiently determine a person's liability. Kind of want to think it through though so I'll come back after I think it through.

    Property also can't be sheltered through half a dozen shell companies and rerouted through the Bahamas. It's one of the reasons I'm broadly Georgist. You can claim that Florida is your primary residence for income purposes, but your mansion still has a North Shore address and is going to owe.

    Tax avoidance is definitely an issue when designing tax systems. I'm generally in line with making the tax system a consumption tax system (so graduated income tax and no tax on interest or savings is one example, purely using sales taxes on goods and services is another), mainly because I don't think the tax system is particularly good at redistribution. Taxes are a means for governments to raise revenue: what they do with the revenue is redistribution and more important.

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  • ArchangleArchangle Registered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »
    Sleep wrote: »
    Figure out its position over the whole year, find the average value over the course of the tax period, tax that value.

    Right?

    Like we manage to assess the value of real property and tax it without issue.

    We could do it for stock holdings if we wanted to.

    Problem there is property values change very little over an entire year, whereas stocks change daily, sometimes drastically.

    I'm also not convinced that taking the average value of the stock over an entire year would efficiently determine a person's liability. Kind of want to think it through though so I'll come back after I think it through.
    The extreme case is that of start-ups. You found a tech company, start work on a prototype, and then your next round of funding means your company (and therefore you) is worth $7-8digits.

    But you don't have $7-8digits - in fact your company is still losing money, and according to your business plan won't be in the black for at least another 2 years. Hell, your cash burnrate may mean you're still eating ramen because you can't pay yourself more or you're never going to be able to go to market. If you're taxed on what your shares are now "worth", you effectively have to sell your own company before it's even got off the ground.

    It's a very different story a couple of years later in the business life, when cashflows have stabilized and most founders will have diversified, but hitting entrepreneurs for share value when they're in Series A or Seed funding stages is taxing future wealth that only exists currently on paper.

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  • OghulkOghulk Negative externality Low-energy fuckwitRegistered User regular
    Archangle wrote: »
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »
    Sleep wrote: »
    Figure out its position over the whole year, find the average value over the course of the tax period, tax that value.

    Right?

    Like we manage to assess the value of real property and tax it without issue.

    We could do it for stock holdings if we wanted to.

    Problem there is property values change very little over an entire year, whereas stocks change daily, sometimes drastically.

    I'm also not convinced that taking the average value of the stock over an entire year would efficiently determine a person's liability. Kind of want to think it through though so I'll come back after I think it through.
    The extreme case is that of start-ups. You found a tech company, start work on a prototype, and then your next round of funding means your company (and therefore you) is worth $7-8digits.

    But you don't have $7-8digits - in fact your company is still losing money, and according to your business plan won't be in the black for at least another 2 years. Hell, your cash burnrate may mean you're still eating ramen because you can't pay yourself more or you're never going to be able to go to market. If you're taxed on what your shares are now "worth", you effectively have to sell your own company before it's even got off the ground.

    It's a very different story a couple of years later in the business life, when cashflows have stabilized and most founders will have diversified, but hitting entrepreneurs for share value when they're in Series A or Seed funding stages is taxing future wealth that only exists currently on paper.

    I mean you've hit the nail on the head for why we don't tax stocks before they're realized: the entire purpose of the stock/IPO is to raise a large sum of capital on the public market to expand a business. We don't really want to discourage that, as a tax would, because it disincentivizes business formation.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    edited May 23
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    That doesn't hit a company's founder because they have all the shares to start with anyways.

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  • DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    I find it very frustrating that the argument even needs to be made that all income/profit should be taxed as income...because it just is.

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  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

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  • OghulkOghulk Negative externality Low-energy fuckwitRegistered User regular
    Doodmann wrote: »
    I find it very frustrating that the argument even needs to be made that all income/profit should be taxed as income...because it just is.

    I'm not sure what argument you're referring to here. The exact problem with taxing stock value is that it's not income until it's sold or vested.
    Doc wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

    Taxing when they vest is a good way to do it, but as you note it's the market value when they vest. If the value declines after the vesting period you're taxed at a rate that you didn't earn, which might have potential second-order effects discouraging the use of equities.

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  • asurasur Registered User regular
    Doc wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

    There's an alternative option of declaring and being taxes on the shares at vesting instead of when they are granted. It's basically how very early employees avoid taxes as well.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Doodmann wrote: »
    I find it very frustrating that the argument even needs to be made that all income/profit should be taxed as income...because it just is.

    I'm not sure what argument you're referring to here. The exact problem with taxing stock value is that it's not income until it's sold or vested.
    Doc wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

    Taxing when they vest is a good way to do it, but as you note it's the market value when they vest. If the value declines after the vesting period you're taxed at a rate that you didn't earn, which might have potential second-order effects discouraging the use of equities.

    So sell when they vest if you want to avoid that scenario, I guess? If anyone views that income as something other than money that they paid you that you immediately used to buy company stock, they're grossly mistaken.

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  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 23
    asur wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

    There's an alternative option of declaring and being taxes on the shares at vesting instead of when they are granted. It's basically how very early employees avoid taxes as well.

    Early employees defer taxes by getting options and not stock grants.

    Edit: "avoid" -> "defer"

    Doc on
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Doc wrote: »
    asur wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

    There's an alternative option of declaring and being taxes on the shares at vesting instead of when they are granted. It's basically how very early employees avoid taxes as well.

    Early employees avoid taxes by getting options and not stock grants.

    No options are taxed as well. Worse even because with certain options you pay the tax regardless of if the options were ever exercised.

    Early employees avoid taxes by getting the stock when it is nearly worthless so the taxes owed are negligible if any

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    asur wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

    There's an alternative option of declaring and being taxes on the shares at vesting instead of when they are granted. It's basically how very early employees avoid taxes as well.

    Early employees avoid taxes by getting options and not stock grants.

    No options are taxed as well. Worse even because with certain options you pay the tax regardless of if the options were ever exercised.

    Early employees avoid taxes by getting the stock when it is nearly worthless so the taxes owed are negligible if any

    Correct, I edited my post to specify that it's not so much avoidance as it is deferral.

  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Yeah but options and grants don't make a difference there, it's the fact they get their stock when it isn't worth anything

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Yeah but options and grants don't make a difference there, it's the fact they get their stock when it isn't worth anything

    They pay income tax when they're exercised, as well, yes.

    Basically people pay the full income tax (NOT capital gains) rate on stocks (for the full market price in the case of grants, or for market minus strike price for options) when they hit your account either way, so I'm not sure what the problem is, in terms of taxation.

  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »
    I mean yeah... wealth isn't income. That doesn't mean we should ignore it or not count it.

    Like it's probably stupid to look too closely at the point-in-time wealth of someone whose wealth is mostly in stocks, since they're changing by the minute, but you can still assess that wealth.

    (and tax it!)

    How exactly would you tax the changing value of equities pre-sale?

    The government seems to tax the value of my house just fine.

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  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Hackerman Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    moniker wrote: »
    Butters wrote: »
    Ok but stock is the preferred compensation for the upper class specifically to dodge taxes until cashing out which then is taxed lower than income. Amazon has successfully undercut its competition to the point of ubiquity in almost every market it's in. Bezos' stock isn't tanking any time soon and won't ever without a heavy dose of regulation.

    Sure. Capital gains should be taxed progressively and match income tax (which should also increase significantly) with long term capital gains (held over 10 years, not just 1) getting, say, a 5% discount to still encourage capital accumulation and investment. All of that is tangential, though, and doesn't really speak to the weak argument about pandemics making billionaires richer by cherry picking the trough as your start point.

    I'd be really interested in what they lost compared to people without teams of wealth managers, and if their gains after the drop were more significant.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    I think there's many imperfect ways to tax wealth and in particular stocks.
    First, the level of capital accumulation is out of control and history has shown us that capital naturally begets more capital but isn't necessary great for economic growth when it's aggregated into fewer individuals vs many.
    So, we need a system that incentivizes spending and investment and discourages sitting on it when you have a lot. A universal rubric of 1 million+/person in non-protected accounts (ie, not 401k) as the floor would likely help make it reasonable and mostly hit large wealth. You could even have the same rubric apply to businesses too,as then they'll be incented not to sit on too much cash, but not penalized for having a cushion in line with their full time employment

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  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Doodmann wrote: »
    I find it very frustrating that the argument even needs to be made that all income/profit should be taxed as income...because it just is.

    I'm not sure what argument you're referring to here. The exact problem with taxing stock value is that it's not income until it's sold or vested.
    Doc wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

    Taxing when they vest is a good way to do it, but as you note it's the market value when they vest. If the value declines after the vesting period you're taxed at a rate that you didn't earn, which might have potential second-order effects discouraging the use of equities.

    I just set it to pay the tax by selling shares, so my net shares that I get at vesting is less but, even for me at the bottom end of people being compensated this way, it’s still funny money...oh and the value of the stock is down 51% YTD, but I’ll take weird tax shit with my financial situation every day considering...::gestures around::

  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular

    My net worth is 88.3% of what it was in February 13th, which is up from being 78.8% of what it was in late March, but my self worth? It’s never been higher!

    Wash your hands like you've been cutting habaneros and need to put in your contacts.
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  • ProhassProhass Registered User regular
    edited May 23
    The problem you then have is that the IRS gets underfunded on purpose, and can’t go after enough of what they’re owed by rich and crafty dodgers simply due to logistic challenges.

    Prohass on
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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    wait, that's what happens now... :eek:

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  • OghulkOghulk Negative externality Low-energy fuckwitRegistered User regular
    Prohass wrote: »
    The problem you then have is that the IRS gets underfunded on purpose, and can’t go after enough of what they’re owed by rich and crafty dodgers simply due to logistic challenges.

    There's an article I have that I need to pull out about tax evasion/avoidance but the main gist isn't that the IRS is underfunded but the free flow of capital that makes it easier to avoid.
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Doodmann wrote: »
    I find it very frustrating that the argument even needs to be made that all income/profit should be taxed as income...because it just is.

    I'm not sure what argument you're referring to here. The exact problem with taxing stock value is that it's not income until it's sold or vested.
    Doc wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    We could ban stock as compensation, or say that you get taxed when it vests (as income), which would also kill the tax avoidance game of it.

    I receive stocks as part of my compensation and they're definitely taxed as income at market value when they vest.

    Taxing when they vest is a good way to do it, but as you note it's the market value when they vest. If the value declines after the vesting period you're taxed at a rate that you didn't earn, which might have potential second-order effects discouraging the use of equities.

    I just set it to pay the tax by selling shares, so my net shares that I get at vesting is less but, even for me at the bottom end of people being compensated this way, it’s still funny money...oh and the value of the stock is down 51% YTD, but I’ll take weird tax shit with my financial situation every day considering...::gestures around::

    That's the problem though is that the tax system encourages people to sell their shares when they vest because that wealth isn't is temporarily illiquid. Stock options are meant to encourage employees to stay and be loyal to a company (which is a whole other conversation) but the tax system for stock options mitigates that. There's also the problem that when one person sells because they need to pay taxes you could set off a vicious cycle of devaluation in the stocks, but that's probably.kore theoretical.
    schuss wrote: »
    I think there's many imperfect ways to tax wealth and in particular stocks.
    First, the level of capital accumulation is out of control and history has shown us that capital naturally begets more capital but isn't necessary great for economic growth when it's aggregated into fewer individuals vs many.
    So, we need a system that incentivizes spending and investment and discourages sitting on it when you have a lot. A universal rubric of 1 million+/person in non-protected accounts (ie, not 401k) as the floor would likely help make it reasonable and mostly hit large wealth. You could even have the same rubric apply to businesses too,as then they'll be incented not to sit on too much cash, but not penalized for having a cushion in line with their full time employment

    This is exactly the main problem today. It's possible a wealth tax as prescribed by Warren could encourage such behavior, but I kind of expect there to be more offshoring of wealth and potentially more debt financing for investment as opposed to equities (and right now debt financing is way too damn high).

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  • MeeqeMeeqe Lord of the pants most fancy Someplace amazingRegistered User regular
    In the past higher and higher marginal tax rates on both income and capital gains did the job of encouraging investment just fine. No reason to re-invent the wheel here, raise taxes on the hyper-wealthy, use a bit of that new income to beef up enforcement.

    Its the political will/popular suppoer that's lacking, not an understanding of how to move the economy.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    As a reminder, the top tax bracket was over 90% back in the 50s.

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