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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#13881 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-October-02, 15:44

View Postawm, on 2019-October-02, 09:28, said:

Unlike almost all other countries, the US taxes its citizens regardless of where they (or their assets) are located. So moving themselves (or their money) won’t avoid this tax. Renouncing citizenship requires payment of unrealized capital gains tax (often quite a lot for the super wealthy) so that’s no way out either. Dodging the tax illegally is possible, although a lot of countries (including Switzerland) have agreed to report assets held by US citizens... but it’s potentially harder to dodge a wealth tax than an income tax. Anyway the idea that “we shouldn’t tax the rich because they’ll just break the law and refuse to pay” doesn’t really seem like a good rationale to me.

If I invest a few million dollars in businesses abroad there is no reason to suppose their value remains unaltered when it comes time to declaring value. This is similar to the trick DT uses on property values except that without using the investments as collateral against loans there is no way of documenting the difference from the real value unless the dcompany decides to float, in which case we can sell out our share and transfer the money elsewhere. There is nothing illegal about this as the value of such an investment is a subjective matter. Make enough investments and you can hide an essentially unlimited amount of money; doing so abroad makes the real values untraceable as well as providing opportunities for rearranging income through a matrix of international companies to minimise taxes more generally.
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Happy New Year everyone!
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#13882 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-02, 16:54

WRT to the taxation discussions:

There are certain types of taxes that are extremely difficult to dodge.

The first is real estate taxes. I recognize that there are possibilities for people to trying to undervalue their assets in order to avoid this type of tax. However, I've also seen some interesting proposals on how to dodge the bullet on this one. My favorites works as follows:

Once every 10 years, real estate goes up for sale...

We look at the values that you've declared for tax purposes over the last decade. Compute the weighted net present value of you you declared.
Anyone who wants has the option to purchase the the property at this price.
And you don't have the option not to sell it...

Different folks have suggested variants off this scheme.
Some suggest that it should only applies to commercial properties or properties worth more than foo dollars.
Others say that the price is 1.X times the declared value

However, the key issue is that it makes it really difficult to lowball your property values

Next on the list, is our friend the VAT

I recognize that consumption style taxes are regressive and, as such they have some problematic elements to them.
At the same time, they are extremely efficient and quite difficult to evade.

From my perspective, the key thing to focus on is that the "spending power" of a country is a natural resource, just like the oil/gas reserves or farm lands or forests.

Yes, companies can play weird games to try and recognize their profits outside country foo.
However, its MUCH more difficult to play games with where the the customers are spending their money.
Alderaan delenda est
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#13883 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-02, 17:24

View Posthrothgar, on 2019-October-02, 16:54, said:

WRT to the taxation discussions:

There are certain types of taxes that are extremely difficult to dodge.

The first is real estate taxes. I recognize that there are possibilities for people to trying to undervalue their assets in order to avoid this type of tax. However, I've also seen some interesting proposals on how to dodge the bullet on this one. My favorites works as follows:

Once every 10 years, real estate goes up for sale...

We look at the values that you've declared for tax purposes over the last decade. Compute the weighted net present value of you you declared.
Anyone who wants has the option to purchase the the property at this price.
And you don't have the option not to sell it...

Different folks have suggested variants off this scheme.
Some suggest that it should only applies to commercial properties or properties worth more than foo dollars.
Others say that the price is 1.X times the declared value

However, the key issue is that it makes it really difficult to lowball your property values

Next on the list, is our friend the VAT

I recognize that consumption style taxes are regressive and, as such they have some problematic elements to them.
At the same time, they are extremely efficient and quite difficult to evade.

From my perspective, the key thing to focus on is that the "spending power" of a country is a natural resource, just like the oil/gas reserves or farm lands or forests.

Yes, companies can play weird games to try and recognize their profits outside country foo.
However, its MUCH more difficult to play games with where the the customers are spending their money.


Side issue and a question if you have time: how can the VAT be made less problematic insomuch as its inherent regression? Thanks in advance.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13884 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-October-02, 20:33

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-October-02, 17:24, said:

Side issue and a question if you have time: how can the VAT be made less problematic insomuch as its inherent regression? Thanks in advance.

Is the obvious way at the forefront of US politics not Yang's universal basic income proposal? The only real way to reduce the basic issue, that VAT represents a higher proportion of a poor person's income is to increase that income. I do not see it as possible to remove the regressive property completely though; that instead needs to be done through other parts of the tax code, such as the traditional solution of income tax banding and a social safety net, essentially reducing the impact of VAT on the poorest individuals. I would suggest that Americans are at present not ready for any of these solutions although having a radical WH reshape the debate would be very helpful in having a chance to reach that point in the near future.
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Happy New Year everyone!
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#13885 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-02, 20:36

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-October-02, 20:33, said:

Is the obvious way at the forefront of US politics not Yang's universal basic income proposal? The only real way to reduce the basic issue, that VAT represents a higher proportion of a poor person's income is to increase that income. I do not see it as possible to remove the regressive property completely though; that instead needs to be done through other parts of the tax code, such as the traditional solution of income tax banding and a social safety net, essentially reducing the impact of VAT on the poorest individuals. I would suggest that Americans are at present not ready for any of these solutions although having a radical WH reshape the debate would be very helpful in having a chance to reach that point in the near future.


Thanks
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13886 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-02, 22:22

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-October-02, 20:36, said:

Thanks


I pretty much agree with what Z posted

A VAT is gong to be regressive.
No real way to dodge this on the collection side.

You need to balance this out wrt spending/benefits
Alderaan delenda est
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#13887 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 03:08

Another impeachment inquiry in the works?

Pence: I Participated in the Ukraine Plot But Only As a Patsy

Quote

Vice-President Mike Pence is knee-deep in the Ukraine scandal. He is floating the absurd defense that, while he did participate in Trump’s plan to extort Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden, he was completely ignorant of what he was doing.

Although President Trump “used Pence to tell [Ukrainian president Volodymyr] Zelensky that U.S. aid was still being withheld,” the Washington Post reports, Pence’s aides insist he had no idea what he was actually being used for. “Officials close to Pence insist that he was unaware of Trump’s efforts to press Zelensky for damaging information about Biden and his son,” the Post notes. Pence, by their accounting, is like a man who delivers a ransom note to a bank teller, failing to place any significance in the fact that the tellers have their hands in the air, the bank patrons are lying on the floor, and the guy who asked him to bring the note to the bank had a mask and a gun.

Pence’s involvement in the plot was extensive. White House officials had him cancel a planned trip to Zelensky’s inauguration. One of Pence’s top advisers was on the July 25 call when Trump made clear his demand that Zelensky open investigations into various Democratic officials, including Biden, whom Trump named on the call. Pence was given the transcript of the call before his September 1 meeting with Zelensky, when he reiterated Trump’s threat.

Pence’s defense is that, even though the readout of Trump’s call with Zelensky was in his briefing materials on his trip to Europe, he did not bother to read it before the meeting. “Officials close to Pence contend that he traveled to Warsaw for a meeting with Zelensky on Sept. 1 probably without having read — or at least fully registered — the transcript,” the Post records.

Hmmm, who's next in the presidential line of succession if both the Manchurian President and Pence are impeached? B-)
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#13888 User is offline   andrei 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 07:30

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-September-25, 22:31, said:

After viewing the whistleblower complaint relating to President Donald Trump,
Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House intelligence committee,
said the whistleblower has exposed “serious wrongdoing.”
Schiff said the complaint was well-written


View Postandrei, on 2019-September-26, 10:14, said:

It is out and it sounds like a Maggie Haberman piece.


I was wrong on this one, it was not Maggie.
Adam Schiff was actually touting his own writing skills.
Don't argue with a fool. He has a rested brain
Before internet age you had a suspicion there are lots of "not-so-smart" people on the planet. Now you even know their names.
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#13889 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 08:01

View Postandrei, on 2019-October-03, 07:30, said:

I was wrong on this one, it was not Maggie.
Adam Schiff was actually touting his own writing skills.


Its ever so cute, seeing when each of the puppets gets their marching orders...
Alderaan delenda est
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#13890 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 09:58

From Ryan Avent, columnist at the Economist:

Quote

I'm fighting a losing battle here, but if you're writing about the US economy you need to stop and reflect a bit before saying that Trump's trade war is going to cause a recession.

Is Trump's trade war stupid in fourteen different ways? Yes. Is the net effect of it contractionary? Seems pretty clear that it is. But all of this "the president is single-handedly causing a recession" stuff is nonsense.

First off, China is slumping for reasons quite apart from the trade war. China has struggled to maintain adequate demand while attempting to restructure and rebalance its economy. This is an ongoing problem, which contributed to the global mfg slowdown back in 2015-16: which also hurt the US, despite the notable absence of a trade war at the time.

Then you have the fact that Europe's economy is closer to recession than America's.

One thing which has clearly hurt Europe, however, is bad demand-side policy. Europe's governments are running far tighter budgets than America's; Germany is running a massive budget surplus. Meanwhile, the ECB was way too eager to end its asset purchases.

Economic writers in the US hate to admit it, for some reason, but the Fed has really misplayed its hand over the past few years as well. It tightened too much too quickly, despite ample evidence from US data that plenty of slack remained across the economy.

But for the Fed's actions, growth would have been faster and inflation higher, leaving the US at less risk of being pushed into recession by other shocks. Instead, inflation is now decelerating.

The Fed has complained incessantly about trade policy. But that's the job: keeping us out of recession come what may. A good way to have done that would have been *not hiking rates so much while inflation was below target, wage growth was meh, and hiring was strong*.

Trump is terrible, and his trade war is bad. But if the US falls into recession, it will be because lots of people who should have known better were way too complacent about downside risks.

The last decade was hell for workers in America and Europe, and lots of super serious people have been patting themselves on the back for the job they've done "normalising policy" when they should have been making damn sure we were back to full employment.

So sure, say Trump is bad, say his trade war is bad, say his trade war is bad for the economy. If you want, you can even say that Trump's hurt the economy by making it harder, politically, for the Fed to be as dovish as it needs to be.

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#13891 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 10:16

View Posty66, on 2019-October-03, 09:58, said:

From Ryan Avent, columnist at the Economist:


I have a significant quibble with this article: the job of the fed is not to prevent recession.

Quote

1 In 1977, Congress amended the Federal Reserve Act, directing the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee to "maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy's long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates."


Short-term business cycle fluctuations - which includes recessions - are not part of the mandate. The Fed's dual mandate is about monetary policy and employment. That monetary policy can help ease the effects of a recession is a given. But that is far from penalizing savers with inflation in order to prevent future stock valuation dips that occur during recession.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13892 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 15:00

WTF???

Trump says China should investigate the Bidens amid impeachment furor

Quote

Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House for Florida, the president once again urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open a corruption investigation into the Bidens, but brought up China unprompted when asked what action he wanted his Ukrainian counterpart to take.

“Well, I would think that if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens. It's a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens,” the president told reporters about Ukraine. “Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine."

It would be poetic justice if China buries the Manchurian President with details about Ivanka's sweetheart trade deals, or the loans that were given to Trump Organization, or real estate dealings with Kushner.
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#13893 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 15:08

I've borrowed extensively from George Lakoff for the following. Conclusions are mine.

There are at least tens of millions of conservatives in America who share strict father morality and its moral
hierarchy. Many of them are white men who see themselves as superior to immigrants, nonwhites, women, non-Christians, gays, and people who rely on public assistance. In their worldview, this moral hierarchy is not the result of personal bigotry rather it is due to a natural and time-honored structure of society itself - things as they are, have been, and should be. That their own belief in this worldview combined with their superior numbers has thus far made this worldview self-perpetuating is seen not as inculpatory evidence of their bias but as exculpatory evidence that their views are correct.

Donald Trump champions their worldview. What we progressives call bigotry is instead to these millions of conservatives the naturally right moral condition - and Trump expresses out loud what they have been for years castigated for thinking and believing is right, moral, and normal. This is his base and it will not go away and most likely will never abandon him. The only way for that base to wobble would be if somehow Trump were shown to be unfit to be the Strict Father - but unfit in their worldview, not ours. Calling on Ukraine to interfere in our elections is an action of "strength" to them - ignoring norms - and it won't undo their support unless they can be convinced that it is un-patriotic and that a "pure" and "righteous" election is both critical for them and a patriotic demand.

The good news is that there are also millions of conservatives who are not as strongly swayed by the Strict Father and its moral hierarchy, and it is that group that is reachable and who can help eliminate Trump as president.

That is the group that has to be captured at the ballot box.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13894 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 15:23

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-October-03, 10:16, said:

I have a significant quibble with this article: the job of the fed is not to prevent recession.

Quote

Our main expectation is not at all that there will be a recession. There are these risks, and we’re monitoring them very carefully and we’re conducting policy in a way that will address them. -- Jerome Powell, September 6, 2019

Powell also noted:

Quote

Trade policy uncertainty will be weighing on business investment decisions.

We are clearly at a time where there’s a range of views, and again I do think that’s a very healthy thing. I expect we’ll have strong support for the decisions that we make, as we had in July. I expect that will continue.

It's murky out there.

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#13895 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 15:27

From David Rovella at Bloomberg:

Quote

How does a political hit job boomerang? As Joshua Green reports in Bloomberg Businessweek, like this: Right wing financier Rebekah Mercer funded operatives who took aim at former U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, seeing him as the likely frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination. They hoped their dirt-digging would yield results similar to those that helped damage the last nominee. But thanks to President Donald Trump, who is publicly seeking foreign assistance in a frenetic quest to besmirch Biden with unsubstantiated claims tied to Ukraine and now China, what might have been a repeat of 2016 is instead a fast-moving congressional impeachment inquiry.

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#13896 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 16:51

For all those right fringe conspiracy theory nuts, here's more on point, 100% relevant data on Biden's role in Ukraine.

Republicans Signed Letter Supporting The Ukraine Reforms Biden Was Pushing

Quote

A bipartisan group of lawmakers echoed then-Vice President Joe Biden’s push for anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine, including within the country’s office of the prosecutor general, according to a 2016 letter unearthed by CNN.

In the letter, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus, pressed Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko to take action on “entrenched corruption” within his government.

...

The letter ― also signed by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) ― appears to undermine President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that there was “quid pro quo” when then-Vice President Biden withheld aid to Ukraine to push the country’s leaders to fire its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.

Quote

Biden wasn’t the only person calling for Shokin’s removal from office. Members of Congress (as evidenced by the 2016 letter of support), European leaders and international organizations were all pushing for the notoriously corrupt prosecutor to be fired.

Shokin’s office had opened an investigation into Burisma, but it was dormant by the time Biden was working on anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities have cleared Biden of any wrongdoing related to Shokin’s firing.

What isn't stated explicitly is that Biden was Obama's VP in 2016 and VP's don't conduct foreign policy (or any other policy) without the approval and direction of the president. Biden may have been the point man in the White House efforts, but make no mistake, he was doing so with the explicit approval of Obama. IMHO, Biden was puffing up his resume in pointing out his role in 2016.

For the record, Biden is not my first choice in the Democratic presidential primary.
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#13897 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 16:56

View Postjohnu, on 2019-October-03, 03:08, said:

Hmmm, who's next in the presidential line of succession if both the Manchurian President and Pence are impeached? B-)

I daresay your comment was tongue in cheek but just in case the answer is Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#13898 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 18:19

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-October-03, 16:56, said:

I daresay your comment was tongue in cheek but just in case the answer is Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House.

As I understand it, Pelosi does not automatically become VP if Trump is impeached. So for her to become president, Trump and Pence need to be impeached at the same time. Otherwise, Pence will just pick a new VP before he gets impeached himself.

But maybe, if the Senate produces a 2/3 majority to impeach Trump, they are likely also not to approve on Pence's VP choice.
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#13899 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 20:41

View Posthelene_t, on 2019-October-03, 18:19, said:

As I understand it, Pelosi does not automatically become VP if Trump is impeached. So for her to become president, Trump and Pence need to be impeached at the same time. Otherwise, Pence will just pick a new VP before he gets impeached himself.

But maybe, if the Senate produces a 2/3 majority to impeach Trump, they are likely also not to approve on Pence's VP choice.

If Pence continues to volunteer to be impeached, and impeachment is on the table, you can put your money on the Democrats in the House not approving a Pence nominee for VP.
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#13900 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-03, 20:59

Harvard Law professor Lawrence Tribe may be helping write articles of impeachment:

Quote

"The point is that it wasn’t just soliciting foreign help, it was leveraging the powers that go with the office to intervene in our policy, whether it’s with tariffs and trade with China or helping the little Ukrainian defense against the powerful Russian bear,” Tribe explained.

“It is that matter, of taking the power of the presidency and using it for selfish purchases, that is the core impeachable offense."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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