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 Post subject: Last night's Dem debate
PostPosted: 10/16/19 8:27 am • # 1 
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I've been personally consumed with a "family issue" and did not watch last night's debate ~ this TPM summary puts things into perspective to begin winnowing down the candidates ~ Sooz

How Each Candidate Stood Out In The October Democratic Debate
By John Light | October 15, 2019 11:25 pm

Another twelve person debate didn’t afford any one candidate much time to shine. But here is some of what stood out to us about each one.

Joe Biden seemed to get off to a weirdly shaky start when asked about Trump’s Ukraine and China-related attacks against his son, Hunter — especially given that he is innocent and that the question was one that the moderators were definitely going to ask. He picked up speed as the debate went on. In the last half hour, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Biden rehashed some of their differences on health care.

Elizabeth Warren did well, again. She spoke cogently about her support for a wealth tax, and the problems with Amazon’s near-monopoly on online shopping. She also resisted, smartly, when Kamala Harris pushed her to call on Twitter to ban Trump’s account.

Bernie Sanders was back, post-heart attack, a fact for which the audience gave him a long round of applause. He felt a bit subdued, but made his points clearly. As the debate wrapped up, news broke of a coup: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse Sanders.

Pete Buttigieg, a Rhodes scholar and former McKinsey consultant, seemed to be angling to distinguish himself as the anti-elite, man of the people on stage, citing his midwestern upbringing. He stood out for his strong stance in favor of court packing.

Kamala Harris made a curious decision in choosing to challenge Warren to call on Twitter to suspend Trump’s account, part of a larger discussion about checking the influence of big tech. It seemed to miss the point of the conversation — holding big tech accountable means kicking Trump off Twitter? — and Warren did not take the bait.

Beto O’Rourke shone, as in previous debates, when talking about his strong stance on gun laws. He also ended up on the defensive when Buttigieg seemed to take offense at O’Rourke’s gun comments.

Andrew Yang felt more combative this time, and his performance was free of the raffle-type gimmick that he kicked off with in September. Yang continues to advance a strong diagnosis of the U.S.’s domestic problems — which makes it weird that he continues to pivot, on each topic, to championing a one-size-fits all solution: a universal basic income.

Cory Booker hit a note, twice, that always feels a bit bizarre — that Democrats should be careful not to debate too hard during a debate. Still, he came off as perhaps the most positive candidate on stage, a unique identity during a gloomy time for the party. He also told a powerful story about a neighbor who was fatally shot. Those charged anecdotes can be tricky to navigate.

Amy Klobucher’s performance tonight was even and seemed to be her strongest so far. Her framing of the need to confront big tech as a “pro-competition” issue — something both parties once advocated for — was effective.

Tom Steyer didn’t get a lot of time during his first night on stage, and his performance got dinged a bit for his stiff delivery. He tried to present himself as a successful businessman, and thus a compelling candidate to go up against Trump, who he expects to tout the strong economy. He also was the source of some of the only lines on climate change tonight.

Julián Castro also didn’t get much time tonight, but made a strong point that police violence is gun violence, invoking Atatiana Jefferson of Fort Worth, Texas, who was killed last week by a police officer while in her own home.

Tulsi Gabbard made the interesting play of going after first Warren and then fellow veteran Pete Buttigieg on Syria, asking them to condemn wars fought to achieve “regime change.” No one ended up committing to anything specifically, but it provided a jumping off point for a series of Democrats to speak to the damage Trump’s recent withdrawal from Syria, and the subsequent massacre of the Kurds, has done to the U.S.’s international trustworthiness.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/how-each-candidates-stood-out-in-the-october-democratic-debate


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PostPosted: 10/16/19 1:35 pm • # 2 
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Warren's idea for a wealth tax is ridiculous. A person works hard, works smart, pays their taxes and then gets penalized for being successful. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! If that's the way her thinking goes, the U.S. and the Dems will be far better off when she leaves the stage.

As for the call to kick Grabem off Twitter, that's a dumb idea too. That twitter account is the Dem's best friend.


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PostPosted: 10/16/19 2:33 pm • # 3 
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If that was the only way people got wealthy then it would be Jim. But it isn't, not by a long shot.


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PostPosted: 10/17/19 8:46 am • # 4 
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Horatio Alger stories were a myth even when HE wrote them.

now, even more so.


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PostPosted: 10/17/19 7:30 pm • # 5 
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Cattleman wrote:
If that was the only way people got wealthy then it would be Jim. But it isn't, not by a long shot.


If they paid their taxes who gives a shit how they got wealthy. If governments are going to go that way, lets tax everybody on any money they have left over after paying the first round of taxes. Trying to build votes through this "it's not me so I don't care" system is no different than the "first they came for....." anecdote.


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PostPosted: 10/17/19 11:39 pm • # 6 
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And you could say exactly the same for income tax. In fact that's pretty much what is said every time a new kind of taxation is proposed - and particularly if its a more equitable tax.

Besides Jim, haven't you heard, most really wealthy people pay bugger all income taxes.

And we are talking about the US which has a very low rate of overall taxation in any case.


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PostPosted: 10/18/19 12:39 pm • # 7 
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As long as it's done fairly and everybody has to pay 3 percent of whatever money they have managed to save or the equity in their homes, etc. I've got no problem with it. Otherwise it's just ideological bull shit not a lot dissimilar to something Grabem would dream up - like "let's take 3 percent of everything away from poor people every year. After all, they don't pay taxes."


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PostPosted: 10/18/19 2:38 pm • # 8 
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So you don't believe in progressive taxation then?

Its all "ideological bullshit"?

Actually, the real "ideological bullshit" is the presumption that hyper-rich people "earned" what they have.


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PostPosted: 10/18/19 6:44 pm • # 9 
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Cattleman wrote:
So you don't believe in progressive taxation then?

Its all "ideological bullshit"?

Actually, the real "ideological bullshit" is the presumption that hyper-rich people "earned" what they have.


So, even after you've paid your taxes you claim that it's just fine and hunk dory for the government to take a look at what you've got left and say "we'll take some of that too." The progressive tax system ended when they paid their taxes. Anything more is ideological bull shit and outright robbery.


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PostPosted: 10/18/19 6:58 pm • # 10 
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Only if you've got a hell of a lot left over.

So why isn't income tax "ideological bullshit and outright robbery"?

Because I suspect that when it was introduced that's exactly what was claimed by all the usual right-wingers.

But personally I wouldn't go for a wealth tax - its too damn complicated - I'd just have a few more levels at the top end of the income tax and reform and enforce the tax laws so that Warren Buffet doesn't pay a lesser effective tax rate than his secretary. And then there's the financial transaction levy ….

(BTW Jim, do you think the distribution of wealth in the US is "fair"?)


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PostPosted: 10/19/19 10:21 pm • # 11 
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(BTW Jim, do you think the distribution of wealth in the US is "fair"?)

Of course not, but just taxing it away for the government to spend doesn't do anything to change it. Even if you lower the wealth of the rich folks by taking some of their wealth away it does nothing to improve the lot of the poor. All it would do is give the government more money to buy guns and bombs with while they tax the guy into poverty. Would that make you happier, if everyone was poor?


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PostPosted: 10/20/19 6:05 am • # 12 
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Have you been reading Ayn Rand lately or something?

Taxation is about making societies work. Governments do a hell of a lot more than guns and bombs. In fact they provide most of the things that give wealthy people the means to build and maintain their wealth, and then they bitch about having to contribute something back. They'd much prefer to free ride on the backs of the great majority.

And if you think asking someone with $50 million+ to pay a bit more to help provide the conditions that keep them wealthy is taxing them "into poverty", then they must be pretty damn hopeless money managers in any case.

The market, by its very nature, concentrates wealth. If Government doesn't act to redress that imbalance then we are heading back into a virtually feudal system.

But I guess if you see yourself as John Galt then that's something you'd be happy with.


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PostPosted: 10/20/19 7:26 am • # 13 
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I totally agree with Cattleman in the above comments.

Jim wrote, "Even if you lower the wealth of the rich folks by taking some of their wealth away it does nothing to improve the lot of the poor. All it would do is give the government more money to buy guns and bombs with while they tax the guy into poverty."

We don't have to "tax the guy into poverty". We can tax the wealthy more and they will still be wealthy. We started doing that in the 1930's and it helped build up our middle class. Then they came up with the trickle-down crap in the 80's and they have been cutting taxes ever since, always claiming it will create jobs and it never does.

Jim is correct that if they use the additional revenue for the military it won't help the poor, but those proposing taxing wealth have other ideas.


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PostPosted: 10/20/19 2:01 pm • # 14 
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So now we're "taxing the wealthy" not just grabbing some of what they have left over after being taxed. I'm really surprised you can't see how immoral and destructive that is. Between this proposal from Warren and Hillary's "there's a commie under every donkey", maybe Trump isn't the worst choice the U.S. could make. At least his corruption is out there for God and everyone to see.


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PostPosted: 10/20/19 2:43 pm • # 15 
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I cant see it because you haven't provided any reason to accept it.

Why, for example, is it ok to tax income but not wealth? What is the principle involved?

Is it just that its another tax?

But it can't be that because there are lots of other taxes already which you don't seem worried about.

The real issues are the overall levels of taxation and who should pay them. The actual methods are secondary.

From my point of view people should pay taxes commensurate with the benefits they receive from living in a particular society. And the wealthier you are the greater the benefits you receive.

But, as I've said before, a wealth tax is probably not the best way to do that, but I don't see how there is anything wrong with the idea in principle.

If you want to collect tax its probably best to do it from people who have actually got money.


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PostPosted: 10/20/19 5:55 pm • # 16 
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If they want to raise taxes that's fine. It's when you've paid your taxes and done your duty, that they come back and say..."oh look, you've got some left over...we'll take that too" that I have a problem.

Not only that but it would create a whole raft of other problems including people looking for ways to hide their wealth, by not spending their wealth in the country, by moving the source of their wealth elsewhere, lots of different moves. And, like I said, it would do nothing to improve the lot of those at the lower end of the pay scale. In fact it could make matters worse for them as they get paid a little bit less so the company owners can make-up what they are losing in the government money grab.


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PostPosted: 10/20/19 5:55 pm • # 17 
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If they want to raise taxes that's fine. It's when you've paid your taxes and done your duty, that they come back and say..."oh look, you've got some left over...we'll take that too" that I have a problem.

Not only that but it would create a whole raft of other problems including people looking for ways to hide their wealth, by not spending their wealth in the country, by moving the source of their wealth elsewhere, lots of different moves. And, like I said, it would do nothing to improve the lot of those at the lower end of the pay scale. In fact it could make matters worse for them as they get paid a little bit less so the company owners can make-up what they are losing in the government money grab.


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PostPosted: 10/20/19 6:04 pm • # 18 
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jimwilliam wrote:
So now we're "taxing the wealthy" not just grabbing some of what they have left over after being taxed. I'm really surprised you can't see how immoral and destructive that is. Between this proposal from Warren and Hillary's "there's a commie under every donkey", maybe Trump isn't the worst choice the U.S. could make. At least his corruption is out there for God and everyone to see.

:s :eek2 :eek :g :slap


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PostPosted: 10/20/19 10:03 pm • # 19 
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jimwilliam wrote:
If they want to raise taxes that's fine. It's when you've paid your taxes and done your duty, that they come back and say..."oh look, you've got some left over...we'll take that too" that I have a problem.

Not only that but it would create a whole raft of other problems including people looking for ways to hide their wealth, by not spending their wealth in the country, by moving the source of their wealth elsewhere, lots of different moves. And, like I said, it would do nothing to improve the lot of those at the lower end of the pay scale. In fact it could make matters worse for them as they get paid a little bit less so the company owners can make-up what they are losing in the government money grab.


It is just another way of raising taxes Jim. That's the whole point of it. Whether its the best way or not is a different issue.

The other key question is whether or not you need to raise taxes and, if you do who should pay them. I think the US does. And if they want to have universal health care then it will have to be substantial (although the reduction in private insurance costs would also be substantial for most).

Given the massive windfall the top 1% (and to a lesser extent the top 10%) have had over the last 4 decades or so, allowing them to massively increase their overall wealth, most obviously in relation to the bottom 80%, then I think its about time for them to start coughing up. How would you suggest that would best be done, particularly since they have become expert in avoiding income taxes?


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PostPosted: 10/21/19 12:21 am • # 20 
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making things more difficult for wealthy people is actually healthy for the republic.

this is something that is not popular to say, but yes, I believe it.


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PostPosted: 10/21/19 7:29 am • # 21 
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jimwilliam wrote:
If they want to raise taxes that's fine. It's when you've paid your taxes and done your duty, that they come back and say..."oh look, you've got some left over...we'll take that too" that I have a problem.

Not only that but it would create a whole raft of other problems including people looking for ways to hide their wealth, by not spending their wealth in the country, by moving the source of their wealth elsewhere, lots of different moves. And, like I said, it would do nothing to improve the lot of those at the lower end of the pay scale. In fact it could make matters worse for them as they get paid a little bit less so the company owners can make-up what they are losing in the government money grab.



Why is that different than taxing income and then taxing purchases? We do that now for everyone.

People already hide their wealth. The only way to avoid that is to make it illegal or eliminate taxes entirely.

You're arguing against this, but it's exactly how we dealt with the extreme wealth inequality at the beginning of the 20th century.


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PostPosted: 10/21/19 4:29 pm • # 22 
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Okay, so her I am Joe Rich Guy who owns ABC Machine Works. I'm worth 50 million. Ninety-nine percent of my wealth is in equity in my company. Along comes Elizabeth Warren. She says - "Ooooo what a nice company. Give me three percent of it. Then be prepared to give me three percent of whatever is leftover next year.....ditto the year after that, etc. ad nauseum " Do you really think that is going to be good for the economy or for investment in growing the economy.

Flip side, suppose Lizzy rapes the company for a few years and then, all of sudden it drops in value...inevitable recession. Does she start digging into the government coffers and paying back 3% a year?


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PostPosted: 10/21/19 4:53 pm • # 23 
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difficult to answer. it depends on how the money is deployed.

if it is used to build infrastructure, my answer is "probably so".


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PostPosted: 10/21/19 8:04 pm • # 24 
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jimwilliam wrote:
Okay, so her I am Joe Rich Guy who owns ABC Machine Works. I'm worth 50 million. Ninety-nine percent of my wealth is in equity in my company. Along comes Elizabeth Warren. She says - "Ooooo what a nice company. Give me three percent of it. Then be prepared to give me three percent of whatever is leftover next year.....ditto the year after that, etc. ad nauseum " Do you really think that is going to be good for the economy or for investment in growing the economy.

Flip side, suppose Lizzy rapes the company for a few years and then, all of sudden it drops in value...inevitable recession. Does she start digging into the government coffers and paying back 3% a year?

3% seems a little high. Until the late 90s Germany's wealth tax was 0.55%.

What's your take on our existing "wealth tax", the property tax?


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PostPosted: 10/21/19 8:53 pm • # 25 
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If she took 2% then next year you'd only have 48 million (assuming you didn't make a profit) and so you wouldn't have to pay a cent because you wouldn't be over the 50 million.

And, of course she hasn't "taken it" and hid it under the mattress. It would be being used, and that's got to help the economy doesn't it?


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