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Passions in Poetry

Is there Equality?

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Balladeer
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0 posted 01-29-2010 07:03 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


And he demurred on the idea of cutting everyone's taxes, saying with a smile that billionaires don't need tax cuts.

This was part of the conversation of the gathering Obama had with the GOP congressmen.

I'm fairly torn with that comment. No, billionaires don't need tax cuts but is this a country where all have equal rights....or not?  Do we say, "You have too much money so you don't get the benefits others do.", or is that inequality? Is congress, the majority of whom are  wealthy,  giving themselves raises while freezing social security cost of living increases also valid? Where is the line drawn and who decides?

I put this here instead of the Alley because I'm simply interested in opinions, not getting into arguments over it. Are we a country of equality or no? Or SHOULD we be the country of equality that we profess to be but are not? Or should we drop the whole pretense?

I see it as a philosophical question. SHould equality apply to all  or not? Or should there be equality only up to a point? Is "a little equal" similar to being "a little pregnant"? Should we practice equality or not? Or is it even feasible?
Grinch
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1 posted 01-30-2010 08:45 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

No
Balladeer
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2 posted 01-30-2010 09:18 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I assume no meaning we don't have it, we shouldn't practice it, and it is not feasible to even strive for it?

Thanks for the input.
Ron
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3 posted 01-30-2010 10:06 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
No, billionaires don't need tax cuts but is this a country where all have equal rights....or not?

Mike, I'm not quite sure what taxes have to do with equal rights? I don't see anything in the Bill of Rights about a guaranteed right to pay taxes?

Do you really want to pay the same taxes as Bill Gates? Or, perhaps, you think Bill should only have to pay as much as you do? If you want to argue for tax equality I think the first thing we would have to abandon is a graduated tax system?
Essorant
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4 posted 01-30-2010 12:09 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Yes, when we are addressing conditions that are equal or equal-like.  For example, firemen putting out a fire is a service that should be at work regardless of whether it is a rich man's house or a poor man's house.  The fire and safety of life are the equal conditions.  But equal conditions are not the difference of one house being on fire and the other not being so or one house having a major fire and one house having a very minor one.   It wouldn't make sense to say that the house that isn't on fire should be hosed because the house that is on fire is being hosed, nor that a house with a little fire in a kitchen should be hosed as much as a house where flames are devouring whole rooms of the house.  Therefore it depends on the condition we are talking about.  Certain conditions (age, race, gender, how much money one makes etc) don't make a difference in respect to the importance of doing something (putting out fire and saving life, in this case) therefore it is right for there to be equality.  But when conditions (no fire at all, or a great difference in size and danger of the fire, etc), do make an important difference, however, it no longer makes sense to demand equality.  

  
serenity blaze
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5 posted 01-30-2010 06:03 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Nope. And I agree with everybody's input on this one, and not to be shinin' Ron's shoes, but I think the question is phrased badly. I think the better word might be "parity"--which is something that we should strive toward. If you google the word parity, you'll find a page full of food for thought.
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6 posted 01-30-2010 06:27 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ron, what do taxes have to do with equal rights? Beats me....what DOESN'T have to do with equal rights? It's just one of a variety of things. If I say people earning over 200,000 have to be off the streets by 10 pm while the rest have no time limit, it would be the same thing. Equal rights are equal rights. They are either the same for everyone or they are not.

The graduated tax system? Personally I've never been in favor of it. Would I want to pay the same taxes as Bill Gates? Sure....on a percentage basis. I have no problem with that. If we both pay 20% and I make 30,000 while he makes 30 million, I will be paying 6,000 and he will be paying 6 million. That's fine with me, a fellow who is not rich and not even earning enough to be considered middle class. That would be equality for me.

What strikes me as strange in a country where equality is  supposed to be practiced, is to have the President basically saying, "I'm going to help people but to hell with the rich." Somehow that just strikes me as wrong.

Maybe it's just me.
Ron
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7 posted 01-30-2010 06:59 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Would I want to pay the same taxes as Bill Gates? Sure....on a percentage basis.

And that would be true for everyone, right, Mike? One flat tax applied to all. Including the homeless family who panhandles maybe ten dollars a day? You would expect (and require) them to put two bucks a day into the general kitty? Everyone does mean everyone, doesn't it?



I will agree with you, Mike, that the rich and poor, and everyone in between, should share in exactly the same rights and privileges. I don't, however, think the government has any obligation to make the rich richer. One would hope there is a reason behind lowering taxes? That reason, I think, determines to whom the tax cut should be applied. (I'm guessing the reason probably isn't because the government has more money than it needs just now?)

At an all-you-can-eat buffet, I have no problem with the proprietor asking me to pay more than he charges 8-year-old Mary Elizabeth. I fully intend to consume more resources than little Mary and I'm certainly going to derive benefits commensurate with what I pay. Now, if he wants to offer the kid better food than he'll make available to me, we might just have a problem. Some things need to be equal. Some things don't.


serenity blaze
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8 posted 01-30-2010 07:51 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Came back to add a spit-shine to Ron's shoes.



Great analogy--food for thought...?

Yer a funny guy. (And thank you.)

*shaking my head*

I love this guy's analogies...
Balladeer
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9 posted 01-30-2010 07:53 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

...and if you are standing in that buffet line next to a 300 lb individual who you, and the rest of the civilized world, knows is going to eat way more than you, would it bother you that you are both paying the same price?

I would assume that one of the main reasons of lowering taxes is to put more spending money back into the economy. I could be wrong on that but, if that is the case, then the tax cut for the rich would put a whole lot more back into the economy than what the poor would put in. Am I wrong in thinking that?
serenity blaze
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10 posted 01-30-2010 08:00 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I watched that guy take the entire peach cobbler, Mike. I watched him top it all with soft vanilla ice cream, too. Then I watched EVERYBODY watch him eat it.

Did it bother me? No.

*shrug*

Why on earth would it bother me? I wasn't hungry--anymore.
Stephanos
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11 posted 01-30-2010 08:11 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Mike,

That's just part and parcel of having an "all you can eat" buffet with a set price.  The law of averages says that enough skinny-bennys will walk in to offset that guy with the Bill Cosby voice.  

Stephen
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12 posted 01-30-2010 09:24 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Serenity gal and Stephanos.....exactly my point!
serenity blaze
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13 posted 01-30-2010 09:51 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I don't get it.
Balladeer
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14 posted 01-30-2010 10:03 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Serenity gal, it didn't bother you that fatso was paying the same price as you and eating more.

Why would it bother you that fatso was paying the same rate in taxes as you but earning more?

Would you be the one saying (as you have here) that his getting more food than you for the same money wouldn't bother you or would you be one saying that there should be some kind of adjustment based on the projected amount of food each one of you would consume?
serenity blaze
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15 posted 01-30-2010 10:30 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

But Mike? Nobody in the restaurant was starving to death.

I was going to use the analogy of salary caps in sports, m'self.

But who dat say I am a superstitious sort. (Ron? I hope that isn't copyright infringement. ) *ahem*

Parity, I maintain, is a better word. I think that it suggests a more fluid balance than rigid term equal rights, for without the movement of fluctuation, there is stasis.



I think my blueberries might be ripe. Blueberries, peach cobbler...

shall we eat cake, or pie?

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16 posted 01-30-2010 11:16 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Parity works for me,who dat lady. Now, if we can just get the wording changed from "All men are created equal" to "all men are created pared", we're home free!

Think I'll stick with my key lime pie!
Balladeer
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17 posted 01-30-2010 11:33 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

And that would be true for everyone, right, Mike? One flat tax applied to all. Including the homeless family who panhandles maybe ten dollars a day? You would expect (and require) them to put two bucks a day into the general kitty? Everyone does mean everyone, doesn't it?

Ron, I confess I don't know a lot about  tax codes but I believe there's is a minumum one must earn to pay taxes and I don't think the ten dollar a day panhandlers qualify for paying taxes.  At least I know that there are a lot of little old men hanging around the race tracks to sign for high-cash tickets for a small percentage, of course. This is a form of charity and even compassion on the part of the government toward those who, for a variety of reasons, did not make a lot of their lives. I have no problem with that. Actually, that's why I've been against the sales tax replacing income tax because those panhandlers WOULD have to pay taxes since even they have to buy goods.
Essorant
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18 posted 01-31-2010 12:35 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Well, as I said earlier, an important difference contradicts equality.  And there is a big difference between the the money and conditions of rich folk and unrich folk, which isn't at all represented by someone eating more at the buffet but paying the same amount (it is certainly not always "big" people that do that.  Many slender people I know eat far more than the average person.  I am the slenderest person in my family and they have always wondered at how much I eat without putting on much weight) Instead you would need a race of Godzillas with their monsterous stomachs to represent the rich folk.  Eating at a buffet is also a momentary thing, not something that determines and limits so many other things about someone's life.  Since how much money one makes is an ongoing social condition, you would need to make these representatives at the buffet basically live in the buffet or at least frequent it almost every day.  In that case, the difference of the Godzillas eating so much food (including customers), and using the buffet everyday would obviously reach the point where equality with the average or slender-dieted person is no longer within reason!

Balladeer
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19 posted 01-31-2010 01:34 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I agree and applaud your admonishment of Ron for making that comparison.....wasn't mine!  
Grinch
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20 posted 01-31-2010 07:24 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
If we both pay 20% and I make 30,000 while he makes 30 million, I will be paying 6,000 and he will be paying 6 million.


Sounds reasonable Mike, until you introduce a little bit of reality into the equation.

The standard rate you’d have to set to achieve the 1.3 trillion revenue required for 2009/10 would be somewhere in the region of a 30%, not 20%. If you wanted to pay down some of the deficit and massive national debt you’d probably need at least double, perhaps even treble that amount.

Re-run your calculation based on those figures and you’ll find that at 30% Bill Gates would actually be paying 5% less than he normally does. Even at 60% or the higher figure of 90% he probably wouldn’t be cancelling his golf club membership. You however would probably be defaulting on your mortgage and working out whether you can really afford health insurance or whether eating regularly is more important.

A standard rate across the board simply wouldn’t work because the reality is that 5% of the working population contribute 60% of the tax revenue. For the same reason your idea of reducing the tax on the rich is a really really bad idea because any reduction in income tax has to be balanced by an increase for someone else and the percentage amounts of reductions and increases are asymmetrical.

That means if you reduce the tax rate for the rich by 5% you may need to increase the tax rate for everyone else by 200-400% to make up the shortfall.

There’s another very good reason why giving tax cuts to the rich wouldn’t work but that’s another story.


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21 posted 01-31-2010 09:36 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

The standard rate you’d have to set to achieve the 1.3 trillion revenue required for 2009/10 would be somewhere in the region of a 30%, not 20%. If you wanted to pay down some of the deficit and massive national debt you’d probably need at least double, perhaps even treble that amount.

Agreed.


For the same reason your idea of reducing the tax on the rich is a really really bad idea because any reduction in income tax has to be balanced by an increase for someone else and the percentage amounts of reductions and increases are asymmetrical.


Why? That is where we get to the real problem, and one that will not be changed, I'm afraid. There IS an alternative....the government could spend less. Yes, it would take 30% to handle the massive natinal debt. So why is the national debt so massive? And why are the citizens responsible for it? That's the real issue. How much of the revenue the government receives actually goes to the operation of  the country and how much of it is pure waste or misspending? The government has a blank check and, when the check is about to bounce, they simply raise the taxes and bring in a fresh supply. And people discuss who should be taxed more instead of why can't the government work within it's means.

We don't allow that from anyone else. If Johnny says, "Dad, I need more allowance this week because I spent too much on candy", does he get it? If the landlord says, "I had a bad day at the track so your rent goes up 20% this month", do you accept it? Yet the government spends like the proverbial drunken sailor, demands more money in taxes to cover it and all we say is "Which of us should pay it?"

The fact that there is massive waste in government spending is beyond question yet no one protests it in a meaningful way. It is not unsimilar to health care. There is massive waste there, also. Does the government go after it? No, they simply say they want to take it over. If the current health care bill dies a natural death, will the government  still go after the waste in the system? I find it unlikely.  This is not a political party admonishment. Both Democrats and Republicans share in the incredible wasted government spending.

So we sit and debate on how the citizens should be taxed more and who should pay the most,  instead of protesting government waste. Instead, we simply mutter, "Can't fight city hall" and allow them to do what they want while we discuss tax percentages.

Back to my original question, should everyone be treated equally....or should we tax Bill Gates as high as we want, since no matter how much it is, he will still be able to hold on to his golf club membership?
Grinch
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22 posted 01-31-2010 11:33 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
There IS an alternative....the government could spend less


Really?

Income tax goes to pay for about 50% of  annual spending laid out in the Federal Budget Mike, the Federal Budget is agreed by cross-party committee – you the people, by democratic process through your representatives, agree it every year. It’s scrutinised in detail to make savings, reduce waste and get the most cost effective and fiscally sound budget plan possible and yet you think that “the government could spend less”.

How exactly?

Which parts of the federal budget, in your opinion, could be cut Mike?

quote:
So we sit and debate on how the citizens should be taxed more and who should pay the most,  instead of protesting government waste. Instead, we simply mutter, "Can't fight city hall" and allow them to do what they want while we discuss tax percentages.


Err..You started the discussion Mike.


Balladeer
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23 posted 01-31-2010 11:51 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

How? Well, if you feel there is no waste in government spending, no waste in Medicare, none in the VA or any other government programs, no waste in pork and entitlements, none there in personal actions of the top government leaders, nowhere that spending can be cut or streamlined, then I'm not going to waste time trying to convince you there is.

Yes, I began this thread, specifying that I put it in this forum to avoid getting into nit-picky dialogue or personal sparring, and I'm not going in that direction now. I asked if readers felt that all should be treated equally, in this case, in the form of taxation. You gave your answer. Thank you.
Grinch
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24 posted 01-31-2010 01:07 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Sorry Mike,

I thought it was a discussion, I didn’t realise it was a simple opinion poll – I’ll stick to my original answer.

No.

.
 
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