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Thread: Presidential Rankings of the United States - accurate?

  1. #46
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    gunnut,

    It should be the "perceived" failure of the private industry, just like today. Rahm Emanual famously said "never let a crisis go to waste." FDR did the same thing except he didn't advertise it.
    why should it be "perceived"? free market theory in general fully acknowledges that there will be recessions and depressions, and a large part of determining which economic school you are lies between choosing whether recessions/depressions are logical and inevitable and probably a good thing, or if it is emotional and avoidable and probably a bad thing.

    but neither school denies that there are times when private industry fails.

    Goldwater sounds like a guy I can get along with.
    he was too much of a states'-righter for me, and too twitchy when it came to defense, but i could live with him. i think he's a better conservative than any of the big ones out there today, with the possible exception of paul ryan.

    in the end, i'd prefer somewhere in the middle of him and Rockefeller Republicanism, which was actually to the left of Clinton's Third Way. but at the least, he was an erudite, well-reasoned man whom didn't tolerate the religious right.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    I would rate Teddy Rooservelt and William Taft as good presidents, thought they tend to be overlooked today. They built up the navy and precided over a period of relative prosperity. TR gave the US a reputation as a world power, Taft strengthened it. They built battleships and made America strong.
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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    people were way more socially conservative in the past, but way more economically liberal (and i'd argue about the same defense-wise). that's why the US upper tax rate was 94% until the kennedy era and 70%+ until reagan.
    Which taxes are you referring to here ?

    I have to think its income tax, and if so are you saying that in those days, ppl were left with only 6% and later 30% of their earnings !!

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    yes, the income tax. the 70-94% figures i mention above are top rates, so it didn't apply to everybody.

    BTW, the interesting thing is that income disparity held relatively steady from 1930-mid 1970s, in part due to relatively equal standards of education and because of such punitive upper-level tax rates.

    however, even before reagan dropped the upper rate from 70% to 28%, income disparity had already started widening, which means that despite a punitive rate of 70%, upper income earners still reaped a greater share of economic growth than their poorer and less-taxed counterparts. just goes to show how once you have money, it becomes exponentially easier to make MORE money.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    yes, the income tax. the 70-94% figures i mention above are top rates, so it didn't apply to everybody.

    BTW, the interesting thing is that income disparity held relatively steady from 1930-mid 1970s, in part due to relatively equal standards of education and because of such punitive upper-level tax rates.

    however, even before reagan dropped the upper rate from 70% to 28%, income disparity had already started widening, which means that despite a punitive rate of 70%, upper income earners still reaped a greater share of economic growth than their poorer and less-taxed counterparts. just goes to show how once you have money, it becomes exponentially easier to make MORE money.
    There are ways to hide money.

    People don't ALL oppose taxes and they don't oppose all taxes. There is a breaking point. People will look for loopholes beyond that point. What that point is, depends on the person.

    Did that punitive income tax include dividend? Or stock sales? How did Howard Hughes become a billionaire back then if he hit the 94% tax bracket? Did that mean he was actually a trillionaire?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    yes, the income tax. the 70-94% figures i mention above are top rates, so it didn't apply to everybody.
    I find that insane, my country and you can assume full blown socialist (at the time) never topped 40%. The biggest incentive to lower it was that evasion was rampant. Despite having such high rates, govt revenues were not much and are actually higher today with lower rates as the net is much wider.

    So i find it hard to believe that the US could ever have tax rates as high as 70 & 94%

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    BTW, the interesting thing is that income disparity held relatively steady from 1930-mid 1970s, in part due to relatively equal standards of education and because of such punitive upper-level tax rates.
    Then there must have been several loopholes to avoid paying these high taxes and there would have to be otherwise you'd be looking at a revolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    however, even before reagan dropped the upper rate from 70% to 28%, income disparity had already started widening, which means that despite a punitive rate of 70%, upper income earners still reaped a greater share of economic growth than their poorer and less-taxed counterparts. just goes to show how once you have money, it becomes exponentially easier to make MORE money.
    Perhaps but taxes are supposed to be progressive this seems downright extortionate.

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    gunnut, double edge,

    of course there were (and are) plenty of loopholes for the rich to hide around. hiring tax accountants and knowing the right people can get you those advantages. that's one of the big advantages of a sales tax in my book, a lot harder to cheat your way around taxes.

    double edge,

    Despite having such high rates, govt revenues were not much and are actually higher today with lower rates as the net is much wider.
    the US had that trouble when the income tax first started, which explains why they used to be so sanguine about raising tax rates enormously at one swoop (most people just didn't bother reporting).

    Perhaps but taxes are supposed to be progressive this seems downright extortionate.
    yes, the point was punitive, not progressive. in any case, economic studies have shown that higher taxes get offset by reduced economic activity and tax evasion around the 55-60% level.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  8. #53
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    yes, the point was punitive, not progressive. in any case, economic studies have shown that higher taxes get offset by reduced economic activity and tax evasion around the 55-60% level.
    Why punitive ? I find the term 'punitive' odd, given your country broke away on the very basis of high taxes. Course the rallying cry "taxation without representation" does not apply anymore it would still rub the wrong way.

    Why am i concentrating on the top bracket ? because it gives an idea of how your country treats its most productive citizens. And found this quote by Jefferson very apt

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Jefferson
    To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his father has acquired too much, in order to spare to others who (or whose fathers) have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, "to guarantee to everyone a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."
    I decided to look up the history of US income taxes and found this at the Treasury's website and another shorter summary elsewhere.

    Before WW1, tax rates were very low

    In 1916, a taxpayer needed $1.5 million in taxable income to face a 15 percent rate. By 1917 a taxpayer with only $40,000 faced a 16 percent rate and the individual with $1.5 million faced a tax rate of 67 percent. Another revenue act was passed in 1918, which hiked tax rates once again, this time raising the bottom rate to 6 percent and the top rate to 77 percent. Even in 1918, however, only 5 percent of the population paid income taxes and yet the income tax funded one-third of the cost of the war.
    This state of affairs did not last very long

    The economy boomed during the 1920s and increasing revenues from the income tax followed. This allowed Congress to cut taxes five times, ultimately returning the bottom tax rate to 1 percent and the top rate down to 25 percent and reducing the Federal tax burden as a share of GDP to 13 percent.
    Then came the great depression and taxes went up again

    By 1936 the lowest tax rate had reached 4 percent and the top rate was up to 79 percent. In 1939, Congress systematically codified the tax laws so that all subsequent tax legislation until 1954 amended this basic code. The combination of a shrunken economy and the repeated tax increases raised the Federal government's tax burden to 6.8 percent of GDP by 1940.
    WWII increased taxes further

    By the end of the war the nature of the income tax had been fundamentally altered. Reductions in exemption levels meant that taxpayers with taxable incomes of only $500 faced a bottom tax rate of 23 percent, while taxpayers with incomes over $1 million faced a top rate of 94 percent. Even with an economy stimulated by war-time production, federal taxes as a share of GDP grew from 7.6 percent in 1941 to 20.4 percent in 1945. Beyond the rates and revenues, however, another aspect about the income tax that changed was the increase in the number of income taxpayers from 4 million in 1939 to 43 million in 1945.
    Which stayed in the high 80's till regan brought it down to 50%.

    The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which enjoyed strong bi-partisan support in the Congress, represented a fundamental shift in the course of federal income tax policy. Championed in principle for many years by then-Congressman Jack Kemp (R-NY) and then-Senator Bill Roth (R- DE), it featured a 25 percent reduction in individual tax brackets, phased in over 3 years, and indexed for inflation thereafter. This brought the top tax bracket down to 50 percent.
    This came about because

    The essential idea was that taxes have their first and primary effect on the economic incentives facing individuals and businesses. Thus, the tax rate on the last dollar earned, i.e. the marginal dollar, is much more important to economic activity than the tax rate facing the first dollar earned or than the average tax rate. By reducing marginal tax rates it was believed the natural forces of economic growth would be less restrained. The most productive individuals would then shift more of their energies to productive activities rather than leisure and businesses would take advantage of many more now profitable opportunities. It was also thought that reducing marginal tax rates would significantly expand the tax base as individuals shifted more of their income and activities into taxable forms and out of tax-exempt forms.
    Then it dropped again in '86

    The culmination of this effort was the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which brought the top statutory tax rate down from 50 percent to 28 percent while the corporate tax rate was reduced from 50 percent to 35 percent. Seen in a broader picture, the 1986 tax act represented the penultimate installment of an extraordinary process of tax rate reductions. Over the 22 year period from 1964 to 1986 the top individual tax rate was reduced from 91 to 28 percent.
    Another reason why Reagan ought to be closer to the top 5 presidents polled

    But this did not remain for long

    Due to persistant budget deficits, in 1990 the Congress enacted a significant tax increase featuring an increase in the top tax rate to 31 percent.
    Clinton increased it further

    Shortly after his election, President Clinton insisted on and the Congress enacted a second major tax increase in 1993 in which the top tax rate was raised to 36 percent and a 10 percent surcharge was added, leaving the effective top tax rate at 39.6 percent.
    Bush brought it back down to 33%

    Its to be noted that even after Afghanistan & Iraq plus a recession, tax rates have not risen yet or have they ?
    Last edited by Double Edge; 17 Sep 10, at 17:06.

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    DE,

    Why punitive ? I find the term 'punitive' odd, given your country broke away on the very basis of high taxes.
    incorrect-- the US broke away because of the lack of REPRESENTATION, not the taxation. colonists were actually taxed far less than their british islander counterparts, and they knew it. that's not what they were angry about.

    as for why punitive, the idea was that the mass speculation that went on before the Great Depression led to the meltdown of the economy, so the solution would be to ensure that there was less money flowing around that could do the same. the WW2 increases were justified to fund the war economy and to reduce war profiteering.

    Which stayed in the high 80's till regan brought it down to 50%.
    not quite; it was reduced from 91% to 70% by kennedy, and then reduced to 50 and then 28% by reagan.

    Its to be noted that even after Afghanistan & Iraq plus a recession, tax rates have not risen yet or have they ?
    that is indeed true. obama's actually lowered them some more, despite the screeching and wailing of the conservatives here. this is ultimately not sustainable, with the only realistic solution being a combination of higher taxes and lower services in the future.

    as for myself, in my dream world i would lower dividend and corporate taxes dramatically. i would like to see a combination of moderately reduced income taxes and a national sales tax to make up the difference. i'd probably also want a new tax bracket for those making above $1 mil, because the super-rich generally have fundamentally different methods for creating wealth than the merely rich ($100K-$1mil) or below.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    incorrect-- the US broke away because of the lack of REPRESENTATION, not the taxation. colonists were actually taxed far less than their british islander counterparts, and they knew it. that's not what they were angry about.
    So I take it you disagree with what the treasury has on its website ?

    England's need for revenues to pay for its wars against France led it to impose a series of taxes on the American colonies. In 1765, the English Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which was the first tax imposed directly on the American colonies, and then Parliament imposed a tax on tea. Even though colonists were forced to pay these taxes, they lacked representation in the English Parliament. This led to the rallying cry of the American Revolution that "taxation without representation is tyranny" and established a persistent wariness regarding taxation as part of the American culture.
    It's hard to seperate out here which was the bigger irritant, the suddenly increased new taxes and/or a lack of representation, that would have made the case for the colonies

    There was never any representation right from the get go so i thought the tipping point was the new taxes imposed.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    as for why punitive, the idea was that the mass speculation that went on before the Great Depression led to the meltdown of the economy, so the solution would be to ensure that there was less money flowing around that could do the same. the WW2 increases were justified to fund the war economy and to reduce war profiteering.
    ok

    not quite; it was reduced from 91% to 70% by kennedy,
    Thx, Treasury's website did not go into too much detail for this period and just referred to taxes as a % of GDP.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    i'd probably also want a new tax bracket for those making above $1 mil, because the super-rich generally have fundamentally different methods for creating wealth than the merely rich ($100K-$1mil) or below.
    How much would you charge them ?

    This would be going against the idea that produced a flat top rate.

    The 1981 tax cut actually represented two departures from previous tax policy philosophies, one explicit and intended and the second by implication. The first change was the new focus on marginal tax rates and incentives as the key factors in how the tax system affects economic activity. The second policy departure was the de facto shift away from income taxation and toward taxing consumption.
    So why introduce an extra tax slab when the economy isn't "over-heated" ?

    Tho given the way your country's rates have swung wildly whenever there was a crisis it isn't too difficult to imagine such an idea would come to pass.

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    DE,

    So I take it you disagree with what the treasury has on its website ?
    it stated what i stated, ie:

    Even though colonists were forced to pay these taxes, they lacked representation in the English Parliament.
    It's hard to seperate out here which was the bigger irritant, the suddenly increased new taxes and/or a lack of representation, that would have made the case for the colonies
    the lack of representation-- that was the basis for all the colonial arguments. btw, that was how the british crown viewed it, too-- their right to levy taxes without such representation. they fully understood that the tax getting levied was quite small and entertained thoughts about repealing it (which they did in the past)-- but they wanted to make the point.

    So why introduce an extra tax slab when the economy isn't "over-heated" ?
    the point isn't punitive, it's to better reflect economic realities-- the point of a progressive tax system in the first place. in my mind, the man earning $250K is not fundamentally different from the man earning $25 or $50K-- there's a much firmer connection between work and wealth. there's less of that connection in a man making $2.5 million, or $25 or $250 million. so i'd actually eliminate one of the lower tax brackets, too.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    not foreign imperialism-- nixon was the biggest Imperial President, ie he believed in the primacy of Executive power. he illegally used the FBI and IRS to go after his political enemies, and used the CIA to spy on americans (Operation CHAOS). he tried to take over the legislative power of the purse.

    and that's all BEFORE watergate.

    i'd imagine for any libertarian he'd probably be the worst president ever.
    So what about this, from wiki,
    On the domestic front, he implemented the concept of New Federalism, transferring power from the federal government to the states

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    as for myself, in my dream world i would lower dividend and corporate taxes dramatically. i would like to see a combination of moderately reduced income taxes and a national sales tax to make up the difference. i'd probably also want a new tax bracket for those making above $1 mil, because the super-rich generally have fundamentally different methods for creating wealth than the merely rich ($100K-$1mil) or below.
    I oppose regressive tax schemes, they hurt the poor. A progressive tax scheme works better because at the end of the day the people using the most welfare are the rich. What we need to do is make the Bush tax rates permanent, pass a balanced budget amendment and accept that social welfare is not only a handout but a tool to keep the producing class safe. We should also move more fully from hand outs to hand ups.

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    7th,

    So what about this, from wiki,
    if you look at what he proposed with new federalism, most of the impact fell upon the federal bureaucracy and the legislative branch, ie the people whom were also against his overreaching executive powers.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    zraver,

    I oppose regressive tax schemes, they hurt the poor. A progressive tax scheme works better because at the end of the day the people using the most welfare are the rich. What we need to do is make the Bush tax rates permanent, pass a balanced budget amendment and accept that social welfare is not only a handout but a tool to keep the producing class safe. We should also move more fully from hand outs to hand ups.
    i agree with everything you say (except for the bush tax rates permanent part). a national sales tax would make the system slightly more regressive, but could be balanced by having exceptions for say, food items. scaling up the tax rate for the $1mil+ up group would have the desirable effect of slightly arresting an expanding income gap and making a bigger connection between wealth and work.

    as for the bush tax cuts, they need to be rethought into the context of still greater tax cuts for science/technology firms and business tax cuts. i'd get rid of the tax cuts above $170K earners and instead redirect them all into slashing the dividend/corporate tax rate.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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