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View Diary: America should get off the stupid pills and invest heavily in renovated, innovated infrastructure (197 comments)

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  •  A Gas Tax is Regressive (14+ / 0-)

    An increase in the gas tax will exacerbate income and wealth inequality.

    Why not finance infrastructure spending via a graduated wealth tax?

    Too radical?

    So was the income tax, until a few brave pols decided to champion it.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:40:56 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  all sin taxes are regressive (0+ / 0-)

      They are still good things to have

      •  Not on yachts they aren't ;-) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cordgrass, JesseCW

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:31:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But the unintended consequences can hurt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In the early 90s Congress passed a 10% luxury tax on yachts and it nearly killed the US domestic boat building industry. In certain regions yacht building is an important industry employing very skilled craftsman. It took several years but Congress finally repealed the luxury tax when it became clear that it was raising little revenue and costing lots of jobs.

          Here is an interesting PBS article on the topic:

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:06:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm guessing the yacht (0+ / 0-)

            manufacturing "industry" is not a major player when thinking about the GDP, labor counts, or infrastructural well-being of our country as a whole, or even of those towns/cities in which they are located. I'm also guessing that even yacht workers don't want to spend all of their income repairing their own vehicles because all the roads and bridges have fallen to pieces.
            Unless one wants to further the "it's all about me, screw the rest of you all" mindset, then I'm afraid yachting manufacturers (and other such businesses) and their workers will have to join the rest of us in pain.
            Businesses don't suddenly die off when taxes go up, unless its customers no longer want their goods for some other reason. The tax is passed along, and in this particular case, to the very people who've prospered well beyond their proportion for decades now.
            Oh, yeah, that article? Almost 20 years old. I think some things have changed quite drastically since then . . .

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 01:38:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  When the luxury tax (0+ / 0-)

              was implemented in the early 90s yacht sales plummeted because yacht buyers moved their purchases to other countries, purchased used boats, or deferred purchases until the tax was repealed. I think the exact same thing would happen today. Many yacht buyers were offended that they had been singled out for an additional tax, and collectively stopped buying. The yacht makers couldn't just pass along the tax because demand plummeted. Given the experience in the early 90s, and the communities who lost jobs, I don't think Congress would consider it again for a considerable period.  

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 04:15:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  PVa - the gas tax is a fixed amount (6+ / 0-)

      and has not been raised for a very long time. With higher mileage cars, hybrids, and EVs, gasoline tax revenues are declining. Much of our infrastructure is auto and truck related so the gas tax is a good match.

      The consensus is that, like the 16th Amendment was required to implement a federal income tax, a constitutional amendment would be required to implement a federal wealth tax. The chance of a wealth tax making it through the amendment process seems slim.

      Several European countries have a wealth tax, 1-3% a year on a specific set of assets that are included. More European countries had wealth taxes and dropped them. Those countries found that the wealth tax resulted in asset flight, lower economic growth and surprisingly no long term increase in overall tax revenues.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:59:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's more likely, the American people... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NearlyNormal, rbird, JesseCW, Chi


        (a) An increase in the regressive Gasoline Tax, which will exacerbate income and wealth inequality.


        (b) A graduated tax on wealth, starting at 1% for households with net worth of 50M, to 8% annually for the likes of Buffet and Ellison.

        Constitutional amendment necessary?  So what.  An amendment was needed for the income tax.

        VClib, European countries don't suffer from the wealth and income inequality of the US.

        I can't understand how Kossacks can support Larry Ellison buying a taxpayer-subsidized Tesla (7,500k federal + 2,500 state), while asking the struggling family in East LA to pay a higher gas tax, a regressive gas tax which Ellison won't have to pay.

        Cognitive Dissonance.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:07:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  think about how difficult it is to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          get a constitutional amendment passed, Patricia.

          Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

          by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:24:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, b/c it's difficult, we should resign ourselves (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, Chi

   increasing the tax burden on the working and middle-class?

            Isn't being a transformational President about championing transformational policies?

            Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

            by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:36:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it's not difficult (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Constitutional amendments get introduced every year. Tell me how far they go.

              When was the last amendment to actually make it to the constitution? And for trivia, how long did it take for that amendment to get ratified?

              I like the idea of a graduated wealth tax myself, but I can tell you flat out there's probably more support to raise the gas tax a single penny than there is for a graduated wealth tax. And honestly you're probably going to see a shitton more public/private partnerships and tolling before they even raise the gas tax a single penny.

              Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

              by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:42:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The income tax amendment was passed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox

          on the premise that it would be a very small percentage tax, and only on the top 1% of income earners. However, those restrictions were not baked in the cake. I don't think we will ever have a wealth tax in the US because of the fear that its path would resemble the income tax, which started as a very small rate applied to a very small subset of income earners and over time became universal. I think that is why the people of Washington State rejected a state income tax, even though it would have initially applied to a small percentage of the population. Once taxes are established they become a slippery slope.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:35:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wealth tax should be linked (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to income. 1% of wealth sounds reasonable return on trust funds, if there is no earned income.

        •  These are the people who love "Soda Taxes" and (0+ / 0-)

          despise the notion of taxes on foofy coffee drinks.

          If the Quantcast date on site membership is correct, it's clear why.

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:28:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  European solutions to transportation funding (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, FG

        I think some of them would not be all that palatable to some people here. lots and lots of public/private partnerships, tolling, stuff like that. Most British rail operators are privatized although the infrastructure is gov't-owned. People in the field ARE talking about ways to fund this going forward beyond gas tax, but again, they aren't going to be popular ideas. VMT was one that was piloted in Portland, OR briefly. You essentially would pay based on the amount of miles you traveled, which would be tracked via a device in your car. I can say for certain that idea is probably dead in the water for obvious reasons although if I recall, the few who did the pilot liked it.

        But talk is meaningless without any legislative support, and frankly the issue is just not attractive enough to poilticians Democratic or Republican. A politician who sticks their neck out on infrastructure is a very rare politician indeed, and a bridge falling down simply won't do it. How much of a funding increase happened after I-35? Exactly.

        I don't care for Gov. Corbett and really hope he loses next fall, but this is the lone issue of his that I happen to agree with (and even he had to be convinced.) They apparently are going to vote on a funding increase for transportation within the next couple weeks. We'll see if it fails.

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

        by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:10:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A gas tax makes sense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, elfling

      Instead of complicated standards and incentives for energy efficiency , a gas tax is simple and fair. It addresses public road usage, pollution burden you impose all at the same time. Plus it keeps the margins of gasoline as tight as possible for the private players.

    •  Funny how the rise from Gas Corp..... (0+ / 0-)

      is not regressive, but taxes are.

      Any rise in taxes comes back to the people in the form of road repairs/ building or whatever each state divvies up their taxes that return as services.

      Any increase in the pump price of gas goes into an offshore account to never be seen again.

      No matter how prices go up, people become more frugal, use public transit, buy better mileage cars etc.

      My $.02....

      You can continue to serve with

      by rickeagle on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:17:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would increase the gas tax and then (0+ / 0-)

      also increase the tax exemption per individual on everyone's income tax and make it refundable for low income taxpayers a la EITC.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:25:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For those without kids, the EITC (0+ / 0-)

        cuts out at about 12k.  Those under 25 aren't eligible.

        Those really aren't the parameters of "poor".

        "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:31:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Keynes would deficit spend, & it worked (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney, JesseCW, Meteor Blades, tari

      GDP in 1934 11%, 1935 9%, 1936 14%, unemployment went down from 22% to 9.9%.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:47:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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