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View Diary: A Tale of Two Americas (259 comments)

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  •  If tax policy had been reformed (60+ / 0-)

    to wipe out the Bush and Reagan tax cuts for the upper 10% of the income distribution, we might have had a different discussion to make after the midterms, and "the debt" would have been taken off the table. This might have been achieved by throwing Republican/neoliberal regressive tax policy back in their faces by defining the issue as tax unfairness instead of tax relief/cuts by passing tax reforms putting the tax code back to what the US had in place through the 1970s under Democrats and Republicans alike, and which would have given the US tax parity with other developed nations. The battle cry would have been "lets tax money made on money at the same rate as money made by the sweat of one's brow".

    Another meme to put up about current tax rewards money for nothing rather than money for work. If Powerball proceeds are taxed at the maximum rate, why not tax hedge funds at maximum marginal rates as well. These financial instruments are not "investments"; they are more sophisticated versions of the lotteries and casino gambling reserved for the lower classes.

    "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

    by NoMoreLies on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 09:47:35 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  yes - BUT at least casinos are lotteries (21+ / 0-)

      are designed to not infect and destroy the entire economy.

      Casinos and lotteries do not require tax payer bailouts.

      Casinos and lotteries post the odds of you winning, and the odds are quite accurate.

      Casinos and lotteries, as unsavory as they are in many ways, are far superior to the criminality and fraud of Wall Street.

      Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist. - Kenneth E. Boulding

      by Earth Ling on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 09:52:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I used casinos & lotteries as an example (28+ / 0-)

        to prove a point. The current tax code treats proceeds from them at the maximum marginal rate, so why not treat hedge funds, derivatives, and commodity plays the same way, given that these forms of economic activity are even more destructive than traditional forms of gambling geared to the lower classes. I think the proceeds of casino capitalism should even get a special maximum tax rate of 90 percent on incomes from them of over $2 million or so. It is twisted and perverted that these forms of gambling for rich people are backstopped by Americans who have no skin in that game.

        "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

        by NoMoreLies on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 10:05:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd make it a minimum tax of 98% (15+ / 0-)

          on any earnings from speculative trading, even if it's just $100. And a basic 1% tax on any speculative transaction.

          There's simply no useful function for this kind of thing. Make the returns for investing in a local grocery store higher than you'd ever get from speculation. Force money into the real economy by any means necessary.

          And I've not found yet an Economic bust which was not preceded by wild speculation, in the first place.

          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:06:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is why the left will be ignored (0+ / 0-)

            Every trade , including those that are made on people's behalf in Mutual funds, pension funds, from buying safe triple AAA rated bonds, to blue chip stocks  are all speculative. There is no such this as the sure thing. Another one below you had taxes at 90% over $100,000. That should pound whatever is left of the middle class in the ground. Remember if the minimum wage kept up with inflation it would be $19.00 per hour now.

            The left has no power to get a 3% increase or a tax cut that sunsets. So whenever I see posts like this that are so far removed by the reality of where we are, I'm reminded that people here can be just as wacky as they can on the right.

            Think we have a majority in the senate? I don't see it that way. Not when we couldn't do anything with 60, we sure as hell getting anything done with 52 or 53 . In all likelihood the Democrats that made the cut this time will read the massacre as they were too far to the left. Even though that's not true they certainly will blame it on the left . Posts like those above do nothing but reinforce it. That means no power to even consider something like this.

            I doubt you would find one progressive , including Bernie Sanders, in either house that would agree with it even if it was off the record.

            They make $170,000. They make trades. All of it is speculative. Some people call it investing, but after the events of the last decade , everything , especially triple AAA rated bonds are not only speculative, they are highly speculative.

            They are plenty of people who couldn't find jobs , who ran out of benefits who trained themselves to be successful day traders and swing traders. I know one guy who makes $4000 a month with a $5,000 account trading one stock. So he would pay out all his income even though there are no jobs for him?

            Does it hurt when you think?

            There is no basis in reality for these posts. None.  

            Speculative trading taxed at 98% with a transaction tax of 1%. JHC.  

            •  This is why you will ignored. (7+ / 0-)

              You can't think in terms which real people think in.

              I doubt you will find one person currently in Congress who will still be there after their next election if the shit keeps flowing downhill the way it has been to this moment, as the Banker's Terrorism trickles down on more and more of us.

              Whenever I see a post like yours which is so removed from life as lived by ordinary people, as opposed to Today's Absolute Wisdom™ as seen in the Czar's palace King Louis' palace King George's palace Diaz's Palace The Heavenly Palace the Khedive's palace the Sultani Azims Palace The DC Village, I despair that anyone so easily buffalo'd into accepting manifest horseshit as being political grasp, will recognize that the reason you got, say Social Security was because popular pressure was ready to tear down Wall Street brick by brick.

              The crowd is not getting cheerier.

              You can't name, nobody can name, an Economic Bust of the last 300 years which did not come as a direct result of financial speculation gone wild.

              Speculators are a parasite class. In the end a society either reigns them in, or the society gets eviscerated. That's how it is.

              99% is my opening bid on how to do it. If you thought we'd open the negotiations at 2% I hope, for your sake, you have an adult handling that kind of stuff for you.

              Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

              by Jim P on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 03:15:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I don't agree (4+ / 0-)

              There is a difference between speculating and investing. It can be measured.
               The Tobin Tax idea is a good example of how to eliminate useless speculation.

              "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

              by gjohnsit on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 03:19:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  How would you measure it? (0+ / 0-)

                Length of time held? We do that already. If it's under 12 months it's taxed as ordinary income ( except the hedge fund managers) , after 12 Months it's taxed as capital gains.

                In essense if Jim were a dictator and that got through, there would be zero liquidity in the market . People would be paying far above value just to buy an investment.Would they chance it if it was defined as speculation? No one would. You can lose all the money you invest but we take all the money you make. That will really work?

                Keep in mind too that Pension funds , Mutual funds and other institutional funds speculate with futures purchases on Commodities all the time. So under the premise of Jim who knows everything there is to know about anything, pension funds would take a huge hit. They would be confined to returns that are far under the real rate of inflation. Not the BS we see . There would be no capital gains tax./ No one would trade or buy . It's total insanity.

                A Speculator can be defined as anyone that buys a stock or bond with the expectation of a return. That is also the essence of capital formation. I would agree that former investment companies with no longer be able to Prop trade even though they have changed it to Block trade. That a percentage of it's annual revenues must be on capital formation to raise money for new companies etc et al.

                But I see posts like the above that are so far out on the insanity limb, I don't think anyone , even the most left person of congress would ever introduce the bill. If they did, it would never make it to the floor. Speculators are part and parcel of a capitalist society. Who would be disqualified as "speculators" was defined in the Glass Steagull act, all 17 pages, not the finreg of 2000 pages that purportedly replaced it.

                The problem with dems is making things far more complicated when all that was required to cut the derivative speculation  was re-enacting and enforcing the Glass Steagull act, but even that couldn't be done. They put a limit back of 500 Million on buying futures contracts, but they still controls an awful lot of commodities which is another reason people are buying them to hedge against the fall of the dollar.

                Speculation? Sure it is. 98% tax even on $100 ? Total nonsense

                It would be Another 4000 page bill that would go unfunded and unenforced. The lack of thinking these matters through on a pragmatic basis is part and parcel of why the Dems got slaughtered. The other part was the corruption. That's another subject, but one that greatly contributes to the two America's which is the crux of your diary.

            •  I'm not sure that a person who makes a living (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Earth Ling

              by speculation is adding to the well being of a Countries economy. The idea that they are able to pick winners/losers better then having a market based economy(i.e., real value) seems to be proven wrong by any crash You care to list.

              The Financier have lost focus of what their role is,
              which should be to help fund a sound economy, while getting payed for moving paper,(zero's and one's now).

              Dburn, You are a great deal smarter then me, and I have always love Your constructive comments in any diary You have added to, but on this I think Your wrong.

              •  Many are people who can't get or hold a job. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                are daytraders or swing traders if they can't put together $25,000.  They are usually down to their last ditch try. If they are successful , which a large percentage are not, they buy things. We aren't talking about the wealthy here. Some guy who makes $4000 a month is not wealthy.

                I can think of many professions that don't contribute to society. On the other hand, someone who is making money on his own is paying taxes as ordinary income, social security at 15% and buying things that do contribute to the the producers bottom lines that help them stay in business. It helps the Govt too. Lets face it, the idea of tax increases right now are not going to fly as people realize the corrupt politicians will just hand it to the bankers. I doesn't matter what the net worth is either.

                Speculators can easily be defined as Venture capital companies. The ones that took Apple and Google public, Ebay and Amazon etc. That is the most speculative trade there is. For every grand slam , there are 1000s of losers. But nevertheless under a ill defined rule of what is speculation and what isn't , no companies would be able to raise capital if 98% of the "speculators" earnings were taxed.

                Despite the naysayers, it's still possible to get wealthy off of ideas. But in order for that to happen you have to have the speculators to bring in the money to make it happen. There are already reports that app companies for iPhone and iPads are getting snapped up. One went for 400 Million. This is just the start. But few can go that route unless they have the connections and the money that Venture capitalists have or Angel investors not to mention Mom and Dad.

                This idiotic notion of huge taxes on speculation is so off center, I could go on for hours. Save to say, anyone who puts something up like 98% taxes is so far out there, it's not even worth responding too which I wish I hadn't. He would also would be the first to complain if he suddenly came up with an idea that would have made them a fortune if he just didn't have this nutty bill . He could hire workers, raise money, produce and contribute to society if there was only speculators willing to take the risk of backing him. If the company went public, he would need the speculators to trade the stock for liquidity or people just wouldn't buy it and it would soon slip down to the pink sheets.  

                HFT trading on the other hand should simply be outlawed.  The Glass Steagull act would have taken care of most of the rest of the speculators who drove the economy down with derivatives. It was a two part solution that was the essence of simplicity. It was ignored in favor of a monstrosity of a bill that has loopholes on all 2000+ pages of it.

                Ask yourself one question: How much are the people who surround DC producing for the economy. The lobbyists, political consultants, advertising agencies etc etc when all they do is get in more of the same.

                Henry Ford went Bankrupt 7 times before he finally got Ford off the ground. He also broke ranks and decided that if the employees couldn't afford the products a company makes, that the company was , in the end, doomed. You only figure out breakthrough ideas like that when you have been kicked to the dirt many times. It is the willingness to get back up and try again and the willingness of "speculators" to speculate that this time he'll be right .

                Then when the company went public, it was the speculators who helped take the stock up so more money could be raised by selling secondary offerings. By issuing corporate bonds. In the absence of a definition , anyone who has money to put to work would be classed as a speculator by the above definition.

                Speculation is what made this country.

                •  Dbun, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  You have many good points. My point would be that speculation on commodites needs to have limits. When the price of a barrel of oil goes to $140 for now real reason other then speculator are driving it, that is a recipe for disater. We are now seeing it in food prices because of "QE2, no other place for big money to go".

                  As I said Yesterday I enjoy Your thoughtful coments,TC.

                  •  They have established limits (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    of 500 million. Buy and hold investors on Commodities are now trying to hedge their portfolios as the dollar sinks in value. Again, you will find Teacher retirement funds to institutional investors. At one point after the 500 Million limit was established, investors were taking delivery of the oil which was in a ship just sitting the Ocean close to America.

                    Right now , the FED is forcing people and funds to buy risky assets because the ROI on Bonds is so low that they may as well have it in cash.

                    Here is where I draw a line between bad speculators and good with the ones that should be deep sixed

                    1. High frequency Trading: The best and the brightest are being hired by Wall Street to come up with ALGOs that computers, collocated with the Dow and Nasdaq computers because of latency, can make 100s of thousands of trades a day. As P. Volcker said (paraphrased)  " We need more civil Engineers not Financial engineers.
                    1. Derivative bets other than options and some futures. Somehow the economy was doing ok until these became so popular that those derivatives were ultimately the cause of the crash. In 1907 , after wall street crash, side bets made by bucket shops, were made illegal. As derivatives became more and more popular, the fear was they would be seen as side bets . That was all erased with in 2000 With Phil Grahams legislation that came on the last day of congress attached to a omnibus spending bill and no one could make sense of the 282 pages.
                    1. Prop trading by institutions that were bailed out by taxpayer dollars.

                    The combined effect of all this has made the 7% fee that investment banks make on IPOs look so tiny  that the ton of hard work that comes with it only makes sense if a company was large enough that the IPO was raising billions and billions of dollars.  With derivatives , HFT and Prop trading, why would investment bankers want to break into a sweat taking companies public.

                    1. Loopholes in the Commodities futures limits. Airlines to farms use Futures to lock in prices when they believe commodities are going up. That is fair and worth it too. But buy and hold investors should just be banned.
        •  You make a good point. Why not tax all (14+ / 0-)

          passive income over $100,000 at a marginal rate of 90%.  There would be an argument that venture capital money would dry up but we could redefine venture capital income as a different class of income, of course the investment timeframe would have to be a minimum of 5 years to qualify.  Investment in the stock market does not generally generate new capital anymore for business investment so it's protected status is has become part of that casino.  In addition any compensation over $500,000, 90%.  You need to take the incentive out of both compensation and stock options.  Accumulation of great wealth is the enemy of democracy.  

          "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

          by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:15:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry to barge in: Update from the DA (9+ / 0-)

            Why not do what the victim wants?

            District Attorney Mark Hurlbert told HuffPost on Monday afternoon that news reports about the prosecution have been inaccurate. "We charged him with a felony, first of all," he said.

            What's happening is that prosecutors offered Erzinger a plea bargain for restitution and two misdemeanors potentially carrying two years of jail time. What the victim wants, Hurlbert said, is for Erzinger to plead guilty to the felony of leaving the scene of accident, causing serious bodily injury. Under that deal, judgment would be deferred and the felony would be cleared from his record after a few years of good behavior. The misdemeanors, though, would stay on Erzinger's record permanently.

            "This is the right plea bargain given the facts of the case, the defendant's prior criminal history and his willingness to take responsibility," Hurlbert said. "We feel this is far more punitive than the felony deferred."

            Hurlbert did not offer details on the restitution, except to say it would be "significant."

            "As far as employment, in any case where there is significant restitution we certainly take that into account....but it is not the overriding concern. In this case it was not the overriding concern," Hurlbert said. He added that he'd received mixed signals about how a felony or misdemeanor rap would affect Erzinger's ability to do his job.

            Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

            by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:27:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This DA is what world is a (10+ / 0-)

              misdemeanor less than a felony.  Here is the deal...this DA is trying to protect this guys securities license.  If he gets convicted of a felony, it is gone probably forever.  That is what this is about.  

              "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

              by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:36:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  A misdemeanor is less than a felony, as it (4+ / 0-)

                carries less jail time and restitution.  It makes sense that the DA would want the misdemeanor permanently on the hedge fund manager's record instead of cleared after a few years (deferred), but what I want to know is why not charge him with the victim's request?  It's no skin off his nose either way, as the perpetrator definitely deserved the felony charge.

                Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:50:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's the license, I am sure of it. If this hedge (7+ / 0-)

                  fund manager loses his securities license, his business is cooked.  This DA is looking for  a longer term political career and this hedge fund manager can provide the capital and the contacts.  There is ABSOLUTELY no other reason to let him plead to a misdemeanor.

                  "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                  by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 12:03:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I know you're sure of it, but I'm not. (0+ / 0-)

                    Let's not get too emotional and fixated on outrage on this one, the DA's explanation seems quite reasonable to me except for what I mentioned.

                    Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                    by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 12:06:53 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No it's not. The DA is full of shit. He is (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mattman, shaharazade, elwior, Earth Ling

                      lying.  There are powerful strings being pulled for this guy and the only reason this isn't be swept under the rug is that his victim was a surgeon. In what universe does this explanation make sense.  

                      "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                      by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 12:23:23 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Put another way...if this hit and run was this (7+ / 0-)

                        DA's child, there is no way this is a misdemeanor charge.

                        "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                        by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 12:25:42 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You can say that about any charge by a DA (0+ / 0-)

                          Really, your emoting is not logical argument.  Do you agree that between the two choices it is more harmful to have something on your record for life rather than have a bigger charge disappear over a period of time?

                          Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                          by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:03:33 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, I'm not sure I agree. (0+ / 0-)

                        Plea bargains are complicated, and the DA's explanation doesn't seem like what we all thought to begin with.  

                        Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                        by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 12:47:33 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Let me help you with this: (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mattman, alizard

                          In Colorado, expunging a felony from your record is possible if the charge was dismissed or you were found not guilty by a judge or jury. Felony records cannot be expunged if you were convicted.

                          "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                          by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:04:38 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Link please. (0+ / 0-)

                            Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                            by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:06:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Expunging and deferring are not the same (0+ / 0-)

                            Expunge is what you posted, defer is to do what I said, which is to erase the conviction off the record after a certain amount of time.  This isn't unusual.

                            Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                            by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:08:03 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You are misreading the prosecutor, he wants to (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            divineorder, Earth Ling

                            cut a deal with this guy.  The defendant would plead guilty to a felony IF it was deferred and if that is the deal the prosecutor cut then it would disappear but if the prosecutor took him to trial then the conviction stands and there is no expungement under Colorado law.  What will happen with this misdemeanor charge a few years down the road is that it will disappear as well.  This guy will just hire an expensive lawyer and they will make this misdemeanor charge go away.  Making a felony conviction go away is harder and requires more, I believe the signature of the governor.  

                            "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                            by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:24:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  LOL. Do you see how emotionally invested (0+ / 0-)

                            you are in your perception of this case?  You can't even reply to my corrections of your innacuracies.  

                            We don't know the whole story, is what I'm saying.  I'm not excusing the guy's reprehensible behavior, just to be clear, but the DA's/judge's decision to slap him with two misdemeanors will stay on his record for his lifetime and will be a discussion point in any job he goes to, where the felony would have disappeared.  I'm done, this conversation has become a bit tiresome.  

                            Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                            by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:32:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You obviously don't know how this works but (0+ / 0-)

                            you keep your illusions, you obviously need them.  The misdemeanors will be gone in less than 5 years.

                            "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                            by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:41:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Please read the article I posted upthread. (0+ / 0-)

                            Really, you need to read it and stop spouting off incoherently.

                            Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                            by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 06:34:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Protecting Erzinger's job could be essential (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CanyonWren, FarWestGirl

                to that "'significant'" restitution DA Hurlbert mentioned in his HuffPost interview.  Isn't restitution money that goes to the victim? If Dr. Milo's ability to work as a surgeon has been impaired by Erzinger's actions and the restitution Erzinger has agreed to pay will support Dr. Milo for the rest of his life at the level of income he earned as a surgeon before the accident, then, by all means, don't impair Erzinger's ability to take full financial responsibility for the damage he did to Dr. Milo.

                Sometimes, felony sentences and jail time are not the best punishment.

                "The most frightening feature of unreason is its failure to recognize itself." --Howard V. Hendrix

                by vahana on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:06:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, this is exactly the point. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  vahana, FarWestGirl

                  And, everyone is getting worked up to a lather, but most probably didn't see the DA's explanation.  

                  Yes, vahana.  If the hedge fund manager's livlihood is taken away, then part of the plea deal, ie restitution, can't happen.  Everyone here is understandably confused about this. What is lost on people that the DA explained is that the two misdemeanors will stay on his record for life, where the deferred felony sentence would go away in several years (not exactly sure why, but it's part of the plea process).  The hedge fund mgr probably had no priors, and was willing to pay out the wazoo.

                  This doesn't excuse his disgusting and heartless behavior after the crime, and frankly I think the judge/DA should honor the victim's request because of that.  

                  Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                  by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 01:17:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Not being an attorney... (0+ / 0-)

           come this guys payment of restitution is getting mixed up with his jail sentence? I thought he gave restitution and/or punishment to society in criminal court, he gets to do it all over again making the victim whole in civil court.

                    What am I missing?

                    -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

                    by Blueslide on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 03:06:12 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Who knows. I don't know all the facts, (0+ / 0-)

                      obviously, but this is all part of plea bargaining in any situation.  Since it's knocked down to a misdemeanor (again, no idea why), there is more room for $$ restitution rather than a jail sentence.

                      Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                      by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 06:25:12 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Don't you think it is funny (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    CanyonWren, Earth Ling

                    that the DA is worried more about restitution than the victim is? Don't you think that something is seriously out of place when the only person concerned with justice over restitution is the victim?

                    "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

                    by gjohnsit on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 03:27:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, yes, that is what I've said (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gjohnsit, Earth Ling

                      continuously--ie, why haven't the DA and the judge done what the victim wants?  I'm not a criminal lawyer (I'm an environmental lawyer), but perhaps this is protocol, I just don't know.  But, that is the issue:  we don't know the facts of the plea bargain.  

                      By the way, gjohnsit, I've been meaning to drop a comment all night and just got my wee one down to bed.  I greatly respect your work here, and my comments have in no way been intended to disparage your diary.  I see you noticed my kneejerk comment way down thread.  After that comment I looked online for the story and found the update, which is why I am slowing down a bit.  It wasn't a thread jack, but new information I thought important for us all to see.  

                      Thank you for all you do here, and I liked this diary very much.

                      Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                      by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 06:31:56 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Consider the victim (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  CanyonWren, Earth Ling

                  If the victim only wanted money then I might agree with you.
                   But the victim wants justice, the same thing the legal system is all about.

                  Letting the guy off without a felony is a slap in the face of the victim and the legal system.

                  "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

                  by gjohnsit on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 03:25:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  How can a felony be so easily wiped from a record (5+ / 0-)

              "Don't knock's just like chess but without the dice" - john07801

              by voracious on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:47:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Another good question, unless Colorado is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                different than other states, it can't.

                "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:49:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Franklins have a secret super-cleaner... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                impregnated into them. Banksters use 'em for toilet paper!

                "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together" - Lennon

                by dchill on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:53:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  It depends on the felony (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                vahana, FarWestGirl

                and the perpetrator's willingness to make restitution, his/her criminal history, a host of things.  Plus, the judge plays a huge part in the decision-making.  This was an especially ill-thought-out plea bargain all the way around, regardless of the perhaps good intention of having the misdemeanors permanently on the guy's record.  

                I'm not convinced that the hyperbole about the DA is entirely warranted.  If the hedge fund mgr is willing to pay the victim big bucks for the forseeable future (called restitution), then it behooves the judge/DA to allow him to do so, for the benefit of the victim, ie, no job, no restitution.  

                Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

                by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:54:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Some animals our more equal then others is my (0+ / 0-)


            •  Why would the felony be deferred? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mattman, CanyonWren

              Why even offer a deferred felony?  

              I do not like thee, Doctor Fell, The reason why I cannot tell; But this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

              by opinionated on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 12:28:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  a simple tax of 1/25th of a penny PER TRADE (4+ / 0-)

          not even per share, now, but PER TRADE, would pay off the deficit in under 10 years.

          If you taxed it at one mill per share traded, you'd pay off the deficit before the next Presidential election.

          LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 12:47:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  In point of fact, most state lotteries have (14+ / 0-)

        started moving toward losses, or actually losing money; which means they have to be bailed out by the states sponsoring them. So they do get taxpayer bailouts.

        But your first statement is most curious, since the effect of the lottery in Ohio, once it was introduced, was to siphon yet more money out of poorer neighborhoods, leading to more devastation as small businesses folded up.

        So lotteries certainly do harm the wider economy.

    •  A progressive consumption tax is the correct way (6+ / 0-)

      We are always going to have a hard time getting a progressive income tax in place because some people, wrongly, see it as taxing hard work.  But a progressive consumption tax, with tax free contributions to universities etc. for the rich and tax free purchases like college tuition for the not rich allowed, would not be so politically difficult.  Why should rich people throw lavish multi-million dollar parties while Americans suffer?  A consumption tax would fix that - work hard, save up for your kids education or donate to charity but if you want to blow America's wealth on nonsense then you have to pay taxes on it.

      •  How about a waste tax (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        opinionated, disrael, neroden, speak2me

        instead...national tipping fee (what is paid for disposal at the landfill), combined with a carbon tax, extra tax on imported oil, and incentives for durable/recyclable/reusable products. Use proceeds to build sustainable energy and transport infrastructure, subsidize durable products built to last (so poor can afford them), and to pay down the deficit, as well as lowering the rates of regressive taxes such as the payroll tax.

        And consumption tax, if applied, should not apply to basic goods required by families below the 80th income percentile.

        "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

        by NoMoreLies on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 10:23:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NoMoreLies, neroden

          There is just a lot more flexibility in the consumption based side of taxing.  All kinds of policies are possible once you track what money is spent on.  For instance let corporations and the ultra-rich make campaign donations - but tax them at 95% and use the money collected to fund unbiased media - betcha the campaign donations will dry up fast.

        •  Bloomington, IN did something like this (14+ / 0-)

          when I was in undergrad (early 1990s). If you put trash out, each can or bag had to have a $1 tag on it. No tag, no pick up. Curbside recycling ran each week & was free. Needless to say, we did a heck of a lot of recycling! I still do because of the habits the town of Bloomington forced upon me (socialists!)

        •  NO to a waste fee...I live on the outskirts of (0+ / 0-)

          A major southern California area and the dumping out here just now started to decrease because going to the dump is affordable. Please don't tax waste more at the dumps, it means I'll be seeing more dumped couches, used motor oil, regular trash bags on the side of the roads and in any open area you can get to. We just got this cleaned up and species are beginning a comeback!

          •  Yeah, trash fees should just cover costs (0+ / 0-)

            I think it's fair for trash fees to cover landfilling, baling, and transportation costs and related stuff, and arguably also any recycling costs (which are less than landfilling costs for the same amount of stuff), but they shouldn't be used to cover other programs.  

            If you do that they're not so expensive that people start fly-tipping, or at least few enough people do it that they get arrested and suppressed.

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 04:09:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe not on the back end (disposal) (0+ / 0-)

              but on the front extra tax on shoddily made, non-recyclable, non-reusable, non-compostable goods, or do like Germany did and force the manufacturers to take them back and deal with the disposal.

              "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

              by NoMoreLies on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 09:39:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  That's insanely regressive and destructive (13+ / 0-)

        The poor "consume" every damned dime that touches their fingers while the rich spend only a tiny fraction of the the wealth they aquire.

        Do you really want to be the last loser still mimeographing the KISS Army Newsletter?

        by JesseCW on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 10:35:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it could easily be set up so it wasn't regressive (6+ / 0-)

          though doing that would bring on the same screams from the 1%ers as a progressive income tax.....

          Personally imo just taxing gains and any income not derived from actual work at the same levels as regular income would do the same if not more to increase revenue.....with an estate tax that kicks in on any transfer over say, 5 million....That would cover 95% of the "small business" and "family farms" that the reepers scream about so loudly.....

          "Guess who's laughing while the world explodes, When we're all crybabies Who fight best among ourselves" John Joseph Lydon

          by buddabelly on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 10:55:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely. All income should be taxed at the (5+ / 0-)

            same rate no matter how it's obtained.

            If I gamble in the market, or if I buy ramshackle houses and fix them up and sell them at a profit (profit made on sweat equity), or I play cards, or if I dig ditches...what business is it of Uncle Sams?

            As long as what I do is legal, I ought to pay the same.

            Do you really want to be the last loser still mimeographing the KISS Army Newsletter?

            by JesseCW on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:20:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If your money just sits there making more of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              alizard, neroden

              itself, instead of out there in the economy being traded for goods and services, then you can pony up a bit more than 15%. Think of it as paying rent for your money. After all, if it's not out there doing anything, it ought to be paying for the privilege of being lazy money. :D

              In more seriousness, why wouldn't we flip the tax structure upside down--15% on income earned from doing a job, and 25-55+% on money that your grandpa made that just sits there making more of itself out of thin air.

              You'd still get breaks if you put the money into college funds, retirement funds, or basic interest-bearing savings accounts (not to exceed the interest rate on said savings accounts). Stuff with a direct benefit and the ability to provide for you or your family down the line.

              But for all that stock investment, hedge funds (want a hedge fund, this one might be a good option for you), "securities" (if you want to invest in securities, open a lock making business), and other funny-money nonsense that got us into this mess in the first place--you pay into the social safety net to play.

              If you want to take crazy risks, you're going to have to stick around to help clean up when they go all asplodey. Like an "accidental death or dismemberment" policy for the economy.

              I 'ship Obama/America. OTP

              by athenap on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 12:30:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If your money makes you enough that (0+ / 0-)

                you can afford to bear a higher burden, then certainly.

                But I see no reason a day-trader who manages to make 30k a year should pay any more or any less than a security guard who makes 30k sitting around reading a book.

                Government shouldn't be in the business of deciding that one way of making a living is morally superior to another, if both are legal.

                The breaks for college funds, retirement funds, ect. need to fucking end.  They're huge hand-outs to people with means and they're immensely unfair, particularly to people who live in high cost of living areas.

                30k in NYC, no tax dodges for you.  You had to spend it all to live and you can't afford to buy.

                30k in Cedar Rapids, hide 10k of it in mortgage interest deduction, IRA, college account, ect.

                I'm in favor a tax fairness.  Not welfare determined solely by geography.

                Do you really want to be the last loser still mimeographing the KISS Army Newsletter?

                by JesseCW on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 02:49:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Then day-trader income should pay social security (0+ / 0-)

                  tax.  Currently, even APART from the super-regressive Bush tax cuts, the day trader doesn't pay SS tax and the security guard does.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 04:10:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If that daytrader is self-employed, he/she (0+ / 0-)

                    best be paying SE Tax/FICA-like taxes.

                    Self-employed people

                    A tax similar to the FICA tax is imposed on the earnings of self-employed individuals...
                    Under the SE Tax Act, self-employed people are responsible for the entire percentage of 15.3% (= 12.4% [Soc. Sec.] + 2.9% [Medicare]); however, the 15.3% multiplier is applied to 92.35% of the business's net earnings from self-employment, rather than 100% of the gross earnings; the difference, 7.65%, is half of the 15.3%, and makes the calculation fair in comparison to that of regular (non-self-employed) employees. It does this by adjusting for the fact that employees' 7.65% share of their SE tax is multiplied against a number (their gross income) that does not include the putative "employer's half" of the self-employment tax. In other words, it makes the calculation fair because employees don't get taxed on their employers' contribution of the second half of FICA, therefore self-employed people shouldn't get taxed on the second half of the self-employment tax. Similarly, self-employed people also deduct half of their self-employment tax (schedule SE) from their gross income on the way to arriving at their adjusted gross income (AGI). This levels the amount paid by self-employed persons in comparison to regular employees, who don't pay general income tax on their employers' contribution of the second half of FICA, just as they didn't pay FICA tax on it either.[9][10]

                    Republicans: "Double your pleasure, double your fun, double your National Debt, and blame 'The One' "

                    by Bluefin on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 01:55:56 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  How about just a luxury tax. Certain cars, (4+ / 0-)

          house over a certain value, multiple houses, expensive vacations, yachts..actually any boat with an onboard motor that doesn't have a sail, expensive jewelry.  Let's tax those things that poor people just don't buy.  

          "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

          by lakehillsliberal on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:19:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  A small transaction tax on financial trades (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, Bluefin

          makes the most sense.

          There are I don't know how many billions of trades every year--much of it churn to make a quick buck, with no substantive economic value.

          Just add a $1 tax to every buy and sell order and you'd bring in billions with no burden on the average American.

          The financial houses are still making tons of money with their fees for buying and selling and why not have "we the people" get in on the action?

          Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

          by Happy Days on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 03:18:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That should be done to prevent churning, anyway (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But don't do it as a dollar on every order.  Be fair to the small guy!  Do it as a percentage of the dollar amount.

            A tax of 0.1%, a dollar on every $1000, for EVERY trade including those made by computer programs and market makers, would stop the high-frequency-trading scam and force the markets back to some form of rationality.  And it would raise a lot of money.

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 04:14:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  How would you collect it? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Would the caterer collect it and pass it on like sales tax? And if by "progressive" you mean the caterer would charge the Moneybaggs more than the Sixpacks for a wedding, who's to judge what rate to charge?

        •  Lots of options in Wikipedia (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leo in NJ, FarWestGirl

          A consumption tax is a tax on spending on goods and services. The tax base of such a tax is the money spent on consumption. Consumption taxes are usually indirect, such as a value added tax. However it can also be structured as a form of personal taxation, as a sales tax, or as an income tax that deducts investments and savings. A direct consumption tax may be called an expenditure tax, a cash-flow tax, or a consumed-income tax, and can be flat or progressive. Expenditure taxes have been briefly implemented in the past in India and Sri Lanka.

      •  A consumption tax will always be regressive, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marie, Bluefin, FarWestGirl

        there's no escaping it, no matter how it's structured. The fact that we once had a progressive income tax means that people can recognize the essential justice and fairness of it, but someone (I don't know, Democrats?) has to reframe the debate so that we recognize trickle-down just doesn't work.

      •  It won't work (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marie, Bluefin

        For the very simple reason that the very wealthy cash hoarders are doing just that, hoarding cash, not spending it.  For a consumption tax to touch them, they have to do just that, consume.  All a consumption tax would do is incentivize them to hoard more.  We need taxes on cash holdings and cash investments so the cash hoarders have an incentive to reduce the size of their hoard.

        From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

        by Nellebracht on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 11:44:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No there is already such a tax - inflation tax (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and with QE2 we are now making that inflation tax a real concern for anyone hoarding the US dollar.  The problem is not hoarding it is lack of trade and financial regulation.  Without trade regulation we have no jobs.  Without financial regulation we have no way to invest in anything without the banks taking a ridiculous vampiric cut.

    •  The field of economics (17+ / 0-)

      was developed with the intention of separating productive capital from unproductive capital. The idea was to punish rentier capital and force it into productive uses.
        Now those ideas have been push aside and all capital is treated equal.

      to give you an idea, here's a quote from The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith:

       "the expense of defending the society, and that of supporting the dignity of the chief magistrate, are both laid out for the general benefit of the whole society. It is reasonable, therefore, that they should be defrayed by the general contribution of the whole society, all the different members contributing, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities."
      "When the toll upon carriages of luxury, upon coaches, post-chaises, &c. is made somewhat higher in proportion to their weight, than upon carriages of necessary use, such as carts, waggons, &c. the indolence and vanity of the rich is made to contribute in a very easy manner to the relief of the poor, by rendering cheaper the transportation of heavy goods to all the different parts of the country."

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 10:32:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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