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Author Topic: License to Vote?  (Read 4378 times)
Rosalind
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« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2011, 07:13:38 PM »

Why don't we go back to you having to be a landowner before you are allowed to vote?

It's easy for non-landowners to vote for tax increases that come from someone else's pocket.
The voting booth looks a whole lot different when you know that your taxes are going to go up if something passes.  (It makes the voting booth look a whole lot different when you know you will be paying the tax, but people who won't have to pay get to vote on it.)

Depends on what sort of property.

My property is valued mostly because our school district is widely acknowledged as one of the best in the country--equal to some of the most elite private schools. We're not the best in the state, but close. Yes, I pay a good bit in property taxes, but in the very worst part of the real estate market slump, a regular 3-bedroom 1-bath house, 1500 sq. ft. needing at least one major repair and a lot of paint would still go for $325-350k. It would just take 6-12 months to sell instead of 1-2, but it would sell, for more than you paid, even in this market.

Plus, there are amenities that I would never be able to buy on my own from any private company, were it not paid for by taxes: commuter rail with free wifi to work and my employer's purchasing scheme means it's free for me, decent health care, a local police force so well-kitted that we can leave doors unlocked safely, an excellent library system, beautiful parks stocked with fish to catch. I've lived in places where commutes took 3 hours and lots of money due to ancient infrastructure, overwhelmed public health systems, high crime and nothing to do on weekends other than drink, but lower taxes. This is nicer.

My in-laws live in Europe, and their taxes are actually not higher till all is said and done, but they aren't paying for such a big military or so much overseas stuff--and they don't mind paying taxes either. It's different when you get actual good stuff for your taxes, that you can see every day.
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kathyp
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« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2011, 08:13:19 PM »

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My in-laws live in Europe, and their taxes are actually not higher till all is said and done, but they aren't paying for such a big military or so much overseas stuff--and they don't mind paying taxes either. It's different when you get actual good stuff for your taxes, that you can see every day. 
 
 


my sister lives in england and her taxes are considerably higher.  by the time you factor in national, gas, council, etc. they are paying much higher taxes.  there is also a much different mindset there.   they still think of themselves as "subjects" at the mercy of their government for their care.  the difference between a couple hundred years ago and now is that they no longer feel owned, only owed....
their birth rates are lower so they are on the hook for more and more of the things that are promised to everyone.  there is a reason that most European countries are in even worse shape than we are.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2011, 11:32:10 PM »

The worst part? (yes, I can provide info to back this up) direct income tax in the US is actually unconstitutional. (wages and salary are actually an 'even swap', not 'income') -this is according to supreme court rulings from the late 1800/early 1900s - they have never been overturned - ever - nor have they ever been superceded. However, they will still jail you (illegally) for non-(voluntary) compliance - yep the tax code says it's voluntary - and if you don't volunteer you will be prosecuted. So I wouldn't recommend not filing, because there are consequences, but the consequences imposed for not filing are still present (on wages and salaries, not profits)

EDIT: I figure I had better provide some back-up on these wild claims. (westlaw is one of - or THE most prominent legal research facilities/tools in the nation. I feel pretty safe saying that almost every lawyer in the country has a westlaw account or presently uses westlaw) this piece is from one of their periodicals.
http://www.westlawinsider.com/2010/04/today-in-1895-federal-income-tax-ruled-unconstitutional/
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Rosalind
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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2011, 07:57:00 PM »


my sister lives in england and her taxes are considerably higher.  by the time you factor in national, gas, council, etc. they are paying much higher taxes.
Not than me! We calculated it out one day, and Spouse is all for moving back when we can afford it. But then again, I am close to the city in a fairly spendy suburb, in a tax-friendly state, and Spouse is a small business owner who gets whacked every year; my in-laws live out in the boonies and are low-income retirees with the family house paid off centuries ago.
Quote
  there is also a much different mindset there.   they still think of themselves as "subjects" at the mercy of their government for their care. 
Oh, the older generation, most certainly--very true. Weeeell, I say "older," I don't mean much older than me really. The WWII generation, I guess; that's just their history though. I don't know that they are necessarily in worse shape than us, I think it's more that they get angry about it and there, people protesting in the street is something of a Big Deal. Here, another Million [group] March is sort of ho-hum, business as usual. And much of the really bad stuff here doesn't make the media, folks would rather read about some pop singer's clothes and so on.
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kathyp
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« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2011, 08:03:26 PM »

tell you what would be a killer over there is the cost of gas.  they are over 11 dollars (equivalent) in england.  no one goes anywhere anymore.  can't afford it. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2011, 07:24:45 AM »

tell you what would be a killer over there is the cost of gas.  they are over 11 dollars (equivalent) in england.  no one goes anywhere anymore.  can't afford it. 

They have a decent public transit system though. And stuff is closer together, it's not like here where you're always road-tripping to do anything. You go to most of continental Europe, the trains are very nice. China is starting to build trains like the Europeans, the mag-levs and ultra high speed and so forth. When they're running at 300 mph, you barely feel it. Wish we had trains like that.
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kathyp
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« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2011, 10:53:12 AM »

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They have a decent public transit system though.

only cost effective if you live in the city.  fortunately, my sister and her husband work for the same company so they can drive to work together.  it's still cheaper for them to drive in than for both to buy bus passes.  no train where they are.

don't know about most of Europe, but in the few places i have been able to wander, the public transit system is good if you are going around you town, or if you need  a train from point A to point B....maybe town to town or country to country.  for instance, my brother in law can drive to their little town and take the train to London on those days he needs to work there.  
it's heavily subsidized so it's not a cost effective system.  i suppose it gets some cars off the road an that's nice in town.

it's an interesting problem.  i have no issues with public transportation, but it is not cost effective.  in Portland they have MAX.  it's a nice little system, but it has lots of problems.  among them:  it was supposed to by paid for by use.  it is not.  it was not supposed to be expanded without the approval of the people, but like all gov't programs it has been expanded  multiple times IN SPITE of the votes against it.  labor costs for running/maintaining it are bloated by union workers.

probably if you live in London or NY, mass transit is a good thing.  you might even be willing to pay more to use it, or to pay more taxes to maintain it.  for those of us who don't live in a city or are required to commute, mass transit sucks up our tax dollars with no return.  i don't get the warm fuzzies when i pay my taxes because i know that people in Portland have the option to take MAX today.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Rosalind
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« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2011, 11:37:39 AM »


probably if you live in London or NY, mass transit is a good thing.  you might even be willing to pay more to use it, or to pay more taxes to maintain it.  for those of us who don't live in a city or are required to commute, mass transit sucks up our tax dollars with no return.  

Eh, it depends on how you calculate return. Where I am, real estate costs are so prohibitive that there is no way to expand the road widths to accommodate all the traffic generated by businesses located in the high rises. I have a choice of 2 hours on the highway, sitting in traffic, vs. 1 1/2 hours on the train. Yet, of course everyone wants there to be MORE businesses, MORE jobs for everyone, right? And all these businesses end up being located near the things they need: suppliers, universities that create start-up tech companies, other support businesses and contract businesses, shipping ports, etc. so they sorta all get crowded up together around those things. Without an efficient way to get all the employees, consultants, contractors, stuff from place to place, those businesses just would not exist, there'd be no way to start them. If you have mass transit available (especially rail lines that can also handle shipping traffic), you can grow businesses, which grows the tax base. It has the added benefit of less wear and tear on the DOT maintenance and upgrades required to handle traffic. In terms of absolute ticket sales per operations cost, no, it's not self-supporting, but I look at it more like a tax subsidy for local businesses and job creation in general, as well as reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

I'm not in a city, I'm in a little rural town, but we have a light rail system that connects us to the city, and that helps spread business traffic out our way, too--businesses in the 'burbs that are close to the rail stops do very well indeed getting city folks who want to come out our way for a nice day of shopping, and the executives who don't want to live in high-rises often work in the city, but buy homes and spend their disposable incomes somewhere with trees and birds. The towns of similar size/distance from the city that don't have rail stops, you can definitely tell the economic differences.

Plus, it is about a zillion times more pleasant to sit on a train for 1 1/2 hours with free wifi for the laptop and check emails, listen to music and relax, than it is to sit in traffic cussing out the jerks who can't drive for two hours. Just my opinion.  Smiley
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Vetch
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« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2011, 08:46:00 PM »

The worst part? (yes, I can provide info to back this up) direct income tax in the US is actually unconstitutional. (wages and salary are actually an 'even swap', not 'income') -this is according to supreme court rulings from the late 1800/early 1900s.

Yeah, but the 16th Amendment (ratified in 1913) explicitly authorizes the federal government to levy and collect income taxes, and that make all the previous debate and decisions moot. I can show you supreme court decisions that blacks and women are not citizens, but they were made invalid by amending the prime document.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2011, 09:38:26 PM »


Yeah, but the 16th Amendment (ratified in 1913) explicitly authorizes the federal government to levy and collect income taxes, and that make all the previous debate and decisions moot. I can show you supreme court decisions that blacks and women are not citizens, but they were made invalid by amending the prime document.

The IRS like to cite that the 16th Amdt. gives them that power - the article I cited (remember who the source is) specified that those rulings pertain directly to their asserted power under the 16th amdt - the ruling given refers to the fact that the person taxed was acting as an agent of foreign investors and the tax authorised related back to existing tax powers - foreign commerce. The SCOTUS specifically ruled (in 1914) that the 16th granted no new powers of taxation. Never overturned, Never superseded by later amendments - taxes levied against wages and salary are still unconstitutional.

EDIT: I may have been mistaken about the 1914 ruling, however, an "Anthony Holt" in the comments below the article cited several supreme court rulings (several) in which they reassert that the 16th amdt grants no new powers - these are supreme court cases (the final jurisdiction in constitutional law); and given the fact that he cited them by Xv.Y format can be searched at your own leisure.
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Vetch
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« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2011, 08:29:26 AM »

The 16th amendment grants no NEW power? Sure, some people believed that the government had that power from the start.  The history is really very simple: People were arguing over whether the federal government had the power to levy an income tax. To solve the disagreement and put all doubt to rest, the states ratified an Amendment to the Constitution that said it was permissible. When they did that, there was no longer any debate.

People like to complain about lawyers. You are being a lawyer of the worst kind. Here is the 16th Amendment. It is not complicated. It is not ambiguous.

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The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2011, 11:17:26 AM »

...and then the US supreme court ruled that it granted no new powers. as the westlaw user cited; apparently from supreme court ruling history.
remember I'm not the one claiming that the 16th doesn't give congress new powers of taxation; I'm offering supreme court verdicts (plural) given since it's writing that state that no new powers are granted. which you can find for yourself. - checks and balances - if congress writes a bad or unconstitutional law, then the supreme court can shoot it down through appropriate jurisdictional channels. (nothing has been made constitutional since then to override the verdicts.)
Even the (IRS) tax code says that 'compliance is voluntary' (Which is a code founded on an amendment ruled by the supreme court not to have changed anything from the years prior) - they tend to define voluntary differently that the rest of the legal system though; don't volunteer at your own peril.
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Vetch
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« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2011, 06:06:33 PM »

Yes, the Supreme Court has found that the 16th amendment granted no new power, as they ruled that government already had that power under the Constitution (Article I, Section 8) ...  In Bowers v. Kerbaugh-Empire Co., (1926), the SCOTUS found:

"It was not the purpose or the effect of that amendment to bring any new subject within the taxing power. Congress already had the power to tax all incomes."

The Supreme Court has repeatedly found that the income tax IS constitutional. They could have struck it down, but they did not because they do not see it as being in conflict with the Constitution. It is the law of the land.
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Countryboy
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« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2011, 07:11:29 PM »

Prior to the 16th Amendment, the government only had the power to tax themselves.  The Federal Income Tax is not a tax on earnings - it is a tax upon federal income.  To be completely exact, it is a tax upon federal privilege, measured by the dollars you gain by exercising that privilege.

"The income tax is, therefore, not a tax on income as such. It is an excise tax with respect to certain activities and privileges which is measured by reference to the income they produce. The income is not the subject of the tax: it is the basis for determining the amount of the tax."  F. Morse Hubbard, Treasury Department legislative draftsman. House Congressional Record March 27th, 1943, page 2580

The worst part? (yes, I can provide info to back this up) direct income tax in the US is actually unconstitutional.

The income tax is not a direct tax - it is an excise tax, (also known as a privilege tax.)  This is why the income tax is not in conflict with the Constitutional requirement that direct taxes are apportioned among the states.

When a court refers to an income tax as being in the nature of an excise, it is merely stating that the tax is not on the property itself, but rather it is a fee for the privilege of receiving gain from the property. The tax is based upon the amount of gain, not the value of the property." John R. Luckey, Legislative Attorney with the Library of Congress, "Frequently Asked Questions Concerning The Federal Income Tax" (C.R.S. Report for Congress 92-303A (1992))

Most folks never take the time to study the actual code, and so they never learn what it actually means.  In law, if a term is given a custom defined legal definition, you are to ignore the common meaning of the word, and only use the legal definition.  The Internal Revenue Code takes many common words, and gives them a legal definition, which is quite different from the common meaning.  For example, terms like employee, employer, wages, business, United States, etc do not have the income tax code meaning that they do in common language.  If you think they hold the same legal meaning as their common meaning, it can cost you quite dearly.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #34 on: February 13, 2011, 10:25:16 PM »

"On April 8, 1895, the Supreme Court declared that the federal income tax was unconstitutional" - from the west law article which goes on to say that the 16th amendment was written after that ruling (yes, if it were the dredd scott decision, in that case the (edit - 13th,14th,&)  15th amendments nullified the notion that people are property - the dredd scott decision was never overturned, because if you take people out of the equation then your property is still yours wherever you go).
It wasn't the dredd scott decision - the supreme court in saying that no new powers had been established by the 16th amdt were also stating (not explicitly, I know) that the 1895 decision still stood.
I'll say again, I'm not recommending any civil disobedience, but it sure can't hurt to know what kind of government we have today.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 12:08:27 AM by Bee Happy » Logged

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Vetch
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« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2011, 09:42:12 AM »

The 1895 Pollock case did not rule that the idea of an income tax was completely unconstitutional. It ruled that the particular type of federal income tax being challenged was unconstitutional, and only because it was not apportioned. Later, the constitution was changed to drop the requirement that all taxes be apportioned. Any non-apportioned taxes enacted after the Constitution was changed are not automatically unconstitutional.  The court might strike them down for other reasons, but no longer can invalidate them based on whether they are apportioned or not.

The person that made those comments (it is not really an article) has it all backwards, as do you. Consider the comment "The Supreme Court, obviously being aware of all of the pertinent details, ruled in the Brushaber case that the federal government always had the power to tax income as an excise tax and, therefore, the 16th Amendment is constitutional."

That sentence was written by someone who throws around fancy words but lacks a fundamental understanding of the process. A provision of the Constitution or an amendment to the Constitution is always constitutional. By definition. The courts are not called on to determine whether the Constitution is constitutional, they are called on to determine if laws conflict with the Constitution, and to interpret the meaning of the Constitution in the case of ambiguity.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2011, 09:54:52 AM »

actually, ruling on the constitutionality of an amendment, whether it adheres to the spirit of the constitution, is exactly what the supreme court is for. otherwise - hypothetically - congress could create an amendment outlining a new slave class not to be considered whole persons - and the supreme court would have no power to address the amendment as law.

The article addresses the ruling of 1815, ending with the creation of the 16th amendment, the commenter "Holt" below, then cites supreme court rulings pertaining to the 16th amendment.
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« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2011, 11:46:43 AM »

So Countryboy.

My time is property and therefore can be taxed?

Well my property (time) is worth five hundred dollars per hour, but I can not charge that much because no one will pay. So I have to do the work for a lot less. Therefore I am taking a big lose.  grin

It sounds good anyway.  Undecided
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« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2011, 04:37:15 PM »

actually, ruling on the constitutionality of an amendment, whether it adheres to the spirit of the constitution, is exactly what the supreme court is for. otherwise - hypothetically - congress could create an amendment outlining a new slave class not to be considered whole persons - and the supreme court would have no power to address the amendment as law.

The Constitution is always in perfect agreement with the Constitution. While it would be abhorrent if something like that did get passed, if it is properly ratified by the required number of states, it is the highest law of this land, and the courts cannot strike down the Constitution as they see fit.

Generally, it is politically impossible to roll back rights via the Constitution. Prohibition of alcohol is a notable exception to that. Before 1919, alcohol was generally legal. When the 18th Amendment passed, it became generally illegal. Then in 1933, that part of the Constitution was repealed and alcohol became generally legal again.

One can believe that prohibition was a stupid amendment, that it infringed on freedom where it should not have, that it strengthened the mob, etc. etc. ... I personally think it was a disaster. But while the 18th Amendment was in effect, the ban on drinking alcohol was completely Constitutional. We cannot say that the Constitution is unconstitutional - but we can say that the Constitution is flawed and change it if enough people agree. 
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« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2011, 08:59:03 PM »

no, there are some things which cannot be done 1. because the supreme court has original jurisdiction on matters of judicial review - that's where they review acts and amendments - checks and balances. 2. the 16th amendment was congress, granting itself a power it did not have and was not given in article 1 section 7. They cannot legally confer power they didn't previously have unto themselves - it was the whole purpose of having a constitution that limits powers and prevents a runaway government becoming a tyranny.  (the 16th amdt was not a clarification as some people claim; it directly countermanded the powers in article 1 - not a clarification - a power grab - absolutely not allowable)
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