Author Topic: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?  (Read 12356 times)

spokey doke

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #50 on: March 15, 2017, 10:17:14 AM »
Quote
Even though it would put off my FIRE date a bit, I would gladly pay more in taxes to support universal healthcare for every citizen. 

I second that. The thing is though, we could actually have universal health care AND spend less than we currently do. All we have to do is look around us in the club of rich countries and pick which solution we like best. "Everyone else is doing it so why can't we?"

+1 (and I would add education, infrastructure, environmental protection, and a number of other things to the list of things I would willing pay more in taxes to support)
One can always write a bigger check to the US Treasury than what the 1040 form indicates is your fair share.

Why do people keep using this argument?  It's disingenuous in the extreme.

Probably the lack of proper education that they think other people should pay for.

Bless your hearts.  You are wrong. Week after week, more gets sent to the US Treasury than we citizens direclty (or our employers on our behalf) are required to send.  And no, they won't just send back any of those over-payments automatically.  Never have and never will.  They keep it unless or until you file a form, specifically requesting the return of your money. 

I'm calling out all the self righteous claims of "I'd gladly pay more taxes for __________."  What people mean when they say it is they don't mind if taxes get raised on everyone to support their own pet cause.  Even your local school system will accept money, directly from you, over and above what your pre-determined share already is.   If you'd gladly pay more for education, go right ahead and endow a scholarship, write the check to the PTA, pay for your nearest Jr. High to get new Marching Band uniforms or equipment in the biology lab.  Whatever public good that is mostly funded by tax dollars will also take your money.  Library, Public Health Center, Senior Center, Veterans Affairs, Foster Care System, you name it.

Great...call us out, but you really don't know what I mean, or do you have access to the hidden life of my brain?

The rest of this response is equally silly...the whole idea is to have collective support of goods that would not be sufficiently supported otherwise, as others have pointed out.  And this gets to the other posts claiming that comments like mine are masking free-riding on the sacrifices of others--I do want better support for a number of goods (like education) because WE are collectively better off.  I don't have kids, so it's not like I want others to pay for something benefits me beyond being part of a better society.  So yes, there is self-interest at play - I want to be part of a better society and a better world and I'm willing to help pay for it (not unilaterally try to foot the bill, which wouldn't make any real difference).  Perhaps more clearly put in terms of self interest, I'd rather pay for schools than prisons, but that is me and my selfish pet cause...
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 10:18:45 AM by spokey doke »
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MMMarbleheader

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #51 on: March 15, 2017, 10:30:03 AM »
I am not sure where I stand anymore haha.

I am a big fan of sates rights. I am more libertarian on a federal level and pretty liberal on a local level. Living in Massachusetts we have this beautiful form of government called open town meeting where all the registered voters in the town can go once a year and vote on the yearly town budget. It is a pretty entertaining event and is pure, local democracy. I usually vote for tax increases to pay for schools, new fire truck, etc.

What gets me though is MA had romneycare and some of the best schools in the country. We are pretty mid level on tax burden which would probably lower if not for unfunded pension issues. But my liberal friends like to push the agenda that works in MA onto the entire country. I would much rather have my taxes managed on the state level than the federal level which is why I tend to vote more republican/libertarian in national elections. The country should be measured on a state by state basis, not as a whole. It is too different. If a state program fails, then other states wont adopt that. If is succeeds, other states will fall in line.


EnjoyIt

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2017, 10:33:42 AM »
The one thing that has also occurred to me in with age is the sheer dumb luck of it all, in terms of having a lucrative career.  Absolutely, working hard will, IN GENERAL, reward you with more money, but not always.  And many people who do very little make more than people who work very hard.  I know many people who aren't as smart or as hard working but just have the right connections.  Why do they deserve to get more from society vs. the person who is harder working but just doesn't have the access to networks.  The other thing that I think most people never consider, is your choice of career vs. what is really going to be valuable can change between you making that choice and being employable.  I think of all the people I know who thought being an attorney would be lucrative only to finally graduate, face a glut of other young law students and end up underemployed. 

I have no idea what to tell my kids to shoot for now.  My son has a gift for coding, but I am afraid that will be yesterday's hot career now, since they are pushing it so heavily in schools.  My daughter is more artsy, with a focus on photography, and those are not generally careers that people make fun of or discourage as fluff.

Life is not fair.  Life is not meant to be fair.  But the reality is that those who understand the game are more likely to succeed in it.  That is what you tell your kids.

Quote from: laura33
OK, I'll take a crack at it

That is a great post.  It is funny but I fully agree with everything you said but tend to vote Republican more often even though I strongly disagree with just about all their social issues.  I think our government can use a lot more efficiency before we talk about increasing taxes. 


I had a laugh here at Samwise Gamgee ranting about his "old Gaffer" being difficult for him in the LOTR.

I believe you meant the "Laffer" Curve? :)

Foiled again by autocorrect and fixed.  Thanks.

Quote from: Hargrove
The panic about whether taxes are too high is bonkers

1) I run my medical practice through a corporation.  I structure it in such a way that all profits are distributed at the end of the year and the corporation pays $0 taxes.  I pay income tax on those profits.  My point being, if the corporation does not retain any of its profits it will pay $0 in taxes. Me, the owner and will cover all tax liabilities. I will agree that corporations like people will find any loop hole or incentive to minimize their tax burden within what the law allows.  It is simple common sense.

2) As for personal tax. If the tax percentage was 0% the government would get nothing in taxes.  If the Taxes were 100% then no one would work and the government would get 0% in taxes.  Obviously 2 extremes that do not exist.  What about 1% and 99%.  Those would yield a very very small amount of tax revenue.  There exists an ideal point or range of percentages which will yield the most revenue.  I do not know if we are at that point or where it exactly lies but I know for myself that if taxes went up 10% on my highest tax bracket I would without a doubt decrease my productivity below that tax bracket.  Why bust my ass to only keep 40 or 50 cents on the dollar?  I have already decreased my productivity to stay below certain thresholds and will do it again if my tax burden increases. 

3) The US government is bloated and needs much reform and trimming of the fat.  More taxes may add some social benefit but also adds to bloat.  I pointed out how recently the ACA increased taxes on higher income earners.  Remember $200K/yr if you are single does not put you in the 1%.  Being a physician I see very little improvement in the healthcare provided.  It did expand medicare which helped many people.  It also provided subsidized healthcare to others but unfortunately for many of them the deductibles are so high they can't really use it.  Obviously the tax increase did not fix the problem.  Do we increase taxes more?  How much more? You have to agree that we can not increase taxes indefinitely.  I hope you answer these questions.

Disclaimer: I am fiscally conservative and strongly believe a good efficient government can provide a solid safety net for those in need.  Not for moochers and leaches of society but for people who really need the help.  I am happy to pay my fair share of taxes for that.

Rimu05

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #53 on: March 15, 2017, 10:46:31 AM »
I fully agree that there is a portion of this community who are Hippocratic hypocrites but rationalize their actions to themselves:

1) Some here say that they are willing to pay more in taxes.  Guess what, you have the right to write a check to the IRS any day you want.  Go ahead, increase your tax burden voluntarily. Warrant buffet keeps asking to be taxed more but why not pull out his check book and write a big fat check himself

2) Mustachianism is about decreasing spending and living life by being self sufficient and badass.  But there is no room to cut government spending or look for ways to decrease the cost of government programs.  This country like most American's doesn't have an income problem, it has a spending problem. Yet Mustachians keep wanting to increase taxes and increase spending.

3) Those Mustachians who say they have paid into the healthcare system and retire early.  Believe me, the cost of your healthcare will far outweigh your 15 years of medicaid tax contributions that you paid at the lowest rate possible. Hard working American's will be covering your care.  That squarely puts them into the moocher class.

4) Yup, Mustachians sure love to travel and burn fuel. You can rationalize that it is not so bad since the plane is flying there anyways, but planes fill up with you on it or not which means demand is high enough and your butt could stay home and not burn the extra fuel.   

There are a few on here who actually practice what they preach and I commend you for your convictions.  The rest are just lying to themselves.

Me, I want my taxes lower, I like to travel and I don't care if I burn gas to do it.  I also want a more efficient lower cost government that doesn't burden business with unnecessary costs and doesn't meddle in other country's affairs.

As I read here, this is willing to pay more taxes for certain benefits. Why in heavens, would I write a check to the IRS when I am not benefitting in anyway. In countries that pay higher taxes, they have free healthcare, education, etc to brag about.

Gondolin

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2017, 11:43:39 AM »
Quote
They are seen as shirking their duty to earn money

This may be the most American statement I have ever seen in my life.

GU - I think you are correct. The whole "maximal efficient" tax theory is, like most economic theories, very interesting. It's also riddled with impossible assumptions that are ignored in the interest of writing proofs which can win Nobel Prizes.

I mean, the whole economics profession is still searching for that lost colony of "rational actors" which underpin most of microeconomics.
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bacchi

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #55 on: March 15, 2017, 11:48:59 AM »
I mean, the whole economics profession is still searching for that lost colony of "rational actors" which underpin most of microeconomics.

Hahaha, nicely put.

Cwadda

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #56 on: March 15, 2017, 12:51:24 PM »
Quote
But don't get me wrong. I think to a degree young left leaning people turn too much of a blind eye to the high levels of inefficiency in government and it is worth remaining skeptical of the brilliance of new laws and programs that sound good on paper. I think in general in government there is too much focus on intent and not enough on analyzing fairly actual results.

For me personally being center left, I think the current Repubs, especially under DJT simply have too much nationalist, religious and anti-environmental regulation baggage for me to get behind. Also I am kind of brown, I may get mistaken for an Italian since I have a lot of Euro features, but in the Midwest I could also be mistaken for a Muslim and get fucked with. I am sure that fear is partly irrational but I do have to grapple with the reality that too much anti immigrant nationalism could eventually negatively impact me because I don't look "white".

I would rather for now deal with the failings of the Democrats. I think from a purely logical and economic perspective there are a lot of interesting conservative ideals surrounding economics and smaller government. But I think the current Repub party is mostly a bastardization of that philosophy bent on helping our wealthiest citizens a bit too much, at the cost of our environment most helpless citizens.

And at the same time I feel like my concern about Republicans breaching the line on the separation of church and state is along the same vein as conservatives concern that Democrats are on a slippery slope to killing the second amendment.

You, sir, just hit the nail on the head.

kite

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #57 on: March 15, 2017, 01:17:04 PM »
Quote
Even though it would put off my FIRE date a bit, I would gladly pay more in taxes to support universal healthcare for every citizen. 

I second that. The thing is though, we could actually have universal health care AND spend less than we currently do. All we have to do is look around us in the club of rich countries and pick which solution we like best. "Everyone else is doing it so why can't we?"

+1 (and I would add education, infrastructure, environmental protection, and a number of other things to the list of things I would willing pay more in taxes to support)
One can always write a bigger check to the US Treasury than what the 1040 form indicates is your fair share.

Why do people keep using this argument?  It's disingenuous in the extreme.

Probably the lack of proper education that they think other people should pay for.

Bless your hearts.  You are wrong. Week after week, more gets sent to the US Treasury than we citizens direclty (or our employers on our behalf) are required to send.  And no, they won't just send back any of those over-payments automatically.  Never have and never will.  They keep it unless or until you file a form, specifically requesting the return of your money. 

I'm calling out all the self righteous claims of "I'd gladly pay more taxes for __________."  What people mean when they say it is they don't mind if taxes get raised on everyone to support their own pet cause.  Even your local school system will accept money, directly from you, over and above what your pre-determined share already is.   If you'd gladly pay more for education, go right ahead and endow a scholarship, write the check to the PTA, pay for your nearest Jr. High to get new Marching Band uniforms or equipment in the biology lab.  Whatever public good that is mostly funded by tax dollars will also take your money.  Library, Public Health Center, Senior Center, Veterans Affairs, Foster Care System, you name it.

Great...call us out, but you really don't know what I mean, or do you have access to the hidden life of my brain?

The rest of this response is equally silly...the whole idea is to have collective support of goods that would not be sufficiently supported otherwise, as others have pointed out.  And this gets to the other posts claiming that comments like mine are masking free-riding on the sacrifices of others--I do want better support for a number of goods (like education) because WE are collectively better off.  I don't have kids, so it's not like I want others to pay for something benefits me beyond being part of a better society.  So yes, there is self-interest at play - I want to be part of a better society and a better world and I'm willing to help pay for it (not unilaterally try to foot the bill, which wouldn't make any real difference).  Perhaps more clearly put in terms of self interest, I'd rather pay for schools than prisons, but that is me and my selfish pet cause...

Clearly I've hit a nerve.
Basically, I agree in part with the OP's observation.  There is hypocrisy in the left leaning folks who believe we ought to have more public goods yet simultaneously seek to minimize their responsibility for paying for them.  It's the same elite hypocrisy at play when rich liberals reject school choice for the very people whose economic situation subjects poor children to dreadful public schools while sending their own kids to a place like Sidwell Friends. 
The lefty mustachian strawman says "Oh, but I would gladly pay more taxes if it were going to go towards X." 
While thinking, "Since it isn't going to X, it might as well go into my stache."   
Behaviorally, he is exactly like the heartless libertarian or conservative who believes she'll make a wiser decision with her own money than the government will. 

Mrtreasuretoupee

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #58 on: March 15, 2017, 01:27:15 PM »
An example of a right wing hypocrite is someone who gets agitated by a poor person using SNAP benefits who could be working harder but then excuse a very rich person from paying only a 4% effective tax rate because of tax loopholes. Lets make a tax system that doesn't over burden the middle class.  The middle class is shrinking and when the rich don't pay their fair share and the poor have no money in the first place they are the only demographic left.

Cwadda

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #59 on: March 15, 2017, 01:40:44 PM »
Quote
An example of a right wing hypocrite is someone who gets agitated by a poor person using SNAP benefits who could be working harder but then excuse a very rich person from paying only a 4% effective tax rate because of tax loopholes. Lets make a tax system that doesn't over burden the middle class.  The middle class is shrinking and when the rich don't pay their fair share and the poor have no money in the first place they are the only demographic left.
And it gets even better when you realize the tax code is deliberately complex in order to make the rich benefit. It's all moneyed interests. Why else would we need a tax code that's thousands of pages?

MrsStubble

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #60 on: March 15, 2017, 03:26:37 PM »
I'm not sure how everyone who is not on the far right has been all of a sudden dumped into the far left-wing liberal world just because some of us don't like Trump or conservative policies.

If liberals are hypocrites why does the majority of people using ACA in the red states?  What about the numbers of right-wing folks on food stamps, welfare, etc?  Another example: Look at all the attacks on people when workers starting protesting for living wage hikes?  They don't deserve it? Then why are we talking about how unfair it is that the middle class can't make a living wage these days.    What about immigrants that are both lazy criminals but also hard workers who steal jobs from Americans. What is that, Schrodinger's immigrant?  What about a republican majority government who wants to cut healthcare funding but gets healthcare and pension for life?

Anyway...

I would consider MMM folks to be outside the mainstream of either side. Some of us may be liberal minded in some aspects, and some may not be, but being a responsible citizen who is self-reliant is certainly not a common characteristic of either side of the political fence these day. 
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Prairie Stash

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #61 on: March 15, 2017, 05:07:41 PM »
People that earn significantly less than their ability implies are called "shirkers" in the literature.  They are seen as shirking their duty to earn money, which can then be taxed and redistributed to people with a higher marginal utility for a dollar.  Shirkers decrease total utility at the expense of less able people.  A Mustachian who retires early is the ultimate shirker under this worldview.  Mustachians are high ability people who drop out of the labor force and drastically reduce their lifetime tax burden, while often drastically increasing their lifetime consumption of public benefits. 

A quick point, the ultimate Shirker is one who never works. They go through the education system and never return the investment made in them, mustachians are not the ultimate.

Personally I believe at any give time there is an exact amount of corporate jobs available. When I retire early my job will be given to the next unemployed person. My job doesn't require great ability, it requires a person.

The other major problem with the Shirker theorem it defines the human experience in terms of utility. I personally don't believe we are just tools, our purpose in society goes far beyond what we get taxed at. From the shirker view, anyone who chooses kids over career is wrong, but what if that choice maximizes happiness in the world? Does utility beat out happiness?

I believe Americans have the right to pursue happiness, not to pursue the government mandate of maximum taxes. His world view that I must sacrifice my happiness for the sake of others is somewhat out of sync with my views. My ability says I should be in engineering, but what if my passion is for English? Do I sacrifice my own happiness for less able bodied? Do they in turn sacrifice their happiness for me too, teaching English when they would rather spend their life being an engineer?

Unique User

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #62 on: March 15, 2017, 05:38:15 PM »
I was surprised as well to find that a group of, what you would assume are fiscally conservative people, mostly lean left. But if you consider the demographic of the readership I don't think the split is surprising at all.

Most people here have either ample income or investments and are college educated which is just a recipe for being at least more socially liberal at a minimum. Though almost none of us are "rich", in terms of yearly income. Those that could have been income rich have also chosen to somewhat forgo that path in the interest of buying more personal time and freedom.

This kind of goes against the general consumer motivate American entrepreneurial spirit that drives many educate people to lean more conservative as they become more entrenched in the world of government regulations or high tax brackets.

This seeking of optimization over excess I think also lines up with people who have a strong logical mind set which means you see a lot more engineering and science minded types around here, both of which are groups that are overwhelming liberal. I certainly know good and even great engineers who are super religious, or strong free market constitutional conservatives but they are a minority. 

When your goal is living well and not necessarily getting rich, and you are far enough out of poverty to study the nuances of personal finance, it is easy to see that there are many different paths to living well financially some of which could involve higher taxes and better public services. Most college graduates and people working at multinational companies see so many Europeans getting so much more out of their government socially than we do that it is hard not to say the grass is greener in some respects.

But don't get me wrong. I think to a degree young left leaning people turn too much of a blind eye to the high levels of inefficiency in government and it is worth remaining skeptical of the brilliance of new laws and programs that sound good on paper. I think in general in government there is too much focus on intent and not enough on analyzing fairly actual results.

For me personally being center left, I think the current Repubs, especially under DJT simply have too much nationalist, religious and anti-environmental regulation baggage for me to get behind. Also I am kind of brown, I may get mistaken for an Italian since I have a lot of Euro features, but in the Midwest I could also be mistaken for a Muslim and get fucked with. I am sure that fear is partly irrational but I do have to grapple with the reality that too much anti immigrant nationalism could eventually negatively impact me because I don't look "white".

I would rather for now deal with the failings of the Democrats. I think from a purely logical and economic perspective there are a lot of interesting conservative ideals surrounding economics and smaller government. But I think the current Repub party is mostly a bastardization of that philosophy bent on helping our wealthiest citizens a bit too much, at the cost of our environment most helpless citizens.


Agree.   Amusingly, I am of Sicilian descent and therefore kind of brownish olive skinned and have the same concerns.  After having lived in Colorado, Midwest and South, I get mistaken for Hispanic in Colorado and Muslim or if I am really tan for mixed race in the South.  The difference was that in Colorado it was rarely rude and the South was almost always rude.  Iranians all over will occasionally ask if I'm Persian which is code for Iranian. 

tyort1

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #63 on: March 15, 2017, 06:42:11 PM »
Disclaimer: I am fiscally conservative and strongly believe a good efficient government can provide a solid safety net for those in need.  Not for moochers and leaches of society but for people who really need the help.
I'm curious - how do you determine which is which?
Frugalite in training.

GU

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #64 on: March 15, 2017, 07:05:15 PM »
People that earn significantly less than their ability implies are called "shirkers" in the literature.  They are seen as shirking their duty to earn money, which can then be taxed and redistributed to people with a higher marginal utility for a dollar.  Shirkers decrease total utility at the expense of less able people.  A Mustachian who retires early is the ultimate shirker under this worldview.  Mustachians are high ability people who drop out of the labor force and drastically reduce their lifetime tax burden, while often drastically increasing their lifetime consumption of public benefits. 

A quick point, the ultimate Shirker is one who never works. They go through the education system and never return the investment made in them, mustachians are not the ultimate.

Personally I believe at any give time there is an exact amount of corporate jobs available. When I retire early my job will be given to the next unemployed person. My job doesn't require great ability, it requires a person.

The other major problem with the Shirker theorem it defines the human experience in terms of utility. I personally don't believe we are just tools, our purpose in society goes far beyond what we get taxed at. From the shirker view, anyone who chooses kids over career is wrong, but what if that choice maximizes happiness in the world? Does utility beat out happiness?

I believe Americans have the right to pursue happiness, not to pursue the government mandate of maximum taxes. His world view that I must sacrifice my happiness for the sake of others is somewhat out of sync with my views. My ability says I should be in engineering, but what if my passion is for English? Do I sacrifice my own happiness for less able bodied? Do they in turn sacrifice their happiness for me too, teaching English when they would rather spend their life being an engineer?

I think technically you have to work for at least a little while to "show your ability," and then drop out of the labor force in order to be a shirker under this theory.  The social planner can't tell whether someone who never works has very low ability, very high ability, or something in between. 

Also, I you've confused the meaning of the term "utility" as it's used here—it means something like "happiness" or "well-being."  But I'm with you—I'm not a utilitarian, and I don't believe people should be forced to work in high-paying jobs just because they have the skills to do so.


RangerOne

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #65 on: March 15, 2017, 07:27:45 PM »
I was surprised as well to find that a group of, what you would assume are fiscally conservative people, mostly lean left. But if you consider the demographic of the readership I don't think the split is surprising at all.

Most people here have either ample income or investments and are college educated which is just a recipe for being at least more socially liberal at a minimum. Though almost none of us are "rich", in terms of yearly income. Those that could have been income rich have also chosen to somewhat forgo that path in the interest of buying more personal time and freedom.

This kind of goes against the general consumer motivate American entrepreneurial spirit that drives many educate people to lean more conservative as they become more entrenched in the world of government regulations or high tax brackets.

This seeking of optimization over excess I think also lines up with people who have a strong logical mind set which means you see a lot more engineering and science minded types around here, both of which are groups that are overwhelming liberal. I certainly know good and even great engineers who are super religious, or strong free market constitutional conservatives but they are a minority. 

When your goal is living well and not necessarily getting rich, and you are far enough out of poverty to study the nuances of personal finance, it is easy to see that there are many different paths to living well financially some of which could involve higher taxes and better public services. Most college graduates and people working at multinational companies see so many Europeans getting so much more out of their government socially than we do that it is hard not to say the grass is greener in some respects.

But don't get me wrong. I think to a degree young left leaning people turn too much of a blind eye to the high levels of inefficiency in government and it is worth remaining skeptical of the brilliance of new laws and programs that sound good on paper. I think in general in government there is too much focus on intent and not enough on analyzing fairly actual results.

For me personally being center left, I think the current Repubs, especially under DJT simply have too much nationalist, religious and anti-environmental regulation baggage for me to get behind. Also I am kind of brown, I may get mistaken for an Italian since I have a lot of Euro features, but in the Midwest I could also be mistaken for a Muslim and get fucked with. I am sure that fear is partly irrational but I do have to grapple with the reality that too much anti immigrant nationalism could eventually negatively impact me because I don't look "white".

I would rather for now deal with the failings of the Democrats. I think from a purely logical and economic perspective there are a lot of interesting conservative ideals surrounding economics and smaller government. But I think the current Repub party is mostly a bastardization of that philosophy bent on helping our wealthiest citizens a bit too much, at the cost of our environment most helpless citizens.


Agree.   Amusingly, I am of Sicilian descent and therefore kind of brownish olive skinned and have the same concerns.  After having lived in Colorado, Midwest and South, I get mistaken for Hispanic in Colorado and Muslim or if I am really tan for mixed race in the South.  The difference was that in Colorado it was rarely rude and the South was almost always rude.  Iranians all over will occasionally ask if I'm Persian which is code for Iranian.

Yeah I have been pretty lucky living in California San Diego. People assume things here but I have never ran into really overt racism directed at me. Its a shame this place is so damn expensive...

I think generally in the cities people are reasonably used to diversity and most rural folk get over the foreigner look once I speak and sound like a white kid...

I don't particular mind having people in a small town being curious what I am a mix of especially if it is pretty homogeneous and gets infrequent outsiders. It would just be nice if our media and political parties weren't fueling fear and racism causing more and more of them to jump immediately to negative conclusions.

mm1970

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #66 on: March 15, 2017, 08:48:51 PM »
Quote
I'm calling out all the self righteous claims of "I'd gladly pay more taxes for __________."  What people mean when they say it is they don't mind if taxes get raised on everyone to support their own pet cause.  Even your local school system will accept money, directly from you, over and above what your pre-determined share already is.   If you'd gladly pay more for education, go right ahead and endow a scholarship, write the check to the PTA, pay for your nearest Jr. High to get new Marching Band uniforms or equipment in the biology lab.  Whatever public good that is mostly funded by tax dollars will also take your money.  Library, Public Health Center, Senior Center, Veterans Affairs, Foster Care System, you name it.

Well, but I do that?  I write checks (big ones) to the PTA, library, homeless shelter, veterans groups, etc.

But, you know, my friends who couldn't get insurance due to pre existing conditions, can I, alone, pay their $20k to $40k a year premiums?  Well, no.  I can't.

Mrtreasuretoupee

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #67 on: March 15, 2017, 11:03:22 PM »
A mustachian is a person who rejects the notion that a person must be a consumer and spend almost (if not) all their income, or even worse live in deep debt. He or she also wants to save money to be financially independent to possibly retire at a young age. Yes some people here will be quite wealthy in retirement. The notion that you have to be a right winger to be wealthy or to be good at managing your money is a false notion. The notion that left-wingers are poor is also false. The poorest states in this country are very red states. The poorest counties of poor states had the highest % of Trump voters. So to assume that a wealthy left-winger must be a hypocrite seems a very foolish assumption.

Out of the Blue

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #68 on: March 16, 2017, 02:51:10 AM »
Tl;dr:  Politics are about what I think our system should be.  Mustachianism is about best navigating the system that we are currently stuck with.

Excellent post.  I don't share 100% of your views, but I like the succinct way you have put it in the quoted part. 

That being said, I think the OP raises some interesting questions.  I do feel some uneasiness at the aggressive tax avoidance/minimisation strategies that some Mustachians engage in and even brag about.  I am a tax lawyer by trade and in my experience that the line between what's legal and not can be blurred.  Moreover, I do not subscribe at all to the view that just because it's legal, it's ethical - it's perfect legal to cheat on your spouse, I don't think it's ethical; similarly, some tax minimisation strategies may be legal but that doesn't mean they're automatically ethical.  (Also note that some tax minimisation strategies may be legal according to the black letter of the law but could subsequently be held to be illegal by a court because they violate the "spirit" of the law and therefore breach an anti-avoidance rule - although I doubt most Mustachians are doing these kinds of strategies themselves; usually it is large corporations or at least extremely high net worth individuals that do this.) 

I don't really understand the US tax system well enough to form any developed judgements about some of the strategies discussed on these forums.  What I understand about maxing out your 401k I find perfectly acceptable as it's completely in line with what I expect the law's intent was; "tax loss harvesting" sounds way more iffy but that could just be the name, I admit I don't understand how it works.  Sometimes it seems like these millionaire retirees pay nothing or almost nothing in taxes, which sounds like a pretty screwed up system to me.

  What about immigrants that are both lazy criminals but also hard workers who steal jobs from Americans. What is that, Schrodinger's immigrant? 

Best quote in this thread so far. 
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 02:54:45 AM by Out of the Blue »

Linda_Norway

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #69 on: March 16, 2017, 03:21:18 AM »
<...>

People that earn significantly less than their ability implies are called "shirkers" in the literature.  They are seen as shirking their duty to earn money, which can then be taxed and redistributed to people with a higher marginal utility for a dollar.  Shirkers decrease total utility at the expense of less able people.  A Mustachian who retires early is the ultimate shirker under this worldview.  Mustachians are high ability people who drop out of the labor force and drastically reduce their lifetime tax burden, while often drastically increasing their lifetime consumption of public benefits. 

Personally I don't believe optimal income tax theory has much to offer real world policymakers, and I think many of its assumptions are unrealistic or at least incomplete.  It just struck me that Mustachians, shirkers that they are or aspire to be, are the optimal income tax theorists' worst nightmare!  But many prominent economists subscribe to the theory [see here for further reading:  https://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/piketty-saezNBER12handbook.pdf].  I say vive les shirkers!

Some time ago, a Norwegian newspaper had an article on how retired people gave back enormous amounts of free labour in the form of volunteer work. This was saving the community for billions that should have been spent if people hadn't volunteered. Therefore shirking is not covering the whole truth.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #70 on: March 16, 2017, 05:50:27 AM »
I'll use every legal means to reduce my taxes.  I would also vote to raise my taxes for life saving programs like single payer.

Ah, but how much!?

As a libertarian myself I see single payer as a somewhat more freedom causing policy. As in- people are free to work/notwork/start a company/be a bum without being forced to work for health care.

As a libertarian I have a limit to what I would spend on these as well. What if it cost 50% payroll tax increase? 20%? 10%? 2%?
I would vote for a 50% payroll tax. :D Could fund a lot of projects with that. I might be pretty liberal, though.
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TPGW

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #71 on: March 16, 2017, 08:26:45 AM »
All of this is a really interesting discussion about political theory, but it seems to me that whether one is a hypocrite rests on the answer to this question:

Should a person of your income level, living under our current political system, with all its flaws and imperfections, pay more money in taxes than you currently do? 

If your answer is yes, then taking legal tax breaks is inconsistent with this principle.  If it is no, then legal tax breaks are not at all hypocritical.  It's as simple as that. 

What's interesting is a lot of this thread has been about why the answer to that question is no.  Which begs the next question: should anyone be paying more? If yes, who?  But it seems to me like that's a whole separate, more complicated, discussion. 




prognastat

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #72 on: March 16, 2017, 08:33:01 AM »
All of this is a really interesting discussion about political theory, but it seems to me that whether one is a hypocrite rests on the answer to this question:

Should a person of your income level, living under our current political system, with all its flaws and imperfections, pay more money in taxes than you currently do? 

If your answer is yes, then taking legal tax breaks is inconsistent with this principle.  If it is no, then legal tax breaks are not at all hypocritical.  It's as simple as that. 

What's interesting is a lot of this thread has been about why the answer to that question is no.  Which begs the next question: should anyone be paying more? If yes, who?  But it seems to me like that's a whole separate, more complicated, discussion.

Not quite, believing that everyone should pay more and that you shouldn't pay more than the law requires you to aren't necessarily opposing beliefs. The only belief that would actually be an opposing belief is thinking everyone should pay more, but I shouldn't have to pay more(given that I am part of everyone). If you would vote for people who say they will raise your taxes then you obviously don't believe you shouldn't have to pay more so no opposing belief.

However even if it were to be the case people can easily hold opposing beliefs and just put a higher priority on one belief over another. For example the belief that FIRE would be beneficial to their and potentially their family's wellbeing and that this is more important than the well being of others. This doesn't mean you aren't concerned with the well being of others, just that your own or your family's wellbeing has a higher priority.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 08:52:26 AM by prognastat »

Metric Mouse

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #73 on: March 16, 2017, 09:39:30 AM »
All of this is a really interesting discussion about political theory, but it seems to me that whether one is a hypocrite rests on the answer to this question:

Should a person of your income level, living under our current political system, with all its flaws and imperfections, pay more money in taxes than you currently do? 

If your answer is yes, then taking legal tax breaks is inconsistent with this principle.  If it is no, then legal tax breaks are not at all hypocritical.  It's as simple as that. 

What's interesting is a lot of this thread has been about why the answer to that question is no.  Which begs the next question: should anyone be paying more? If yes, who?  But it seems to me like that's a whole separate, more complicated, discussion.
While I understand your argument, I think people may be wording their beliefs incorrectly; I would be willing to pay more than I do for the government services I receive. I would like to pay nothing for the services I receive; but sometimes I have to, and I am fine with that.
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bacchi

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #74 on: March 16, 2017, 09:43:07 AM »
Mostly, we don't do these things.  We acknowledge the need; spout some idealistic stuff with the full expectation that someone else ought to pay.  And then we strategize to keep as much as we possibly can for our own benefit or the well being of our own.  That's why I call BS on claims of willingness to pay more.  We're each paying exactly what we are willing to pay, and not one cent more.

If this were true, there wouldn't be such a political bifurcation. There wouldn't be all of this whining and moaning about the Democrats wanting to raise taxes to pay for services for welfare queens because there wouldn't be a Democratic party at all, or at least there wouldn't be one trying to increase taxes for social services. Clearly there are some people supporting the Democratic party policies since they keep getting elected. That's why I call BS on your calling BS. It's not hypocritical to want everyone to pay more taxes yet not "write a check to the IRS" for $18.5k.

This is obviously an attempt for those not willing to provide social services to assuage their guilt. They can claim that no one wants to provide services, because otherwise it'd already be done, so therefore it's ok for me to support less funding for school lunches or to cut funding for community colleges. It's a way to feel good about the "fuck you; I got mine" belief system all too prevalent among those who started on 3rd and feel like they hit a home run.

Davids

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #75 on: March 16, 2017, 01:00:29 PM »
The Roth IRA and all its backdoors and the HSA was created by republicans. These are 2 of the most important vehicles for mustachians. I don't know who created the 401K but would not be shocked if it was a Republican. I am a proud Republican and Trump supporter. As long as the ACA replacement includes increasing HSA MAX then it's all good to me.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #76 on: March 16, 2017, 01:06:11 PM »


I think technically you have to work for at least a little while to "show your ability," and then drop out of the labor force in order to be a shirker under this theory.  The social planner can't tell whether someone who never works has very low ability, very high ability, or something in between. 

Also, I you've confused the meaning of the term "utility" as it's used here—it means something like "happiness" or "well-being."  But I'm with you—I'm not a utilitarian, and I don't believe people should be forced to work in high-paying jobs just because they have the skills to do so.
I meant utility as an expression of usefulness to society as deemed by the bureaucracy. The shirker view seems to treat people like a tool, the happiness theorem treats them as individuals. Sorry for any confusion.

As for abilities, the social planner could make you take standardized test and assign you to the trades or advanced education paths at an early age; some countries do precisely that. Before high school you get your path and your destiny is written out. In the USA I understand the SAT's are meant to weed out poor college applicants based on their abilities, dreams get crushed early on. The shirker would be someone who scores well on a SAT and then proceeds to live in their parents basement.

I'm still struggling to see why being left wing and MMM are opposed, I'm interested in learning. Hopefully we don't get too off topic, the main topic is intriguing.

Laura33

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #77 on: March 16, 2017, 01:14:04 PM »
All of this is a really interesting discussion about political theory, but it seems to me that whether one is a hypocrite rests on the answer to this question:

Should a person of your income level, living under our current political system, with all its flaws and imperfections, pay more money in taxes than you currently do? 

If your answer is yes, then taking legal tax breaks is inconsistent with this principle.  If it is no, then legal tax breaks are not at all hypocritical.  It's as simple as that. 

What's interesting is a lot of this thread has been about why the answer to that question is no.  Which begs the next question: should anyone be paying more? If yes, who?  But it seems to me like that's a whole separate, more complicated, discussion.

Nope, not at all.  I am willing to pay more in taxes to fund programs that don't exist.  E.g., I am a fan of ACA and have been fine paying the surcharges that fund that.  I would vote to tax myself more heavily to fund shoring up SS.  Etc.  Where the government has elected not to pursue those priorities, I will pursue on my own through charity vs. voluntarily sending more money to the government. 

I think there is a real false dichotomy here that being liberal means that you must either voluntarily devote all your resources to others, and if you say "enough," you're a hypocrite.  That's bullshit, in the same way that "conservatives are just greedy bastards who want to keep all their money for themselves" is.  The key for every individual, liberal or conservative, is to figure out the appropriate balance in your life between what you dedicate to your own private good and what you dedicate to the public good.  And the "public good" portion of that includes both goverment and charity, and it includes contributions that are made via both money and time. 

I think there are liberal/conservative splits under all aspects of this.  I suspect the clearest liberal/conservative split is whether the "public good" should be accomplished through government efforts vs. private charity.  I suspect there is also somewhat of a liberal/conservative split on the overall question of how we apportion resources between public good vs private good overall (e.g., the libertarian view that the best way to achieve public good is to maximize individual autonomy); however, I think this latter category varies more by individual (e.g., I know many conservatives who believe very strongly in small government and low taxes, but who contribute generously to charity).

Personally, I am a liberal, and I believe there should be more government action vs relying on private charity.  I also pay probably 1/3 my gross income to the public good, between the taxes that I pay and the charitable donations that I make.  But there's no magic number here -- no, "whew, I'm safely out of the Hypocrite Zone" level, or "damn, I'd better up my game" threshold.  Personally, I'd be willing to shift that 1/3 higher to shore up SS or institute single-payer health care.  But we don't have those things, and so I think that balance is quite sufficient for now, thanks very much.  OTOH, if the ACA goes away, then I probably have to tip the balance more towards the "private good" aspect, because that means I need to save more for my own future medical cost.  Etc.  YMMV.

And it doesn't beg the question, it raises it. ;-)
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Out of the Blue

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #78 on: March 16, 2017, 01:21:24 PM »
Mostly, we don't do these things.  We acknowledge the need; spout some idealistic stuff with the full expectation that someone else ought to pay.  And then we strategize to keep as much as we possibly can for our own benefit or the well being of our own.  That's why I call BS on claims of willingness to pay more.  We're each paying exactly what we are willing to pay, and not one cent more.

I see what you're saying but I think your statement is incomplete.  A more accurate statement is: "We're each paying exactly what we are willing to pay given the system that we are currently in."  That is not inconsistent with "We would be willing to pay more if the system we are in changes."

bacchi

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #79 on: March 16, 2017, 01:32:04 PM »
I don't know who created the 401K but would not be shocked if it was a Republican.

It was created by some accountant or HR type person that read the deferred income law uniquely. The 401k as we know it wasn't specifically an act of Congress.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #80 on: March 16, 2017, 02:22:28 PM »

Some time ago, a Norwegian newspaper had an article on how retired people gave back enormous amounts of free labour in the form of volunteer work. This was saving the community for billions that should have been spent if people hadn't volunteered. Therefore shirking is not covering the whole truth.
Great pts OP!

I think eric and some other poster got into this earlier...But yes the question is once retired are you volunteeing, starting a business, and giving away what you don't need to local organizations, or are you just reading, watching tv, and globe trotting, all the while advocating others should give more?

Once retired I'll share more of the child caring duties with my wife but probably simultaneously begin to build a business. I know MMM writes about his carpentry, but the question is does he work for 60 hours two weeks in a row then reads books for the next 50 weeks? Thats not my business but that is the point of this discussion; are you doing all (within some amount of reason(say 40hrs/wk)) to add to society?

kayvent

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #81 on: March 16, 2017, 02:41:42 PM »
I'll use every legal means to reduce my taxes.  I would also vote to raise my taxes for life saving programs like single payer.

Ah, but how much!?

As a libertarian myself I see single payer as a somewhat more freedom causing policy. As in- people are free to work/notwork/start a company/be a bum without being forced to work for health care.

As a libertarian I have a limit to what I would spend on these as well. What if it cost 50% payroll tax increase? 20%? 10%? 2%?
I would vote for a 50% payroll tax. :D Could fund a lot of projects with that. I might be pretty liberal, though.

The trouble is, at least in Canada, is that we (collective) don't mind a 50% payroll tax as long as we (singular) don't have to pay for it. I know widows that pay more in taxes than myself. And they pay more in taxes simply because parents are a larger pool of the voting public.

We could do so much more for the poor and downtrodden if the greedy middle class would just pay their fair share.

TPGW

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #82 on: March 16, 2017, 04:00:34 PM »
Quote
Where the government has elected not to pursue those priorities, I will pursue on my own through charity vs. voluntarily sending more money to the government. 

I don't think we are disagreeing.  The question was whether you believed you paid enough taxes under the political system as it currently exists.  I'm reading your response to say that under the our current system you pay sufficient taxes and do not feel an obligation to pay more, so you take whatever tax breaks are legally available.  There's nothing inconsistent about that. 

Although as a matter of policy, this means that at least for the foreseeable future, you would not support any increases in the tax rate for your particular income bracket.  Which, again, is a perfectly reasonable position. Although depending on your income level it may put you more to the center or the right of the political spectrum.     

I agree there is no magic number, but I think we do have to choose a rate of taxation that we support, and that number should, ideally, be consistent with our personal actions.   

Quote
And it doesn't beg the question, it raises it. ;-)

OK, OK :).  I could get into a whole thing about  the versatility of language and the changing meaning of phrases, but that would get us WAY off topic. :-)
     

 


 

mm1970

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #83 on: March 16, 2017, 04:54:21 PM »
Quote
I'm calling out all the self righteous claims of "I'd gladly pay more taxes for __________."  What people mean when they say it is they don't mind if taxes get raised on everyone to support their own pet cause.  Even your local school system will accept money, directly from you, over and above what your pre-determined share already is.   If you'd gladly pay more for education, go right ahead and endow a scholarship, write the check to the PTA, pay for your nearest Jr. High to get new Marching Band uniforms or equipment in the biology lab.  Whatever public good that is mostly funded by tax dollars will also take your money.  Library, Public Health Center, Senior Center, Veterans Affairs, Foster Care System, you name it.

Well, but I do that?  I write checks (big ones) to the PTA, library, homeless shelter, veterans groups, etc.

But, you know, my friends who couldn't get insurance due to pre existing conditions, can I, alone, pay their $20k to $40k a year premiums?  Well, no.  I can't.

Perhaps not you personally, but many of us who are fans of MMM most certainly can.  This is where those of us who espouse liberal/progressive ideals while actually behaving like tea-partiers waltz far over the line to hypocrisy. 

I earn 6 figures, I've figured out how to cover the basics on 1/3 of that.  Do I stache the remainder away for my own desires, ala mustachianism, or do I turn it over to the collective (through taxes) for the benefit of my fellow earthlings?    Many of us can absolutely take the money we'd otherwise put into 401k, IRA & 529b and pay a $20,000 expense for a poor or struggling person.  Those with an annual vacation budget of $5k could pay the Community College tuition entirely for a poor person, and forgo their own enjoyment for a single year. This sort of thing is barely a blip in the total life experience of the giver, but life altering for generations to the recipient. Those of us with spare bedrooms could provide housing and shelter to a homeless person or foster child.  Again, costs me very little but means everything to the homeless women I've sheltered. 

Mostly, we don't do these things.  We acknowledge the need; spout some idealistic stuff with the full expectation that someone else ought to pay.  And then we strategize to keep as much as we possibly can for our own benefit or the well being of our own.  That's why I call BS on claims of willingness to pay more.  We're each paying exactly what we are willing to pay, and not one cent more.
I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree.  Most people I know, when they say they are willing to pay more taxes for healthcare for all - really mean it.

But it would have to be healthcare for all, and we don't have that.  So most people I know are not willing to pay more taxes to support the military industrial complex.  So, what do you do when you see where your taxes go, and what comes up in the budget?

When you say "pay more taxes willingly" - these two things are not the same:
- paying an extra $20k in taxes per year just because you want to, to be divvied up into mostly-defense, some corn subsidies, and a little of of everything else
- paying an extra $20k in taxes per year when the President has put forth a budget that says "this is what I want to do and this is where the money is coming from" (and Congress passes it).  And you agree with that. 

You see that, right?


I'm not willing to spend $20k a year more on defense - instead of giving it to DJT and his cronies, I'm gonna give it to Planned Parenthood, the elementary school, the food bank, the homeless shelter, the library, etc.

And while I'm sure some Mustachians do all they can to limit their taxes, I think it's a stretch to say all of them, or even most of them.  We do Turbo Tax, we pay the AMT every year, and we don't even spend a minute trying to figure out how to reduce our taxes.  I'm sure there are loopholes.  We could buy a business, or an orchard, or see an accountant...we don't do any of that.

TPGW

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #84 on: March 16, 2017, 05:47:22 PM »
These are the numbers, as of March 2016:

http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go

In summary, 60% of your federal tax dollars go to Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and Safety Net programs.  16% goes to defense.  The rest goes in small portions to transportation infrastructure, veterans benefits, education, scientific research, and "other."

Not expressing any opinion on these percentages, just thought it would be helpful to have the numbers up here.

RangerOne

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #85 on: March 16, 2017, 06:18:03 PM »
The Roth IRA and all its backdoors and the HSA was created by republicans. These are 2 of the most important vehicles for mustachians. I don't know who created the 401K but would not be shocked if it was a Republican. I am a proud Republican and Trump supporter. As long as the ACA replacement includes increasing HSA MAX then it's all good to me.

I certainly don't support Trump but like many here I would assume that we would all welcome and increased limit of HSA contributions. With their current rules, HSA's are clearly a powerful bonus tool for retirement and health expenses.

HSA's and housing are also to major issues are starting to get me frustrated with our Democratic leaders in California...

The Republicans have also certainly introduced financial tools that are of great use to many of us.

If I were to single issue vote on health and I were to solely consider what would help me, the net effect of the ACA and revised ACA have had and will have nearly zero impact on me. I might gain better HSA access but we may also see our insurance drop some contraceptive coverage that was added by the ACA because the Republicans have weird views on contraception.

I think generally the cohort here is pretty insulated from changes at the Fed level simple because we can thrive under various rule sets because of strong incomes. I haven't been negatively effected by this administration yet so i will reserve some judgment about how outraged to be.

It seems fairly evident that over the next 8 years things are going to get a bit harder for people in the bottom 20% of earners and probably a fair chunk of lower middle class people as well if not just due just to the ACA changes shifting funding away from low earners and elderly people. I guess if that happens they'll vote different next time.

I find many other aspects of Trumps policies and administrative style displeasing but its not worth going out and protesting him acting like a child with a twitter account. If they do do something really stupid like completely eliminating the EPA I suppose I will be able to laugh in 30 years when a handful of States that completely deregulate come whining to the federal government to do something about their poisoned water supplies and unbreathable air.


RangerOne

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #86 on: March 16, 2017, 06:40:29 PM »
Quote
I'm calling out all the self righteous claims of "I'd gladly pay more taxes for __________."  What people mean when they say it is they don't mind if taxes get raised on everyone to support their own pet cause.  Even your local school system will accept money, directly from you, over and above what your pre-determined share already is.   If you'd gladly pay more for education, go right ahead and endow a scholarship, write the check to the PTA, pay for your nearest Jr. High to get new Marching Band uniforms or equipment in the biology lab.  Whatever public good that is mostly funded by tax dollars will also take your money.  Library, Public Health Center, Senior Center, Veterans Affairs, Foster Care System, you name it.

Well, but I do that?  I write checks (big ones) to the PTA, library, homeless shelter, veterans groups, etc.

But, you know, my friends who couldn't get insurance due to pre existing conditions, can I, alone, pay their $20k to $40k a year premiums?  Well, no.  I can't.

Perhaps not you personally, but many of us who are fans of MMM most certainly can.  This is where those of us who espouse liberal/progressive ideals while actually behaving like tea-partiers waltz far over the line to hypocrisy. 

I earn 6 figures, I've figured out how to cover the basics on 1/3 of that.  Do I stache the remainder away for my own desires, ala mustachianism, or do I turn it over to the collective (through taxes) for the benefit of my fellow earthlings?    Many of us can absolutely take the money we'd otherwise put into 401k, IRA & 529b and pay a $20,000 expense for a poor or struggling person.  Those with an annual vacation budget of $5k could pay the Community College tuition entirely for a poor person, and forgo their own enjoyment for a single year. This sort of thing is barely a blip in the total life experience of the giver, but life altering for generations to the recipient. Those of us with spare bedrooms could provide housing and shelter to a homeless person or foster child.  Again, costs me very little but means everything to the homeless women I've sheltered. 

Mostly, we don't do these things.  We acknowledge the need; spout some idealistic stuff with the full expectation that someone else ought to pay.  And then we strategize to keep as much as we possibly can for our own benefit or the well being of our own.  That's why I call BS on claims of willingness to pay more.  We're each paying exactly what we are willing to pay, and not one cent more.
I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree.  Most people I know, when they say they are willing to pay more taxes for healthcare for all - really mean it.

But it would have to be healthcare for all, and we don't have that.  So most people I know are not willing to pay more taxes to support the military industrial complex.  So, what do you do when you see where your taxes go, and what comes up in the budget?

When you say "pay more taxes willingly" - these two things are not the same:
- paying an extra $20k in taxes per year just because you want to, to be divvied up into mostly-defense, some corn subsidies, and a little of of everything else
- paying an extra $20k in taxes per year when the President has put forth a budget that says "this is what I want to do and this is where the money is coming from" (and Congress passes it).  And you agree with that. 

You see that, right?


I'm not willing to spend $20k a year more on defense - instead of giving it to DJT and his cronies, I'm gonna give it to Planned Parenthood, the elementary school, the food bank, the homeless shelter, the library, etc.

And while I'm sure some Mustachians do all they can to limit their taxes, I think it's a stretch to say all of them, or even most of them.  We do Turbo Tax, we pay the AMT every year, and we don't even spend a minute trying to figure out how to reduce our taxes.  I'm sure there are loopholes.  We could buy a business, or an orchard, or see an accountant...we don't do any of that.

Lets be somewhat realistic though, I would not be terribly interested in paying even 5% more in Federal taxes just to help people much poorer than me. Paying more in taxes would have to be commensurate with me getting a little more of something from the Fed.

On principle I have always felt like I am for single payer health for instance. Simply because I think there are some crooked aspects of how our insurance based system works that can never be made right. Though I doubt my limited reading into the subject is adequate to draw any strong conclusions.

But when I consider the prospect that say California my home state may try to implement single payer health on our own, the idea unnerves me a bit. There would certainly be a fat payroll tax hike in state to pay for it. Then the next step would inevitably be that my employer would drop my coverage and dump me onto the state plan.

I think my insurance is pretty affordable and it gives me in network access to the best Hospitals in San Diego. The prospect of giving up my HSA to get potentially worse government homogenized health care doesn't exactly excite me. The plan would have to look incredibly good and well thought out to get my vote.

If any state or the fed ever gets a single payer system implemented that hurts the quality up the upper quintiles health coverage the blow back will be ridiculous.

I would personally like to see some dead weight cut from the Fed to fund new experimental programs. The problem is I think I deeply disagree with Republicans on what programs constitute dead weight or are in need of serious over halls or cuts.

Hargrove

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #87 on: March 16, 2017, 06:49:24 PM »
What began as not an "attempt to impugn anyone's morals" quickly became "calling out ("self-righteous" behavior)." Which isn't surprizing, because calling someone a hypocrite is... a direct attempt to impugn someone's morals.

We all have a TON in common. A ton more than we have different. The unfortunate trick of echo chambers is convincing us the opposite. We can't possibly be a robust and informed citizenry with team ideologies to adhere to instead of our own informed opinions. I really like the posts about how prioritizing one thing over another does not make someone a hypocrite. It's kind of odd that we're discussing a political party making anyone a hypocrite. People are more complicated than their political party. I can have a normal conversation with nearly anyone of any party as long as I do it in person. By and large, the result is usually an interesting discussion, sometimes even surprize that I'm not in fact a degenerate, malodorous pervert. The ability to eat totally partisan news diets all day long is making these conversations more difficult, however.

Many believe in the Puritan ethos that charity must be entirely voluntary and without reward to "count," and inherited a discomfort with government evening the playing field (or a suspicion that it couldn't work). And, some (Republicans!) in Salt Lake actually gave away dwellings to homeless people and figured out it was cheaper than administering to them on an emergency basis. I wouldn't call them hypocrites for that. Results matter more than the purity of your political party's ideology. We couldn't even agree on who the left-wing is and what they're supposed to think. And... it... wouldn't matter. I'd rather debate which method gets the best results every time. That's way more helpful than which method is Rightest.™ It's also possible to test and solve most of the time.

Quote
If they do do something really stupid like completely eliminating the EPA I suppose I will be able to laugh in 30 years when a handful of States that completely deregulate come whining to the federal government to do something about their poisoned water supplies and unbreathable air.

The problem is usually not that someone would do something bad and suffer the consequences for it themselves. But even for that, we have seatbelt laws. The bigger reason we have government is in part to deal with the problem that one person's bad behavior negatively impacts other, innocent people. It would be awful to laugh at entire states that had poisoned their drinking water. For one, you know, suffering, and two, we can probably assume they didn't really understand what they were doing, and that at least a few opposed doing it.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 06:51:19 PM by Hargrove »

rpr

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #88 on: March 16, 2017, 06:53:33 PM »
These are the numbers, as of March 2016:

http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go

In summary, 60% of your federal tax dollars go to Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and Safety Net programs.  16% goes to defense.  The rest goes in small portions to transportation infrastructure, veterans benefits, education, scientific research, and "other."

Not expressing any opinion on these percentages, just thought it would be helpful to have the numbers up here.

I also recommend clicking on a related link regarding Tax expenditures

http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/policy-basics-federal-tax-expenditures

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-are-largest-tax-expenditures

The total on tax expenditures in 2015 was 1.2 Trillion dollars (almost a third of total budget expenditures). Examples of these tax expenditures are the tax subsidies and deductions for such things as health insurance, lower capital gains taxes,mortgage interest, 401k deductions etc. A majority of these go disproportionately to people in the top 20% of incomes. The total of the tax expenditures is larger than SS or medicare.

BTDretire

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #89 on: March 16, 2017, 07:58:45 PM »

3) Yup, the 1% and the middle class pay for almost everything in this country. It doesn't mean that early retirees should mooch off of them.  Not fair.  Save enough to cover your own healthcare/insurance premiums then retire. Otherwise you are taking advantage of those willing to work.  It is no different than the patient I had the other day with asthma who somehow convinced the government she is too sick to work and now on disability.  I know how bad her asthma is.  Get up off your ass and get a job you leach.

Yep, the top 1% of earners pay 39% of individual taxes and the top 10% of earners pay 71% of individual taxes. The other 90% pay 29%.
 But you know, the rich don't pay there fair share. /s/
btw, the top 10% starts at $133,500.
2014 data.

TPGW

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #90 on: March 16, 2017, 08:03:13 PM »
Quote
I also recommend clicking on a related link regarding Tax expenditures

This is really interesting.  Thanks. 

rpr

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #91 on: March 16, 2017, 08:20:26 PM »

3) Yup, the 1% and the middle class pay for almost everything in this country. It doesn't mean that early retirees should mooch off of them.  Not fair.  Save enough to cover your own healthcare/insurance premiums then retire. Otherwise you are taking advantage of those willing to work.  It is no different than the patient I had the other day with asthma who somehow convinced the government she is too sick to work and now on disability.  I know how bad her asthma is.  Get up off your ass and get a job you leach.

Yep, the top 1% of earners pay 39% of individual taxes and the top 10% of earners pay 71% of individual taxes. The other 90% pay 29%.
 But you know, the rich don't pay there fair share. /s/
btw, the top 10% starts at $133,500.
2014 data.

The picture appears different when we look at financial wealth or (non home) net-worth with the top 1%  own 40% of the financial wealth. The next 19% own about 55% while the bottom 80% owns less than 5%. In other words, the top 20% owns 95% of financial net-worth. That is an amazing level of inequality in this country. That just tells you that pretty much all of the income of the lower 80% goes towards living expenses -- both discretionary and non-discretionary while the top 1% are able to leverage their substantial disposable incomes into a huge amount of wealth despite paying significant taxes. It's all about that disposable income.

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

IMO, we should just rid of all deductions (health insurance premiums/mortgage interest/student loan interest/401ks and IRAs, etc), and increase the standard deduction to something like $20K per person with a family max of $50K. Plus treat capital gains and dividends as regular income.

rpr

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #92 on: March 16, 2017, 08:27:49 PM »
Quote
I also recommend clicking on a related link regarding Tax expenditures

This is really interesting.  Thanks.

You are welcome. Reading about Tax Expenditures opened my eyes. Here is something that in total is larger than the largest mandatory item on the budget and there is not a peep about reforming this entitlement.

Hargrove

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #93 on: March 16, 2017, 08:31:12 PM »
Yep, the top 1% of earners pay 39% of individual taxes and the top 10% of earners pay 71% of individual taxes. The other 90% pay 29%.
 But you know, the rich don't pay there fair share. /s/

If one captures all of society's gains, one may have to also pay the upkeep costs. It can be difficult to concentrate wealth in a society without roads, electricity, running water, a police force...

eyePod

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #94 on: March 17, 2017, 06:10:02 AM »
I see a difference between a cog like me taking advantage of 'tax loopholes' vs. someone who's defining the budget/directions of the government making tax loopholes/benefits and then taking them.
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eyePod

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #95 on: March 17, 2017, 06:13:40 AM »
" Hasn't Trump been getting crap for flying to Florida all the time?  Why is better when you do it?"

And I have to jump on this. He's spent something like 10 million of tax dollars to pay the resort that he owns. I don't care if he's flying anywhere. I care that he said he wasn't going to take vacations (and is), said that he's going to divest himself from his interests (he hasn't), and is staying at the resort that he owns!

If I pay for a trip all around the world, I'm not using tax dollars to do it! I'm using my own money!
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Unique User

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #96 on: March 17, 2017, 07:51:52 AM »
Quote
I'm calling out all the self righteous claims of "I'd gladly pay more taxes for __________."  What people mean when they say it is they don't mind if taxes get raised on everyone to support their own pet cause.  Even your local school system will accept money, directly from you, over and above what your pre-determined share already is.   If you'd gladly pay more for education, go right ahead and endow a scholarship, write the check to the PTA, pay for your nearest Jr. High to get new Marching Band uniforms or equipment in the biology lab.  Whatever public good that is mostly funded by tax dollars will also take your money.  Library, Public Health Center, Senior Center, Veterans Affairs, Foster Care System, you name it.

Well, but I do that?  I write checks (big ones) to the PTA, library, homeless shelter, veterans groups, etc.

But, you know, my friends who couldn't get insurance due to pre existing conditions, can I, alone, pay their $20k to $40k a year premiums?  Well, no.  I can't.

Perhaps not you personally, but many of us who are fans of MMM most certainly can.  This is where those of us who espouse liberal/progressive ideals while actually behaving like tea-partiers waltz far over the line to hypocrisy. 

I earn 6 figures, I've figured out how to cover the basics on 1/3 of that.  Do I stache the remainder away for my own desires, ala mustachianism, or do I turn it over to the collective (through taxes) for the benefit of my fellow earthlings?    Many of us can absolutely take the money we'd otherwise put into 401k, IRA & 529b and pay a $20,000 expense for a poor or struggling person.  Those with an annual vacation budget of $5k could pay the Community College tuition entirely for a poor person, and forgo their own enjoyment for a single year. This sort of thing is barely a blip in the total life experience of the giver, but life altering for generations to the recipient. Those of us with spare bedrooms could provide housing and shelter to a homeless person or foster child.  Again, costs me very little but means everything to the homeless women I've sheltered. 

Mostly, we don't do these things.  We acknowledge the need; spout some idealistic stuff with the full expectation that someone else ought to pay.  And then we strategize to keep as much as we possibly can for our own benefit or the well being of our own.  That's why I call BS on claims of willingness to pay more.  We're each paying exactly what we are willing to pay, and not one cent more.

While acknowledging that ALL humans are to some degree hypocrites, I would absolutely pay more for single payer healthcare.   The AHCA will lower my taxes and possibly give me a tax credit as well although it would probably push out my FIRE date.  But, I don't want the ACA repealed even though in the short term it does not affect me and I've been calling and emailing my Republican MOCs asking them to oppose repeal.  I also don't want my taxes lowered in order to throw people off Medicaid.  I've known people who have gamed the system to get maternal care under Medicaid while I paid $8k out of pocket for my child because back then maternal care was excluded in individual health policies.  Someone will always gain the system, no matter the system, isn't that what Trump has been doing his entire life?  The same could be said for SNAP and countless other government programs.  Would I and probably everyone on these boards pay an additional  surcharge that would go to the SNAP program or Medicaid to ensure that people's basic needs are covered even though many people will game the system and get benefits they don't need?  I know I would. 

ChrisLansing

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #97 on: March 17, 2017, 08:10:23 AM »
I question the premises that lead to your questions.   

 "...the focus of the mainstream American left has been:  (i) reduce inequality, especially by raising taxes on the rich; ..."

Well, certainly a lot of lip service is paid to this issue, but we've had the same tax policy (pretty much) through several administrations.   Sometimes we've had Democratically controlled Congresses, but no radical reform of the tax structure.    I have to conclude that either the Democrats are not a party of the "left" or that the "left" isn't serious about this.     


"... (ii) protect the environment to a greater extent; .."

Well, again, much talk but little action.   The "left" wants to do something about global warming, but not to the extent of giving up their SUVs.     Back in Nov. I lost count of the number of Honda Pilots sporting Clinton/Kaine stickers.    We (I would include myself as a lefty) want someone else to do something.   


"...  (iii) decrease racial/gender discrimination; ...."  Yes, so long as it doesn't upset the status quo between the salary class and the wage class.   Female lawyers not getting paid the same as their male counterparts elicits rage, while female factory workers can loose their jobs to offshoring and are told it's inevitable in a global economy.    Worry about glass ceilings but don't worry about those falling through the cracks in the floor.   

"... and (iv) play defense or make incremental expansions to existing social welfare programs including SS, Medicare, Medicaid, ACA, etc." 

Play defense while at the same time voting for exactly the same costly foreign policy that is bankrupting us for the past 16 years, then pretend to be shocked (or maybe they actually are shocked, which is sadder) when social programs are on the chopping block as we struggle to do something about our ballooning deficit.   


There isn't actually much of a left in this country.     
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 08:13:46 AM by ChrisLansing »

hoping2retire35

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #98 on: March 17, 2017, 08:40:34 AM »
I question the premises that lead to your questions.   

 "...the focus of the mainstream American left has been:  (i) reduce inequality, especially by raising taxes on the rich; ..."

Well, certainly a lot of lip service is paid to this issue, but we've had the same tax policy (pretty much) through several administrations.   Sometimes we've had Democratically controlled Congresses, but no radical reform of the tax structure.    I have to conclude that either the Democrats are not a party of the "left" or that the "left" isn't serious about this.     


"... (ii) protect the environment to a greater extent; .."

Well, again, much talk but little action.   The "left" wants to do something about global warming, but not to the extent of giving up their SUVs.     Back in Nov. I lost count of the number of Honda Pilots sporting Clinton/Kaine stickers.    We (I would include myself as a lefty) want someone else to do something.   


"...  (iii) decrease racial/gender discrimination; ...."  Yes, so long as it doesn't upset the status quo between the salary class and the wage class.   Female lawyers not getting paid the same as their male counterparts elicits rage, while female factory workers can loose their jobs to offshoring and are told it's inevitable in a global economy.    Worry about glass ceilings but don't worry about those falling through the cracks in the floor.   

"... and (iv) play defense or make incremental expansions to existing social welfare programs including SS, Medicare, Medicaid, ACA, etc." 

Play defense while at the same time voting for exactly the same costly foreign policy that is bankrupting us for the past 16 years, then pretend to be shocked (or maybe they actually are shocked, which is sadder) when social programs are on the chopping block as we struggle to do something about our ballooning deficit.   


There isn't actually much of a left in this country.     

I think you are agreeing, in general, with the OP's point.

eyePod

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Re: Are left-wing Mustachians hypocrites?
« Reply #99 on: March 17, 2017, 08:47:45 AM »
I question the premises that lead to your questions.   

 "...the focus of the mainstream American left has been:  (i) reduce inequality, especially by raising taxes on the rich; ..."

Well, certainly a lot of lip service is paid to this issue, but we've had the same tax policy (pretty much) through several administrations.   Sometimes we've had Democratically controlled Congresses, but no radical reform of the tax structure.    I have to conclude that either the Democrats are not a party of the "left" or that the "left" isn't serious about this.     


"... (ii) protect the environment to a greater extent; .."

Well, again, much talk but little action.   The "left" wants to do something about global warming, but not to the extent of giving up their SUVs.     Back in Nov. I lost count of the number of Honda Pilots sporting Clinton/Kaine stickers.    We (I would include myself as a lefty) want someone else to do something.   


"...  (iii) decrease racial/gender discrimination; ...."  Yes, so long as it doesn't upset the status quo between the salary class and the wage class.   Female lawyers not getting paid the same as their male counterparts elicits rage, while female factory workers can loose their jobs to offshoring and are told it's inevitable in a global economy.    Worry about glass ceilings but don't worry about those falling through the cracks in the floor.   

"... and (iv) play defense or make incremental expansions to existing social welfare programs including SS, Medicare, Medicaid, ACA, etc." 

Play defense while at the same time voting for exactly the same costly foreign policy that is bankrupting us for the past 16 years, then pretend to be shocked (or maybe they actually are shocked, which is sadder) when social programs are on the chopping block as we struggle to do something about our ballooning deficit.   


There isn't actually much of a left in this country.     

I understand what you're saying. There's a large portion of the left that agrees 100% that what's been going on for a while isn't enough. Most of them voted for Bernie and feel like the democratic party has jumped the shark.
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