Sunday, April 20, 2014

MN / Fed Tax Games

MinnPost Estate Tax Cuts Not Enough  The article was noting that apparently the MN tax change didn't align with the Federal Tax laws regarding inheritance.  Then it expresses a concern that more wealthy folks will continue to leave MN, especially after the DFL chose to raise their tax rate last year. This article triggered some very disturbing and foolish comments of the "cut off my nose to spite my face" category.  Here is just one of them.
"Good Riddance. Yeah, we don't need anyone here who has benefited so much from our state's infrastructure and well-educated population but who is willing to relocate to avoid a small nick in the sum they pass on to their kids. And we don't need their stupid bluffs either. If they want to live in the utopia that is Florida, nobody is stopping them." Jeff
TC Busn MN is Losing It's Wealth
Sun Sailor Tax Bill was Mixed Bag
Tax Foundation Tax Alignment
MPR Delay Marriage Penalty Reduction

It is really hard for me to understand the way these folks think... I mean it is the well to do that pay a huge amount of the state's revenues, it isn't like that $20,000/yr individual is paying to build and maintain the infrastructure.  After the EITC, Tanf, Snap, MN Care, heating assistance, etc it is more likely they have a negative net tax rate... (ie get more than they pay)

I agree with Hiram that the well to do will end paying the bills since they have the money.  But to treat them with such contempt is beyond me...  Thoughts?


jerrye92002 said...

Typical liberals. They think the money the rich have was somehow "stolen" from the poor, so simple fairness demands it be returned. Of course, if you were going to "steal" from somebody, it wouldn't be the poor, so their delusions are obviously backwards-- it is THEY who are proposing theft. Robin Hood was, after all, just a robbin' hood.

And beyond that, there is never any concern with where the money for their utopian dreams comes from, because they have no understanding about that-- literally. When the MN Fed Reserve bank conducted a survey asking people where government got the money it spends, something like half said "government spends its own money."

Sean said...

"But to treat them with such contempt is beyond me..."

The wealthy get treated pretty darn well in the U.S., if you ask me. (We consistently rank at the bottom of the OECD in terms of individual taxes, for instance.) And today's wealthy Americans get treated better than the wealthy Americans of a few decades ago.

What else need we bestow on the wealthy to make them feel appreciated?

Sean said...

Should be "near the bottom", not "at the bottom".

jerrye92002 said...

By the way, a recent study concludes that income inequality increases during periods of low economic growth, and that "a rising tide lifts all boats" is more than JFK wordcraft.

Another study establishes that income inequality has greatly increased during the Obama presidency, just as one would predict from the first study results. And a third study says that up to 80% of Americans will spend some portion of their lives in the top quintile of income, while a fourth says that Americans in the bottom quintile are as likely to pass through the top quintile at some point in their lives as they are to remain in the bottom quintile. All of which show that income inequality and economic mobility are just fine, until government tries to make everything "fair." Then things go backwards.

And that goes back to my fundamental problem with the tax code, which is that it should not be the purpose of the tax code to redistribute wealth or pick winners and losers in life's lottery.

Laurie said...

I think increasing the exemption on the state estate tax from 1 to 2 million was a good decision and I wouldn't object to making it the same level as Federal (5 million)

the change may result in a bit more of inheritance for me, as my mother's estate may be over a million, depending on how her health goes and nursing home care etc.

I agree that it makes little sense to bad mouth the rich and the taxes they pay, though I don't support their complaining either.

On a sort of related note regarding the wealthy I thought this Kevin Drum post was interesting:

In America, Spending Cuts Are Driven by the Rich

John said...

Sean, I don't think they require too much appreciation. As much as an acknowledgement that they are paying the state's and the country's bills. Not some yahoo saying good riddance.

Jerry, Source of the study. Those results make no sense to me.

Laurie, Kevin's post seemed typical, apparently somehow making it a racist position. People who have money do 3 things well: they make money, they save money, they invest money.

If you are making $1,000,000/yr and seeing 38+% ($380,000/yr) going to the governement, of course they are motivated to reduce government spending... Wouldn't you be?

Wouldn't you complain just a little if you had to write out a $380,000 check? Especially after watching the pelosi video...

Laurie said...

so what explains the difference in attitude between rich Americans and wealthy people in other countries, who do not share the desire to cut spending at anywhere near the same level?

I think you dismiss racism much to quickly

John said...

Maybe, I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt. However do you really think anti-welfare people care what the color the recipient is?

G2A Why are Poor People Poor

I am pretty sure they see free loaders as free loaders...

John said...

Just curious. Do you think President Obama is guilty of racism since he acknowledged problems in the Black and Latino Young Male demographic.

If a wealthy white man said the same things, would you feel the same way?

Laurie said...

I don't see anything wrong/racist about targeting young men for support in creating a better future.

I think Bill Clinton could easily challenge young minority men to lead better lives without being called racist.

John said...

Wiki Racism

So what is your rationale for this comment?

"I think you dismiss racism much to quickly."

John said...

If a teacher or potential employer observes someone looking like this and treats them differently... Than say this individual. Is that racism?

Sean said...

Nothing says serious discussion more than posting a picture of stereotype.

John said...

I posted 2 pictures.

The men are the same race.
They are dressed differently.

If they both show up at an interview at a typical MN business, and they have similar qualifications, I think the business casual guy will get the job.

Now is this racism or not?

Sean said...

Actually, you posted the same issue twice.

But the real issue is that you are trivializing things by implying that the problem is about how people dress. Do you suggest that this is the primary cause of the discrepancies we see?

John said...

How about these images.
Group 1
Group 2

Since I often embarass my family by wearing stained and worn clothing, I am very aware that people perceive other humans based on their behaviors and clothing choices. If people choose to dress atypically from the norm and are therefore treated differently, is this wrong or right? Who's fault is it?

Do you want this young woman working as your receptionist, dental hygenist, school counselor, etc? Now be honest...

Or would she be better. Assuming they are both capable.

John said...

Dress, behaviors, attitudes, speech, etc.

My daughters have friends from all races. One advantage of the Robbinsdale school district.

They say the kids refer to some kids as "ghetto". It has nothing to do with race or money, and it has everything to do with the above.

Sean said...

Again, you're trivializing the issue here. Manner of dress and the number of tattoos and piercings are way, way down on the list of reasons for the problems in terms of income inequality and lack of mobility.

Unless you have some evidence to the contrary, I'm going to chalk this up as yet another instance of you trying to boil complex issues down into simple parables or ways for you cast judgment on those you see as less virtuous.

Laurie said...

so about the "you dismiss racism much to quickly" comment I was surprised to see all the hits my search turned up. Here are a few links for you:

The right’s dog-whistle trick: How it exploits racism to rip apart the social safety net

The GOP's Racial Dog Whistling and the Social Safety Net

The Right's Racial Blinders
What really explains the politics of the Obama era

Of course you won't want to read all that, but it easier than trying to explain myself how racism is used to garner support for cutting the safety net, especially as you will likely continue to be very dismissive of this idea.

John said...

Please provide a source that shows that "dress, behaviors, attitudes, speech, etc" do not contribute to the success or failure of a person in our modern or any historical society.

John said...

This is an interesting conclusion.

"And here's where the GOP has, in the Obama years, revealed the substantive, and highly racialized consequences of aligning plutocrats and southern revanchists within a single political coalition. They do not propose to finance the tax cuts with debt (a la George W. Bush), or with cuts to defense spending, or cuts to middle-class entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, or cuts to corporate welfare and tax expenditures for the well-off. They propose to finance tax cuts almost exclusively by cutting programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and other income support programs that disproportionately benefit black communities."

John said...

Conservatives and Capitalists are against Social Democracies and Socialism...

A higher percentage of some minority groups benefit more from these practices.

Therefore the Conservatives and Capitalists must be racist.

Does this leap of logic make sense to you?

John said...

What is your rationale regarding the fact that Asian and Pacific Islanders score close to or better than the White kids?
Academic Gap by Race

Or that they have similar poverty rates?

If racism was a key causal factor I would expect to see the Asian kids suffering also. Yet their parents and themselves keep thriving when others keep failing.

jerrye92002 said...

Let me try explaining this as I did to a black couple in my discussion group. If your only experience with black men in wide-brimmed hats is that they shoot at you, which is my experience, then what are you going to do the next time you see one on the street? If you do NOT at least cross to the other side of the street you lack an essential survival skill, the ability to DISCRIMINATE, and yes, that is the correct word. Now, that experience does not change my impression of or interaction with my black neighbor, a man of similar size and color but who never, to my knowledge, wears a wide-brimmed hat. I can discriminate between the two without being the least bit racist. Whatever happened to the notion that a wise man was one possessed of "discriminating taste"?

Here's another flip to the debate, too. If, as liberals say, it is "racist" to want to curb welfare expenditures because recipients are disproportionately black, then why is it not EQUALLY racist to demand that the disproportionately white taxpayers pay for it? The same sort of ugly prejudice underlies ALL liberal thinking-- the feeling that anybody who succeeds is somehow being "unfair" to those who don't (or won't). They never look for reasons because reason doesn't enter into their assessment.

Sean said...

"Please provide a source that shows that "dress, behaviors, attitudes, speech, etc" do not contribute to the success or failure of a person in our modern or any historical society."

I never said that they don't. Maybe you should re-read what I did say.

John said...

Is this the text you wanted me to re-read? "Manner of dress and the number of tattoos and piercings are way, way down on the list of reasons for the problems in terms of income inequality and lack of mobility."

To which I say: "dress, behaviors, attitudes, speech, etc" contribute to the success or failure of a person in all human societies.

If people resist the social norms of being successful like valuing academics, dressing "normally", behaving respectfully, speaking "proper" English, etc, it is likely they will have a hard time succeeding in society... Dress, tatoos, piercings, etc are just indicators of belief systems and attitudes. Variation is fine within the social norm, however violating the norms and crying out racism is just silly.
Wiki Acting White

Sean said...

"To which I say: "dress, behaviors, attitudes, speech, etc" contribute to the success or failure of a person in all human societies."

I don't disagree. But I think you discount the structural and historical barriers that exist and are far more important and relevant than pointing the finger at saggy jeans.

John said...

If that is so... Why do the American Indians, African Americans, Latinos, etc seem to have a much harder time of it than the Asian Americans, Indian Americans, etc?

If us well to do caucasians are the problem, why do they seem to thrive?

Sean said...

If you don't understand the factors that particularly impact African-American and Native American communities, then I don't know if there's much that can be said.

jerrye92002 said...

I didn't want to say this, because I have always believed that all children can learn and that schools are responsible when all children do not achieve commensurate with that ability. However, it has been brought to my attention that black children from the inner cities who suddenly arrive in successful suburban schools are at a singular disadvantage NOT because of race, but because of "culture," whatever that means. That the two often coincide says nothing about racism as the proximate cause of the achievement gap. And that historical racism may have contributed (or, IMHO, the destruction of the black family created by generations of liberal welfare policies) to that cultural difference is no guide to what should be done now.

Sean said...

Sadly, it's not just historical factors. For instance, there are wide disparities that exist today in things like enforcement of drug crime and criminal sentencing.

John said...

Sean, Sources?

Sean said...

Here's a few.

Regarding the arrest gap between the races on marijuana (which shows usage rates are similar between whites and blacks, but blacks are 3-4x more likely to be arrested):

Here's a couple regarding the disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine sentences. Crack is primarily used by blacks, powder by whites (and the overall cocaine usage rate is higher among whites than blacks):

Here's the WSJ on a study that found blacks received on average 20% longer sentences for the same crimes (controlling for backgrounds, etc.):

Sean said...

So when the white suburban kid doesn't get arrested for smoking a joint, but the black urban kid does, who's being hurt?

And this is just one subset of the various issues where racism still exists today.

But, hey, you all can continue to pretend that it's all in the past.

John said...

WP Marijuana
HP Racial Disparity
WSJ Sentencing

John said...

I never said it was all in the past, however I think it is a much smaller factor than you do.

And I think some minorities fight so hard to appear and act unique that they are shooting themselves in the foot. Business people like to hire normal respectful hard working kids/adults. Teachers like to teach normal respectful hard working kids. From my perspective and experience neither groups cares about their skin color. In fact many businesses would prefer the minority so they can apply them to their EEOC records.

John said...

The sentencing difference is concerning though it likely has as much to do with money and good lawyers as race.

Regarding arrest rates... Who has more police driving the neighborhoods, Plymouth or North Minneapolis? I assume N Mpls since it is a rare event when we see a police car off the main roads in Plymouth. (except ironically when my white neighbor boy got involved in pot)

Now does N Mpls have more police in the neighborhoods because of race? Or because it has more crime? So where are silly young potheads of any color likely to be found and arrested?

Though it would be interesting to see the arrest records for just N Mpls. Or just Plymouth.

jerrye92002 said...

Before suggesting that the cause of these disparate results is racism, we should first look for other factors, and many of them are already known to be associated with single motherhood.

Now, it just so happens that single motherhood is far more common among blacks than among whites.

Of course, if you want to believe that unwed motherhood among blacks is somehow caused by racist whites, feel free to offer an explanation.

jerrye92002 said...

Or, if you wish to suggest that government welfare is the driving force behind the breakup of the black family, I will not ask for sources. One of my favorite quotes, from the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan, was that, "the greatest economic trend of the last 20 years has been replacing a viable economic unit – the two-parent family – with two nonviable economic units."

Still better is the one I just found. "There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future - that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder - most particularly the furious, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure - that is not only to be expected; it is very near to inevitable. And it is richly deserved. " –
Daniel Patrick Moynihan - The Negro Family: The Case for National Action (1965)

Sean said...

The reason that a black kid who commits the same crime (and has the same criminal history) as a white kid, but gets a 20% longer sentence has nothing to do with single motherhood.

Sean said...

Sure, it's true that there's higher crime in general in some neighborhoods which contributes. However, I also think it's much more likely that the white suburban kid caught with a bag of weed is much more likely to catch a break, whether it's from the cops, the prosecutors, or future employers who might see such a charge on a background check.

jerrye92002 said...

Isn't it equally likely that the black kid got a 20% longer sentence because of his attitude or appearance in court, or because of a different criminal history? The simple finding of a disproportionate result along racial lines does not mean that the cause was racist. How else do you explain the disproportionate number of murder victims who are black? Or the disproportionate number of black murderers?

John said...

Child Stats
WP Single Mothers

Sean said...

The study on sentencing controlled for criminal history.

Sean said...

"How else do you explain the disproportionate number of murder victims who are black? Or the disproportionate number of black murderers?"

I don't argue that this is caused by racism.

John said...

Maybe I am naive... However I have more faith in our police, teachers, prosecutors, school administrators, employers, etc. At least in the bigger cities.

However if the person who is pulled over chooses to talk back, accuse the officer of racism, blame the officer, insult them, etc instead of acting with humility, respect and concern regarding their poor choices...

All bets are off. However that has more to do with the fact police, prosecutors and judges tend to demand respect and nothing to do with racism.

John said...

"The study on sentencing controlled for criminal history."

Did the study control for quality of legal defense, behavior of defendent, intelligence of the defendent or any of of the other key variables that likely affect the sentencing.

The academic achievement and wealth gap likely have wide reaching affects. They would look like racism in the statistics...

Sean said...

"However if the person who is pulled over chooses to talk back, accuse the officer of racism, blame the officer, insult them, etc instead of acting with humility, respect and concern regarding their poor choices..."

And do you have proof that there are racial differences among criminals regarding their humility, respect and concern?

John said...

Do you think the white kids will accuse the officer of profiling or racism?

If the kid has a higher academic capability, will they be more well spoken or less?

If the kid has 2 parents at home, will they be more or less aware of how adults negotiate and interact?

Just saying the topic isn't that simple.

Sean said...

So, I'll take that as a no, then.

John said...

It is an interesting read...

MN2020 POT Study

"Across American cities, aggressive police models
which involve targeted stop, frisk, and search
practices are often deployed in “hot spots” (small
areas with large amounts of crime)."

"Their analysis indicates African Americans are
nearly twice as likely to buy marijuana outdoors,
three times as likely to buy it from a stranger, and
significantly more likely to buy it away from home.
While these factors may help to explain the racial
disparity in marijuana possession arrest rates, they
cannot fully account for it—especially in the case of
Minnesota, where the disparity is so large.

Racially skewed arrest rates are arguably largely
attributable to police practices. Put simply, blacks are
arrested and sentenced at higher rates than whites
because they are policed more heavily."

John said...

I am left wondering if this slight bias is a good thing or a bad thing.

Police arresting a larger percentage of people in high crime areas and neighborhoods. These are people who more blatantly break the law in public.

The potential solution is even stranger. Make the action legal or stop focusing on the problem areas.

jerrye92002 said...

"...blacks are arrested and sentenced at higher rates than whites because they are policed more heavily."

That statement requires that someone has tried policing white neighborhoods more heavily and found similar rates of crime. Obviously that has either not been done, or it has been tried and found not to be true. Therefore police are doing what they should be doing, working the areas with the highest rates of crime in an attempt to bring those rates down.

Now, it is unfortunate that pot possession was the subject of this study, because arguably it is a low-level crime (I will argue against its legalization, and will also argue that simply legalizing a crime is NOT the best way to reduce crime). But low-level crimes left unpunished can and do engender a disrespect for the law which leads to more crime. I am reminded of the great success Rudy Giuliani had as mayor of NYC with a very similar strategy. Overall, crime went down.

John said...

Thank abortion, not Giuliani...

jerrye92002 said...

OK, then we are back to the hypothesis that blacks create most of the crime, since most of the abortions are to black women. Is that really what you want to prove?

John said...

Moved to a new post.