The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?

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Sonja
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Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?

Postby Sonja » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:23 am

DoingHomework wrote:Yes, we pay low taxes. And all the while we spend generously on the military to fight all over the world and on many other things that benefit the entire world such as scientific investigation and application (think tsunami warnings and communication satellites).


Seriously? You do that so the rest of the world benefits? I always thought that the USA did that to benefit themselves and hopefully there wouldn't be too many casualties along the way. Not that's a bad thing, every country does that. But looking from outside of the USA it surely does not look like doing the world a favour, that's just a happy accident.

VinTek
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Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?

Postby VinTek » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:07 am

Sonja wrote:
VinTek wrote:Here's a reality check for those who complain that taxes are too high. Where would you go to get lower taxes? Mexico? Chile? Turkey?

Here's how the US stacks up against other countries in the world in terms of tax rates.


Funny thing that statistic. It again proves that statistics don't prove anything.

In there Belgium is ranked number 1 for the most taxes paid. The Netherlands is somewhere around number 10. Yet a lot of people who live in the border district of NL move to Belgium because that'll save them so much money in taxes. If you live on the border with Germany however you would rather move there, and a lot of people are doing that too. Just to get out of the Dutch taxes.

To me that means that a lot of important numbers are missing from that article. Say, property taxes, inheritance taxes, dog taxes, road taxes, waste taxes, wealth taxes, or the really interesting one, 'eigen woning forfait' the taxes on the rent you could earn on your house if you'd rented it instead of living there.

Actually, the original study is pretty comprehensive. For example, it states the following:
Personal income taxes made up 38 percent of U.S. tax revenue in 2008, more than in most other OECD countries, where such taxes averaged 26 percent of the total. However, individual taxpayers paid a larger share of tax revenue in Denmark (52 percent) and New Zealand (41 percent).

Remember that the chart measure tax revenue against GDP, not personal income, so the GDP of a country will have a lot to do with where a country winds up on the chart.

DoingHomework
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Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?

Postby DoingHomework » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:57 am

Sonja wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:Yes, we pay low taxes. And all the while we spend generously on the military to fight all over the world and on many other things that benefit the entire world such as scientific investigation and application (think tsunami warnings and communication satellites).


Seriously? You do that so the rest of the world benefits? I always thought that the USA did that to benefit themselves and hopefully there wouldn't be too many casualties along the way. Not that's a bad thing, every country does that. But looking from outside of the USA it surely does not look like doing the world a favour, that's just a happy accident.


My point was not that we are doing anything altruistic. Personally I do not think we should be fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other places. But let's take the situation in Mali right now. The US has very little "interests" in Mali. I think it is hard to make a case for why we are helping the French there. Yet we are because we have resources that can be helpful and US taxpayers are footing the bill for what we are doing.

In the 90s when one religious group was trying to exterminate another in the former Yugoslavia we were there helping. Of course there was also a strong European presence there as well and I think the whole operation was under NATO and UN authority for which we have treaty obligations. But still, I think we were "doing Europe a favor" in some sense to help stop a horrible situation.

You will not hear me waving the (US) flag and saying that we are the world's savior/police force or that we should be. But I do think we spend an awful lot of money fighting and providing defense resources all over the world that a lot of other countries benefit from. You are in the Netherlands. Your country gets a LOT of support in terms of intelligence and surveillance that we pay for and your military benefits from. Whether that is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion. But if we stopped doing it then it would clearly help reduce the deficit in the US.


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