The Innumerate Opposition to I-1098


I was with you up to the crack about the "conservative echo chamber."

And Slog is somehow diverse and welcoming to opposing ideas? Ha!
Slog is definitely part of the liberal echo chamber. Hence why I appreciate people like Rotten666 commenting here, even when I disagree.
So much better than your stupid Saturday post. I welcome you back into the realm of the thinking people.
I don't see a grey line in any graphs. Am I colorblind?
The line looks black to me. But, yeah, the line that doesn't otherwise have a tag in the legend for each graph.
It came out as dark grey. That line is the total.
@4 yes.

Yes you are.

You need to get a new Droid or iPad.

Go buy one right now and help the economy.

Where are the F-Bombs and A-Holes????

Oh right, this was written by a columnist not an editor.

Kudos to you Mr. Golob.
@3: I reserve the right to write occasional tongue-in-cheek posts, particularly in response to obnoxious editorials written by Kemper Freeman. But, thank you.
I'll vote for this tax because I think it's necessary.

However, let's be honest - so called "regressive" taxes charge everyone the same price for the same services. WA's tax scheme is no more "regressive" than Safeway's price for a carton of milk, or the fair to ride a Metro bus.

So called "progressive" taxes, on the other hand, are really just mandatory charity. Basically, we're saying the rich should pay more than everyone else for the same services simply because they can and we need the money.
I may be hysterical but I am certainly not conservative.
@10 Since much of what state government does is protect property, through police, jails, fire protection, courts etc. government doesn't do much for those without lots of property. Yet the poor pay a disproportionate share of their income to protect the vast propertyholdings of those with at the top. And against who are we typically protecting our property from? The poor. So, in Washington we have a system where we generate the revenue to protect the rich from the poor, and the poor are paying up to one out of every six dollars earned for their government to keep them in line. Sorry to sound like Charles, here, but that is basically the what people arguing for a regressive tax system are asking lower income folks to do. And that, my friends, is the essense of Conservative thought.
@10 fare. bus fare. A fare is a tariff.
@12 this is why we need to give released convicts maps to the richest properties - and to Tim Eyman's house.
the curves are still regressive, even after the income tax is theoretically extended to everyone.

Charging the same price for everyone would mean that everyone would have to pay $72 bln/6.6 mln = $11000 per person (children included). Or about $30000 per household. Alternatively, everyone could just pay 9% of their income. Which seems fairer to you?
@15: Indeed. Isn't that particularly disheartening? It's better after, but still pretty embarrassingly bad. Far from being a radical change, it shows how mild a correction I-1098 ultimately offers.

When I modeled the tax rates, I had to use a power regression with a negative cofactor. Never a good sign when modeling tax rates.
seandr @10:

So called "progressive" taxes, on the other hand, are really just mandatory charity.

To a sufficiently rich person, any tax is mandatory charity. Your argument might just as easily be applied to police. Since Paul Allen can afford to pay for his own security, it's some kind of socialist piracy to make him pay taxes that fund police.

What's more, the taxes he pays give him much more benefit per dollar than hiring a private security force would, so it's arguable that he's actually the bigger beneficiary.

WA's tax scheme is no more "regressive" than Safeway's price for a carton of milk, or the fair to ride a Metro bus.

Safeway is a for-profit entity. Do you think that's the benchmark we should use to evaluate our government? If so, then I'm not sure what your notion of government is. As for bus fares: reduced fares are available for low-income folks and the homeless, so Washington's current tax scheme actually is more regressive than Metro fares.

Your notion that regressive taxes are more fair because they charge everybody the same price for the same benefit really only thrives when considering upper and middle class people. When you get down to looking at low-income taxpayers, you start to see that charging everybody the same price means that a lot of people can't afford things like food and shelter. This is where the notion of "regressive" vs. "progressive" taxes comes into play. Regressive taxes are those that force low income taxpayers into having to choose between paying taxes and paying for necessities.

And, as with Paul Allen's benefit from private security vs. cops, you can plausibly argue that very rich people get much more benefit from most of the taxes we pay than poor or middle-class people do.
It's even worse if you're old. They don't tax you on your earnings above $102k for SSI and Medicare while you work and they don't tax you on the Social Security or Medicare you collect unless you literally bring in a cool million per year under the AGI calculation (assuming you're not stupid and have a decent accountant or lawyer and lots of tax-exempt income and trusts).

Basically, our tax system is a tax on the working poor youth to pay for the really old rich millionaires to jet around the world, while the middle class pay for the military to engage in lots of foreign wars of adventure the really old rich millionaires dreamed up but will never fight in.

Are you happy now? That part won't change, it will just be only less onerous.

1098 is a Tax on the Middle Class.

Vote NO on 1098.
@12: I've heard your argument before, but I don't think it's true. If you mapped out cost of government services used (e.g., 911 calls, miles traveled on subsidized highways/buses/trains, fire department, public library, worker's comp, human services, public defenders, etc.), by income, I don't think you'd see a rising line, I think you'd see the opposite.

And law enforcement isn't about protecting the rich from the poor, it's about protecting everyone from criminals and bad drivers. When you consider the broad array of crimes police deal with (assault, murder, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, drug dealing, drug using, child molestation) and where those crimes are carried out, poor people are more likely to be victims than rich. Having lived in neighborhoods both lovely and shitty, I'm pretty sure an analysis of 911 calls by neighborhood would back me up.
@20: What on Earth are you talking about? Are you a paid shill of the No on I-1098 campaign?
@16 & @18: If you are claiming that progressive taxation is necessary for our society to function, you won't get any argument from me. I'm just saying it's mandated charity. I suppose "socialist piracy" is also a good way to put it.

As a liberal, all I'm asking from you orthodox left wingers is a little intellectual honesty, really.
We need to abolish the sales tax and replace it with a progressive income tax. Oregon figured this out long ago, and the sky seems not to have fallen there (indeed, eliminating our sales tax would help WA businesses near the OR border, as cutting taxes on small businesses would help create jobs). I've always thought, and said, that the only way we'd ever get WA to vote for an income tax is to simultaneously abolish another tax. I hope I'm wrong, but I think 1098 would have a better chance of passing if it did that. Voters in other states have traded one tax for another. I've talked to some people whose stumbling block to voting for this is the fear of having to pay both. WA has always been more socially than economically progressive. The numerous anti-1098 arguments flying around are ridiculous but persuasive to fearful voters in a deep recession. You can't run from "class warfare" in trying to create an income tax; you have to embrace it. Expand the electorate, educate it well, and get people to vote. That'd be my strategy that I'm pretty confident would work. But I'm not running the show.
The benefit of progressive taxation as a key building block for a decent society is not chopped liver to the rich and ultra rich. By making it possible for the wealthy to live in peace and relative safety, without being locked in armored cars and behind razor wire 24x7, the rich benefit from that far more than people with nothing.

Having doodly squat in Manhattan or Rio feels about the same either way, but having an enviable pile of wealth is worlds apart in those two places. In much of the world, the rich live in a permanent state of war and terror from the masses. They get peace and security for a pittance in Europe and the US, even in US states like Washington whose fiscal house is backwards.

And then there is the benefit of living in a country stable and law-abiding enough that most people have the decency to pay their Windows licensing fee. This is what made many of our billionaires. Look how hard it is for these intellectual property companies to have a viable business in Russia or China or most of the poor countries of the world. People are simply too desperate to take seriously the idea of paying for software. There is no respect for law because nobody believes they live in fundamentally fair society.

A lot of people don't buy any of this. I fantasize that we might see the last of the likes of Paul Allen, and maybe even Frank Blethen, and the rest of their ilk, should we switch to progressive taxation. Good riddance.

And imagine a day when both property taxes and sales taxes are zero. Think about what the could do for the economy. It could happen.
I learned about this in high school economics. Why a sales tax is more regressive than an income tax. I am definitely voting for it. Washington state will be better off, and the middle class and poorer citizens will be, too.
@25: In truth, much of the tax money in our country goes to protecting ordinary people from wealthy moguls and powerful corporations who could make a lot more money without pesky bureaucracies like the FDA, EPA, SEC, and DOJ reigning in their profits with regulations controlling food quality, child labor, minimum wage, emissions, insider training, monopolistic collusion, etc.

That's why assholes like the Koch brothers are backing the Tea Party - they know that as the government shrinks and weakens, they accrue more power. Should they succeed, I'm sure there are a large number of tycoons who would be happy to join them as oligarchs controlling a corrupt and unstable American society that resembles the current situation in Russian.

But you are correct - most wealthy people don't want to live that way, which makes the higher tax rate a worthwhile and necessary investment.
"Aside from the ethics of the situation-"

I can understand why you'd want to gloss over that since your position is the more unethical one. You want to take an equally fair usage-based tax system (people pay for what they use) and augment it with something that specifically penalizes a section of the population. Once you take somebody's money by force you have crossed into unethical territory.
Jonathan, can you show for all how this impacts the total revenue of the state? (i.e. measure and compare the areas under the three total tax curves).

Also, can you model what this would look like if just 1% were dropped from the sales tax?

I think many have forgotten what impact this will have on the state, and the state's ability to provide much needed and wanted services.
For all of you that believe an income tax would be a good thing, look at the states that have income tax; New York and California to name the most prominent. These two states are in the news every couple of years getting ready to declare bancruptcy. If you truly believe that our legislature won't expand the tax within five years to everybody making over 75,000 then I have some property in Florida to sell you because you'll obviously buy anything. The states that have initiated income taxes within the last 50 years (read the Seattle Times article:…) are among the lowest in personal income per capita and also in gross state product. An income tax will kill us because when it comes right down to it, people with real money can move it, hide it or shelter it. Therefore when the politicians don't get the revenue they're looking for, guess who's going to get stuck with the bill?