Elon Musk and taxes

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ajdelange

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It doesn't bother me that Jeff Bezos has way, way more money than me, as long as I have a nice car, a good home, stable income and fun things to do.
I don't know if you are aware of this but you are rather rare. Envy is an extremely powerful force. Here in the US it is the foundation of one of our two major political parties (the other is founded on greed). Margaret Thatcher observed years ago that the left would rather have the people they purport to represent lose out on a benefit if giving them that benefit also helped the rich.
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TheLastStarfighter

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I don't know if you are aware of this but you are rather rare. Envy is an extremely powerful force. Here in the US it is the foundation of one of our two major political parties (the other is founded on greed). Margaret Thatcher observed years ago that the left would rather have the people they purport to represent lose out on a benefit if giving them that benefit also helped the rich.
The political dichotomy is both fascinating and depressing to me. I agree that the two political leanings each have a significant negative quality, one being jealousy the other being greed. I see it time and again. A right-leaning business owner saying an extra stat holiday for workers is too much, while they take two weeks to tour Europe. A left-leaning college student starting her doctorate in philosophy so she can avoid working while at the same time saying billionaires should be killed and it's not fair she can't afford a house. These are real examples of real people who I would call "good", as humans go. I like to think our race is pretty good overall, but man we have some lousy qualities.
 

Crissa

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Ultimately I think the goal of society should be less about ensuring that the rich pay their "fair share", and more about ensuring that everyone has good access to a happy, healthy life.
I agree with you until this point.

Taxing wealth isn't about envying the rich. Maybe some do, but that's not Piketty's argument. The wealth (not income) generated in our society is because of our society working together to create it. Everything we do to make people more healthy, the environment retained, people educated, products safer, and global trade stable and possible increases the value of tangible investments.

Having big piles of wealth in single persons' hands means it becomes less productive. It can't be put to use educating, caring, or protecting. It just needs protection itself. It becomes a corrupting influence.

There's nothing wrong with Elon having a company doing company thongs - but someone with that much wealth begins to be able to buy people and politicians and many find it irresistible to not continue hoarding their wealth. To not pay for schools and healthcare and the very things which made their investments valuable in the first place.

In some ways, it's no different than say how a giant company becomes more risk-averse. It stops focusing on growing and sustainable action, and begins protecting what it has done from competition. And concentrated wealth does that to society.

-Crissa
 
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TruckElectric

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hate misleading posts like this,

Just to clear something up about the post.

I got the chart from a tweet and copied it. Just the chart. I didn't really look into the source until later.

I posted the chart to show that Elon Musk paid a higher rate than the rest of the billionaires on there.

Funny how it was interpreted as a sign of envy or how little federal income taxes Elon Musk pays.

Yes the article from which the chart came intention was to show that but I didn't post that until many posts later.

The tax code is the problem, not the individual tax payer.
 

TheLastStarfighter

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Just to clear something up about the post.

I got the chart from a tweet and copied it. Just the chart. I didn't really look into the source until later.

I posted the chart to show that Elon Musk paid a higher rate than the rest of the billionaires on there.

Funny how it was interpreted as a sign of envy or how little federal income taxes Elon Musk pays.

Yes the article from which the chart came intention was to show that but I didn't post that until many posts later.

The tax code is the problem, not the individual tax payer.
I should be clear about my reply, as well, that I wasn't bashing you, but the content you shared. There are many continuing to post and share about Elon and others "making" billions during the pandemic, etc. They didn't make money, the value of what they own increased. It's a big difference, and no I don't think you should be taxed for nurturing something and making it better.
 

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I agree with you until this point.

Taxing wealth isn't about envying the rich. Maybe some do, but that's not Piketty's argument. The wealth (not income) generated in our society is because of our society working together to create it. Everything we do to make people more healthy, the environment retained, people educated, products safer, and global trade stable and possible increases the value of tangible investments.

Having big piles of wealth in single persons' hands means it becomes less productive. It can't be put to use educating, caring, or protecting. It just needs protection itself. It becomes a corrupting influence.

There's nothing wrong with Elon having a company doing company thongs - but someone with that much wealth begins to be able to buy people and politicians and many find it irresistible to not continue hoarding their wealth. To not pay for schools and healthcare and the very things which made their investments valuable in the first place.

In some ways, it's no different than say how a giant company becomes more risk-averse. It stops focusing on growing and sustainable action, and begins protecting what it has done from competition. And concentrated wealth does that to society.

-Crissa
Bless your heart.
 

CyberMoose

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I should be clear about my reply, as well, that I wasn't bashing you, but the content you shared. There are many continuing to post and share about Elon and others "making" billions during the pandemic, etc. They didn't make money, the value of what they own increased. It's a big difference, and no I don't think you should be taxed for nurturing something and making it better.
I completely agree. Imagine if everyone who invested in Crypto got taxed without selling any of it, then all of a sudden it crashes and they lose the majority of their investment. All of a sudden they have next to nothing and still have to pay taxes on something that they never cashed in on.

You could use the same example in a Casino. Imagine winning big at a Casino, then continue playing, lose it all, but still have to pay taxes on what you had briefly
 

TheLastStarfighter

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I agree with you until this point.

Taxing wealth isn't about envying the rich. Maybe some do, but that's not Piketty's argument. The wealth (not income) generated in our society is because of our society working together to create it. Everything we do to make people more healthy, the environment retained, people educated, products safer, and global trade stable and possible increases the value of tangible investments.

Having big piles of wealth in single persons' hands means it becomes less productive. It can't be put to use educating, caring, or protecting. It just needs protection itself. It becomes a corrupting influence.

There's nothing wrong with Elon having a company doing company thongs - but someone with that much wealth begins to be able to buy people and politicians and many find it irresistible to not continue hoarding their wealth. To not pay for schools and healthcare and the very things which made their investments valuable in the first place.

In some ways, it's no different than say how a giant company becomes more risk-averse. It stops focusing on growing and sustainable action, and begins protecting what it has done from competition. And concentrated wealth does that to society.

-Crissa
You're making several statements based on assumptions or stereotypes. ie, that piles of wealth in a single person's hands becomes less productive, that it's corruptive. That a giant company becomes risk-averse. That Elon likes Company Thongs. Short Shorts, yes, but we have yet to see Teslathongs.

These things may or may not be true. I don't believe wealth is corruptive, any more than I believe poor people are bad and will steal, murder or sell drugs. The circumstance may allow/require bad behavior, but I think people are good or bad regardless of their economic circumstance. And good rich people can do good things.

Elon is a good example. He made enough off Paypal to retire and buy a yacht and a fleet of Ferraris. Instead he chose to reinvest, specifically to push a production electric car and revive American space travel. I don't know whether these are benevolent causes or not, but there is little question Tesla and Space X have pushed innovation dramatically forward in ways that would never have happened if a quirky guy didn't find himself with a bunch of money.

For every Elon I'm sure there is some nasty dude who buys off politicians and exploits young girls at a private island when they could be building women's shelters and improving the school system. This is human.

But my point is that it's less important that we get at rich people's hoards of money, and more important that everyone else is free to be happy, pursue their dreams and we can afford the schools, health care and everything else we need for that to happen. If wealthy people are hording and stagnating innovation, then one option is to tax away their money. But another option is to ensure a bright young person has access to affordable education and the opportunity to start a new company that will make the old rich person's obsolete. If society's needs for health care, safety, good housing, etc, isn't being met, again one option is to tax Rich Dude and try to re-distribute it. Another is to use laws to ensure Rich Dude pays fair wages and good working conditions so that everyone has the opportunity to thrive. I tend to like the second option as I think it works better with human nature.
 

Dids

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I completely agree. Imagine if everyone who invested in Crypto got taxed without selling any of it, then all of a sudden it crashes and they lose the majority of their investment. All of a sudden they have next to nothing and still have to pay taxes on something that they never cashed in on.

You could use the same example in a Casino. Imagine winning big at a Casino, then continue playing, lose it all, but still have to pay taxes on what you had briefly
If you experience losses you can use them to reduce your taxable income. Trump lost so much money he didn't have to pay taxes for many years. Realized loses are just like realized gains.
I think people who gain value even if they don't realize them get to use that value for loans etc.
 

Diehard

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I don't know how any of this relates to CT but since the thread is still alive, I will share my irrelevant mental hiccup too.

Don't ask me how to make it happen but I think there needs to be a global value system and all the planet resources, carrots and sticks should go toward serving those values. The level to which individuals are rewarded should be proportional to their contribution to those values. If speculation on price of gold or bitcoin serve those values, individuals that do that well should be well compensated (may be up to 10 times of what an average human needs but not much more). On the other hand if inventing Printing press, Solar Panel or warp drive is more aligned with those values then we should reward people that do that well instead.

I think people are good or bad regardless of their economic circumstance.
I agree with most of what you said but disagree with this one. I think people often "do" bad things either due to ignorance (not really seeing what they are doing) and/or because of their circumstance including economic circumstance. Cost of doing the right thing is much lower if you have a few millions in the bank and a happy life. Not so much if your credit cards are maxed out, your home repossessed and your kid is going to bed hungry. Of course you can always find people that do good things in bad circumstances and those that do bad things in good circumstances but more often than not the idea that people "are" good or bad floats around between those of us that are in a relatively good circumstance. The danger in thinking that way is that it does not leave any room for change.
 
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Crissa

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You're making several statements based on assumptions or stereotypes. ie, that piles of wealth in a single person's hands becomes less productive, that it's corruptive.
No, I'm not. This has nothing to do with Elon, as I pointed out.

This is straight up history, which repeats itself. I didn't bring up Piketty, Adje did, but his study found that income inequality returned time and time again in history and in different countries, and generally presages a loss in competitive markets and democracy.

It's just a straight up fact that money in someone's bank account or invested has less economic 'velocity' than money being passed from person to person in the broader economy.

It's inherent in the definition, but it's also why the economy does better when you give bigger unemployment checks than giving that same amount of money to those who are comfortable. People who need things will spend money, that money with go to other people who are working, and who will also buy things, etc. investments just don't turn over so quickly, and their demand to increase in value - either as interest paid or market value raised or dividends paid - is a drag on how much impact it has.

That wealth is inherently corrupting - at least, to the common good - is something observed time and time again from the robber barons of the nineteenth century through to today. Individuals may have laudable goals, but the damage to the commons occurs long before and often way outside the size of any charity later.

Wal-mart, for instance, cost the US about 6.5 billion dollars in 2014. The heirs to the Walton fortune do not give that much in charity, not even over a decade.

-Crissa
 
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