The Value Added Tax (VAT) discourages transactions between customers and licensed retailers, leading to an increase in black markets.
It hits the poor harder. Someone who is paying 90% of their income for the cheapest food, shelter, clothing and transportation they can find would be bumped to 107% by a 17% VAT. In other words, they would need a 7% raise just to stay dead-even with their basic living expenses. You ever tried to live at dead-even? Good luck: some unexpected expense always comes up.
The VAT makes "carousel fraud" easy. Smart thieves set up a dummy company then they:
1. Move a ton of goods (mere importation without sale is VAT-free) from Country A to Country B.
2. Collect the VAT from sales in Country B
3. Dump the dummy company and pocket the VAT they collected.
The payoffs can be enormous, so there is no shortage of thieves willing to try it.
160,00 cell phones at $125/phone is $20 Million. A 17% VAT scam means $3.4 million to the thieves. No guns, low risk, very attractive. In fact, there are instances where twenty or thirty mid-level drug dealers have banded together to raise $50 Million or more for these kinds of frauds.
Yeah, capitalism is so destructive it has produced more economic/technical/social innovation and improvement than any other system in history. It's the worst system in the world, except for all the others.
"...I defy you to say a system where 90% of the wealth is owned by 1% of the people is better than all others..."
I certainly would not say that. However, you must be talking about Argentina over the last seventy years, because that kind of wealth distribution has never been the case in the USA.
The most lop-side distribution year in American history was 1929, when 1% of American familes held 44.2 % of total wealth.
The market dip of 1976 saw the numbers drop so that 1% of families held just 19.2% of total wealth.
In 2007, the last year for which reliable well-tested figures are available, the top 1% of families held 34.6% of total wealth.
"...Capitalism favors the haves at the expensive of the have nots..."
Not exactly. Actually, capitalism favors the innovative, thrifty and bold over the complacent, spendthrift and timid. You can be a "have" for a long time and get your head handed to you by a former "have-not".
Ask IBM what happened to them from the early 1980s until the early 2000s, when they finally woke up.
Ask the complacent Southern white factory worker what happened when the emerging Southern black middle class realized that education and hard work could finally triumph over the institutionalized racial injustice of the past.
Take a look at college campuses today: there are more women enrolled and graduating than there are men.
My youngest daugher is constantly bemoaning the number of do-nothing slackers that hit on her, and she's not talking about hoodlums. She's talking about guys who go to school for four years only to drop out as academic sophomores with practically no hours in their major. Her current boyfriend has been running his own landscaping business since he was 19. He has an Associates Degree in Horticulture, and I have 10,000 times more respect for him than I do those lazy-ass guys at her school. But I digress.
My point is that your ire is misplaced.
Yes, the USA has problems, but we are free to fix them. Unlike a lot of Bible-banging flag-wavers, I do not want people like you to leave the USA. An oyster needs sand to make pearls. Welcome to the arena of ideas, brother! May the one with the most votes win!
"...only those who can afford health care get it..."
If they live in Harris County, Texas, they can get it at Ben Taub Hospital, a public hospital that turns no one away. There are similar hospitals throughout the USA. Very few people who are in dire medical need are denied care because they cannot pay for it, although I agree that even a few such cases are too many.
Perhaps the greatest thing about this country is that you can say things like, "...I loath this imperialist, warmongering, hypocritacal country and I am not leaving. ..." without worrying that the Black Helicopters will be hovering over your house tomorrow.
I wouldn't like your chances after saying that stuff in some of those enlightened countries with their universal health care.
Now, let me get this straight......we're trying to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president that also is exempt from it and hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke.
I'm not glad about the bill yet, because I haven't seen it work yet. I'm not saying it won't, but I'm not expecting perfection right outta the gate, either. It IS a government program, after all. Give it some time to work the kinks out...and there are a LOT of people who are going to throw every kink they can imagine into the works.
Personally, i think one of the things that so terrifies Republicans about this bill is that it MIGHT work - And then, in two years, they'll have to be explaining to voters why, if elected, they're going to repeal the law that saved their child's or spouse's life, or enabled them to get back to a meaningful existence. Not an easy political row to hoe, if you know what I mean.I AM glad that the Dems strapped on some balls and went to the mat on this, and still won it by fighting cleaner and more honestly than the Reps did.
You are right 1GL. The only way this bill was going to pass was with all the bribery. The Tea Party is down in Harry Reid's hometown in Nevada today letting him know that he won't be re-elected because of all the bribery that he allowed in the Senate.
You mean the old-fashioned arm-twisting and promises of favors, the kind that have been standard issue politics for both parties since time immemorial? What I'm saying is that the Dems finally buckled down and got their hands dirty (Although nowhere near as dirty as the Reps), and stuck through something to the bitter end, instead of the usual hand-wringing, compromising and anxiously trying to make everybody happy.
What else was LEFT besides "Bribery", anyway? The Reps and holdouts weren't going to budge a friggin' inch on this, and we all know it. When Reps run roughshod over dissenters in their own party, they just pat themselves on the back and call it their "patriotic duty", same as the Dems do. It's politics, plain and simple.
It's so easy to sway such a crowd. When they are like sheep and believe anything they hear without question, fear is easily planted in their minds. As long as people are so lazy they will not invest the time and effort to understand the world around them and how decisions made by their leaders affect them, they will always rally round the loudest most fear-inciting person.....look for example to the most popular religious leaders on the planet.
It may surprise you to know that I agree that many conservative positions - the abolition of the estate tax comes to mind - would actually hurt the huge majority of the very people who support such ideas.
It is indeed easy to lay the stick of inequitable tax treatment on those who are pulling the US cart as they chase the carrot of a financial reward they are very unlikely to achieve, given their social, intellectual and personal characteristics.
I think that the new health care system is just such demagoguery.
I believe it is another example of soaking the working and middle classes without giving them anything more than what they are already paying for in the first place.
Celebrate what?!? Higher taxes? Higher insurance premiums? Sub-standard care? Six month waits to get a cancer test? Denial of treatment because the politicians spent the "health care" dollars on pet projects to get re-elected and the money's not there for the purpose for which it was originally intended (like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Post Office)? What on Earth makes anyone think that the government will suddenly figure out how to save money and do as they promised after all the examples of ineptitude and lies that we've seen over the last two hundred years?
I don't support this. I think it's a disaster. And future generations will pay the price. But, who cares, right? It's all about us, right now, right?