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Do you enjoy hypotheticals?....the sales tax problem


by fredo
on 7/1/2012 @ 7:42am
  There are lots of folks around Tacoma living at the margins financially. They are facing a higher sales tax today which increases to 9.5%.

Assume for purposes of this hypothetical that your family is one of these marginal families. Your family has NO extra funds for this tax. You can't give up a latte or a candy bar because you've already given up every conceivable luxury.

What will you give up to cover the new sales tax rate? Here are your main choices, but you are not limited to these choices. State your own choices.

1. Housing
2. Utilities
3. Transportation
4. Health care
5. Food 


by Marty C on 7/1/2012 @ 5:35pm
Trick question?
The options you listed are exempt from sales tax. 

by Marty C on 7/1/2012 @ 5:57pm
However, This is a hypothical I'll and I will offer an opinion. I understand that living in the margins, does not mean making low wages.
In this case the impact of sales tax will fall mostly on disposible income. Let's put a real number to it. After housing, utilities, health care and food the subject's disposable income is $12,000 or about $1000 per month, for clothing, entertainment and other taxable purchases.Assuming every dollar spent it spent in Tacoma at local businesses, the impact of the sales tax change would be $12.00 or $1.00 per month.

To answer the question... I would cut $12.00 from my annual budget by bicycling to work 1 day a month during the summer and carpooling one day a month in the winter months.

by fredo on 7/1/2012 @ 6:36pm


Thanks Marty, The extra 2/10 % sales tax would be affordable for you. Is there a sales tax rate beyond which we should never go or should we just keep increasing it as long as it's only a penny here or a penny there?

by Marty on 7/1/2012 @ 7:13pm
First off, those were not my numbers, my disposable income is not that high.

I firmly believe we should NEVER exceed 25.3% sales tax!!

I think we should eliminate the sales tax in favor a state income tax.
It is less variable and benefits by focusing on creating employment and high wages more than fostering consumerism.

Or atleast a 50/50 model that values a balanced approach to creating sustainable tax revenues.

by fredo on 7/1/2012 @ 7:20pm


Ha, that's funny. I know the feeling. 

by Non Sequitur on 7/1/2012 @ 9:12pm
Due to Obamacare, legally you cannot give up healthcare. Sorry, Fredo.

Only clear option to me is to start "redistributing wealth".
Don't wear nice watches, Fredo. I'm coming for ya.



by Maria on 7/1/2012 @ 10:38pm
I think one place people can save $1 a month is on food. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Cutting food costs by eating fresher produce versus packaged foods is a great way to see immediate health benefits.

One easy way to do this is to have a vegetarian meal once a week.

By refraining from meat four times a month, a family could easily save $10-$30 a month.



by Non Sequitur on 7/1/2012 @ 11:48pm
You stop too short. Concentrated Animal Feeding Organizations (CAFOs) are destroying local environments where they are located.
If you want to make a REAL difference, go completely veg. It'll drop your cholesterol through the floor, you'll live longer and be healthier in your advanced age, save money and shave the earth.

It's a no brainer.



by tacoma_1 on 7/2/2012 @ 8:55am
I parked my car, and tuned up my bicycle. Cycling around T-town for errands is more fun, healthier, and cheaper than by car.

Btw, I stopped eating meat years ago, and non sequitur is right about the health benefits.

by cisserosmiley on 7/2/2012 @ 10:47am
I only eat cured meats, bacon, pepperoni, salami & ham.

by tacoma_1 on 7/2/2012 @ 11:07am


Good choice.  You are what you eat.  Added bonus is that you have no need to plan for a lengthy retirement with that diet. 

by cisserosmiley on 7/2/2012 @ 1:23pm
I will have to ad regular fried food meals
m.cbsnews.com/storysynopsis.rbml?pageTyp...

by low bar on 7/2/2012 @ 1:26pm
I'M COMING FOR YOUR TIMEX FREDO


by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 1:54pm
Some people didn't understand the hypothetical.

The family under discussion has already given up every conceivable luxury. We know this because it says that the family has "already given up every conceivable luxury." 

This would mean that they are already eating the lowest price food, using the least utilities, and using the most inexpensive transportation they possibly can. To suggest that they ride a bicycle once in awhile or use some of their entertainment budget or start eating vegatables misses the point.

What do people do when they've already given up everything ...and then the government/voters provide them with an additional tax bill ?   

by seejane on 7/2/2012 @ 1:55pm
one less bottle of wine a year will cover me



by cisserosmiley on 7/2/2012 @ 2:00pm
For meditative health reasons I fast 3 to 4 days a year...I suggest poor people have more meditative health in their lives.

by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 2:05pm


seejane, what if the government raises the sales tax so high that instead of giving up one bottle of wine a year you are required to give up all wine for the rest of your life? Would that sales tax increase be acceptable to you.... since you could cover it by giving up bottles of wine?

by tacoma_1 on 7/2/2012 @ 3:26pm
I could give up buying wine for a year.

Fortunately, I have a years supply in the basement.

Btw fredo, transportation was on your list of items to cut. Using a bike instead of a car is a legitimate choice.

by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 3:31pm


Year two might be a bit rough for you eh, tacoma_1?

by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 3:31pm


Year two might be a bit rough for you eh, tacoma_1?

by tacoma_1 on 7/2/2012 @ 3:48pm
Hopefully I could get my still working by then.

by tacoma_1 on 7/2/2012 @ 5:19pm
On second thought. Since in my version of your hypothetical, the sales tax increased due to much needed funding for Pierce Transit, I would sell one of my cars, and the savings from using less gas, less car maintenance, and half the car insurance, i could keep myself well stocked with vino, and have plenty of money left over. No still needed after all.

by jenyum on 7/2/2012 @ 5:50pm
If they have already given up every conceivable luxury, they pay very little in sales tax. The only things I usually buy that aren't exempt are paper products, alcohol, and occasionally a book.
I would rather see a state income tax.  Maybe then we could charge less sales tax and people would be able to afford the occasional luxury, which is good for small local businesses.

by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 5:51pm
Interesting how the liberals on this thread don't apply their problem solving to the hypothetical at hand, namely how can the poor folks living a marginal existance deal with tax increases, but only concern themselves with how their personal interest in drinking alcohol might be affected.

  I guess we could term that compassionate liberalism.

by low bar on 7/2/2012 @ 6:02pm
this is pretty much a profitless discussion. since the problem isn't the value of taxes but the feckless individuals who create the unfortunately non-hypothetical models used to bungle the revenue. 


by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 6:14pm


  Well, the discussion is only as "profitable" as the commenters wish it to be.  While feedtacoma is not exactly a peer-reviewed academic discussion board, nobody is prevented from providing thoughtful responses. But lowbar, I am interested in your idea about non-hypothetical models used to bungle tax revenue. I think that's worthy of a separate discussion.

by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 6:14pm


  Well, the discussion is only as "profitable" as the commenters wish it to be.  While feedtacoma is not exactly a peer-reviewed academic discussion board, nobody is prevented from providing thoughtful responses. But lowbar, I am interested in your idea about non-hypothetical models used to bungle tax revenue. I think that's worthy of a separate discussion.

by low bar on 7/2/2012 @ 6:26pm
no thanks. tax whining isn't my hobby. but i would go to some tax whiners anonymous meetings if were you.

by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 6:37pm


You're not interested in "tax whining" but you seem to have a remarkable interest in threads where tax whiners might be found.Interesting.

by fredo on 7/2/2012 @ 6:37pm


You're not interested in "tax whining" but you seem to have a remarkable interest in threads where tax whiners might be found.Interesting.

by low bar on 7/2/2012 @ 8:17pm
Exactly. Tax whiner WATCHING is my hobby. I can quit anytime. 


by Non Sequitur on 7/2/2012 @ 10:48pm
@ Low Bar:
Sir, you are the sunshine to Fredo's constant gloom and wallowing in self-pity for being a cheap, privileged middle-class white male who doesn't wish to pay his fair share.

I ain't trollin', Fredo; just calling it like I see it.

Oh yes, I know you will happily dissect my commentary. that's OK, it gives me more entertainment value, like watching a fish on the dock gasping for water.



by low bar on 7/2/2012 @ 11:32pm
trollin'? more like in controllin' LOL

fredo. the message from washington is the more you earn, the less you pay in taxes. we're not living in a caste system so shut the FRACK up and play the game. do you have ANY idea how this thing works? do you know that compared to other western cultures we pay like almost nothing in taxes? and it shows. the capitol looks like SHIT. grass is full of weeds. fucking smelly hippies up and down 4th AVE. anyways...back to the river monster guy feeding me a line of bullshit on TV.







by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 5:20am
  "Fredo's constant gloom and wallowing in self-pity for being a cheap, privileged middle-class white male who doesn't wish to pay his fair share".NS

I didn't express any gloom or self pity. Just trying to keep folks on topic.

I merely presented a hypothetical situtation. I haven't provided any opinion whatsoever.

What we are seeing unfold here is liberal folks inability to deal with the consequences of their actions. Rather than try to present a solution to a hypothtetical problem they change the hypothetical or they engage in name calling.

by tacoma_1 on 7/3/2012 @ 7:42am
That is truly ironic. fredo is complaining about people not staying on topic. The nerve of people not wanting to play his hypothetical reindeer game.


by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 7:50am


Well tacoma1 you did at least venture an intelligent opinion when you mentioned bicycling so I'll have to compliment you there. But then you got off on some tangent about a still you were going to use to make whiskey. Were you planning on sharing this whiskey with the poor folks in town or was this just to produce your own stash?

by cisserosmiley on 7/3/2012 @ 7:53am
@Fredo, no acknowledgement for my eating 361 days a year plan? Geeezis man!

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 8:08am


cissero, all of your postings are excellent. they speak for themselves.

by Jesse on 7/3/2012 @ 8:41am
In fredotopia it's ok to lower the minimum wage by a dollar or more an hour --- every dollar to a full time minimum wage worker equals $2080 in yearly pay -- but it is NOT ok to raise taxes on the same group $12 per year.

by Jesse on 7/3/2012 @ 8:56am
I'm fascinated by the cons argument that when poor people want more that the con response is to go out and make good of yourself with education, hard work, and guts but when the same principle is applied to wealthy people paying taxes the argument changes completely.  

Since we're on the topic of taxes versus income, McCain once said, and it stuck out to me, that the liberals are always wanting to concentrate on dividing the pie while conservatives are interested in making the pie bigger.  Why not raise taxes on the rich and just tell them to make the pie bigger?  That's what they've been telling the poor for three decades now -- "if you want a bigger pie -- go bake it".

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 9:29am
Jesse, interesting points.  

It isn't clear to me how an unemployed person (the hypothetical indicated the family was living on the margins) would be hurt by reducing the minimum wage. Maybe you could clear this problem up for me.

by tacoma_1 on 7/3/2012 @ 9:31am
Staying on the topic of veering off topic, I would never brew whiskey in my still.

Gin is my poison of choice. 2 olives, light on the vermourh, stirred not shaken, in a chilled glass.

by jenyum on 7/3/2012 @ 10:15am
Yeah we don't consider "the poor people" because it's not like we'd have any experience with that.  ? Are you for real, Fredo?  Don't you have a second home in the Philippines?

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 10:19am
Jenyum, I raised an issue you aren't comfortable discussing so you've attacked me.   

For the record, Al Gore goes around proclaiming an interest in protecting the environment yet he has mansions and lear jets and stretch RVs. I don't remember any liberals questioning his motivation.

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 10:21am


tacoma1 I'll agree to come over and sample some of your gin as long as we can spend at least a few minutes talking about plight of poor people in this country.

by jenyum on 7/3/2012 @ 11:29am
I explained that people who live life paycheck to paycheck don't spend a lot on items that aren't exempt from sales tax. (Although gas is a big exception) The reason I know that is because I have lived it.
You have chosen to ignore that, repeatedly, so I'm not sure what the point is to talking to you about this anymore.  
There is a very simple solution to a regressive sales tax: a progressive income tax.  We all know this. You brought it up, if you don't like the answer don't ask.

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 12:09pm
  "I explained that people who live life paycheck to paycheck don't spend a lot on items that aren't exempt from sales tax. " jenyum

...eh, no you didn't

"The reason I know that is because I have lived it." jenyum

...translation, "my experience is more relevant than anyone elses"

"You have chosen to ignore that, repeatedly" jenyum

...I ignored something you forgot to say?

"There is a very simple solution to a regressive sales tax: a progressive income tax. We all know this. You brought it up" jenyum

There are other solutions as well, a progressive income tax is A solution, not the only solution.

by cisserosmiley on 7/3/2012 @ 12:35pm
Sell naming rights to prominent city owned landmarks. Puget Park could be metropolitan market park, the YMCA could sponsor metro parks & 6th ave could be sponsored by alcohol.

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 12:46pm


How about the Comcast City Utilities Bldg. or the Clear Channel Municipal bldg. or the Kindle-Wheelock Library. Now we're talking! 

by L.S.Erhardt on 7/3/2012 @ 12:56pm
Just sell the naming rights to Fredo amd rename the city "Fredopia".

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 1:09pm
I'll pay $500 for the naming rights provided the city throws in the Bimbo's recipes.
 

by jenyum on 7/3/2012 @ 1:44pm
Fredo, I said it and so did other people.  You forgot to read it or you like to put your fingers in your ears and chant "nyah nyah nyah I can't hear you," I don't know.  
If you have some brilliant alternative suggestion for lowering the sales tax rate without cutting services for the same people you apparently are so worried about, why don't you share with the rest of the class?

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 1:50pm
I think what I hear you saying jen is that since low income people don't buy very much that a sales tax increase doesn't affect them. I would strongly disagree with that position. Regressive taxes harm poor people much more than they do middle class people. It seems like liberal people like to put their fingers in their ears and chant "nyah nyah nyah I can't hear you ." I don't know. 

I do have an alternative suggestion. We should lower the sales tax rate so that poor people and others would have a little extra spending money. Then we should eliminate all ridiculous government programs and office workers such as Economic Devleopment and Linda Bremer (human rights). Then we should apply a percentage cut off all city workers salaries. I would say 20% for all workers over $100K per year. Well, that's my alternative.

by jenyum on 7/3/2012 @ 2:02pm
Right, fewer services and less money in the local pool of employed people?
How about a progressive income tax?

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 2:18pm


There's never going to be a progressive income tax in the state of Washington so we can either do regressive tax increases or we can do expense cutting. I prefer the latter.

by jenyum on 7/3/2012 @ 3:39pm
Washington is one of only 6 states without any kind of income tax. I'm pretty sure we can get there, someday. In CT it took electing an Independent governor to get it done, but it is possible.

by fredo on 7/3/2012 @ 4:27pm
 " Washington is one of only 6 states without any kind of income tax."

There are a lot of people who would say that's something to be proud of. 

by Maria on 7/3/2012 @ 9:55pm
I pity the man who is proud that people living on the poverty line are paying a higher percentage in taxes than a wealthy family. That is nothing to be proud of, in my opinion.

In any case, with your hypothetical, the best thing for any family to do is to try to increase their income. Endless cutbacks don't really solve the problem. Perhaps they can get a little extra work, sell non-essentials on eBay or start a micro-business.

Same goes for the government. I'm glad we can save money & reduce expenditures. But the healthier the business climate in the area, the more jobs are available, the more B & O tax, the more people who can live in that environ, the less people needing handouts, etc.



by L.S.Erhardt on 7/3/2012 @ 11:37pm
Problem for me is, I do not trust the troglodytes in Olympia to levy an income tax. Why? They will not remove the sales tax. We'll be sitting with an x% income AND a 9%+ sales tax. I also propose an annual 250% of property-value Fredo tax. Amend the state constitution to allow an income but make sales and any kind of VAT illegal and you'll have my approval.

TL;DR:
Income tax only would be a great idea. However, income plus sales tax @ current rates is what Oly will give us.



by low bar on 7/4/2012 @ 2:23am
or you could just form MASSIVE unions and demand higher wages. any americans on this forum? nope didn't think so...happy 4th.

by fredo on 7/4/2012 @ 7:13am
   "pity the man who is proud that people living on the poverty line are paying a higher percentage in taxes than a wealthy family" maria 

Well, we are in complete agreement Maria.

There is a remedy for that situation. We could lower the tax rates on the taxes that poor people pay so that they no longer exceeded rates that rich people pay.  By lowering the sales tax rates we could make some progress on this injustice. Good observation Maria.

by cisserosmiley on 7/4/2012 @ 9:05am
9 years ago gas cost $1.45 a gallon, 1/3 of today's price.

by Jesse on 7/4/2012 @ 11:06am
"Problem for me is, I do not trust the troglodytes in Olympia to levy an income tax. Why? They will not remove the sales tax. We'll be sitting with an x% income AND a 9%+ sales tax. I also propose an annual 250% of property-value Fredo tax. Amend the state constitution to allow an income but make sales and any kind of VAT illegal and you'll have my approval."  -- Thorax

I couldn't agree more. Well, maybe not the fredo tax thing...

by Jesse on 7/4/2012 @ 11:14am
@fredo:  I don't mean to put words in Maria's mouth but I think she is referring to the fact that the tax system is basically on an uneven bell curve.  That being that the uber poor pay nothing because they simply don't have it, the lower and middle class pays like 30% and the uber rich pay like 13% because they launder their income through capital gains and that is a tax rate of only 15% -- minus deductions!  It's an unfair system when you compare the middle class to the rich.  That's why the talking points of the right wing always talk about dollar figures of taxes paid and not percentages when talking about the rich.

by fredo on 7/4/2012 @ 1:01pm
Jesse I'm OK with making the same tax rate for rich and poor alike or I'm OK with making the dollar figures the same for rich and poor alike. If you say that the rich are only paying 15% then let's lower the rate for everybody else to 15%, problem solved!

Either way I want fairness.

If we lower the tax rate that poor people pay or lower the dollar figures that poor people pay that will make the system more fair. Yes or No?